A Brief History of Construction Estimating Software - History of construction estimating tools

3 min read

As a seasoned contractor who's spent years perfecting the art of estimation, I've been through it all. From scribbling estimates on napkins to being dazzled by the sophisticated software we have today. Let me walk you through how construction estimating has transformed over the years, and trust me, it's a wild ride.

Handwritten Estimates & Guesswork

I remember when I started in Canada; all I had was a pen, a pad, and my trusty calculator. It wasn’t just about being precise but also being quick, especially when the competition was stiff. Back in the day, there wasn’t much guidance on how to calculate concrete volume or how overhead costs impacted our estimates.

But, while my handwritten notes had their charm, there was always room for human error. And trust me, those errors did cost me a pretty penny a couple of times.

Excel Spreadsheets - The Game Changer

Then came the era of Excel spreadsheets. A revelation! Suddenly, I had the power to keep track, create formulas, and streamline some of the processes. But, like many of you might've experienced, it was easy to get lost in those endless rows and columns. And if you've ever had to wrestle with the decision of whether or not to update from Excel to construction estimating software, I feel your pain.

The Rise of Specialized Estimating Software

Enter the world of dedicated construction estimating software. Platforms like Bolster started to emerge, making our lives so much easier. With features tailored to contractors, these platforms revolutionized the way we estimated. Suddenly, I could handle unforeseen issues and costs in construction projects with a click, and calculating labor rates became a breeze.

“With the introduction of software like Bolster, the construction industry began to see a shift. Estimation was no longer just about crunching numbers but providing value and accuracy to clients.”

Cloud-Based & Interactive Tools - The Future

Then we reached the pinnacle - cloud-based and interactive estimation tools. Platforms like AutoCost became the rage, offering real-time data and interactive quotes. I can't emphasize enough the advantage of turning your construction estimates into a beautiful e-commerce buying experience. It's not just about providing numbers anymore; it’s about providing an experience.

Remember when every project became a puzzle trying to figure out variable versus fixed costs? Or that time you were trying to explain the difference between estimates, bids, quotes, and proposals to a new hire? Those days are behind us.

Now, we can focus on mastering the art of construction estimating and offering clients an unparalleled service.

To Sum It Up

From manual calculations to the era of interactive cloud-based tools, the world of construction estimating has come a long way. We've evolved, adapted, and grown with the technology. Platforms like Bolster have been at the forefront of this change, ensuring contractors, like us, always have the best tools at their disposal.

Looking ahead, with the rapid advancements in technology, especially in construction tech, I can only imagine where we'll be in the next decade. But for now, I’m just grateful for how much easier (and accurate) my estimating job has become.

Until next time, here's to accurate estimates and successful projects! And if you ever need a deep dive into any construction-related topic, feel free to explore the vast collection over at Bolster's blog. Happy building!


Construction Estimating Software