Technology

Introducing the new and improved Estimate feature

See how Buildertrend’s updated construction estimating software will improve the way you manage your finances

New Estimates feature

Here at Buildertrend, we take our customers’ feedback seriously. We make note of every comment and suggestion, because our product is designed and built for you.

“As part of an initiative to improve first impressions of key areas of our product, we targeted estimating as a process that should be happening on every job, but something we knew wasn’t happening in Buildertrend nearly enough,” said Scott Vonderharr, director of Product Management. “Our research had shown us that this area of Buildertrend was often considered overwhelming and unfamiliar to a lot of new users, so we knew this was a high priority item to fix.”

Over the past one and a half years, our Product team has been busy having conversations, collecting feedback and reviewing internal data in order to provide an exceptional Estimate feature update. This rewrite yields a simplified, prioritized and organized Estimate feature that removes any guesswork.

Keep reading for more expert insights on this exciting new feature release and how it will positively change your financial process.

New Estimates screenshot

How did customer feedback influence the Estimate feature update?

Customer input fuels everything we do to improve our product and make the overall experience the best it can be. So, when the product team started seeing the need for change, they went straight to the source.

“We wanted to start by just having some conversations with our customers,” said Sarah Biben, lead product designer. “We wanted a deeper understanding of how they were using the existing Estimate feature, their goals with estimating in Buildertrend and their current pain points. In addition to those conversations, we audited all existing feedback we had received from our customers and drew out the commonalities to help focus our goals.”

To go a step further, the team also conducted research with non-Buildertrend users to gauge their initial reactions to the existing construction estimating software.

“We used non-users to test the familiarity and first impressions,” said Sean McKenna, product manager. “We had them perform tasks to validate our findings. From there, we were able to make updates and iterations and compare the prototypes to our existing Estimate feature using our initial benchmark tests.”

How will this rewrite make the Estimate feature easier to use?

“At its core, our updates will make the feature easier to interact with,” said Biben. “Whether reviewing the original estimate or entering and editing cost information, the experience was optimized for both legibility of information and keyboard support for speed and efficiency.”

There were several modifications made to the existing Estimate feature that will greatly impact its usability and adaptability within Buildertrend.

“The rewrite will allow users to easily add and edit their costs during the estimating process with the updated Add functions and organization by the users cost categories,” said McKenna. “With the new Revised Costs, customers will have an easier time understanding the original versus updated costs, so they can better track ongoing costs as their jobs progress. We also created better links between Allowances and Bids, so customers won’t have to worry about cost duplication during the selection and bidding process.”

What key insights should customers know about?

There are so many optimizations that make the new Estimate feature a must, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Organization of Costs through Categories: Leveraging existing categories promotes a structure that works for each unique business, provides consistency with their budget view and serves as a template for filling out estimates. Organizing the budget and the estimate more similarly will better convey the relationship between the two and provide more consistency around how they view financial information.
  • Updated line-item editing experiences: We optimized the editing experiences for both adding more information to the cost or quickly working through in-line with keyboard support. The crucial cost information is prioritized in the worksheet editing experience but allows customers to add additional columns as they need or drill into the cost item for more detail.
  • Addition of a “Cost Type” field: Cost type will provide a more robust reporting experience by helping customers identify certain items in their estimate more quickly and will help them learn from what types of costs they need to improve margins in on their budget in the future.
  • Automatic updating of costs tied to Bids, Allowances and Selections: Our customers will no longer have to manually adjust or exclude their estimated costs as they receive updated information through bids and selections. Our estimated costs will provide the most up-to-date information from any linked bids, allowances and selections as they work through the project in Buildertrend, requiring less manual effort and more confidence in estimating.
  • Updated client sharing experience: The updated Estimate feature provides more control and separation for how our customers want to view their estimated costs and how they want to present this information to their clients. We understand that in order to present professionally, they need to have more confidence in understanding what will be shared with their clients.

What improvements are you hoping to see with the release of this update?

With the refined, easy-to-use construction estimating software, the team is hoping to see an increase in customer use and adoption.

“The project estimate serves as a baseline for tracking job costs throughout the rest of the project,” said Biben. “We hope that by making the Estimate feature easier to use, more customers will be encouraged to get past this first step. This will help them start to build a foundation with our other Financial tools. When used together, our financial features really start to unlock the most value for our customers.”

Create estimates with confidence and ease

The amount of dedication that goes into these extensive product updates is a true attestation to our customer commitment. We will never pretend to be perfect because we know there’s always room for improvement.

Creating estimates is an important part of any construction project. With this feature overhaul, we hope to give you added confidence when using and implementing estimates in your financial process.

If you’d like to learn more about the new Estimate feature update or have questions about the functionality, we’d love to chat. And if you’re new here and think Buildertrend could help with managing your construction business, schedule a demo today.

About The Author

Chelsea Cole

Chelsea Cole Chelsea Cole is a content marketing specialist at Buildertrend

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