Countfire - Pros and cond
Excellent, the online support is fantastic, as is the software. There have been some containment drawings that I simply could not have lifted off with Pen and paper, but Countfire has made it possible and easy to review.
If in doubt do the trial on a big job and see how you get on!
Whats not to like? Not much. Its a fantastic tool for estimators, the more you use it the faster you get and the more confidence you gain.
Automatic counts - Brilliant
Manual Counts - When you cant use automatic counts this is still super fast compared to pen and paper
Measurements - Brilliant
Splits and multiples - essential and very helpfull
I have been using it for a year now and would recommend it to anyone involved in estimating or any other form of take offs.
Every now and again you get a bad drawing where all the symbols are slightly different and its a pain. Just use manual count and safe yourself a lot of frustration!
The cost is pretty high (but worth it in time saved) If I was self employed it could be out of price range.
CountFire Automated Take-Off Software
I could not be more pleased with CounFire. It is fast, accurate, easy to use, and has cut my time to perform a take-off by a factor of 10. Some may question a factor of 10, but try it and see that drawing symbols when counted on one drawing are also counted on all other drawings within the project drawing package automatically. Orientation is not an issue, and items not picked up are easily identified and added to the correct symbol list. Check drawings are also supplied as part of the final report to assure all errors have been resolved.
CountFire being a cloud based service gets you up and running quickly. CountFire Sales is there to get you started and introduce you to Technical Assistance and Training. The On-Line Help function is integral to the CountFire Platform allowing you to be able to function seamlessly as you work on projects. I can count drawing elements or make extremely accurate measurements in one tenth of the time I did manually without the cost of drawing reproduction. The Final Reports are perfectly formatted in MSExcel and ready for Bill of Material development.
I am still looking for a Con. I thought that since CountFire is in Great Britain that communications might be hampered by five, (5) time zones, but this was not the case. CountFire was there 24X7 to solve my self-inflicted start-up issues.
Don’t bother with the others, countfire outshines them all
Countfire has been a breeze from start to finish, the help team have always been on hand to help out and implementing and training on the software was seamless!
I love countfire, you will too.
I’m impressed, countfire allowed me to do a take off in 28mins... the other guy in the office actually had the take off and got out his fluro’s and a pad...he had allowed himself 2 days...
It’s brilliant, simple and easy to use. The wholesalers love me because the take off is easy to read!
The cost is high, but the amount of time I saved means it’s worth the large cost!!
When everything is peachy it works great and is fast.
When a pdf is is drawn properly it works great. Automatic counting etc. No I'm just trying to reach 100 characters
When a pdf is not drawn properly, i may as well count manually. Which is mostly the case.
Simple things could be added to improve experience, such as a plan multiplier for drawings that cover multiple levels.
Best Software in the market
Using countfire has completely changed the way I do my job. I have gone from old school drawings and highlighters to paperless and streamlined. I would guess that it has increased my productivity by a factor of 3. Every day I learn of a new feature and if I have any questions or issues, they are dealt with quickly and efficiently by one of the superb and knowledgeable customer service gurus. I love that they are paying attention to what I am doing constantly and suggesting ways to improve how I'm doing it. Overall, this is a really great tool with FLAWLESS customer service, regardless of timezone issues. Thank you Countfire team.
It's easy to use, functions really well and they've thought of (almost!) everything! It's really great that it puts all the information into a nice, neat Excel spreadsheet so I can easily add my costings and work out my prices.
I'm only a couple of months into using countfire but there's nothing I don't like about it. I have made a couple of suggestions for features - I need to be able to switch from imperial to metric measurements at will being the main one. Autosave another. I think that these have been taken on board.
One Year In Review
The system is very easy to use which makes the familiarisation process quire easy.
With any new software you have to familiarise yourself with the peculiarities of the system and work with it to get the best from it which is what we have found with Countfire.
The first thing you notice is the speed and responsiveness of the auto count system which is so much better than other systems we have tried.
We have found Countfire to suit our business needs but there are improvements to be made and hopefully we will see this product develop further.
Easy to use, fast, useful for auto counting from certain revised drawings such as lighting.
Demarcation of drawings is a good feature.
There is no 'back' button to help you correct mistakes - you have to rely on not saving changes which is not ideal.
Recognition of different orientation of symbols is limited to 90 degrees only - expanding this would be useful.
Typical small power symbol auto count can be time consuming because of how symbols are recognised by the system, this makes the auto count process unreliable particularly across multiple drawings - a manual count often becomes the best option which defeats the object.
My overall experience has been great.
I think it is easy to use and faster then doing a count by printing and manually counting.
I like the background drop it makes it easy to see all the things that need to be counted.
