Trust DESTINI Estimator With Your Mundane Tasks
One of the biggest struggles of being an estimator is dealing with a significant amount of tasks that are not only time-consuming, but soul-sucking as well. We’re talking about things like performing takeoff on hundreds of drawings, combing through files and folders to find previous estimates, and fixing common mistakes. Nobody really wants to spend their precious hours on these tasks, but they’ve got to be done.
We’ve talked before about why it’s so important to start moving your estimators away from these kinds of repetitive activities towards more engaging and rewarding ones. However, up until now we haven’t discussed the what. What can you do to prioritize the high-level aspects of estimating? Is there truly a way to minimize the monotonous parts of preconstruction?
That’s the question someone asked recently in this Reddit thread. In fact, they took it a step further and specifically asked about outsourcing some of these tedious tasks to a third party. Sounds like a great idea, right? Not necessarily—one commenter immediately points out that there isn’t any accountability in the event of a screwup, and that not doing the takeoffs yourself makes it harder to get to know the project. Another commenter says they spend more time checking third-party takeoffs than it would have taken them to just do the takeoff themselves. Still another commenter adds that they hired an engineering firm to help them out with some big projects and ended up having to redo all of the work the firm did in order to actually price the projects out.
A few people also suggested hiring entry-level employees or interns and delegating this work to them instead, but although it’s less risky than outsourcing to a completely different company, it’s still not always the most accessible solution depending on the labor market around you as well as your team’s budget.
So if you can’t trust third parties, who can you trust? We believe that the answer lies within tools rather than people, tools that can help you tackle three of the most time-consuming and burdensome tasks:
Going back to fix “fat-finger” mistakes
As we mentioned earlier, takeoff is by far one of the biggest drains on any estimator’s time. Uploading drawings, clicking and dragging to perform the takeoff, ensuring the data makes it to the correct place, and then integrating that data into your estimate—it’s ripe for both monotony and error.
But with new technological advancements like Togal.AI’s artificial intelligence-powered takeoff tool, you can still get hands-on with the project and receive accurate takeoffs that easily fit into your estimates in just a matter of minutes, rather than hours.
Another major distraction in preconstruction is managing both past and present data, and storing it in way that gives every team member easy access. Prior to the development of estimating software, preconstruction data was all over the place at most companies. Some of it existed in Excel, some of it existed only on one specific computer in a certain folder, and some of it didn’t even live in the digital realm, but on paper. Estimators waste a lot of time when the bulk of their work day is spent searching for data to compare a project to.
But with a full-service estimating software, users have a cost database at their fingertips without ever having to leave the platform that they’re estimating in. And that’s not even the best part. When you’re able to have one central source of truth, you’re able to start creating things like estimate templates, which lets you focus on winning more projects. You’re also able to start creating standardized training for your company, making you more attractive to potential hires and building up your current estimators into more senior members of the team.
Going Back to fix “Fat-Finger” Mistakes
Last but not least, the third most common complaint that we hear from precon professionals is getting held up at the office due to going back to correct mistakes—you know, the kind where you swear you typed 52,310 but you ended up hitting a 4 instead of a 2. One or two mistakes might be manageable, but over the course of a day or a week, they start adding up. Digital preconstruction tools automate a lot of manual entry, significantly reducing the number of errors that occur as well as the time you’re spending correcting these errors.
Trust your tiresome tasks to a full-service estimating software
Perhaps most importantly, automating these kinds of tasks allows estimators to truly tap into their potential and utilize their skills for more than just being a human calculator. Johnny Maghzal, Head of Development at Togal.AI, puts it this way: “[As an estimator], I spent too much time in On-Screen and Bluebeam clicking, clicking, and dragging—and not even thinking … People fresh out of four years of school don’t want to spend their time clicking and dragging, they want to use their brain … and they want to learn from their seniors how things are built, not really coloring and tracing.”
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