The Ultimate Guide to Estimating Software for Field Service Management

February 25, 2020

Estimating is the gateway to the field service workflow. Whether your business is creating estimates for a new construction installation, a routine maintenance check, or any other service or project bids, estimating requires careful planning and attention to detail.

While different businesses might approach estimating in different ways, throughout the field service industry, implementing a cloud-based estimating software has proven to be a valuable investment.

Why do field service businesses need estimating software?

A clock behind a gear

One of the key benefits of estimating software is the amount of time saved each day.

With a software solution, businesses can automate calculations that would normally be manual or completed via entry into spreadsheets. Estimating becomes less time consuming when you are able to quickly import information from a digital customer file, pre-build template, digital supplier list, or other cloud-based resources.

An estimating software solution will not only cut down on the time it takes to generate the estimate, but it will also cut down on the time it takes to deliver estimates to clients and make necessary adjustments throughout the estimating process.

In addition to saving time, automating the estimating process makes efforts easier as calculations are completed through the software platform rather than pen and paper or other means. When estimates are created on paper, businesses often miss out on a branding opportunity. Digital estimates that are well-organised allow you to generate a consistent template which your customers will come to associate with your brand. This provides a more positive and credible perception of your business.

Reduce errors to build a better customer experience

Another benefit of estimating software is that it reduces the opportunity for error.

With manual entry and manual calculation, mathematical errors or simple data entry errors are much more common.

Avoid pricing errors from manual data entry mistakes not only to make estimating accurate but also to become more trusted by your customers. Creating accurate estimates improves your credibility as customers feel you have a better understanding of project and service costs.

While estimating software cannot promise 100 percent accuracy, it will at least improve accuracy in comparison to manual processes as information is pulled from a digital database. Poorly informed estimates can lead to profit loss and unnecessary cash flow loss.

With estimates housed in a cloud-based platform, you’ll have an easily-accessible database for future reference. Keep track of all estimates, quickly pull information from past estimates, and make it easy for entire teams to be involved in the estimating process.

Even better, with estimating software, estimators can also more easily make updates to job costs and keep track of changes in real time.

While you might be reluctant to switch to an estimating software if you have your spreadsheets, blueprints, and estimates on a paper system that has been working well for you, remember that while a transition to software might take some effort, it will be worth it to have all your information for estimates digitised, organised, and housed in one place.

What should field service businesses look for in an estimating software solution?

Puzzle pieces on a computer screen

Your business is unique, so it’s important to search for an estimating software solution that works best for your needs.

Not every software on the market will work for your specific workflow or industry. Look for these three components in your potential software solution:

  1. Customisation — ensure the estimating software you choose allows you to customise estimates to your business or provides templates that are easy to adjust as needed.
  2. Compatibility with other systems — if you aren’t using a complete field service management system and are only looking to employ a standalone estimating platform, make sure that you find something that integrates easily with your other software or processes.
  3. Intuitive features — while you will likely need software training upfront, once you’ve implemented estimating software in your business, your processes for estimating should become intuitive and straightforward. After all, the purpose of a good software solution is to make processes simpler and more streamlined.

Keep in mind that you don’t just want estimating software to solve your immediate problems. You want a solution that can help your business grow and scale.

This could look like implementing software that not only improves estimating processes, but also connects estimating to other field service workflows such as your project management, reporting, or invoicing tasks.

Improve your estimating processes with Simpro

With Simpro, generating estimates is streamlined and efficient:

  • Easily create estimates by importing information from schedules or customers cards
  • Add catalogue items, pre-builds, and take-off templates for faster estimate creation
  • Import supplier lists into your database and use those lists to add items directly to estimates
  • Design personalised templates for estimates specific to your business with Form Builder

Visit the Simpro Estimating & Quoting page for more information! In addition to providing features for estimating made easy, Simpro provides solutions for all areas of the field service workflow. Learn more.