Switching to the Cloud: Is On-Premise Takeoff No Longer the Way to Go?



8 minutes
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The takeoff process is essential for estimating project costs and determining the amount of materials needed for a project. Traditionally, this has been done through on-premise software, but the rise of cloud-based technology has revolutionized the process. 

The construction industry is constantly evolving, and embracing technological advancements is key to staying ahead of the competition. In this article, we will explore why switching to cloud-based takeoff is no longer just a trend but a necessity.

Read further to explore the advantages and limitations of both on-premise material takeoff and cloud-based takeoff. By the end of this article, discover if it is time for your firm to make a switch and take advantage of AI-powered and cloud-based takeoff solutions to streamline your business operations.

What is On-Premise Takeoff?

On-premise takeoff refers to using a software installed and operated on the user’s own computer or server to perform material takeoff. It is a traditional approach to the takeoff process, helping contractors and estimators do the following with complete control over the software and hardware that they’re using:

  • Manage digital construction plans
  • Estimate the construction project’s material needs
  • Integrate with Microsoft Excel
  • Do on-screen takeoff and 2D takeoff
  • Overlay different drawings to compare

Examples of on-premise takeoff include Active Takeoff and Plexxis Software

On-premise takeoff
Source: Active Takeoff

Below is a summary of the pros and cons of using on-premise takeoff: 

Why Do Some Construction Firms Prefer On-Premise Takeoff?

Despite the growing popularity of cloud-based takeoff solutions in the construction industry, some firms remain steadfast in their preference for on-premise solutions. Change can be especially challenging for large organizations, and the familiarity of on-premise takeoff can provide a sense of comfort for firms that have relied on it for years. 

However, beyond these factors, on-premise takeoff offers several unique advantages that continue to make it an attractive option for contractors and estimators. 

These benefits include:

Control Over Software and Hardware

You have complete control over the software and hardware, allowing you to customize and optimize it for your specific needs and workflow. 

No Reliance on the Internet

Since the software is installed locally, you do not need an internet connection to access it, which can be helpful in areas with limited connectivity. Complete your work on time and with minimal disruption, regardless of your connectivity.


You have complete control over the security of your data, and it is not dependent on a third-party provider. You can safeguard your sensitive information from unauthorized access or loss, minimizing the risk of data breaches or leaks. 

No Reliance on a Third-Party

You are not dependent on a third-party provider for your software needs, which could mean greater flexibility and control over your takeoff process. 

Why On-Premise Takeoff is No Longer the Way to Go

While on-premise solutions offer great benefits like no reliance on the internet and control over software and hardware, they come with many limitations and challenges that make them less appealing in today’s digital age. 

From limited accessibility and collaboration to the burden of maintenance and updates, it's clear that on-premise takeoff is no longer the best option for modern construction firms.

Here are some of the limitations of on-premise takeoff that you need to watch out for if you want to stay competitive as a general contractor or estimator.

Limited Accessibility

You can only access the software and data from the device or server where it is installed, which can limit collaboration and remote work. This means, only users who are physically present at the device or server can access the software and data. 

This can be particularly problematic in today's fast-paced business environment, where many teams work remotely or need to collaborate with partners or clients in other locations. 

Limited Scalability

Adding users or storage can be costly and time-consuming, as you need to purchase and install additional hardware and software. This can be a major obstacle for growing businesses that need to expand quickly to meet the demands of their clients. 

Limited Collaboration

Collaboration is limited to users who have access to the local device or server, which can slow down project completion and lead to errors or miscommunications.

It can be difficult for general contractors and estimators to get the information they need to complete takeoffs and submit accurate and competitive bids, which can impact their success in winning contracts.

Maintenance and Updates

As the software and hardware age, they become more prone to errors and glitches, leading to downtime and frustration. You are responsible for maintaining and updating the software and hardware. It’s not only costly and time-consuming, but it can also divert resources away from critical tasks.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

You are responsible for backing up your data and implementing disaster recovery measures, which can be challenging and risky if not managed properly. This can be a significant undertaking, particularly for smaller businesses that may lack the resources to implement these measures effectively. 

Is it Time to Transition to Cloud-Based Takeoff?

If you’re tired of being tied to a specific device or location when it comes to performing takeoffs, a cloud-based takeoff solution might be a better fit for you.  

It’s a digital approach for measuring and quantifying construction plans and blueprints, which you can access and perform through the Internet instead of on a specific device or location. This means, with it, you can:

  • Easily scale and adapt to changing business needs.
  • Collaborate in real-time with multiple users, which further streamlines the takeoff process.
  • Enjoy enhanced security features such as backups and encrypted data, which is advantageous during disasters.

Examples include Construction AI takeoff software, Togal.AI, which helps you collaborate with team members and stakeholders on any device, anytime, and anywhere - as long as there’s access to the internet. 

See the short, less-than-a-minute, video below to see how it works.

Source: YouTube

This means, not only will you be able to complete takeoffs with up to 98% accuracy in just less than a minute. You can also further speed up the preconstruction process by collaborating with team members on a single drawing with ease.

This is why general contractors and estimators who make the switch can gain a competitive advantage over those who are still using on-premise takeoff.

To help you make an informed decision, below is a summary of some of the pros and cons of cloud-based takeoff: 

Why Transition? How Cloud-Based Takeoff Can Give You a Competitive Edge

If you’re still using on-premise takeoff, then you might be missing out on the competitive advantages that cloud-based AI takeoff can offer. For example, the estimators at Coastal Construction, Miami Office, used to spend about 50% of their time manually tracing, clicking, and dragging lines on a set of plans to perform takeoff using on-premise software.

But, ever since making the switch to cloud-based AI takeoff solution, Togal.AI, they were able to save 13, 920 hours a year, averaged 10 bids a month, and totalled ~$1 million in savings in their first year. See the numbers below.

