How takeoff software helps you estimate faster and more accurately

8 minute read

If you dread doing takeoffs, you’re not alone. Completing manual construction takeoffs with paper plans and a scale ruler is time-consuming and frustrating. It’s a process that often requires repetitive work but can still result in inaccuracies. But material takeoffs are a necessary part of the construction business.  

Every seasoned builder understands the difficulty of creating takeoffs by hand—measuring, calculating, triple-checking numbers, only to have to repeat the process with every change to the request for quote (RFQ). Using Excel can help, but it won’t catch mistakes, and it’s not scalable. 

Read more: 7 common construction estimating mistakes – and how to avoid them

Worse yet, takeoffs aren’t a task you can charge for. Hiring a dedicated estimator is costly, and it may not be enough to keep them busy – so it’s usually going to be you, spending what should be relaxing downtime, labouring over the details of your estimate until the wee-hours of the morning.  

Luckily there’s a better way, and it all starts with takeoff software.  

What is takeoff software? 

Construction takeoff software eliminates manual work and inefficiencies while boosting your chances of winning bids and building profit long-term. Using a takeoff software solution for your residential construction business removes the headaches by automating much of the process on-screen — measuring in a few clicks and pricing jobs in one step—helping you get back to the parts of the job you enjoy. 

The top benefits of takeoff software

Once time-consuming estimating processes can now be streamlined through takeoff software. Solutions like Buildxact sets your residential construction business on the path to success – as more accurate takeoffs from day one, ultimately mean more profitable jobs upon completion, and a happier bottom line. 

Here are the top six benefits of using takeoff software for your residential construction business: 

Faster and simpler approach to construction estimating

Quoting for jobs is hard enough. Add in the time and hassle of takeoffs, and you risk missing out on a project. 

Construction estimating software like Buildxact allows you to do takeoffs 80% faster versus manual processes, even for users who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy. Simply upload the project plans, scale the plans, and begin measuring on-screen. Takeoffs automatically link to item costs, combining measuring and estimating into one step. 

“The one thing I really love about Buildxact is the takeoffs – the ease in which I can have a plan uploaded and then do a full square meterage takeoff is fantastic,” says Hagen Shaw, owner of Shawco Building. “A takeoff for a build could be anything from two, three days up to a week. So, with Buildxact, I’m now down to under a day to be able to get all my takeoffs done and ready to quote.” 

Increase cost estimate accuracy and efficiency

Takeoff software eliminates repetitive estimating work in several ways, like simple templates to use over and over and supplier pricing lists that can be uploaded once and used across multiple projects. Throughout the process, checklist-style estimates ensure no items are missed, helping to avoid inaccurate bids.  

Win more work

Once you’ve completed an estimate, takeoff software like Buildxact turns it into aneye-catching, professional quotefive times faster than if done manually. You also can add specifications with photos, which helps further set your company apart from your competitors. 

Grows with your business 

Takeoff software is an excellent tool on its own. But to get the most value, it should integrate with a complete, easy-to-use project management software for every step from takeoffs to the final invoice. It includes scheduling directly from the estimate, cost tracking, and accounting.  

Read more: The ultimate guide to construction management software

Access takeoffs anywhere, anytime

Most takeoff software is in the cloud – all you need is a browser and an internet connection to access your bids and projects anywhere, anytime. Cloud-based takeoff software also means you don’t have to spend time organising files, updating file permissions, emailing and attaching files to other team members, and other challenges with document management and sharing in a manual process. 

Jumpstart your projects

Once you win the job using estimating takeoff software, the information from the estimate carries over, making it easy to get the project moving, to begin scheduling work, sending order reminder emails and SMSs, tracking costs, purchasing materials, and more.  

“When I’m creating a purchase order, I just click on each item and I send it off to my supplier and my orders arrive on site,” says Phillip Ouzounis, owner of Zounis Constructions. “I don’t have [to manage and organise] files and papers.” 

Top features to look for in takeoff software

Takeoff software features support the new to most experienced estimator in the residential construction business. Automating and digitising blueprints has never been more accessible with takeoff software like Buildxact, enabling residential builders like you to be up and running in a matter of minutes.  

Here are the top five features builders like you choose when looking for the right takeoff software to take their business to the next level: 

1. Takeoff and measure once

Takeoff estimate software allows you to upload a PDF of your plan, measure with a few clicks, and estimate a job in one step. Takeoffs are automatically linked to the item cost saving you time when estimating for a future project. 

2. Supplier pricing built-in

Access to your supplier’s price list with takeoff software, saves you time by reducing the need for emails and phone calls to check the price of multiple items and ordering materials. 

3. Formula-based process

Takeoff software uses a process that programs your calculations, saving you time and reducing errors. Buildxact’s process is called recipes. It makes ordering materials easier as it figures your quantities out for you automatically. 

For example, you can group items for a complete door assembly, including door, lockset, number of hinges, and the labour to install it.  

4. RFQ management

With takeoff software, once you have calibrated your plans, made corrections, and added in recipes, you can also send and manage RFQs to your suppliers and subbies using the email or SMS feature. It’s that simple. 

5. Simple, intuitive takeoff tools

For builders concerned about the learning curve required for takeoff software, rest assured that not only is Buildxact intuitive, minimal training is needed to start using the software effectively.  

“I chose Buildxact because it was nice and user-friendly – that was most important to me,” says Lauren O’Grady of L O’Grady Constructions. “It was making sure the system was simple to learn and didn’t take up too much time. I started with a 14-day trial and kept going because I could see immediately the potential that Buildxact was going to give me.” 

If you do need any additional help though, Buildxact’s training and support network is always on-hand to offer tech assistance via phone or online chat. There’s also a comprehensive FAQ page to help you put back on track and optimising your Buildxact experience. 

Ready to learn more?

Get started with a14-day free trial, or book a demo with one of our team members today.