Cloud Estimating - Success Story

September 11, 2020

With extensive local knowledge of the landscaping trade, Outside Ideas Director Aaron Superina recognized the need in the Adelaide market for a contractor capable of handling large and complex projects, and established the company in 2003. He has since expanded the company’s services to provide a “one stop shop” for landscaping, civil construction and structural concreting throughout Australia. In 2013, Superina was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Category in Australia’s Central Region, and in 2019 was the overall winner of the InDaily “40 Under 40” awards for business leadership in South Australia. Outside Ideas maintains third-party certification for its environmental, quality and health & safety management systems and complies with all industry standards and government regulations.

Based in Adelaide, Australia, Outside Ideas provides landscaping, civil construction, structural concreting, irrigation and maintenance programs to developers and government departments throughout the country. The company was founded in 2003, with a current local workforce of 150 employees as well as another 100 interstate employees at a newly acquired company to expand interstate. ProEst has been in use by the six-man Outside Ideas estimating team for the last 12 months, which generated 300+ project estimates last year. With awarded bids ranging in value from $100K to $9M, current annual Outside Ideas revenue stands at $50M, with 50% growth forecasted by 2025.

Migrating to a more powerful estimating platform:
At the time, Dougherty felt strongly that ProEst offered significant advantages over other estimating solutions, and twelve months later, has come to appreciate its inherent flexibility even more. “You can code it, change it and build it to what you want,” he said. “That’s important for us because there are a lot of different scenarios we deal with, day-in and day-out.” So, how did ProEst come out on top in a crowded field of competitive products? For Dougherty, it really came down to ProEst’s cloud-based platform, which gave even users with varying backgrounds a positive experience right away. By avoiding the quirks and complications of a desk-top product, he believes, estimating productivity was enhanced at Outside Ideas across the board.

"With Excel, there are a lot more opportunities to put in the wrong numbers, making the estimate less accurate."

An idea blend of flexibility and simplicity:
Strategic growth goals and rapid expansion led Outside Ideas Senior Civil and Structural Estimator Alex Dougherty to seek out a more powerful estimating solution than the custom formulated spreadsheets they had been using, and ultimately replaced Excel with ProEst in 2019. “We knew for a while that we were reaching the capacity that spreadsheets could handle,” said Dougherty, who spearheaded the search for an upgraded estimating solution over a period of six months. “Once you get to a certain size job, it just gets messier and messier. That’s when we realized we needed something a bit more evolved and professional.” After evaluating a number of available options at a World of Concrete event in Las Vegas, Dougherty chose to go with ProEst.

Ensuring ease and accuracy through system integration:
Like most construction professionals with an eye on the bottom line, Dougherty was seeking seamless integration between his estimating solution and other back-office systems, especially the company’s new Vista accounting software. Now that integration is complete, he says, “everyone’s life is a lot easier… with one click, data dumps all of the information in ProEst into Vista, and it sets it all up by itself.” Immediately eliminated was the need for accountants to reenter project data—and the risk of manual entry errors that could have serious consequences down the road. “When you’re doing jobs that are five, six, seven million dollars,” he said, “there’s a lot of individual data going into it.” What used to be a multi-day task, Dougherty added, can now take about five minutes—and accuracy is virtually guaranteed.

"With ProEst, the whole workflow and process is so much easier."

Meeting a growing demand for construction activity:
While Dougherty has noticed a recent dip in demand for construction in Australia, he also predicts that the market will turn in the very near future—and when it does, Outside Ideas will be more than ready for it. “With ProEst,” he said, “the whole workflow and process is so much easier. Everything is built into it, and there’s very little room for error.” That gives Outside Ideas new confidence in their ability to generate estimates that are both timely and accurate—and to maintain a growth trajectory far into the future.

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