Togal AI saved hours
Source: Togal.AI

By making the switch to cloud-based takeoff solutions, experience the following advantages. 


Cloud-based takeoff allows you to access your data and software from anywhere with an internet connection. This means you can work from any location, whether it's your office, a construction site, or your home, without the need for a specific device or location.


Cloud-based takeoff provides a scalable solution that can grow with your business needs. You can easily add or remove users and storage as your requirements change. With on-premise takeoff, you need to purchase and install additional hardware and software, which can be expensive and time-consuming.


Cloud-based takeoff allows you to collaborate with your team in real time, regardless of their location. Multiple users can work on the same project simultaneously, and updates can be seen in real-time. This allows for more efficient and effective collaboration, leading to faster project completion.


Cloud-based takeoff can offer enhanced security features, including backups, disaster recovery, and encrypted data. This ensures that your data is safe and secure, even in the event of a hardware failure or security breach. With on-premise takeoff, security measures are often left to the user, which can be a significant risk if not properly managed.

Cost savings

Cloud-based takeoff eliminates the need for expensive hardware and IT infrastructure. No need to hire specialized IT staff to maintain the hardware and software because the software is hosted in the cloud. 

You can also benefit from flexible payment options, such as monthly subscriptions or pay-as-you-go plans. This enables businesses to scale up or down their usage as needed, without incurring significant costs.

How to Transition to Cloud-Based Takeoff

Making the switch to cloud-based takeoff can seem like a daunting task, but with the right plan in place, the transition can be smooth and efficient. Here's a quick step-by-step guide to help you make the move from on-premise takeoff to cloud-based takeoff.

  1. Evaluate Current On-Premise System

Assess your current on-premise takeoff system and determine the reasons for transitioning to a cloud-based solution that aligns with your business needs.

  1. Research Cloud-Based Solutions

Research available cloud-based takeoff solutions, compare features and pricing and select the one that best aligns with your business requirements.

  1. Train Your Team

Provide comprehensive training to your team on how to use the new cloud-based takeoff software, making sure they are familiar with the new features and interface.

  1. Migrate Your Data

Move your data from the on-premise system to the cloud-based takeoff solution, ensuring data integrity during the transfer and verifying that all information is accurately migrated.

  1. Test the New System

Conduct comprehensive tests on the new cloud-based takeoff system to ensure it is functioning correctly, and meets your business needs and user requirements.

  1. Communicate the Transition

Inform your clients and collaborators about the transition to the new cloud-based takeoff system, and highlight the benefits of the new software, making sure that they are aware of the upcoming changes.

  1. Monitor Performance

Track the performance of the cloud-based takeoff system after implementation and address any issues or concerns that may arise.

Transitioning to Cloud Takeoff: 5 Common Concerns and How to Address Them

Internet Connectivity

Cloud-based takeoff relies heavily on Internet connectivity. In cases where the internet goes down, ensure you have a backup plan in place such as a secondary internet service provider or using mobile hotspots.

Limited Customization

Some contractors and estimators worry that cloud-based takeoff software may not offer as many customization options as on-premise software. Thus, it’s important to carefully evaluate your business needs and choose a cloud-based takeoff solution that offers the level of customization that meets it.

Subscription-Based Pricing

There is a misconception that cloud-based takeoff is more expensive than traditional on-premise solutions. 

However, the monetary and time cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware and software for on-premise takeoff can be higher than the cost of cloud-based takeoff. This is especially true when needing to onboard a new user which will require you to buy new hardware again. 

Data Privacy Concerns

Some users may be uncomfortable with storing their data on servers that they do not control, especially if the data is sensitive. Ensure that you only engage with cloud-based takeoff solutions that have appropriate security measures in place to protect your data.

For example, with Togal.AI, everything is developed in-house, so you won’t need to worry about security. Your data is safe and protected inside Togal.AI.


Moving to a new system requires employees to learn new software, which can result in productivity losses. Here’s how you can address this:

  1. Take advantage of the knowledge centers, tutorials from blogs, YouTube videos, and even trainers.
  1. Significantly reduce the learning curve by investing in an intuitive cloud-based takeoff solution. For example, Togal.AI has recently integrated with ChatGPT which helps estimators to talk to their construction plans for the first time ever. This significantly reduces the time and effort required for training, allowing businesses to minimize any productivity losses during the transition to cloud-based takeoff. Additionally, with Togal.AI's user-friendly interface and intuitive design, users can quickly adapt to the new system and begin using it to its full potential.

Leverage an AI-powered and Cloud-Based Takeoff Solution

While cloud-based takeoff offers many advantages over on-premise solutions, ultimately, the decision to choose one over the other will depend on the needs and preferences of your construction company. 

For example, if a company values scalability and the flexibility to work remotely and collaborate with team members from different locations, cloud-based takeoff may be the better option. However, if a company has strict data security requirements and prefers to have complete control over its hardware and software, on-premise takeoff may be a better fit.

Regardless of which option your construction company chooses, it's important to keep in mind that the industry is constantly evolving. Embracing technological advancements is key to staying ahead of the competition. Companies that are slow to adopt new technologies risk falling behind their competitors and missing out on potential business opportunities.

For those interested in transitioning to a cloud-based AI estimating software, Togal.AI offers a powerful and user-friendly option. With its AI-powered capabilities, Togal.AI completes takeoff in just under a minute with 98% accuracy. This helps contractors and estimators win bids and complete projects on time and on budget.

Ready to take advantage of Togal.AI's AI-powered capabilities and cloud-based nature? This might just be the efficiency, flexibility, and scalability that you need to stay agile and competitive in the rapidly changing construction industry.  Try Togal, book acustom demo, or get Togal.AI today.