Another pro is that by using CountFire i don't have to be printing the drawings which helps the environment.
sometimes drawings take to long to upload in to the software.
I would like to see improvements in the unjoining and joining symbols, the improvement could be that we the users had a choice in which parts of drawings we join or unjoin.
As noted above and the benefit of having a fully totalled excel spread sheet.
This software not only saves time estimating with automated counting, but also saves on the need to print off large layout drawings.
Think it would be helpful to be able to add / remove layout drawings within the main count off screen instead of coming out and going to the project log in screen. Would be good if the system to could remember the last drawing that you're taking off when you first log on.
Countfire is a lifesaver!
From a user perspective, Countfire is a lifesaver. You upload your drawings simply and easily and within minutes you can have a scaled, marked up set of drawings with all measurements documented in an excel spreadsheet. I take this output and use it to accurately build quotes and check quantities on all projects from single residential to large scale hotels and commercial. For us it means that we can have accurate information to supply alongside our quotes to give us peace of mind that our measurements are completely transparent to clients without sending physical copies of marked up drawings. The guys at Countfire are beyond helpful and have put a huge amount of work into making the software work for us, they are always easily contactable and jump right in to help whenever there may be a problem.
It's dramatically reduced the time we spend on quoting, and in turn improved our workflow and relationship with clients. I couldn't recommend it more.
Easy and simple to use for a process that is inherently complex and difficult.
Countfire used to be heavily geared towards counting references and not linear measurements. There have been HUGE steps by the guys at Countfire to improve the linear side of things with many new additions to the software for this purpose. Some drawings on a large scale (1:200+) are hard to measure small lengths under 300mm, but this is a very minor issue that the support staff will help with on a project by project basis.
Makes life very easy.
Countfire makes doing takeoffs extremely easy and the amount of time it saves leaves more time to do other things that need doing.
not enough colours in the palette, When you measure & ask for itemised it measures every click not just start to finish giving far to many reults
Response from Rapid Tender
Thanks Terry! I wanted to let you know we released an update recently to include more colours.
With measurements and how they're saved into the Excel spreadsheet, you have a choice between not itemised (just the overall total) and itemised (each individual measurement).
Itemising does definitely result in a larger spreadsheet because there's just a lot more information to represent within Excel, however, I also wanted to point you towards a workaround we have which allows you to round & summarise those measurements towards specific lengths (EG: set busbar lengths etc. There's more here:
Well worth the effort to try out. I would really allocate this to only one or two persons in an office and let them develop the skills necessary to be productive and create accurate take offs.
I enjoy using it and continue to be surprised how well the end result evolves. Practice makes perfect, it can only get better.
As a Lighting Engineer with some knowledge of construction software and the difficulties one can experience in quickly getting up to speed with new programs, I was pleasantly surprised to find that even without reading any tutorials, I was able to navigate and complete a number of projects on my desk over a 24hr period.
The guys at Countfire patiently watched me and offered advice how to improve my takeoff but I just kept going and only when I got into some bother did I read their suggestions.
What this means is that a novice with some practical experience of popular programs such as Microsoft Paint etc. will quickly get a handle on the basics of this take off program.
As with most things today..easy to learn..to master, takes time.
Nothing to do with the software but it does pick up some inconsistencies amongst Architects and Drafts-persons, some who clearly do not anticipate a computer checking their work. Some very sloppy drawings out there.
I check the drawings now prior to uploading so that I have an idea of where I need to look closely. Again, it's not an issue with Countfire.
Amazing & Friendly Staff
Countfire has saved me tons of time performing takeoffs. It is also very helpful in accomplishing a set of takeoffs for a project with a quick turn around time.
I absolutely love the quick response from the members of the Countfire Staff. They are quick to respond and help resolve any issues you may have.
I love everything about the Countfire Program.
Personal view of Countfire after 3 weeks
Its quick and easy to use. There are a few things which can be done to make it even better but overall its far more efficient than using paper and coloured pens.
It is pretty easy to use once you are using it on a daily basis. It makes the take-off process a lot quicker and doesn't require the need for printing off a Forrest worth of trees for drawings, plus you don't need to keep a whole range of coloured pens handy.
I have found that I have gone back to drawings that I have taken off first time around and noticed symbols which I did take off were not highlighted. That could be simply down to me not saving each time. However, I have had to go back through each drawing to make sure I haven't missed anything. There should be something in place to highlight anything that has been missed.
It would also be helpful to have an option to pick regularly used symbols and containment so that you can save time not having to manually type them in.
I have worked in the industry for many many years in directorship and management and used many costing / take off software. I can honestly say this is the best I have worked with. the level of detail you are with once you process a project is fantastic and it is very user friendly. And last but no means least the team are constantly on hand to help whenever needed and go above and beyond to ensure your experience with the software is positive. Thats not just an initial help that always.
