CostMiner is a 100% cloud-based takeoff, estimating and cost analysis solution for job estimators, contractors, and small builders. In addition to takeoff and estimating, it includes customer and job management, progress claims and invoicing.
“There was no learning curve. I prepared my first estimate in just a few clicks.”
Most estimating software products cost thousands of dollars upfront even for a single seat, putting them out reach for most small builders and contractors. With CostMiner there is no need to hassle with an AutoCAD .DWG viewer, Excel, paper drawings, and a ruler. CostMiner users are charged a small fee each month, and there is no set-up or cancellation fee. If the number of users change, you can upsize or downsize as required.
For Windows, Mac, and Linux
CostMiner runs entirely in a browser allowing you to access it from a Windows, Mac, or Linux workstation or notebook.
You can have an unlimited number of users collaboratively working in your business space and sharing jobs, estimates, take-off plans and documents (the service fee depends on the number of users). Your data is securely stored in the cloud.
Below are some CostMiner functionality highlights. You can explore the full feature set by signing up for a free 1-month no obligation trial.
Everything in CostMiner revolves around jobs. In addition to the customer details and site address, job information includes labor and material profit margins, start and finish dates and the current job status. An important element of a job is its cost estimate. Estimates may optionally use take-off for calculating labor and material quantities.
You can search jobs by different criteria, including the site address and customer information. The system displays a quick overview for the filtered-out jobs, including estimated labor, material and total costs versus their respective actual figures. In addition, CostMiner highlights expenses if they already exceeded estimates so that you know that the low profitability of the job needs to be addressed.
The software generates the following documents for a job:
- Quote is an extract from the estimate that you can give to your customers or use for your own references. It may include profit margins added to the estimated costs.
- Invoice is based on the quote or actual data. In the former case, it contains the same data as the job quote (estimate). The latter type (actuals-based invoice) uses the expenses entered for the job.
- Shopping list can be used to fill in an order or request a quote from a subcontractor or as an actual shopping checklist. Its contents is somewhat similar to the one of a quote, but it shows labor and materials separately. If the estimate items uses composite rates, the system will work out the labor and material components for them.
You can track the job progress by entering the start and finish dates and changing the status from Planned to In Progress once the work has commenced and from In Progress to Complete when it has been finished.
New jobs can be created from scratch or based on user-defined templates. The templates may include profit margins and a skeleton of the estimate typical for a particular type of job, e.g. residential renovation or new property landscaping.
To estimate the cost of a construction job, CostMiner uses multi-level estimates.
- An estimate contains heading and items. Headings can have an unlimited number of levels.
- Documents generated for customers, such as quotes and invoices, include the headings and items from the estimate (see the picture below).
- Optional calculation sheets help to derive quantities based on the physical measurements of the site. These measurements can be taken off floor plans with the built-in takeoff tool.
With CostMiner, it is possible to create a set of templates for projects of different types, and then quickly pick items and headings from the template and insert them into an estimate.
We can select items from the template and they will be transferred to the estimate, including their type, unit of measure and rate. Headings will also be created as required.
An Estimate Template acts as both a skeleton of an estimate and a price list.
The link between a job item and a template item it was based on is maintained by the system. Later, as the rates and other attributes of the templates change, we can re-apply them to an estimate that references them to update the rate, unit and type.
In the below example, the painting rate incorporates the prices for the labor and materials required to complete the job.
Now a single estimate item can be created based on the composite rate instead of multiple positions for each individual material or activity. In addition, the simple rates, such as ‘Labor’, ‘Primer’ and ‘Paint oil-based’ from the above example, may still be applied to estimate items.
A good example of the composite rate power is the Shopping List. Shopping List shows all individual articles required to complete a job. To generate that report, CostMiner expands composite rates, if required.
Changing the ‘Labor’ rate in the above example will automatically recalculate all composite rates that are based on it.
After making changes, you can re-apply the updated templates to selected items in an estimate.
The takeoff tool is integrated into the system, so you can upload floor plans and measure areas and lengths right in the browser. CostMiner recalculates estimate items and heading totals automatically as you trace the objects in the plan.
The calculation sheet helps working out the quantity based on the take-off measurements. For instance, in the following example we multiply the internal wall length by its height to find the vertical area. In addition, we multiply the window width by its height to calculate the window opening area that needs to be subtracted.
As any other data in the system, plans and take-off measurements are stored in the cloud and can be shared by all users of your business space.
When importing a plan, the following image formats are supported:
- Vector formats (drawings): DWG (AutoCAD), PDF, SVG (vector files give the best image quality that does not deteriorate as you zoom in)
- Raster formats (pictures): PDF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP
When generating quotes, CostMiner adds the labor and material profit margins to the rates as required.
You can upload the company logo, which will be displayed in the letterhead.
Invoice is similar to a quote, but it has a number.
The figures for Progress Claims are edited in the estimate table itself. That way you can see both estimated and claimed quantities and amounts on the same screen.
Progress can be provided as percentage of the estimated quantity or as an absolute value. You can switch between claims and see the claimed amounts for the previous periods, current period and to date on the same screen.
Then system generates a Progress Certificate for the customer, including retention, if configured for the job.
CostMiner has a number of reports for jobs and Estimate Templates.
You can also analyze business performance on job-by-job basis.