Estimating software for builders and developers – meet Bob

Estimating software for builders and developers is today’s topic in our series of articles about the wide cross-section of the industry EstimatorXpress appeals to. Take a look also at Sarah and her partner’s small building firm and Callum and his start-up building firm.

Building firms that have been going for a number of years and steadily grow into say a 10-20 person business clearly know what they’re doing. And that’s because whilst most small businesses make it to their first anniversary, statistics show that four in ten don’t make it to five years. (Poor cash flow is one of the main reasons for the failure of a small business by the way).

So let me introduce you to Bob, whose building firm has been going for 26 years!

Bob has 14 people on the payroll and a whole load more working as sub-contractors. He started working on small extensions, then larger extensions, then he became well known amongst the self-build sector, and has built countless dream homes.

Now he’s in the enviable position of being able to work on self builds and buy land to build for profit. We’re talking two plus properties, not whole housing estates – he leaves that to the bigger players. It’s hard work none the less. The pressure to turn a sizeable profit is huge. He needs to keep his funders on side. Then there’s the logistics. He could have three or four large projects on the go at any one time.

So how does he keep all plates spinning and the money rolling in? He uses EstimatorXpress of course!

What about HBXL’s competitors?

“We’ve tried different packages in the past, but they either weren’t up to the job, or are really for an American market, or the cost became prohibitive when you had to move up to the next package”, Bob explains. “Thankfully with EstimatorXpress you can grow together and there are no limits.”

What do you like about EstimatorXpress?

“It was my full-time estimator who flagged his concerns with our last software, and did the research that put EstimatorXpress at the top of the list,” he adds. “We’ve got the Enterprise version of EstimatorXpress which gives us the Manager & Collaborator feature.  We’ve set it up so that everyone in the team is using the latest materials, specifications, quote templates, estimating calculators etc.” 

Best features in estimating software for builders and developers?

“My Site Managers would say that the Build Programme is the winner for them. If one job slips because of a delivery delay then the software automatically moves everything on. The materials schedule would be a close second. They get the list into the merchants at the outset and that’s what everyone works off.”

And in the office? “It would have to be the cash flow analysis and profit forecast. They’ve made a huge difference. Yes we’ve got accounting software but this is another level. The job gets estimated and all these reports are automatically produced. I know ‘game changer’ is used very easily nowadays, but this bit of kit really has been.” 

So how did you find handing over the quoting to an estimator?

“It took me a while to loosen the reins and hand over the estimating to someone else, and harder still to give others more responsibility. Old habits die hard but I’m not going to be running the business forever, and I’m owed my evenings and weekends after all these years.

“The beauty of EstimatorXpress is that I can still have oversight of everything so I’m always in the loop. Costs are everything. Not the building work. I’ve got skilled craftsmen that I can rely on. But if we miss an item when we cost a job, or underestimate the hours, or price something too low, it starts adding up. EstimatorXpress doesn’t miss a thing.”

What next for builders and developers?

Give us a call on 0117 916 7898 and we can have a quick chat and set up a short 1-2-1 online demonstration. Or go straight to the booking page on the website. Alternatively you can go straight into a free 14-day no-obligation trial.

And then there’s our HBXL Estimating Service for when you’re too busy to estimate building projects yourself and want the support of experienced professionals on an important project. Find out more here.