Are you researching, hoping to choose the best takeoff software for your electrical estimating needs?
You’ll find a number of options available if you do a Google search, and it can be challenging to sort between them.
Of course we may be a little biased, but we’d love to highlight why we feel you should take a look at Countfire. We’re proud of our takeoff software, and here’s why:
We have true, automated counting
One of the first things to notice (and to check whenever you’re assessing your options) is that Countfire provides true, automated counting. What that means is the software will do the counting without you having to manually point and click.
Some other software tools use this point and click method and call it “automated counting,” but it’s more accurately described as manual, digital counting. True automated counting can obviously save you a lot more time.
You can see this in action in the video below:
At the same time, Countfire automatically counts across your entire project simultaneously. So once you select a symbol to count, it not only counts that symbol on the PDF you have loaded, but will also count that same symbol across the entire project—which is a huge time saver.
You can break down quantities however you need
Sometimes when you have a larger project, it can be very useful to break down your quantities. In fact, this may be required by the client – for example if they want to see a breakdown between landlord’s and tenant’s areas in a housing development.
Countfire allows you to break down your quantities however you need them with the use of demarcations. These are zones, drawn using the “Split” tool, where all the symbols contained within are split or broken out into separate columns within the final Excel spreadsheet.
Besides splitting areas on a drawing, demarcations can be useful for:
- Partitioning off part of a drawing that is duplicated on another drawing. For example, if there are duplicated symbols on drawing A (sheet 1 of 2) and these are also shown on drawing A (sheet 2 of 2).
- Removing unwanted areas of a drawing.
- Isolating two different items where the symbols for these items are depicted as identical (e.g. general sockets and sockets shown on DADO trunking).
You get a high level of accuracy
Accuracy is always a core requirement of an electrical estimator so it’s very important that you can trust the takeoff software you use. Countfire ensures a high level of accuracy by going through four stages of checking. These are:
- Hiding matched symbols in-app.
- Record drawing review
- Symbols removed drawing review.
- Check sheet review
These four stages help you to check for any missed symbols, mistakes or selections made under the wrong symbol descriptions. You can show or hide the background on the drawings to make it easier.
Another helpful feature for maintaining accuracy is an automatic count of revised drawings. It happens relatively often that you might receive revised or additional drawings after you’ve already done a count.
Before takeoff software, you had no option but to manually re-count takeoffs for new drawings. With Countfire, you upload the new drawings and they are automatically counted using the work you have already done.
We help you to go paperless
Printing drawings, especially on large projects, can take a lot of time, money and of course, paper! Then there’s the general chaos that having a lot of paper can render in an office. Electrical estimators counting the old-fashioned way had drawings spread all over the place as they made manual counts.
Countfire allows estimators to go paperless because you can simply upload the PDF file of the drawing to the software. You don’t need to print and check because all checks can be done from within the software.
If your business has environmental goals or goals about your use of resources, then using tools that help you to go paperless can aid with those.
You can work from anywhere
Countfire is cloud-based software, meaning that the whole program is hosted on servers and available via an internet or data connection. This means you can work from virtually anywhere and access Countfire as needed. (On Mac or Windows – we do both).
For electrical businesses this can potentially save a lot of time and mileage, especially if job sites are some distance from the main office. If an estimator is on the job site and notices that some changes need to be made, they can easily access Countfire via a mobile device.
If your business has some kind of “work from home” policy, Countfire and other cloud-based software options are the tools to enable it. Importantly, any updates are made in real time and people accessing the software will always know they’re looking at the most recent version.
From a software update perspective, users of Countfire don’t have to worry. While the software packages you used to buy and download required you to manually accept or apply any updates, cloud-based software is updated by its owners so that you should always be seeing the latest version.
Customer support is very efficient
Our customers often rave about our support – why? Because it’s efficient and proactive. We are quick to make any needed updates or to help out a customer with questions.
Support is provided by an in-app chat messenger – sort of like using WhatsApp or another common messenger service. With a median first response time of four minutes, our customers don’t have to wait long to get the help they need. Customers are also highly satisfied – 97% rate us as good or great.
Bonus: See fire alarm coverage
If you install fire alarm systems, Countfire can help you to perform a visual check and calculate coverage area for your devices.
When you need to visually check that appropriate coverage is provided by a fire system, you can see by overlaying coverage circles on a drawing. This is important because usually you will need to ensure that coverage meets a standard or requirement. For example:
- You need to check whether a floor has enough smoke detection devices to meet a relevant regulation.
- You need to check whether a floor has enough lighting control PIR devices to effectively switch lighting on and off.
You can see an example in the drawing below:
People rate us highly
Lastly, we are proud to be rated highly by our users and we are always working to further develop Countfire. This is an important factor to look out for whenever you’re assessing software; you need to know that it is being updated, monitored and improved where needed.
Here are some examples of what people have been saying about us:
“The support staff who started Countfire are really helpful and accommodating. Their customer service is amazing having added certain functions to the software as we said they were extremely important to us and our sector of the industry. You can’t get better than that!” (Chris S., reviewed on Capterra)
“Excellent, the online support is fantastic, as is the software. There have been some containment drawings that I simply could not have lifted off with Pen and paper, but Countfire has made it possible and easy to review.” (Mike T., reviewed on Capterra)
Also, check out some case studies from our users below:
- How Value Lighting reduced count time by 50%
- How Designplan Lighting uses Countfire for efficiency on large projects
- How KNI uses Countfire to go from tendering to installation
We’d love for you to check out Countfire for yourself – click here to access a free trial.