Computers are becoming necessary pieces of equipment in the contracting business because they can enhance speed, quality, appearance, and efficiency. Computer-generated documents convey much more attention to detail and professionalism than do bids scribbled on the back of an envelope. Doing calculations and research by hand can't even begin to compare with the speed of computers. Also, the quality of your bid items and other documents will improve greatly by using computers. Computers help detect errors and omissions to reduce the number that appear in your bids. Also, time and cost is saved by producing standardized documents that can be adjusted in small ways to suit project requirements. Speed, appearance, and quality all add up to a more efficient operation.

To get started, you'll need to be willing to spend what it takes to purchase the right equipment and software and obtain proper training. The equipment, or hardware, you choose must have the capacity to handle the work load. The software you choose must do what you want in an easy, effective way. Pull-down menus and help screens can make it easier for you to use your system. Also, it may be wise to pay a little extra if it means that you can get good service when you need it. Local vendors, instead of mail-order catalogs, might be a better choice. Get guarantees and service promises in writing. Finally, don't buy a computer unless you are willing to commit the time to learn how to use the system. It won't do you any good to have a computer system if you don't know how to use it properly.