CASE STORY

CK Consulting Services

Estimating Consultant Chris Sonderby on Using the Power of Sigma Estimating Software

Chris Sonderby is a Certified Public Estimator (CPE) and the owner of CK Consulting Services, a design-phase cost estimating company based in Weatherford, TX. Chris is an expert in his field, and he often advises contractors on estimating plans for their projects and on selecting their own estimating software.

Estimating Consultant Chris Sonderby on Using the Power of Sigma

Chris Sonderby is a Certified Public Estimator (CPE) and the owner of CK Consulting Services, a design-phase cost estimating company based in Weatherford, TX. As the Executive Vice President at CK Consulting services, Chris has significant experience working in the construction industry and creating estimates for subcontractors. Chris is an expert in his field, and he often advises contractors on estimating plans for their projects and on selecting their own estimating software.

Sigma is Developed for Estimators by Estimators

When Sigma began its emergence in North American construction estimating markets, Chris was chosen to help adopt Sigma for the North American construction market and make it into the tool that it is today. When asked about the experience, Chris states:

“I was actually one of the first users for Sigma in North America, I think there were eight of us initially that were on the original United States beta testing team. As an original tester for Sigma I was there throughout the program’s early development and was on multiple conferences with Sigma’s developers to give feedback on my experience with the software.”

Without knowledgeable construction estimators like Chris to provide candid and poignant feedback to our software developers, Sigma estimating software would not be the program that it is today.

Testers are essential to the software development process in Sigma. Without knowledgeable construction estimators like Chris to provide candid and poignant feedback to our software developers, Sigma estimating software would not be the program that it is today.

Significant Time and Effort Saved Moving for Excel to Sigma

CK Consulting Services often consults for small to mid-size construction companies that take on projects of varying sizes but do not often have enough resources in-house to conduct their own estimating. Chris categorizes some of these clients as filling the niche market that Sigma software is perfect for working with.

The estimating software is absolutely perfect, because you can’t get that kind of information from Excel. It takes too much time, effort, and you have to build too many macros or use programming just to see the same solution readily available in Sigma.

“Some of the best candidates for Sigma are any project and or subcontractor role that does self-formed work who needs to generate accurate purchase orders and material lists. The estimating software is absolutely perfect for them, because you can’t get that kind of information from Microsoft Excel. It takes too much time, it takes too much effort, and you have to build too many macros or use programming just to see the same solution readily available in Sigma.”

“When I was testing, this was one of the things I talked about with the developers. Sigma has all the power of Microsoft Excel to include the same process, the same hierarchy, and it uses the same logic of excel, which a lot of people already know. This makes it easy to go from an Excel company to a Sigma company.”

CK Consulting Services

“The estimating software is absolutely perfect, because you can’t get that kind of information from Excel. It takes too much time, effort, and you have to build too many macros or use programming just to see the same solution readily available in Sigma.”

How to Know if Sigma Estimating Software is Right for Your Business?

The time saving value of estimating software is especially attributable to estimating programs like Sigma. Features like the Excel-based user interface, cost and risk estimation, proactive activity and material listings, and cost database integration make Sigma among the most attractive options for upgrading a business to the next level from Excel. But how do you know your business is right for the transition to become a software estimating company?

Sigma is perfect for a small subcontracting business because they need to have the ability to go after the very best priced materials and use the purchasing power of Sigma to track, compile, and resource them.

Chris talks about the advice he gives to some of his clients about making the upgrade:

“If there is a contractor that does not do their own estimating because they don’t do enough projects, they often end up hiring someone like me to do it for them. For someone who is running a small subcontracting business, they also may attempt to do their estimating themselves. This means that they will need to do their own material and labor breakouts, order all of their own materials for their projects, and hire their own laborers to complete the work. Sigma is perfect for these kinds of contractors. It is perfect for this type of contractor because they need to have the ability to go after the very best priced materials and use the purchasing power of Sigma to track, compile, and resource them.”

“For example, a company I was consulting for was considering using SAGE Timberline or another program for their business, because previously they did all of their work on Excel. I told them to look at Sigma because they did itemized takeoffs for almost all 16 of their divisions. They wanted to have the ability to create and maintain a database cost for all 16 estimating divisions. They would have been able to import their databases directly into Sigma and be up and running in a matter of a couple weeks.”

Making the Switch is Easy and Can Put You Ahead of Your Competitors

Making the switch to a software estimating program for your business can seem costly and too complex for your business model, but Chris would suggest otherwise for even a moderately expanding business.

“When a contractor is serious, there comes a point in time when the contractor’s work exceeds the abilities of both themselves and any consultant like me that they could hire. These contractors typically turn to hiring a full-time estimator to supplement their team. I always tell them that if they like the product of what I create, they need to go ahead and use the software that I’m using.”

Today, Sigma is the recommended software by many estimators for its ease of use and adaptability to multiple different types of business models. Depending on prior skills, users can relatively quickly gain a strong understanding and ability to operate within the software. The capability for estimate and takeoff manipulation far exceeds the abilities of Excel, and so strong estimators typically take off in proficiency. Chris points out finally about contractors in general that:

Today, Sigma is the recommended software by many estimators for its ease of use and adaptability to multiple different types of business models.

“In order to be competitive as a contractor in the trade specific and subcontract market, you have to be able to know what materials are available, to know what the prices are, and then be able to plug in this current data to your job estimates. The biggest downfall that a lot of contractors have is that they do not know their material cost.”

Pricing construction projects correctly is an important business practice for a contractor, and at a certain scale it becomes essential for the business to adopt better tools to complete their estimates. Excellent cost estimating consultants like Chris Sonderby exist in the construction sector to fill this need. Chris’ knowledge and expertise in the field of estimating are second to none, and as someone who understands the ins-and-outs of the estimating process it is telling that he trusts Sigma estimating software to create quality estimates and conduct accurate takeoff for his clients.

About CK Consulting Services

CK Consulting Services estimating department comprises professional estimators who specialize in one or more disciplines, including site, civil, architectural, structural, masonry, EIFS & Stucco, roofing, and many others.

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