Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

Estimating Benchmarks in 2012

Estimating Benchmarks in 2012For this mid-week Guest Post Friday post, we welcome Houston Neal. Houston is the Director of Marketing at Software Advice, a website that presents reviews and comparisons of construction software. Houston joined the company in 2007, just shortly after it was started. He spends most of his day getting the word out about Software Advice’s resources. He enjoys researching and reporting trends in software and technology.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, let alone improve it. Yes it’s cliche, but this old adage is just as true today as it was when William Edwards Deming first said it.* How do you know if your estimating processes are better than last year–or better than your competition–if you aren’t measuring them?

It’s imperative to set goals, performance indicators and benchmarks for your estimating processes. It allows you to track your own performance internally, and compare yourself to your competitors (or to industry standards). But how do you know what to track and measure?

Construction Estimating Benchmark Survey

Software Advice–an online resource that presents reviews of construction software–is hosting a survey about construction cost estimating. It’s a 20-question poll covering estimating processes and best practices.

The survey will run throughout the month of January and February. When all responses have been collected, Software Advice will publish a benchmark report, allowing contractors to compare their company against their competitors. To participate and sign up to get a free copy of the report, visit:

Benefits of Estimating Software

Construction estimating software helps contractors measure plans, calculate material and labor costs, and produce detailed, professional proposals. It helps contractors win more bids, improve their job profitability, bid on more jobs and more. There are over 50 systems out on the market today. They are designed to support the unique needs of any type and size of company from the small residential remodeling company to the large heavy/highway contractor.

While the Software Advice survey is still underway, figures so far show that ~60% of contractors are currently using estimating software. “Faster estimate creation,” “more accurate estimates” and “rapid creation of project budget” were cited as the top 3 benefits; more than 80% of respondents experienced these benefits. Meanwhile another 75% of respondents–that use estimating software–have experienced “improved project profitability.”

No need for marketing messages here. The data speaks for itself. Contractors using estimating software are realizing benefits that many of their peers and competitors are not. If you’re among the minority still using manual methods, it might be time to evaluate new estimating software. At a minimum, you should see how you stack up against competitors by participating in the Software Advice poll.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have experienced the benefits of setting benchmarks or using construction estimating software.

*There is debate over whether Deming was the first to say this, or if he was misquoted.

Houston and I welcome your comments below. Also, please subscribe to keep up with this and other Guest Post Friday Musings.

Estimating Benchmarks in 2012
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One Response to Estimating Benchmarks in 2012

  1. We all know that construction estimation is important. It helps to reduce unwanted costs, and helps to track the progress of the ongoing construction project. However, with so many benchmarking and companies that offer the estimation service out there, it is imperative to screen through the good ones. Check reviews of various softwares and companies before embarking on one of them.

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