About Our Construction Estimating Software
By far the most asked about feature in the JetStream construction software suite is our estimating function. Contractors looking to save money and tighten workflows often attack estimating first; its a central part of a construction business and is critical to a contractor's success. So, how does JetStream handle construction estimating?
All construction estimating software starts with the basic structure of the estimate. JetStream employs a 3-tiered, 5-column system which allows for both flexibility and accuracy through detail.
3-tiered means the system consists of three types of groupings: Categories, Subcategories and Items. 5-columned means that each item (the lowest level of the hierarchy) consists of five different costs: Material, Labor, Subcontractor, Equipment and Miscellaneous.
We found that this structure for construction estimating strikes the best balance between simplicity and detail; it allows granular price tracking while being general enough to be speedy to use.
We wanted to make our construction estimating software as fast as possible to use, and part of accomplishing that involved implementing a central cost database that serves as the repository for all of a builder's cost data. This database acts as an eternal record of items and their prices, providing contractors with a baseline cost that allows valuable analysis to be performed after a project is finished and actual costs have been collected.
When building a construction project's estimate, items are selected and pulled from this central database. Prices, item names and item descriptions can be changed on-the-fly in a project estimate without affecting the database (meaning no bouncing back between the database and the project estimate).
An important feature of the database is its customizability. We provide users with an 18 category regional costbook so they a starting point, but many users opt to build their own custom databases that better fit the way they estimate.
The end result? After a little tailoring, users have a customized costbook built specifically for their company. This type of feature is a key component of many modern construction estimating software packages.
One of the primary problems contractors face with estimating is the double entry that often occurs between their estimates (normally spreadsheets) and their accounting system. This double entry is time consuming and opens builders up to costly mistakes. Good construction estimating software offers integration options for such accounting systems.
JetStream offers a direct integration channel between its construction estimating system and QuickBooks. After a simple initial setup, JetStream is able to communicate with a QuickBooks company file. This integration is used for building items and accounts as well as creating customers, jobs and estimates. The time consuming task of entering information into QuickBooks is replaced with instantaneous integration.
This integration also comes into play when JetStream receives actual costs from QuickBooks. As builders progress through their jobs, JetStream automatically fetches bills, checks and credit card transactions to be used in displaying an item's actual cost and variance in the estimate. This allows builders to know the instant that an item has gone overbudget.
Contractors looking to run a tighter ship typically turn to construction estimating software first. JetStream offers a comprehensive, modern and fast construction estimating component alongside its other features such as bid management, scheduling and change order management.
Want more information about our construction estimating software? Learn more.