Intuitiveness / Initial Learning Curve – 9/10
Planswift makes it very easy to do a basic takeoff. The ribbon menu at the top displays all the buttons you need to start. Starting a New job, adding pages and setting the scale is really simple. The three basic conditions – Count, Liner and Area are all displayed on the home tab. Click to start and double click to end. To restart you need to hover to the right of the condition and click the button that appears.
Software Capability – 9/10
The software has in built, powerful features and templates. It can also be customized to do a lot. You can add multiple items to a single condition and do complex calculations within the software. If done right you might not even need excel!
Ease of Customization – 6.5/10
Planswift can be customized, but not necessarily by you. Unlike basic takeoffs, making a custom template has a steep learning curve. But paying money can solve your problems (and hence the decent rating). There is a plugin store which you can use to buy templates for your specific trade(s). You can also pay someone to help you out. You will still need to learn how to use the template, but that is true for any software.
Ease of Collaboration – 5.5/10
Working in teams is not easy with Planswift. You cannot copy takeoffs from one Planswift file to another. Sharing the file is quite easy, but sometimes there is trouble while overwriting the same jobs. You should always check if the original job conditions have all been deleted and replaced with new ones. However, its popularity is high and if you are looking at outsourcing estimates it is easy to find someone who uses the software.
Price – $999 + $199 optional yearly maintenance
Best Suited for…
Planswift is great for estimating residential projects and small to mid size commercial projects. However beyond a point, it starts getting slow. Also, you cannot copy a Planswift takeoff from one file to another which makes working in teams a bit more challenging. There is also no easy way to separate the same takeoff condition for different units / areas. This means you have to create a whole set of new conditions for each unit / area. Then you have make sure to multiply it correctly in excel. For bigger projects I would On Screen takeoff which I have also reviewed.
As always, if there is a specialized software available then, it is always good to check it out. For example for Flooring contractors I would recommend a specialized flooring estimating software.
Software Review by Nishant Agarwal
Senior Estimator at Advance Informatics