I like near all features of the software but really like how user friendly it is and the level of customer care you get.
Not really come across anything that I dislike yet
Brilliant estimating tool and great customer Service to back it up!
Very helpful in times of need when a project needs a quick turnaround! The customer service team are also very responsive and there when you need them! Would highly recommend for estimating larger projects if you want to cut down on estimating time.
Speed, adaptability to pricing schedules/demarcations and the fact Countfire themselves are open to taking on ideas for user interface improvements to make take off easier
When drawings take ages to load up
Quick, easy,fast and great support
The ability to drag, drop and created elements save days of manual counting on paper.
the software can be used anywhere you have internet connection
an internet connection is required and a large amount of storage for dropbox also
Response from Rapid Tender
Thanks Ciaran! Countfire now automatically frees up space within Dropbox meaning you no longer need to purchase a paid Dropbox account.
With regard to needing an internet connection, there are a number of positives to consider too. We're able to provide near instant in-app support right when you need it (our current response time is less than 1 minute). Countfire is definitely not the kind of software you buy and then never hear from us again, and having an internet connection is an important part of us being able to provide that level of support to our customers. Additionally, new updates and features get rolled out immediately and we don't hold these back for a new version of the software, as can happen with traditional / older methods of software distribution. You always have the latest and best version.
Revolutionary takeoff experience.
Reduction in time in the estimation process (magnitudes).
- clear cut user interface with everything hotkeyed, and the hotkeys labeled in plain sight
- PHENOMENAL customer service and support (I requested and had a feature built and deployed overnight, etc., etc., etc.)
- Documentation from another planet (over 25,000 words of concise walk through material
- Redundancy (the way projects are delivered after being processed eliminates worry and most potential for error)
- Data manipulation (the data spit-out from a project comes post-pivot table, saving us a step in formatting to get our numbers straight)
the list goes on and on - simply amazing!!
Will and the boys are a phenomenal team, awake at preposterous hours of the morning solving issues that could wait, etc. just amazing!
Love this software!
I was dubious how well this product would work and how accurately the software would find the symbols for my electrical drawings. I was very surprised and pleased with the outcome it found all the symbols after I was shown via a video how to tweak the symbols. The service from the countfire guys is excellent they would check how I was doing with each project and send a brief ,informative and easy to follow instructions via video to show me how to get the best out of the software. To summarise I haven’t looked back since using Countfire. My tenders are compiled easier, and I now get them in way before deadlines which always looks good in my eyes.
Ease of use even for my limited I.T skills.
Saves so much time.
Compiles the take off for you.
The search criteria can be saved and used again this saves even more time.
Value for money due to time saved.
Customer service is excellent.
None! Honestly I can’t think of any cons.
Good, versatile, fast, ongoing development, active support
The software is a good alternative to the usual means of working with large plans, as it saves a lot of time and space/printing materials
One of the cons is the requirement of the chrome browser, since the additional software isn't supported by the IT Department.
Countfire enables the entire office to be involved which means an administrative assistant can do counts for the estimator freeing up the estimators time to handle the more complex details.
Easy to use, easy to master. Reports can be simply or page/area specific which makes it great when you need to do breakouts. Hot keys make the program flow, you can either use the mouse or use the keyboard - whichever you prefer. Best part is that once you select a symbol it searches all pages for that symbol making it very fast and freeing up a lot of time for other tasks. I have used on-screen take off, bluebeam and live count and found Countfire to be the quickest with the most detailed reports.
Not a lot of colors to choose from, would like to see more colors.
Great so far
So far, it is early days, I have found everything very straightforward. I spent time working through a lot of the help screens before I attempted my first take off, but still encountered a problem selecting some symbols. I couldn't find the answer myself so used the chat option. Within minutes I was chatting to someone who could help straight away with advice and even videos to show me how to deal with my problem. Looking forward to learning more as I progress.
Love the common sense feel to this software.
Very quick to do a take off.
Every problem I have encountered so far has had a solution.
Support and help screens are excellent.
I actually haven't found anything I don't like so far, but I have only been using it for a short time. I think it is just a case of getting your head around what the software needs from you to do its thing.
Easy and interesting way to count drawings much more efficiently and quickly
It takes a bit of playing around with to get used to but any question I had was answered within minutes through the CountFire team chat, I find the automatic link with DropBox and CountFire very useful with all the counts done automatically through an excel quantities spreadsheet.
It doesn't pick up symbols that are the same but at a different angle, so a few extra counts must be done to count all the symbols
Response from Rapid Tender
Thanks Shane! I wanted to let you know we've just released a feature which allows you to automatically count symbols that are the same, but rotated through different angles :)