Best Bid Estimating Software - Top 6 (2024 Updated)

Written by Bridget Cooper

DateMay 16, 2024
Reading time13 min read
software for estimating

Contractors have relied on bid estimating software to quickly create accurate, error-free estimates. Every contractor requires software that meets their needs. Electrical contractors require an estimating program that accurately handles electrical components, labor, and material costs. 

This guide reviews the best bid electrical estimating software to help you make an informed decision. We’ll also examine each tool’s key features, pricing plans, and pros and cons. But first, let’s review a tool we know best - our very own Downtobid’s Bid Board. 

Note: Our bid board tool that helps subcontractors and material vendors track all bids in one collaborative workspace — with no manual data entry. It helps with estimating by providing features such as quick filters, custom filters, and analytics. Click here to sign up for a demo.

#1: Downtobid's Bid Board - Best Overall

Downtobid’s Bid Board is a bid estimating software for subcontractors and material suppliers. We created the software to combat the electrical takeoff challenges and errors present in other bid estimating software. You don’t have to worry about leaving out conduits, cables, wires, switches, and light fixtures in your next estimates. Our system will help you detect each electrical material required in specific areas of the construction plans. 

Key Features

Here are a few reasons why we stand out from our competitors. 

Centralized Bid Management

Creating bid estimates is laborious and requires reviewing lengthy project documents to account for every item, material, and labor requirement. It’s also costly since you must hire more people to work long hours to create estimates. Fortunately, our estimating software leverages AI to handle all the heavy lifting.

It monitors your inbox for bid invites, reviews them to analyze suitable ones, and creates reports to explain the requirements more. It identifies work units and breaks them down to identify materials, labor, and equipment requirements. You can then download this information in Excel forms and assign appropriate costs. 

This feature alone saves you the time and costs of doing everything traditionally. You don’t need to hire extensive teams or spend hours to create estimates. 

Our software also provides everything needed to manage and track bids. You can see how your bids compare to the competitors, assign tasks, and review your bid success rate. 

Financial System Integration

You can now integrate our software with popular accounting platforms like QuickBooks. This option prevents double entry and migrating financial data manually. It saves you the time you’d spend moving and reconciling the electrical estimating information from our system to QuickBooks.

The integration helps the electrical estimating team achieve their goals quickly and collaborate effectively with the accounting team for final budget drafts.  

A one-click integration approach eliminates any technical skills, ensuring anyone can achieve this effortlessly. 

Reporting and Analysis

Estimators rely on information for decision-making. Downtobid’s Bid Board scans the bid invites, extracts crucial information, and compiles it into detailed reports. Estimators then use this information to detect cost centers and create estimates. 

Our software analyzes past data from a similar project to determine the appropriate materials, tools, equipment, and workers required to complete it. This approach speeds up electrical estimating and helps create accurate figures for specific projects. 

Estimators can also study the reports to identify profitable projects. The reports help them analyze the profit margins and only focus on those with higher margins. This information also helps them avoid underbidding on projects. 

Now that we know why our software is perfect for bid estimating, let’s see how it works. 

How to Use Downtobid’s Bid Board

Our software is straightforward to use. Click here to sign up for a demo and get started. 

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You can use our free trial version to try out the software. You’ll be redirected to a detailed dashboard after logging in. Start by integrating our software into your email inbox. It’s a straightforward process. 

Go to ‘Profile Settings,’ click ‘Integrations,’ and navigate to ‘Add Account.’ Choose ‘Outlook’ as your preferred email provider. We’ll add other email providers soon. You’ll have to grant permission for our software to integrate with your Outlook email account. 

Once integrated, the software creates a dedicated folder under your email ‘Inbox’ and another folder named ‘Inbox’ on the dashboard. 

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The software detects bid invites from multiple contractors, scans them for electrical jobs, and creates detailed reports you can use for bid estimating. You can also create rules for bid invites that fit your experience and expertise. For instance, you could set rules based on project size, specialization, budget, electrical contractor details, and location. The software scans every bid invite, accepts those aligning with the rules, and rejects the rest. This feature alone saves you the time of reviewing every bid invite and focus on those that fit your profile and preferences. 

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You can use the one-click data export function to compile all the bid information into Excel files. The reports are self-explanatory and neatly categorized to help you find specific information. For instance, the materials are listed together to help you track and account for material requirements. The software creates the Excel files, eliminating any manual work. 

