When making a decision as critical to your business as selecting a commercial estimating software, it is essential to have a strategy and expectations in place before you invest in a new software: requirements (past and future), training, support, rollout time, and price. Work at a commercial level has less margin for error, higher complexity, and greater risk of loss should a mistake occur; developing an evaluation template is a great way to make sure that you don't waste time evaluating a product that is a poor fit for your business needs.
- Does the estimating software meet your current needs?
- Does the software get updated frequently to help you stay on top of those cutting edge projects architects and designers like to throw your way?
- If you have special requirements or features, is the company open to working with you?
- Does the product have all of the proper training resources and options necessary to get your team of estimators proficient, e.g. user guides, training videos, and on site workshops?
- Does the company offer customized rollout plans based on your needs, timeline, and experience level?
- Is it easy to get a hold of live support when a new project throws you a curveball?
- Does the company charge extra or per-call type fees, or is it factored into the product?
- Are there large upfront fees or contracts for the software?
- Is the program sold on a per seat basis, or sold on a concurrent user basis?
The questions above are a great starting point for your evaluation of a commercial estimating software and should inspire you to do a thorough examination of your business: where it is and where it could possibly go with the help of the right technology. By asking yourself the right questions and making preparations, you'll be well on your way to reshaping your business and giving it the forward momentum to thrive in the future.