Best free residential remodeling construction estimating software

Posted 11/18/2019

If you are running a remodeling or renovation company then you probably know the biggest pain points are:

  • Quotes/estimates

  • Re-estimates

  • Change orders

These are the things that can kill any contracting company. So what's the solution? Is there anything better than excel, email and a word document? What about all the software technology that's simply digitizing the same, bad process?

At CostCertified, we reinvented the way residential construction services are bought and sold. We didn't just digitize the same process. For the first time, the remodeling or renovation company can provide an accurate quote in minutes, the consumer can interact and make changes to it while the price changes in real-time (consumer led re-estimates) and change orders are done with a click of a button. The best part is the entire software platform is free and it is meant to be a "business in a box" for contractors.

This is not to be confused with BuilderTrend or Co-Construct or Joist-App or any other construction estimating software. Most other construction technology companies are simply digitizing the same process which really doesn't help. It still takes a long time to create an accurate quote, your customers can't interact in real-time with it and change orders are still horrible.

With CostCertified the quoting engine is built with a new approach. All you need to do is enter in dimensions for each room and every single line item is updated and the price changes in real-time. You can literally quote an entire home renovation/remodeling project in less than 10 minutes when it used to take hours. And the best part is it is fool proof so you can send any sales person to do it and be confident the quote will still be accurate.

How is this possible? Here's a brief explanation of how our quoting engine works:

The general idea of the quote engine is that all costs should be broken down to a unit price.ย  Most contractors arenโ€™t used to this but generally speaking, every cost should be broken down this way no matter how custom or complex.

The reason for this is that once each cost is broken down into a unit price, to produce an accurate quote requires only adding in the dimensions of the room or area.ย  It is hard to fathom this is even possible but the following will help you understand how it works.

Each line item should have a unit cost associated with it.ย  For example, for tile floor you might have a unit cost of $15/sq ft for both material and installation.ย  CostCertified lets you select if it is subcontracted or not, choose the vendor, and then you can easily save that line item.

Assemblies are line items grouped together.ย  The magical and proprietary piece of CostCertifiedโ€™s quoting engine is the idea that assemblies can live in other assemblies and thereโ€™s no limit to this hierarchy of assemblies.ย  This allows the contractor total flexibility and can build the quote in such a way that makes sense to the consumer.

Letโ€™s pretend you specialize in renovating kitchens.ย  You might start with a parent assembly called, โ€œCustom Kitchenโ€ and inside this assembly you might have the following assemblies:

  • General Items

  • Countertop

  • Backsplash

  • Cabinets

  • Flooring

  • Sink

  • Wet Bar

  • Appliances

Each one of these assemblies could have multiple assemblies within them as well.ย  The point is that you can group all your costs associated with something that makes sense to the consumer.ย  And you can save these assemblies to use later on in any other assembly.ย  Most contractors will add โ€œupgradesโ€ within assemblies or โ€œoptional itemsโ€.ย  So you might offer a standard type of tile within flooring but you can actually show multiple other options for your customer to upgrade with pictures and details. ย 

The concept of grouping items into assemblies and saving assemblies is very powerful.ย  For example, now that you have a โ€œWet Barโ€ assembly saved with all the associated costs broken down per unit, you could re-use that assembly when quoting a basement renovation if the consumer wants a wet bar.ย  And managing cost changes, updates items or assemblies wherever theyโ€™re found in any hierarchy so system wide changes instantly permeate.

Remember, the entire point of CostCertified is that once you are done setting up your line items grouped into assemblies, all that is required is adding in dimensions for your new project that you are quoting and in minutes you can have an accurate, interactive quote that your consumer will love.

If you happen to encounter something different when quoting a project, simply take time to add the unit costs and group it into an assembly that you save.ย  Next time you encounter something similar simply add that assembly to the new quote.ย  The more you use CostCertified the easier it gets for all future quoting, re-estimates, and change orders!

Setting up CostCertified properly for your contracting business will take upfront time and effort.ย  But, the payback will be huge!ย  Imagine being able to accurately quote new projects, no matter how complex, in minutes instead of hours.ย  Imagine your customer having the ability to upgrade or add optional items to your quote on the fly and see the price change in real-time.ย  Thereโ€™s nothing like it in the construction industry and if you put in a little bit of effort now the end result will be a game-changer for your business.