New native-cloud innovations win more jobs at the right price

Discover Sage Estimating and how it could benefit you and your construction business.

Sage Estimating Q&A with Steve Watt, Head of Product, Preconstruction

Steve Watt

I recently sat down with Steve Watt, Sage’s Head of Product for Preconstruction. We discussed the importance of this launch and what it means for the future of preconstruction.

Jump to:

Q: What is Sage Estimating?


Sage Estimating is the most widely used cost estimating solution in the industry.

It streamlines the estimating process, increases accuracy, and helps construction businesses win more jobs at the right price.

Sage Estimating provides great flexibility in reporting and in offering multiple methods for performing takeoff, meeting the estimator wherever it makes the most sense for them.

That could be:

  • quick takeoff: allows you to start adding items into a spreadsheet very quickly
  • item takeoff: lets you add items from your database into an estimate assembly takeoff
  • model takeoff: allows you to take off an entire structure.

Sage Estimating also has a strong integration with eTakeoff, allowing customers to seamlessly connect quantity takeoff and estimating.

Sage Estimating has been the gold standard in estimating software for more than 30 years and has recently enhanced the solution with new cloud capabilities.

Q: Can you tell us about the new cloud innovations in Sage Estimating?


Sage Estimating’s new Sage BidMatrix native-cloud platform enables estimating teams to level bids, collaborate, and gain insights.

Real-time collaboration makes it easy to compare subcontractor bids, evaluate project risks, and optimize bid strategies.

The solution helps estimators effectively manage the chaotic nature of the subcontractor selection process, resulting in greater success.

It also has a new modern, easy-to-use web interface with powerful slice-and-dice capabilities.

Estimators can leverage industry standard BI tools like Power BI. This enables them to analyze and gain insight from having all their estimating data centralized in the cloud.

Q: Could you elaborate on the real-time collaboration capabilities?


Sage BidMatrix is a cloud-based multi-user platform.

This means that regardless of where your team members are located, they can all be working on the same estimate at the same time.

They can be reviewing the same estimate at the same time. They can even be editing the same estimate at the same time.

You can have 10 people in there reviewing and editing at the same time if you want to.

This is important, because if teams don’t have the ability to do that, then they are forced to work in silos. Then at the end of the process someone has to figure out how to pull it all together.

There’s enough risk with creating an estimate without adding the risk of making sure you pull everything together at the last minute correctly.

With the Sage BidMatrix platform teams can be more strategic and focus on bidding and estimating without having to worry about the last-minute scramble of editing and merging data.

Q: Reducing risk is so critical in construction. Could you share more about how Sage Estimating helps businesses reduce risk?


Sure. The data analytics and built-in bid analysis help construction businesses further reduce risk.

When you use the Sage BidMatrix cloud platform with Sage Estimating, all your estimates are now a reportable database.

So, instead of having to run a report on each individual estimate you can pull from all (or some of) your previous estimates.

You can mine and filter the data across all your projects.

For example, you could pull up data from past projects of a similar size or type or look for specific information such as the cost of HVAC ductwork for all health care projects.

Having this level of insights helps you make more informed decisions so you can take your estimates to the next level. This is especially true when paired with the built-in bid analysis capabilities.

As a general contractor, you may be using Sage Estimating, but you may be subcontracting out 80-90% of the project. Thus, the real risk is very much tied to the numbers that you’re getting from your subcontractors, not your own numbers.

Sage BidMatrix utilizes not only the bids that the subcontractors enter, but all the underlying data to help you make an informed decision about which subcontractors you should use on the project.

It helps optimize the selection of subcontractors and the bids to carry from those subcontractors.

This is crucial because if you choose the wrong subcontractor or the wrong corresponding bids, it can eat into the profitability of the project very quickly.

One other point that I think is important to mention here, is the tight integration between Sage Estimating and Sage BidMatrix.

When bidding a project, you begin with a budgetary estimate you create in Sage Estimating. Once you’ve selected your subs and the bids you’re going to carry, you then have your as-bid estimate.

The integration sends this estimate back to Sage Estimating, which is also connected to your Sage accounting solution, so the actual estimate you were awarded is reflected across your systems.

Q: How have you seen estimating evolve over the years and where do you see it heading?


Looking back over the last 20-30 years, I’ve seen the estimate evolve from something you needed to provide to a client or an owner, so they knew the total cost of the project, to becoming an effective marketing tool.

What I mean by that is that it used to be enough to say, “this is what the project will cost,” but over the years as technology has opened new possibilities, owners want more.

They might want to see the project broken down by floor or by area or see the cost for only the open spaces, or any other number of items.

Estimators who can provide that breakdown have the upper hand.

When you can break down the project any way the potential client can imagine, it increases the client’s comfort level and signals that you’re the right company to win the project.

This provides a competitive advantage and can help you win more work.

Moving forward, I think estimating will be more data driven.

There’s been a collective realization that a company’s data, including their previous estimates, is their intellectual property.

You own all that work and should be able to use it to bid the next job more intelligently.

In the past, most of that historical data was stored in filing cabinets or individual network folders. There was no easy way to mine it.

The shift to cloud-based solutions has made it easier for businesses to access their project history. It can also be filtered so they can make better decisions.

So, as you start to put together an estimate for a new project, what should be happening in the background is that your historical data is helping you make informed decisions about what’s in front of you right now.

Next generation estimating brings together experience, the latest technologies, and data-driven insights to deliver faster and more accurate estimates.  

Q: Where can you purchase Sage Estimating?


Sage Estimating is available through our VAR channel. We have built the largest and most experienced partner network in the industry.

Our partners help our shared customers maximize their technology investments. This is achieved by providing local support that can be customized to fit their implementation and training needs.

Final thoughts

An estimate has the power to make or break a project’s profitability.

The latest innovations in Sage Estimating help improve collaboration and deliver invaluable insights. This helps estimators easily compare subcontractor bids, evaluate project risks, and optimize bid strategies for greater success.

Thank you for your time and insights, Steve!

Learn more about Sage Estimating and how you can take your bids to the next level.