Now Hiring: Are you a driven and motivated software consultant?

Why you need to stop estimating with spreadsheets

stop estimating with time sheets

Why you need to stop estimating with spreadsheets

Construction tenders and estimates go with excel spreadsheets like vegemite goes with cheese, but is it time to mature your tastebuds?  

There are many reasons that construction companies create their estimates in spreadsheets.  

  • It’s the way it has always been done,
  • it is considered an easy software to learn the basics
  • It is a low-cost option

However, when you look at how a spreadsheet can limit your estimates and how much the errors can cost you, you will see why a specific estimating software solution is a much better option for your business, and why you need to stop estimating with spreadsheets.


So, you have a really big tender that is due by COB today, so the only way you will get this done is to divide and conquer. You split the tender up between your estimators, so they can each work on a portion. The only problem with this is now you have multiple copies of the tender saved on various computers. How do you know which is the most up to date version? Trying to keep track of version histories can be confusing, leading to sending the wrong pricing out = Lost revenue.

The other option here is to have a single person compile all the pieces into one spreadsheet and finalise all the markups and pricing, but this is also time-consuming and a waste of a vital resource.  

Imagine if there was a way you could collaborate on tenders in a central portal?.


Excel is great, no one here will say otherwise, but the biggest problem with excel is not inside the computer at all…. it is the person in the chair pressing the buttons. Excel is so prone to human error. Formulas can accidentally get changed or deleted, and bye bye profit….. a tiny little tap of a button can lead to catastrophic discrepancies in your budget. That is not the sort of thing you want to be finding out at the end of the project.


Estimates take time. That’s the way it is. It isn’t something that is ever going to be super easy and outsourceable. However, there are ways you can reduce the time it takes for your staff to create tenders. In estimating specific software, you can create a database of rates for all labour, materials, overheads, and machine hours that are automatically imported into each tender. This saves you time finding old rates, ensuring they are still current, and possible data entry errors when inputting those figures.

Your staff can then manipulate the database for each project by changing the overall markup, material costs, or phase of the project just by adding a percentage. 

Data Insights

While spreadsheets can create useful reports, they can’t provide a detailed analysis of your project budget versus actual real time costs. In estimating software, you can create reports based on grouping trades, different materials, construction phases, or locations. This in-depth data will allow critical decision-making based on real-time, accurate insights.

So while spreadsheets can seem like the most straightforward, cheapest option for your business, there is a far more superior option. Spreadsheets can cost you money in low balling bids or losing revenue through mistakes. Also, the time it can take to compile, finalise, and review your estimates could be used more productively by your team in winning further work.

If you are ready for more reliable data, faster more accurate estimates that will make your business profitable, and stop estimating with spreadsheets – talk to Thrive today about how we can help. We are the construction industry experts and understand your challenges. We listen and are here to help. Contact one of our team today on 1300 868 474.