The quick answer is “Yes”, construction takeoff software for estimating DOES help whether Onscreen takeoff software with electronic plans or using a digitizer board takeoff with paper plans.  However, the answer really has to look at what is take-off or takeoff processes in comparison to the construction estimating software process.

As we constantly try to reinforce, you MUST have your construction estimating process well defined before purchasing an estimating program. Once you have your estimating process defined, many folks then want to figure out what is the best tool to aid in the estimating takeoff software process that may or may not integrate with a construction estimating software program.

Some folks seem to be very comfortable with a spreadsheet program that they are able to customize to their own processes.  In our 35 years of estimating experience, we have found that the vast majority of estimators really like working with their own customized spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel® for instance.  Moreover, we have also found that many estimators like to measure or performing takeoff 1st, and later estimate the costs of a final estimate or proposal.

That really has become a predominant choice of contractors through our experiences with many different trades and contractors over the years.  Integration of take-off software with an estimating software program is a very nice feature to have BUT as we said, the majority of estimators we come across like performing takeoff 1st then estimate the cost or proposal later. Therefore, integration with an electronic plan takeoff program with an estimating software program is not that critical these days since many separate the two processes.

Here is the reality of our construction estimating software industry. Approximately 80% of estimators in all disciplines in the world of construction use Microsoft Excel® to estimate construction projects. The primary reason is so that estimators can customize an Excel® spreadsheet for takeoff of materials or even construction labor & equipment items. With such a disproportionate amount of estimators using Microsoft Excel®, we have come across a fantastic electronic plan takeoff program that automatically PLUGS right into your customized Excel® spreadsheet. It launches directly from your spreadsheet and saves directly to your spreadsheet. So you can perform your take-off of measuring areas, lengths, and counting, etc right into your custom Excel® spreadsheet. All your thoughts, take-offs and quantities are in one place. One Project, therefore One Spreadsheet. Once all that is complete you can then continue with your newly defined construction estimating process.

The Electronic Plan Takeoff Software program we found that would be a huge benefit for Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet users can be found at:

Estimating Takeoff Software VIDEO

Reiter & Company, Inc. 1-800-482-1014

You can even try out the program with a 14 day FREE Trial.  It is a win win for you.

ALSO: Read an in depth Review of Takeoff Software for Estimating Construction at:  Review Takeoff Software

In-Depth Review of  Takeoff Software


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A construction estimating department CAN become so much more competitive, only if the circle of construction life is tracked. From our perspective, the circle of estimating life tracks the estimated cost and then compares it to the actual cost as determined from the construction accounting department. That type of construction cost analysis helps any contractor become so much more competitive in a variety of ways.

For instance, any contractor must look at their hit ratio on win or lose of bids or quotes.  If a contractor has a 50% successful bid hit ratio, the first question must be asked, “Are you making money with such a HIGH hit ratio or losing for example 15% profit? Likewise, if you are making money at the bids you are winning, then the question begs to be asked, “What is your hit ratio or is it for example as little as 3% ?” Those two comments are probably the most important question for ANY type contractor in any trade or specialty.

Ironically, one of the most important beneficiaries of accounting Job Cost analysis would actually be the construction estimating department. For example, the construction estimating determines that a slab on grade should COST $25,000 for all the material, labor, equipment &/or subcontract. Project Management schedules, performs, or buys out all the parts for the slab on grade. Invoices and or payroll are received (or labor performed) and paid for. So then a
budget to actual job cost report is created and the variance is discussed by all the departments, but most importantly the construction estimating department. The main focus of cost analysis comparison is: did the actual cost exceed/or cost less than the estimated cost. Whatever the answer is, the construction ESTIMATING department must make the appropriate adjustment (if any) for future estimates. The comparison can also be a cost per unit of measure like square foot instead of a lump sum cost comparison.  Over time, system historical costs will probably guide you well. So in this slab example, the system estimated cost of all the parts comes to say $3.00 SF, BUT the construction accounting department may report that the actual cost was $3.25/SF, or maybe $2.85/SF for example. That type of reporting is ESSENTIAL on becoming much more competitive while improving profitability and / or the success of your bid hit ratios. That is an area of construction operations management that is often sadly overlooked.

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Can you Effectively Produce Budget to Actual Job Cost reports without paying project invoices?

November 29, 2010

So often, companies want to have the ability to produce budget to actual job cost reports WITHOUT involving an accounting department. Very RARELY that can be done because project management operations would require a complete manual tracking process. That action would completely burden project manager’s time management. The optimal way would be to have the […]

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