Leverage technology to modernize estimating
“We started using Sage Estimating back in the late 1990s,” recalls Michael Seay, president of Seacon Construction. “Before that, all my estimating was done by me, by hand, and it was very time consuming. I knew I needed to hire estimators to free up my own time, and I would need to provide them with software to create accurate, consistent estimates. That’s when I implemented Sage Estimating. The productivity gains were considerable. It was—and is—the best estimating software on the market, by far.”
Seacon Construction was also an early adopter of electronic takeoff software, further streamlining its estimating tasks. “I believe in investing in technology that allows our people to be better and more efficient at their jobs,” Seay says.
Bridge the gap
While the estimating and takeoff tools freed Seay’s time to build the business, there was one piece lacking—true integration between Sage Estimating and the company’s digital takeoff software. “We were manually keying our takeoff quantities into Sage Estimating. There was always the opportunity for error, and it added a lot of time to the estimating process. When I heard about eTakeoff Dimension and eTakeoff Bridge, I was immediately intrigued,” Seay says.
eTakeoff Dimension is a leading electronic takeoff solution, and eTakeoff Bridge is the application that integrates it with Sage Estimating. eTakeoff Bridge automatically sends takeoff quantities calculated by eTakeoff Dimension to the estimate, eliminating the need for manual data entry. “eTakeoff Bridge is the missing piece that automates and streamlines the entire estimating cycle, from start to finish,” says Seay.
All of the assemblies Seacon Construction utilizes in Sage Estimating are available in eTakeoff Bridge. Estimators enter each of the assembly variables during takeoff, and the data is transferred either automatically or manually (drag and drop) to Sage Estimating, with no rekeying. “I created and refined all of our assemblies in Sage Estimating to bring consistency and accuracy to the process,” Seay says. “And those assemblies are now available to us during takeoff. It makes the process much more seamless and efficient.”
Reduce estimating time by an additional 50 percent
The increased efficiency is saving the company money. By streamlining and standardizing estimating tasks through the use of Sage Estimating, eTakeoff Dimension, and eTakeoff Bridge, Seay says he is able to hire less tenured, and therefore less costly, employees to perform the task.
The efficiency also leads to faster, more accurate estimates that boost the company’s profitability. “When combined with Sage Estimating and eTakeoff Dimension, eTakeoff Bridge reduces the time it takes to produce an estimate by an additional 50 percent,” says Seay. “It paid for itself within a few short weeks.”
From within Sage Estimating, eTakeoff Bridge allows the staff to drill down and locate and highlight drawing measurements in eTakeoff Dimension. The resulting time savings allows the company to take on additional bids without increasing staffing levels, and it enables the estimators to focus more time on maintaining accurate, up-to-date pricing in the assemblies, ensuring every project is successful and profitable.
“I’ve had colleagues from other, much larger contractors visit our offices to see how we do what they do and they are always impressed,” says Seay. “Many of them are still using Excel spreadsheets for estimating.”
One constant in the construction industry is change. With Sage Estimating, eTakeoff Dimension, and eTakeoff Bridge, staff can automatically update the estimate with drawing changes while still retaining original estimate detail such as pricing and productivity factors.
“Every project has changes, and they can be very time consuming to price and incorporate into the estimate. Previously we had to redo the takeoff and redo the estimate, but with eTakeoff Bridge it is so much easier. Our changes update Sage Estimating automatically, and the system tracks all the changes for us.”
Pave the way for the future
Seay feels like he’s made the investments that will make the company easier to transition to a new owner when he’s ready to step down. “With Sage Estimating and eTakeoff, I’ve created a situation where the owner can focus on the overall direction and strategy of the business without being involved in every detail of its running.”
He concludes, “Consistent, accurate, and reliable estimates are the lifeblood of any successful contractor. Using tools that ensure that consistency and accuracy—and also bring a rapid return on investment—just makes smart business sense.”
Company: Seacon Construction is a concrete and masonry contractor serving the Santa Barbara and Ventura county region since 1980. The company is known for its high-end residential and commercial brick, stone, paving, and veneer work. Impressively, Seacon Construction, is entirely referral-driven – no salespeople and no advertising. It’s a progressive well-run company that relies on technology tools of the trade, including Sage Estimating, eTakeoff Dimension, and eTakeoff Bridge, to keep it on top of the competition.
Industry: Concrete and Masonry Contractor