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Port of San Diego Estimating Gets Done In A Fraction of Time

  • 4 min read


For the Port of San Diego estimator, the hardest, most time-consuming part of the job was creating the initial estimate spreadsheet.


Estimators use the takeoff and calculation capabilities of Sage Estimating to build estimates in a fraction of the time compared to doing those tasks manually.


In addition to the time savings offered by Sage Estimating, in the first year of using the software, the port saved millions on a parking structure thanks to the negotiating position that the solution provided.

Estimator Shane Peterson was skeptical when a salesman first pitched Sage Estimating (formerly Sage Timberline Estimating) to him for the Port of San Diego. But he quickly changed his mind when given a real-time example of how the software could work for him.

Peterson was working on an estimate for a 25-acre grading project when he told his salesman the parameters of the project. “It took him three minutes, and he gave me an estimate I could use. That would have taken me at least six hours to do manually,” Peterson says.

“You still have to check it over, so you’re not done in three minutes. But the hardest part in estimating is building the spreadsheet, and when you have a product that can build the spreadsheet for you, it saves time and effort.”

Big savings

Using Sage Estimating more than paid for itself when the software saved the Port of San Diego $8 million on a single project in its first year of use.

A consultant gave the Port a budget of $30 million for a parking structure. Peterson had only the sketchiest of parameters – 2,000 spaces, six levels, and the location. With those three items, he opened Sage Estimating and built a model for the parking structure that he could use in negotiations. By the time those negotiations were done, the price dipped to $22 million.

“We were able to compare item for item, and it was incredible,” Peterson says. “Sage Estimating was an irreplaceable tool. There’s no way I could have done it without this software. I could have stood there and argued over the prices, but I wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on. The Sage estimate was the basis for everything.”

Speeding up estimates

Peterson says he saves time every time he uses Sage Estimating. A recent estimate for a parking garage took about an hour total – 20 minutes to build the model and the rest of the time for review.

“Without Sage Estimating, it would have taken me a week because I would have had to do takeoffs and calculations,” Peterson says. “With this software, it took a fraction of the time, and I was ready to publish it in a booklet for the stakeholders. Sage Estimating saves me time, saves me money.”

Company: The Port of San Diego manages San Diego Bay and 34 miles of its beautiful, natural waterfront for the people of California. The Port was established in 1962 under the Port Act and is charged with implementing the Tidelands Trust Doctrine. For over fifty years, the Port’s five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego – have worked together to develop and promote commerce, navigation, recreation and fisheries on and around San Diego Bay. Self-funded, the Port contributes billions annually to San Diego’s economy, benefiting the community, local businesses and employees.

Industry: Port district

Location: San Diego, California

Solution: Sage Estimating