For more than a year, Scott Schubert was a beta tester for an earlier version of XactRemodel (XR), Xactware's latest estimating software package tailored to the remodeling industry. Schubert, who co-owns Post & Beam Design/Build, Forest Hill, Md., now uses XR full time.

“In about an hour I can accurately estimate a $75,000 bathroom, depending on the complexity, using a project macro (template) and have everything included right down to the screws,” Schubert says. He particularly likes Sketch, a graphical tool included in the software that enables him to draw plans that help give clients a sense of how their space might look and to generate an estimate while drawing. “I can draw 10 rooms, and if I want to put in oak hardwood flooring in 5 of them, I just click on them and the software estimates the cost.” Markup percentage can be included, and users can build macros that retrieve basic information with one click, saving time and eliminating errors.

XR includes an extensive database of more than 10,000 line items that combine to create more than 4,500 assemblies comprising labor, equipment, and material costs in a single entry. For example, XR's “dry ½” line item uses the “Drywall Installer/Finisher” retail labor component, which is also used in approximately 60 other drywall line items.

The database is updated quarterly, and any custom modifications made by users can be marked so they won't be altered by future updates. XR's monthly subscription cost of $58 includes 24-7 online support, product upgrades, and all database updates. The software installs on your computer and doesn't need constant Internet access to operate.

Schubert likes to use the software to document things for subs. “You may say something to someone, and they might hear something different,” he says. “But if you can show them exactly what to do in each space, that's powerful.”