I have been looking at purchasing an estimating application for a crew of telecomm technicians/designers/engineers (most came up through the ranks rather than having an engineering degree and a couple of the well-seasoned ones built much of the current NM telecomm infrastructure from the ground up).

Historically we've used MS Excel for most of our financial guesswork so the new application would be easy to transition to if it were similar.

I found www.winest.com in my search. They have a pretty easy-to-learn application called WinEst Pro Plus (v8.0) that I think we're going to try. They also offer well-established RS Means databases for a number of industries: electrical, general construction, mechanical, conceptual, residential. (None of these are exactly what I need but the electrical is the closest in terms of conduit & pulling wire.) I believe they also have 'assemblies' to purchase or you can build your own into the database which is useful for things like building a cement pad that include a standard set of materials and processes that vary only by size usually. (So you list the square foot assembly items and then plug in the quantity and the application calculates the material and cost for you, I think.)

They have a fully-functional *FREE* download demo (with the database) that is limited only by the fact that you can't print or save what you do on the screen. The estimating package runs about $3K with another $500 for the database, I think.

If you have a Pocket PC 2000 or 2002 (CE v3.0), WinEst also offers a $20 ConstructCALC application that can be loaded on your Pocket PC for use out in the field.

I don't work for WinEst or get any money whatsoever for sharing this info here but I've seen a number of requests for Estimating help.