9 Ways Material List Software Can Help Your Construction Company

5 min readMarch 21, 2022

If you’re still estimating based on square feet rates or using spreadsheets that have ten different pages that you need to add manually, cut and paste or print individually, then you’re probably not getting the maximum benefit from detailed material lists. You might even be wondering if material list software is worth the investment. After all, when you’re used to struggling, you don’t know what you’re missing! Material list software is so much more than just an estimating tool though. It will help you to manage so many different parts of your construction business. Here are just some of the ways detailed material lists can help your business.

1. Better Project Planning

Getting your projects done is about so much more than just showing up on site with a crew and tools. There’s a lot of pre-construction planning that needs to be done, and detailed material lists will help you to do exactly that. Your project managers and purchasers can order materials and find out when they will be available. Then you can plan when you can start the job, and which tasks have to happen in what sequence. This can help to prevent you from being on site too early and having to wait for material deliveries to be made. It can also help you to identify supply problems early on, so you can talk to your customer and find solutions before they become a crisis.

2. Preventing Scope Creep

When you know exactly what materials you will be using, and exactly what the scope of work is, you will instantly know if there is any scope creep on your projects. If your foremen or crews are asking for more material than what you included on your material list software printout, you know that there’s additional work being done. So you can talk to your client about extra charges for the additional work before your crews start doing it.

3. Identifying Security Problems

When you know exactly what materials are required for a job, and what you’ve delivered to site, if anything is short or missing, you will know immediately that there’s a security problem. Not only does this allow you to contact your insurance company about the problem, but it will also help you to figure out what the problem is. Sometimes, it’s just a security problem on site, but sometimes, as much as we don’t want to think about it, our own people aren’t as honest as we think they are. Either way, these kinds of problems need to be addressed as soon as possible, or they will cost you a lot of money.

4. Identifying Supplier Errors

When your receivers and foremen have a detailed material list for every job that includes quantities, product names and SKUs, they’ll be able to check every order in detail, and identify any problems as soon as possible. Sometimes, suppliers send you the wrong quantities. Sometimes they send you the wrong product altogether. Whatever the issue is, the sooner you know it’s a problem, the sooner you can get it fixed.

5. Sourcing and Negotiating Prices

Just because you used one supplier’s price on your estimate doesn’t mean you have to use that supplier for the job. In fact, finding better, cheaper suppliers for the products specified for any job is a good way to make a little extra product on any project. When you have a detailed list of all the materials for any project, you can send it to multiple suppliers easily, and get their best, most competitive quotes back quickly. This lets you choose the best option, or to negotiate a better deal with your preferred supplier if they’re more expensive.

6. Quick and Easy Purchasing

There’s a reason why many companies have standalone purchasing departments. It really is a full time job. Whether you have a purchasing department or handle it yourself, having a detailed material list from your material list software makes it a lot easier to create your purchase orders and get your orders placed. Then all that’s left to do is track and manage deliveries, and make sure you get what you ordered.

7. Project Costing

Project costing is a critical part of any construction or contracting job. It’s how you tell if you’re making money on your jobs, and what your profit margins are. It helps to identity problems and gives you insight into whether your markup is enough. But it can be a time consuming and tedious process. Good material list software helps you to streamline the costing process. If your material orders match the material list generated by the software, or is within acceptable parameters, then you know your estimating is accurate and your crews are getting the job done right. All that’s left once you’ve confirmed that is to tally up your man hours and compare it to the labor you allowed. Which means that material list software can save you hours of work after the project has wrapped up.

8. Better for Accounting

Very often, it’s the accounting department that identifies problems with projects, simply because they notice more spending than what was allowed or is reasonable for a project of a particular size. Material list software that lets you print out or export detailed project breakdowns that your accounting department can use to track spending makes the whole process a lot easier for everyone involved and helps to ensure that everything is properly accounted for.

9. Historical Data

One of the ways construction projects can dial in their estimating and quoting processes is by reviewing historical data for quotes they completed and jobs they did for customers. Material list software, combined with labor information, can help to make future quotes and bids easier to complete. Your estimators will be able to base their future quotes on the jobs that made the most money and eliminate some of the problems in their estimating assumptions.

CostCertified Provides Detailed Material Lists

CostCertified is a full estimating and quoting system that gives customers an ecommerce like experience, but it’s so much more than that too. Part of the estimating process on the CostCertified platform allows estimators and project managers to generate detailed, itemized material lists for every job. Every piece of material, hardware and consumables allowed for the job is listed, along with colors, sizes and even product SKUs. This means all your purchaser needs to do is place the order, and they’ll be sure they’ve got every item that’s needed for the job. No more spreadsheets, manually adding up totals or trying to reverse engineer a complicated quote to figure out what you need. CostCertified saves construction companies, renovators and contractors time and money at every step of the process. So, if you’re looking for a great material list software that does so much more, reach out to our team.We’re happy to give you an obligation free tour of the platform, so you can see for yourself why CostCertified is changing the whole construction process for contractors and customers.

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