Laying Your Foundation: STACK Proves Essential for Concrete Startup Success


There’s a lot to keep track of when estimating a concrete job – and not all software tools are created equal. With flexible measurement types to account for poundage, linear feet, or cubic yards and easy rebar calculation, STACK is the clear winner for concrete.

Preloaded Concrete-Specific Items & Assemblies

STACK comes preloaded with items and assemblies for all types of concrete work. From footings to foundations, pure columns to curbs and gutters, slab-on-grades to site casts, STACK’s prebuilt library makes generating an assembly-based bill of materials simple. Concrete items and assemblies are formula-powered, so there’s no heavy lifting upfront. You can upload plans and get started doing takeoffs and estimates immediately.

For Chris Larson, Vice President at Anaxus, this is essential. Heading up a new concrete business starting in November 2020, Chris had previously used Estimating Edge in another role, but did not consider continuing his subscription for the new business. He did not have the bandwidth to spend time loading his conditions into a software platform and needed one that was preloaded with everything he’d need.

The Lowest Learning Curve

When you’re just starting out, like Chris, it’s a fair bet that you’re doing a lot of the work and performing multiple roles on your own. You certainly don’t have the luxury of taking weeks to get up to speed on a new tool.

Chris especially appreciated the low learning curve with STACK: coming from using Edge, he had to learn STACK from scratch, but it wasn’t difficult. He finds it sets up nicely off of spec sections, and it was very easy and intuitive to figure out.

STACK also offers live training, online chat, and access to extensive help content if you need it. Most STACK customers say their onboarding process takes just a couple hours at most.

Quicker Concrete Takeoffs

Once you’re up and running, you can’t beat STACK’s ease of use. We’ve made customers’ takeoff speed up to 10 times faster. This is absolutely essential as a startup because, as Chris notes, people are often afraid of new businesses, so things can get off to a slow start.

You need to be able to bid a higher number of jobs to increase your chances of being awarded a project. To do that, your takeoffs need to be streamlined and quick. With STACK, Chris has single-handedly performed about 40 takeoffs in the first quarter of operation alone.

Easier Estimating = Higher Win Rate

Startups need efficient workflows from the get-go, and STACK delivers best-in-class service here as well. Data from takeoffs populates associated material costs into STACK’s estimating interface, where you can then easily add overhead, equipment, taxes, and other indirect costs. You can get a clear idea of full project costs here and make simple adjustments to determine where markup is needed to reach your profit goals and a reasonable selling price.

For Chris, this is where he can choose to manually add labor costs for each worker on a project as he gets to know his crew’s rates and abilities. Once Anaxus is more mature, Chris will be able to use the data from these initial estimates to check against actuals and better identify labor rates going forward.

After creating a detailed estimate, concrete contractors have the ability to generate a professional PDF proposal including:

  –  the client’s contact information

  –  your logo and address

  –  scope of work language

  –  terms and conditions

  –  subtotal summary appearance

  –  detailed grouping options

  –  signature line options

You can even create multiple alternative proposals for different bid scenarios, eliminating the need to rekey information into separate documents.

Because of both the time savings and increased accuracy of an integrated process like this, existing STACK customers have seen their win rate increase by 10% or more.

Preconstruction in a Mobile World

Nearly 75% of construction professionals rate mobile capabilities at a 7 or higher on a 10-point scale (see our first annual Preconstruction Technology Report for more details). If you’re one of them, it’s a no-brainer to select a web-based tool like STACK.

If you’re like Chris and so many folks working from home either because of the pandemic or because your business is new, you’re surely thinking about an eventual return to the office or of opening your own space. With STACK, when that time comes, you’ll be able to work from anywhere – home, office, in the field – and access your project data from any device. STACK’s cloud-based platform also offers a significant advantage for collaboration and version control, which will be crucial when your business takes off and your team grows.

Set Yourself Up for Future Success

Chris says Anaxus has plans to add more project managers and estimators, and the business is only going to get bigger, so he’ll need software that will enable this quick expansion. Adopting STACK will speed up his – and your – process, increase bid rates, and improve takeoff and estimate accuracy.

As you grow, STACK will grow with you, offering better collaboration tools, easy onboarding for new team members, integrations with your other software tools, and a full team who’s got your back.

Find 7 ways to grow your small business with STACK.

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