For years, I spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per project on printing blueprints. With the national average of $1.09 per page for a 24”x36” B&W blueprint to be printed and an average project size of 70 sheets, with a minimum of 2 sets required, I found the cost can quickly become more than the investment into using a digital solution to view and complete a takeoff. With an industry focused on trying to build green, I asked why not eliminate the cost of paper with technology. Well, if you are like me and are looking for some reasons why to make the change, here are a few.
Reprographic fees are expensive.
For years, I would always look past reprographic fees on my P&L, just because they were a necessity I couldn’t get rid of. It wasn’t until the housing crash that suddenly looking for a different solution became important. By reallocating and reinvesting the money spent on printing on a form of technology, my bottom line got better.
Technology will improve accuracy and accountability.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I have been in the middle of a takeoff, just to be interrupted by a visitor or a phone call, only to come back to my takeoff minutes, hours or even days later to find that I didn’t remember exactly where I left off. With paper, I would find myself tracing the walls and other items using a highlighter to indicate that I measured it and would then scribble my numbers down on a yellow notepad. Depending on how rushed I was, I would hopefully label everything correctly. Well, with technology, I can now start and stop a project anytime and always know what I measured and what the totals are because if it is colored, it is measured. I also have the chance to look back at old jobs just to verify numbers without digging through a notepad to find those numbers.
Through my many years of estimating, I have done things by hand and also used technology. Being in the southern market I couldn’t tell you how many times I would get a plan that had a roof with more than 4 pitches involved. For me, doing it by hand and making sure it was accurate took me some time. But thanks to technology, the time it took me to complete it quickly increased to the point that I was 10x faster and more accurate than ever before. Even simple room area takeoffs became much faster and provided me with a tool that even allowed me to share my takeoff with my fellow colleagues in the field.
Technology improves collaboration.
Being in the construction field for over 20+ years, I have seen many different pieces of technology. From my first job as a Project Manager with a local Commercial GC, when the biggest piece of tech was my pager, to my most recent venture where I carried an iPad, iPhone and had a blueprint takeoff software to view and edit my takeoffs. Back in the day, I communicated with my subs by meeting with them onsite and discussing what needed to be done. If they needed me, they paged me or came to my job trailer. Every moment they spent trying to find me was a moment of production lost. Now, thanks to technology, they text me if they need me and if they have issues with something in the building process, they add a note and photo to the prints that is instantly available to me for review on my PC or mobile device. This creates for me a project history that allows me to stay up to speed with all that is going on and has improved my communication with my entire team.
As I mentioned, being in this industry I have watched technology transition into what it is today. 10 years ago, I would have never thought that I would be carrying my plans around on a device the size of my notepad; but to be honest, I would never go back to carrying a heavy set of plans. There are many solutions on the market, but only a few of those are on the cutting edge and offer the power of desktop software with the benefits of cloud technology. If you are like me and are looking for that solution, why not try out one by visiting www.squaretakeoff.com.