PROS / This software does give you one-click takeoffs.
CONS / This product does not have mobile capabilities.
VERDICT / Sage Estimating is a bid solution that can integrate with other important construction and real-estate programs to help create a powerful business suite for your company.
Sage Estimating is one solution that you can purchase as a standalone product, and it is included in many of the business suite solutions offered by Sage. This construction estimating software easily integrates with project management, accounting, document control and reporting, payroll, and procurement software while still providing powerful estimating and comprehensive real-estate tools. The easy-to-use interface and the amount of quality estimating and cost-tracking tools provided help make Sage Estimating our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner for bid creation software.
Estimate Generating Tools
Every construction job begins with an estimate. If a product has a weak or absent estimating module, it could render the entire suite useless because it's quite difficult to win a job bid without a high-quality, highly competitive estimate. Sage 300's estimate module has every feature we look for in our ranking criteria. Moreover, these features are well designed and organized. If you're familiar with creating estimates, they are quite easy to use.
These estimation tools include a powerful database preloaded with thousands of industry-standard items; a takeoff digitizer and scopes that let you see all over you vendors, suppliers and subcontractors; and pricing in a clean overview spreadsheet. These tools, when used to maximum capacity, can save you time, eliminate common mistakes and help you craft estimates that will ultimately lead your company to profitable jobs.
You can import construction designs into this program, but Sage Estimating doesn't have any CAD design tools. However, this program integrates with several solutions offered by Sage, including Sage 300, that do utilize these tools. It costs more to purchase this second program, but being able to interact with the blueprints during the bid-creation process makes it easier to get the bid complete and start working on the project.
Any software that is this comprehensive and powerful can seem daunting when you first install it. However, if you are familiar with construction software, drafting programs or simple spreadsheet applications, you will find yourself with at least something to grab on to. If you've used building estimating software in the past, operating Sage Estimating comes naturally for most users.
In the event that you have had no exposure to any of those types of programs, you may encounter a steep learning curve. However, Sage provides online demonstrations and training in its software. The demos usually take place before you purchase the software, so by the time the application finds its way to your computer, you're already at least somewhat familiar with it.
Estimation is only the first step of any job, and Sage doesn't stop after it's helped you win the job. It features all the job and cost-tracking tools we looked for on our construction estimating software review. This includes scheduling tools and databases that allow you to define labor crews and equipment. This enables you to generate contracts and change and purchase orders quickly and accurately.
It also eliminates a great deal of duplicated efforts. For example, if you input information in an estimate that will be used for purchase orders, Sage saves that information in a single place and automatically populates the necessary data at every phase of the project. It may save you a few seconds or minutes at a time, but that can add up quickly. This is also helpful when you need to track the actual cost of the project and compare it to the estimated bid.
Sage Estimating integrates with any of the Sage construction, real-estate and business programs, including its own accounting and project management programs. Sage can also integrate with other, third-party programs, including QuickBooks. One program we didn't find that Sage Estimating integrates with is a CRM, or customer management program. Sage has its own CRM program, and these tools and functions are included as part of its business suites, including Sage 300.
Help & Support
If you ever have a problem with Sage 300, the manufacturer offers several avenues to solve your problems. We already mentioned the online training and demonstrations. Sage provides additional help via telephone, email and online chat, though these are available only during business hours. Online chat is the most direct and effective way to talk to someone about your commercial construction estimating questions.
Sage has everything you need to estimate how much it will cost to complete a job. It also includes powerful tools to help you schedule projects, change orders and track actual costs. While it isn't mobile, the spreadsheet interface is easy to learn and use.