You can explore our top-rated bid invitation software to help you send bids to contractors.

best bid

#2: Best Bid’s Electrical Estimating Software

Best Bid is a reputable platform in the construction industry. They created a dedicated bid electrical estimating software for electrical contractors. It’s perhaps known for a one-time subscription plan and lifetime software update. 

Key Features

Here are a few reasons why this electrical estimating tool takes the second spot of the best bid estimating software. 

Automatic Takeoff from Images and PDF

Best Bid eliminates the need for manual takeoff and saves you the estimation time. Extracting this information from PDF files is tedious and prone to errors. Luckily, Best Bid scans the construction images and PDF files and automatically extracts electrical takeoff directly from the digital files. You can then transfer this information to Excel files and use historical data to assign prices and values. Best Bid is one of the best bid estimating software for electrical estimating.

Material Pricing Integration

A competitive bid must have accurate material costs. Accessing this information is time-consuming, requiring someone to manually update the costs. However, this estimating software integrates with electrical material pricing databases. This move ensures your estimates reflect the latest material costs to prevent underbidding.  

Pre-Built Assemblies

Forget about manually entering every component into files. The software lists electric components that you can drag and drop into your estimates. This feature saves you the time and cost of hiring someone to list every component. 

Pricing Plans

Best Bid offers customizable pricing plans based on the number of users and key features you need. Here is a rundown of their pricing plans. 

  • Basic Plan - This plan costs $99  monthly and is ideal for one user. It allows access to pre-built assemblies and basic electrical estimating features. 
  • Standard Plan - The plan costs $199 monthly and, in addition to basic plans, supports integration to pricing databases and takeoff capabilities. It’s suitable for 3 users. 
  • Premium Plan - This plan costs $299 monthly and contains everything in the standard plan and advanced reporting tools. It accommodates five people. 

Pros

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Extensive database of electric components. 
  • Reliable customer service.

Cons

  • Higher pricing plans. 
  • Users limitations. 
  • Poor mobile usability. 

ProEst

#3: ProEst

ProEst is one of the best bid estimating software designed for mid-sized and larger contractors. It’s best known for its comprehensive features that help streamline the electrical estimating process. 

Key Features

Here’s why ProEst is a key player in its class. 

Integration with Design Software

Construction projects rely on design software like Revit. ProEst integrates with such design software where you can import the designs into your electrical estimating dashboard. The estimating software then extracts quantities from the designs to help with estimating. The automatic takeoff saves you the time of doing it manually. 

Advanced Reporting

ProEst creates reports that go beyond basic price breakdowns. Estimators use the reports to identify areas for savings. It also creates ‘what if’ scenarios, where estimators test different pricing options. 

Advanced Cost Databases

The pre-built construction assemblies help you save time when entering this information into estimation documents. It also integrates with many industry-leading pricing databases. 

Pricing Plans

ProEst doesn’t publicly reveal its pricing plans. However, they offer quote-based plans based on the number of users and required features. You must contact the sales team for this information. 

Pros

  • Scalable to accommodate huge teams.
  • Seamless integration with design software. 
  • Advanced reporting for decision-making.

Cons

  • It’s a bit complex for simple projects. 
  • No pricing transparency. 
  • It requires a learning curve. 

Plan Swift

#4: PlanSwift by ConstructConnect

PlanSwift is among the best bid estimating software for contractors who work with digital plans and blueprints. Many prefer PlanSwift for its extensive features and favors large-scale construction projects. 

Key Features

Let’s see why this electrical estimating software belongs on this list. 

Integration with Cost Databases

Stay updated on current material costs by integrating the software into famous cost databases. The integration is straightforward, and requires no technical skills. The database has updated material, labor, and equipment prices to help you create accurate estimates. 

Automated Takeoffs

Extracting quantities from electronic plans and blueprints is an error-prone process. To avoid the headache, you can let PlanSwift scan and extract quantities from digital plans. All you have to do is upload the documents, and the software will handle the rest. 

Real-Time Updates and Collaboration Tools

Working with real-time information is crucial during the electrical estimating process. It prevents unnecessary revisions and errors that delay estimating. The collaboration tools also ensure everyone is working on the estimates simultaneously and are on the same page. 

