As a construction estimator, you’re tasked with producing accurate estimates, fast, while representing a professional and positive reputation for your company. But manual data entry and outdated processes can really slow you down.
There is a better way: WinEst Essentials is a cloud-hosted Trimble solution that provides general trade contractor estimators with essential tools to build profitable estimates and to better collaborate throughout their pre-construction workflows.
WinEst Essentials removes disconnects in the estimating process, giving estimators an end-to-end workflow, in a single, easy-to-manage annual subscription.
Read on to learn the seven workflows where WinEst can help estimators:
Work breakdown structure (WBS)
Assemblies provide a way for estimators to efficiently build up complex costs and are a faster and more accurate way of building up an estimate.
WinEst Essentials prompts the estimator to move quickly and consistently. For example, when building a wall, we can specify that the wall is 8 feet tall, the spacing of the studs, and what screws are being used to fasten the drywall on the studs. This process saves a lot of time versus grabbing individual items to build the same system.
WinEst prompts questions that every estimator needs to ask to be able to estimate building a wall. Rather than estimating by hand or trying to remember the individual items, items can easily all be pulled in through an assembly in WinEst, saving time and avoiding errors or omissions.
2. Work Breakdown Structures and Alternates
Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) are simply how we would like to organize and break down the job.
This can happen several different ways. For example, if we are bidding on a project for building a school, we might break down the estimate by classroom, corridor, offices, and bathrooms. We can do that in WinEst with a WBS table by creating these locations, and adding each item in the estimate to the appropriate areas.
In WinEst, we can create the WBS table ahead of time. As we create the estimate, it will be easy to assign all of the items to particular areas all at once.
Sometimes, owners or owners representatives create locations or phases of the construction to take place. They do this so when they receive bids from multiple contractors, they can compare apples to apples. The ability to create WBS either on the fly or ahead of time is key to producing a well organized and professional estimate.
Like WBS tables, Alternates tables can be utilized to create and document options - such as different materials, or other build options - that can be reviewed by your client. These can be used in any portion of the estimate and can be toggled on and off. This feature is truly a life saver compared to creating separate estimates, or adding items and then deleting them just to do the same thing.
As estimators, we can make life easier on ourselves by using the WBS and Alternate tables to sort and organize our estimates.
Learn more about WinEst Essentials!
3. Integrated Takeoff
A powerful quantity takeoff tool is a wonderful thing. However, if the takeoff results need to be rekeyed into the estimate, we could be asking for trouble.
Needing to rekey data increases the risk for mistakes. We can copy and paste into the wrong cells or “fat finger” the data entry. User errors can bring a lot of risk into our estimate and ultimately to our company’s bottom line.
WinEst has an audit trail – or history – that allows the user to see where the quantities came from. Additionally, with the integration between WinEst and eTakeoff, the estimator can click on an item and toggle the highlighted takeoff to see exactly where the quantity was generated from a drawing. If something changes, the estimator can update the takeoff and transfer the update directly into the estimate.
Having an integrated workflow between the takeoff and estimate is paramount to proper quality control of the entire process.
4. Smart Proposals
It’s important to represent our company well—and sometimes our only opportunity we have to do that is the proposal.
WinEst lets the estimator map values from the estimate, as well as any cost details, straight to a proposal in Microsoft Word. The company logo and any standard inclusions and exclusions can be included for a very professional and well laid out proposal.
Most construction companies have their “bread and butter” work—their core business that they rely on and specialize. With this in mind, it’s vitally important to have the ability to jump start the estimate without having to create it from scratch every time.
WinEst allows the estimator to create any type of template, either from scratch or based on a previously created estimate.
For example, a great template could include general conditions or standard self-perform items like rough framing or concrete. Another nice option to have in the template is the standard markups like labor burden or overhead and profit already in place.
Using templates is a great way to be more efficient and effective in building estimates.
The lifeblood of a construction company is covering the operating cost and the profits of the estimates. WinEst not only automatically calculates these values but also allows the estimator to create other custom markups, such as insurance fees, bonds and taxes.
WBS and Alternates can be pulled in to create markups that will apply to very specific portions of the estimate. This is also useful because it avoids inflating certain values in the estimate that don’t need it.
The beauty of WinEst markups is that they can be saved as part of the template and calculated automatically. All the estimator needs to do is verify the percentages and cost values before creating the proposal.
7. Accounting Budgets Created from Estimates
Creating a budget that will be used for the duration of a project is a daunting task. If you’re spending a lot of time preparing project folders full of reports and handing them to the accounting department to build the budget by hand—that process has to stop.
The accounting budget can be created very easily using a WinEst custom report. Instead of doing data entry, the team can spend their time verifying the budget that was imported in through an integrated process.
WinEst can import all of the job cost phase codes that match what is already in your accounting or ERP system. Once the codes are imported, it’s easy to match them up to the WinEst cost library. Every WinEst estimate you create is already set up to be reported out as a budget, containing all of the costs and hours to do the job.
From beginning to end, WinEst helps estimators produce fast, accurate, professional construction estimates that keep projects on budget.
To learn more about WinEst, talk to our Trimble GC team today!