Estimators: Make Yourself Indispensable with STACK


The construction industry’s labor shortage makes it a candidate’s job market much of the time. But that doesn’t mean you should do the bare minimum to get by. Instead, make your worth clear to your company by becoming an indispensable resource. Here are 5 ways to demonstrate your value to your boss and make yourself irreplaceable – and how STACK can help. 

1. Escalate efficiency.

Determine a baseline amount of time that ordinary tasks take to complete and find ways to get the same work done in less time. Whenever you can reduce time spent while not affecting work quality, your efforts are sure to get noticed.  

For estimators in particular, the takeoff process is a great place to start. Examine how your company currently performs takeoffs and identify ways to speed them up. If you still measure on paper plans, making a switch to software is a simple way to increase speed (but be critical when evaluating your options).  

If you already use software, see what else is available. The market for takeoff and estimating tools is much broader than it used to be, even though many contractors still use outdated desktop-based tools from the beginning of the construction technology era. This is where STACK comes in – with an easy-to-use, cloud-based interface that lets you quickly get measurements with a few clicks, you can cut your takeoff time in half.

2. Improve accuracy.

You want to become known as the estimator who gets it right 100% of the time. Rather than double and triple-checking your work, use a tool that eliminates the need for manual data entry so you can significantly cut down on any mistakes you might make. STACK’s takeoff and estimating functions work together in a single platform so there’s no need to transfer data from one system to another in order to prep your bid. But if you prefer to use your own Excel sheet or other tools, you can take advantage of our Excel plug-in or open API to mitigate risk and smoothly move data out of STACK 

Of course, your measurements aren’t the only numbers you’ve got to keep track of. With STACK’s items and assemblies, you can attach your own material sets and pricing to your takeoffs so you have a clear picture of upfront job costs.  

You’ll also need to get extremely familiar with what crews in the field can reasonably accomplish in a given timeframe and be sure you’re accounting correctly for labor rates on your estimates, as well as added indirect costs like overhead and taxes. Use STACK’s estimating capability to quickly visualize project costs and add markup to reach desired profit margins.

3. Be the go-to tool expert.

If you can make it a point to learn the ins and outs of the critical tools your company uses, your expertise will be appreciated. Use the resources provided by your software partners to increase your skills and set aside time to participate in any trainings or webinars they offer.  

You want to become the person your colleagues go to when they have questions or issues with the tools, and you can even be the primary resource for teaching new employees your processes and workflows within your software. When you have this deep knowledge, you free up time and energy for other folks who might otherwise have to search for the information they need. Instead, you’re there to help them along. 

4. Seek insights and data.

As you go about your regular tasks, always be on the lookout for patterns. Are there certain types of projects you notice your crew consistently outperforms on, or types that regularly present more trouble than they end up being worth? Which GCs tend to smooth the way for successful work, and which make jobs more complicated than necessary or take too long to pay out? What do significantly more profitable jobs have in common? You can find data like this to analyze in your STACK dashboards. 

Keep track of these insights and share them with your supervisor to help steer the direction of the company. If leadership comes to rely on your expertise, they’re far more likely to view you as an irreplaceable part of the team.

5. Anticipate needs and be proactive.

Try to carve out time to keep a focus on trends in estimating and construction as a whole, what’s happening in your local economy, and what’s going on in your company. If you’re growing and construction in your area is booming, discuss the possibility of bringing on another estimator before the workload gets too heavy for your current team. Or, if things are on a downswing, be ready with suggestions on how to save more money and streamline existing processes without losing staff.  

If there are certain things your supervisor tends to ask you to do, make it a habit to start doing those tasks before you’re asked, and if you find yourself needing help or clarity, speak up before it becomes a problem. Being proactive makes you a genuine asset to your team.

Go Above and Beyond

The above advice boils down to simply finding ways you can be helpful and make life easier for those around you on your team, specifically your direct supervisor. Think in terms of reducing their burden and workload, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an indispensable part of the team. But don’t make it harder on yourself than it needs to be – use tools like STACK to make work easier for everyone. 

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