Pricing Plans

PlanSwift offers an annual plan that costs $1,749. The plan contains bid estimation features like takeoffs and collaboration tools. You also get unlimited software updates, support, and 2 hours of training. PlanSwift also has a 14-day free trial to test their software. 

Pros

  • Works well with digital plans.
  • User-friendly interface. 
  • Create custom assemblies. 

Cons

  • A higher upfront investment. 
  • No comprehensive reporting.
  • A limited free trial. 

Sage Timberline

#5: Timberline Estimating Software (Sage)

Timberline Software is a popular cloud-based bid electrical estimating software trusted by over 15,000 electrical contracting businesses. It helps you create accurate electrical estimates quickly and improve your bid-to-win ratio. The software is perfect for larger construction teams. 

Key Features

Timberline Software has amazing features that make it one of the best bid estimating software. 

Streamlines Estimation and Assemblies

Timberline offers a comprehensive cost-estimating engine to provide estimators with enough information to create accurate estimates. The pre-built assemblies ensure estimators can access recent material costs. They can use this information to determine labor costs, equipment considerations, and material wastes. 

Advanced Reporting

Estimators can rely on detailed reports analyzing project details to identify areas where they can save. They can also experiment with different pricing scenarios before submitting their final bids. This feature ensures the construction team exhausts all possible estimation options. 

Integrates with Project Management Tools

Construction teams must collaborate to ensure the project’s success. Timberline Software integrates seamlessly with project management tools like Microsoft Project or Primavera P6. This approach ensures real-time data sharing between project management, scheduling, and estimating teams. The collaboration reduces errors and miscommunication, helping the electrical contracting business achieve its objectives. 

Pricing Plan

Timberline Software’s basic plan is $3,500 annually. However, the final price depends on the number of users and add-ons your project requires. It’s best to consult the sales team to know the exact amount you’ll pay. 

Pros

  • Automated takeoffs.
  • Scalable for large construction teams. 
  • Collaborative tools. 

Cons

  • Less transparent pricing plans. 
  • A steeper learning curve.
  • It’s not suitable for smaller construction teams. 

CoConstruct

#6: CoConstruct

CoConstruct is among the best bid estimating software with a robust estimating module. The web-based electrical estimating software is perfect for mid-sized and larger construction teams. 

Key Features

CoConstruct stands out from the rest due to the following features. 

Digital Takeoffs

Eliminate the guesswork to figure out quantities and let CoConstruct help extract material requirements. The software scans digital plans and blueprints and lists all material, labor, and equipment requirements for a specific project. Electrical contractors can quickly create accurate and updated estimates. The software also integrates with popular design software like Revit to automatically transfer takeoff information.

Detailed Reporting

Estimators rely on data and information to create accurate figures. CoConstruct creates detailed reports, including everything required to complete the project. The historical data also ensures the team creates electrical estimates that reflect recent prices. Estimators can use the information to identify areas for savings and guarantee profitability. They can also download and export the data for offline use. 

Collaborative Tools

CoConstruct improves collaboration between estimators and other construction departments, such as scheduling. The collaborative tools ensure estimators work on recent data and information to reduce errors and miscommunication. They also ensure other teams are aware of estimation changes, such as opting for cheaper materials. Effective collaboration increases the teams’ efficiency and ensures everyone is on the same page. 

Pricing Plan

CoConstruct offers three monthly renewal plans  - Essential, Advanced, and Complete. However, the price for each membership isn’t revealed, and you must contact customer support to get the details. 

The Essential plan contains basic estimating and bid management functions and is suitable for simple construction projects. The Advanced plan contains advanced reporting and bid estimating. The Complete plan contains everything you need for bid management and estimates, such as Buildertrend Takeoff. 

Pros

  • Enhanced takeoff accuracy.
  • Online payments. 
  • Integration with CRM platforms. 

Cons

  • Lacks pricing transparency. 
  • Requires a learning curve.
  • Limited mobile functionality. 

Final Thoughts

Every bid electrical estimating software we’ve covered has standout features. However, Downtobid’s Bid Board offers unique services, such as detecting and scanning bid invites to extract quantities. That's why we believe it's the best bid estimating software for electrical estimating. It’s also straightforward to use and doesn’t require any technical skills. Try Downtobid’s Bid Board today and put the power of estimating in your hands. 

Written by Bridget CooperUpdated on May 16, 2024

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