This week, we're continuing our series highlighting software solutions for the roofing industry. If you missed the last article in this series, we walked through a brief history of roofing-industry software and suggested some softwares that focus on lead generation and simplifying your sales process. (Here's a link if you'd to check it out.) In this article, we'll discuss modern measurement solutions, some inspection tools, and take a dive into estimating programs. Read on for more!
This is the industry technology that we have a major interest in. Over the last ten years, we’ve seen the options for roof measurements go from grainy satellite images and reports that were overpriced and often inaccurate, to measurement software like ours where you can measure yourself from High Definition imagery so good you can count the hat vents.
Like CRMs, the measurement space has seen an explosion of options in the last decade, most of which are measurement report services. We want to explain the difference between ourselves and measurement services. We’re the only provider in the industry to offer both of the major ways roofers get their measurements now; ordering reports and measuring on their own.
Our software allows our customers to measure roofs for themselves, from HD imagery, drone footage, or architectural drawings/blueprints. This puts the same tools that measurement services use in the hands of the contractor, so they don’t have to wait on a service to turn around their order, or spend money per-report if they prefer to save money.
We also offer SketchOS, our Sketch Ordering Service for those contractors who prefer to have a third party do their measurements for them. Ordering measurements means less stress about training salespeople to measure roofs either by hand or with software. We strive to make our measurement orders fast and affordable, which is where we see the industry heading. You shouldn’t be paying $75 for a 20SQ roof. And you shouldn’t wait 48 hours for that measurement.
We think that measurements should plug directly into your sales and estimating process. SketchOS provides a seamless experience with our software, SketchOS reports are delivered directly to our customer’s RoofSnap account. There, they can be used to build estimates, material orders, contracts, and more. It doesn’t matter how you get your measurements, they’re just a step on your way to the sale.
Even with all the advances in measurement technology, hand measuring has always been an option and is sometimes the ONLY option for tree-covered or rural addresses outside of the coverage areas of modern imagery sources. However, any time you can keep your employees, especially your sales team off the roof, your saving time, and risk. Your sales person’s time is better spent with the customer, discovering the customer’s needs. And any time you can keep an employee from climbing the roof, you’re saving time, and maybe even some insurance dollars.
Accuracy when using a measurement software depends on a couple things, the tool, the imagery, and the user. In the industry, most tools are boasting 95% and greater accuracy. RoofSnap is usually within 1% of actual when properly measuring on HD imagery, and within 3% when using satellite imagery. Our HD imagery covers more than 71% of the population, and it’s always expanding. If you roof in or around an urban area, we probably have you covered. As far as the user element, our measuring tool is one of the easiest to use, but we also offer unlimited free training and online tutorials to help anyone learn how to measure accurately.
That leads us to the usability aspect of a measurement software. If you’ve tried any other CAD-like tools on the market, you know that not all are created equal. Some have you redraw facet edges that you’ve drawn before, some make you use pre-defined roof shapes that don’t fit every house, and others require training before you can even begin to draw. When you’re looking at measurement software, keep in mind who will be using at your company, their level of experience, and their willingness to learn. RoofSnap’s draw tool is pretty approachable, you can use it on your phone, or tablet, or on your computer, and we’ve made it so that anyone who can click a mouse, can draw a roof.
The last thing we’ll say about measurement tools, is you want to make sure that it’s flexible enough to meet your needs. Does your company use a drone? Make sure your software can measure off drone imagery. Do you do a mix of residential and commercial? Make sure your software can handle both! Work in new construction? Find out if a prospective software can measure off of architectural drawings! As with any of the tech we’re talking about today, your measurement software needs to fit the needs of your business, so make sure to ask those questions as you shop around.
Like measuring, inspection technology has come a long way in the last decade. Imagery providers have started updating their imagery annually, sometimes even more frequently, and some providers even re-fly areas after storm events. That’s a major boon for insurance companies and restoration specialist alike.
We’ve also seen companies like Kespry and XAP360 enter the market with drone inspection packages that are really next level. Drones can now take pre-planned flights, without the need for a pilot, and software can produce accurate damage detection for entire structures without the need for a ladder, or roof access at all.
On the lower-tech side of things, apps like company cam have made the photo-documentation part of the modern inspection a more stream-lined process. We’ve heard industry experts suggest taking 100 photos per inspection, and that can start to eat up storage space on devices and be a bear to transfer, catalogue, and analyze. But in our era of ubiquitous cameras, the need for photographic inspections is not going away, so finding a solution that works for your business’s inspection process is vital.
To plug our own tool again, every project in RoofSnap has unlimited photo storage, and our measurement reports can include inspection photos so your customer has context for the results of your inspection. You can even tag things like replacing hat vents or other damaged items on a roof and have that show up in your RoofSnap estimates! Which leads us to our next category.
Estimating is another part of the sales process that is overflowing with options as far as software solutions. There are still many companies building their estimates in excel, there’s many that build all their estimates with Xactimate, because they feel tied to the insurance industry’s pricing.
On the retail side of the industry, your estimates are a part of your marketing. Obviously where your price lands compared to other companies is a big factor, but also do your estimates convey the value that your company brings to the job? Is your warranty shown on the estimate? Does your customer understand why a tear-off is necessary? Of course your sales person should be conveying all that to the customer, but the estimate is a chance to itemize the value your customer will receive, and make the sale.
So finding an estimating solution that gives your sales team the tools they need is important. They need accurate pricing, so they don’t undersell the job. They need ways to express the value of the products and services contained on the estimate. And they need flexibility to respond to specific customer needs.
Your Estimates are more than just numbers, they're sales tools.
We think that sales people should be able to build and edit estimates on the fly, so the customer can feel like a part of the process. But we also want your sales team to be able to have their bids ready when they arrive at the appointment. Either way,
you need an estimating platform that doesn’t take an hour to construct a bid. We like companies like JobNimbus and JobProgress for easy estimating, but we also have a robust estimation platform built into our software.
Pivoting away from the needs of your estimators and more towards the needs of your company, you want to make sure that your team is building estimates from the same price sheet. That can be hard in bigger companies, so make sure that your platform is ready to scale with you. You don’t want to have to update 15 price books when you could just update one repository. Especially as labor and material costs fluctuate in our industry, you’ll want to make sure your price reflects your costs.
We more thoughts and suggestions on roofing industry technology, but we'll save those for next week. Circle back for our thoughts on Job Documenting, Financing, Payment Processing, and technology that's changing production!