9 must have features your roof estimating software needs to have
People who aren’t in the roof industry don’t understand just how complex nearly every roof is. There are hips, valleys, and gables. You need to consider cover widths, overlaps, and flashings for every feature on the roof (and more.) There’s waterproofing to consider, as well as underlay options, and that’s before you even decide between standing seam or shingles. Or something else entirely.
A roof is just a roof, until you’re the guy doing the estimate. Which is why you need roof estimating software that does all the millions of combinations you need it to – and a whole lot besides. There are many options out there, and they all claim they’re the solution to all of your problems, but what do you really need to have in your roof estimating software? We’ve got a few suggestions for must have features right here.
1. Choose Your Own Roof Material Options
Have you ever test-driven roof estimating software only to find that it’s got twenty kinds of roofing you don’t do, and only three you do? You could add the other roof material options you offer… but you’ll have to pay their programming team by the hour, and it costs so much you won’t make a profit for months.
The best roof estimating software is completely customizable to the materials you actually supply and install right out of the box. Even better, the companies that make that software also help with the setup, so you’re not left in the deep end, treading water while you find your feet.
2. Design Your Own Specifications
Have you ever tried to use software that comes from a different place, only to find that their specifications are completely different to the way you do things, and you basically have to reconfigure everything just to get it to work? Sometimes, you can’t even do that completely, so you have to create clever tricks to “brute force” it to do things the way you do?
That’s one of the worst problems with many roof estimating packages, and it’s one you need to avoid. The amount of time you’re going to spend trying to fit that square peg into the round hole is just not worth it.
The best roof estimating software works with the specifications and installation methods you already use. You don’t have to try to make it fit.
3. Easy Labour Estimating
Ask any estimator what the really tough part of any estimate is, and they’ll tell you it’s the labor. Materials can be measured. Angles can be calculated. Waste can be built in. But labor is something that’s very hard to measure, and it really does change from one job to the next.
So, you need to have roof estimating software that lets you adjust your labor rates and productivity based on the actual information you got on site. Very often, once estimating software is programmed, it’s hard to adjust these kinds of things, so you have to find complicated workarounds, and there’s always a bigger risk of mistakes when you start doing that.
The best roof estimating software gives you complete control over your labor calculations on every quote, without any complications.
4. Detailed Pick Lists
There’s nothing worse than getting a job and then having to try to decipher complicated worksheets, manually add up totals, struggle to adjust quantities and all those other things that can go horribly wrong with the average estimate.
Good roof estimating software converts from estimate to contract easily and allows you to print detailed, accurate pick lists based on your calculations for the whole job. No calculators, no missed line items, and no spreadsheets in sight. You need roof estimating software that includes every shingle, sealant, and screw, so all you need to worry about is getting the job done.
5. Always Up to Date Pricing
You know how old-fashioned estimating software requires you to manually enter your pricing – usually into some complex and well-hidden backend of the software? Inevitably, whoever does this puts a comma or decimal point in the wrong place, and before you find the mistake, you’ve given away thousands of dollars of material?
Good roof estimating software doesn’t do that. It automatically updates with the latest material pricing from your supplier websites. So, you’re always using the latest prices, and you never have to worry about fat finger mistakes sending dollars out of the door.
6. Make Changes on the Fly
There are some roof estimating software packages where you have to change the whole setup of the program to do something like changing your markup. Some even change all your quotes when you do that! So, no matter what you do, you’re married to the markup you chose when you set things up, and when you want to play with the numbers, you have to break out your calculator and do it all by hand.
Good roof estimating software doesn’t require you to set a single markup (or even markup levels) for every quote you do. You can change them for each quote and then change them back again until you find the right level for that particular job – and you won’t change every other quote you’ve done for the last five years while you do!
7. Easy Project Management and Invoicing
When you invest in roof estimating software, you probably don’t want to have to spend more money on project management software, progress billing and other important parts of the contract management process.
Good roof estimating software has all of that built right in, so when you convert your quote to an order, you can start tracking progress, create change orders when you need to, and invoice your jobs quickly and easily. Even better, great roof estimating software plugs right into your accounting software, so you don’t have to do the work twice.
8. Easy to Create Options
Some homeowners know exactly what they want, right from day one. You might even meet one someday. However, most of them are trying to decide on the color, material, and finish on their roof, and they’re probably going to ask you for different options.
Great roof estimating software lets you give your customers all the options they want, right in their first quote, and it does it quickly and automatically. So, they can scroll through all the options, mix, and match the things they want and need, and customize their quote themselves. Even better, it lets you do that without spending hours wrestling with ten spreadsheets and a scale ruler.
9. Beautiful Proposals
There was a time when handing your customer a black and white quote printed on a dot matrix printer that’s on its last legs (because it’s the only one that will work on the computer that runs your ancient estimating software) would fly.
That time is over.
Customers today are very sensitive to appearances and presentation. You wouldn’t show up in a beat-up, rusty old truck, so don’t give your clients quotes that look like they belong in the 1980s.
Modern roof estimating software can create beautiful, visual quotes for your clients that showcase who you are and what you do. It includes images, detailed specification information and more. In fact, great estimating software produces quotes that do the selling for you.
CostCertified Does It All, and More
It took years of struggling with the worst estimating software out there and several more in development to create CostCertified. But we can honestly say that it’s the last roof estimating software you will ever need – or want.
CostCertified does everything on this list and more. It’s the easiest and most user friendly estimating tool you will ever use, and we’ve got the best technical support and after-sales service in the business.
So if you’re ready to throw away that old dot matrix and invest in estimating software that will change the way you quote forever, reach out to our team. In this case, you really do need to see it to believe it.