By Jeff Gerardi, President of ProEst Estimating Software
It’s no surprise that many companies are still doing takeoffs the old fashioned way – using a pencil, paper, and spreadsheets. After all, change is hard and there’s comfort in the status quo. But given my position, I think it’s important to remind people why making the switch to digital takeoffs is worth considering.
Time and money are hot commodities in the construction industry. What if I told you that switching to digital takeoffs will not only save you time, but save you money as well? Let me explain.
“Hard” Cost ROI
I talk with a lot of construction companies that make the shift to digital takeoffs after doing their own calculations and realizing that they’ll get an almost immediate return on investment (ROI). You don’t need a graphing calculator to figure out that doing takeoffs using electronic plans and a mouse is about 50 percent faster than manual takeoff methods.
But speed is only a good thing if you’re not sacrificing accuracy. Fortunately, improved accuracy is another benefit of paperless takeoffs, and one that goes straight to your bottom line in the form of tighter bids, more wins, and less waste.
We all know the expense associated with paper plans. They’re large and expensive to print, ship, and store. Digital takeoffs drastically reduce the need for expensive printouts, saving you money on paper and toner. Plus, sharing electronically is instantaneous and free, which saves time.
Faster takeoffs–along with no printing, no shipping, and no wasted space for storage–are “hard” cost savings that are easy to measure. But there is also a “soft” cost savings component to going digital. While these savings aren’t as easy to quantify, they’re every bit as real.
For instance, by reducing paper, digital takeoffs support a company’s efforts to become a leaner, greener construction firm. Think of this as a small but important step toward your company’s overall green goals.
Visibility is also a “soft” savings benefit to consider. There is significant peace of mind that comes with seeing, on-screen, that every room on every floor has been accurately taken off–and that you haven’t missed something that will erode profit down the line.
Yet another “soft” advantage of digital takeoffs is mobility. This paperless task can be done anytime, anywhere. Imagine how this could improve your productivity, or allow you to respond instantly to customer requests for information, like change order estimates.
Measurable ROI is important when considering new technology. But the smart contractor will also consider how the “soft” cost savings of digital takeoffs can significantly improve their estimating operations.