On Screen Takeoff Review based on 15 years experience
As the title suggest I have been using OST takeoff software to do estimates for over 15 years. I have used many other takeoff software as well so I can also provide a relative review versus other popular software.
Benefits - The best general estimating software for Large projects
If you estimate large multifamily projects or high rise buildings etc., then stop reading this review and buy a license for On Screen Takeoff (even considering it is more expensive than competitors).
Why? Because, for some reason it doesn’t slow down or hang as your estimate gets big in size. All other software I have used, start to hang or run slow once the estimate crosses a certain size.
Please note that the OST software may hang if the pdf file imported for takeoff is very large or heavy. In that case it is best to import it as a tiff or image file which is part of the software import options. When I say it doesn’t hang I am referring to the fact that it doesn’t slow down as you keep working and doing the takeoff and create additional takeoff items or conditions.
The productivity and use benefits if you estimate big projects is tremendous. Once an estimate starts hanging, it can easily take you 10 times as long to estimate, plus the frustration and chances of error that come with it.
Another benefit is how easily and intuitively you can combine takeoffs from different estimators in the same file. Big projects often may require multiple estimators to work simultaneously to meet deadlines.
Although combining projects is more manual than some other programs, the main benefit is that you avoid errors in combining the projects and its very easy to correct or combine (reassign) different quantities.
This means the amount of close coordination required between estimators is low which actually saves much more time and effort than the more manual process of combining projects the software requires. This also results in low chances of errors happening or being missed due to combining two files.
Limitations or DrawbacksWhen opening a second window the software doesn’t allow the user to do measurements on the second window. You can only do takeoffs or measurements on the primary window.
Certain other takeoff software allow you to create complex calculations in the backend either yourself or with the help of some expert. This is missing for On Screen takeoff or is at least not as accessible as in other estimating software. To be fair it comes built in with all the features most people will need.
Price is another drawback. It is more expensive than its competitors. The bigger problem for me though is that they don’t show the pricing on the website. You have to contact a sales rep who will reveal the price.