Bill Carey’s Five Best Reasons for Estimators to use Sigma
Bill Carey is Sigma’s U.S. head of Customer Support. That means he’s the guy who helps professional estimators figure out how to get the best results from Sigma Estimates software.
Bill started out as a carpenter over 40 years ago. He soon moved into the construction office and started creating estimates. He’s been at it ever since.
He’s also an old-school techie. Bill still has a Commodore 64 computer and remembers doing electronic estimates on MS-DOS, long before Windows came around. These days, he’s helping estimators integrate Sigma with 2D, 3D and 5D software tools. If anybody knows how to craft an estimate on a computer, it’s Bill. (That’s why we hired him).
We asked Bill to sum up the five best reasons for using Sigma. Here’s what he told us:
1. No spreadsheet formulas to break
It can happen to anybody who opens a spreadsheet file — one stray keystroke breaks the entire estimate. Suddenly, the calculations don’t work anymore, and you lose hours you don’t have tracking down the problem.
Sure, you can do all kinds of custom calculations with spreadsheets. But when you’re putting an estimate together for a bid that’s due in three hours, there’s no time for fiddling around with formulas.
Sigma does all the calculations for you — item, unit price, quantity — and always updates them. The math is going to be the math. And it’s going to be right.
2. Templates and libraries save time and avoid repetitive work
With takeoffs, your hours turn into days of scanning every inch of digital drawings and making sure every stud, every wall socket, every square inch of poured concrete, every foot of rebar is accounted for. You can’t afford to miss anything.
Nobody wants to do all that twice. With Sigma, you don’t have to.
Sigma’s estimate templates and libraries let you save the pricing information and assemblies you use every day. Let’s say your general contractor builds chains of grocery stores. They all have similar items like signage package, casework, coolers, wall protection and so on. So, when you finish the bid on one store, you save all your estimate data into a Sigma template or library and reuse it for all the stores to come.
You just open that template to create a new estimate or drag-and-drop library data into your new Sigma estimate and you’re ready to roll.
Could you do all that a spreadsheet? Maybe, but not without running the risk of fouling up your formulas and causing more work for yourself.
3. All your historical data survives
We know, you have thousands of items and unit prices stored in Excel spreadsheets. All of those sheets have extraordinarily valuable data.
Sigma lets you import all that data into a new library that’s available to all your Sigma estimates. Again, you just drag and drop what you need into the right place in your new estimate.
All that data is sortable and searchable in Sigma. Remember that estimate you made last year with 10,000 square feet of Hardie board siding? You don’t have to comb through a half-dozen spreadsheets trying to track it down this year. You just type the word “Hardie” into a new line in your estimate and find it instantly and add it to your estimate.
4. You have massive reporting options
Some software packages let you create reports based on about a half-dozen categories like labor, material, equipment, subcontractors, rentals and so on. With Sigma, you can have all the categories you want.
Then you can sort for subcategories to give owners and clients extremely detailed views of specific portions of an estimate. If a hospital contractor needs a breakdown of operating rooms and pediatric ICUs, you have the tools to create reports slicing and dicing these data categories.
You can also create alternates — scenarios that help the owner compare costs with different products and materials. So, it’s quick and easy to tell how much it’ll cost to upgrade the floor tile from vinyl to ceramic or slate.
5. You can future-proof your skill set
Sigma integrates with PlanSwift for takeoff, Autodesk Revit for 5D BIM and the RSMeans construction database for the latest cost information. We also can integrate Sigma into popular platforms like Microsoft Office and programs for ERP, accounting and document management.
Even if you don’t need these high-end functions for the estimates you build today, you probably will in the future. With Sigma, you’re always plugged into the latest waves of technology. That keeps you a step ahead of the competition.
See how Sigma works in this 30-minute webinar
Bill Carey hosted a webinar in November 2018 that explained the main attractions of Sigma Estimates. Click this link to check it out.
Click here if you want to try Sigma – it’s free and with no obligations (but we know you’ll like it).