Beyond the Takeoff: Win More Profitable Work with Estimating & Proposals in STACK


A fast and accurate takeoff is just one component of a winning bid. With STACK, you can transform your takeoff into a detailed estimate and professional proposal, all within a single platform.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of a comprehensive solution, how to implement, and best practices to follow so you can get up and running with these powerful tools right away.

Solving Common Challenges with Estimating and Proposals

Most takeoff tools only allow you to perform measurements, and then you must export your data elsewhere to do any other calculations. But when you do takeoffs in one tool and create estimates in another, you not only waste time moving data, but you also open yourself up to possible mistakes.

With the option to attach items and assemblies to your takeoffs – either before or after you measure – as well as filtering and grouping options for additional ways to manipulate and present your data, STACK sets you up for creating a comprehensive estimate from the start.

Detailed estimating capabilities allow you to tailor your estimate to reflect other costs besides materials and let you use custom libraries for costs consistent across projects. Use estimating functionality to account for:

  –  Waste

  –  Overhead

  –  Markup

  –  Sales tax

  –  Other non-measured costs

You can then cut out the added step of transferring estimate data to a proposal by generating a bid-ready proposal directly from STACK, with options for subtotals and grouping for more detailed cost breakdowns as needed.

***Watch our intro to estimating and proposals in STACK for more information!***

Choose Your Own Adventure with STACK’s Items and Assemblies

An item is simply any type of material or labor, such as a bucket of drywall mud, a stud, or a cubic yard of concrete. An assembly is a grouping of items. Attaching items, assemblies, or both to takeoffs allows you to significantly speed up processes and get more granular with your estimates.

You can choose to only use items for takeoffs, or take advantage of assemblies for projects that typically use the same set of materials – there’s no right or wrong way. STACK comes pre-loaded with multiple items and assembly combinations for a variety of trades, and you also have the ability to create your own custom versions.

Grouping options within assemblies mean you can set up commonly used choices of material that you can then select from for each takeoff. For example, a Brick Assembly might include several types of bricks and mortar that you can select from based on project needs and specs.

For the mathematically inclined, you have the ability to edit formulas to determine coverage rates, or you can use STACK’s built-in formulas – it’s as simple or complex as you want to make it!

***Watch our deep dive into items and assemblies to learn more about how to capitalize on these capabilities and more, including factoring in labor as part of an assembly group!***

Eliminate Rework and Increase Accuracy with STACK’s Estimates and Proposals

Within STACK you can choose between a unit cost estimate or a material and labor cost estimate. Unit cost is a type of estimate that allows you to apply a price per measurement type (square foot, linear foot, cubic yard, etc.), whereas material and labor is a far more detailed estimate, where you are dealing with material quantities based on your measurements.

Creating a unit cost estimate in STACK pulls in your quantities and units from your takeoff. You’re then able to enter a waste percentage and unit cost by line item. A material and labor estimate uses the same workflow, but you’re working with individual items and their unit costs rather than by measurement.

For both types of estimates, you can then add non-measured costs (truck rentals, permits, freight charges, etc.) and overhead costs. As you make these adjustments, you’ll be able to see your total project costs populate, and you can add markup (per project or by line item) to reach your desired profit margin.

From here, you can export a PDF proposal, complete with your company logo, terms and conditions, and scope of work, all of which you’re able to save as a template for reuse. Proposals can then be customized to display lump sum totals or subtotals grouped in a variety of ways.

***Watch our deep dive into estimates and proposals to learn more about how these powerful tools work!***

Additional Resources

Use our guide to estimating best practices to get started, and watch how one STACK customer uses estimates and proposals and get some of their tips and tricks!

Ready to discover for yourself how STACK’s comprehensive platform can take your preconstruction process to the next level? Create a free account today!


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