Roofing Business Talk
What brand of satellite measuring system are you using? How are they working? Are they cost effective? Let us all know of your experience.
We have a Pictometry license to get the aerial images and use some of their tools to get the takeoffs. We then use either Xactimate or RoofCAD to do the sketch and get the remainder of the data. We have at least 300 roofs measured this way under our belts. We have verified measurements constantly. While I can't argue a given measurement may be off 6" to a foot now and then, we have found the overall accuracy to be excellent.
We have used Eagle View and Geoestimator in the past. I see Eagle View Reports quite often from the insurance companies. I find it amazing, since Eagle View now does so much business with the insurance companies, how often (always) I find their reports to be on the low side. Since I have access to the Pictometry images, it is generally easy to see what they are doing and where the mistakes come from. We recently had one where they were two squares off on a 30 some odd square roof. They missed pitches on half a dozen slopes. Of course, they did this for an insurance company and coincidentally enough, they were two squares LOW. After seeing what they're doing, I personally would never spend a penny with any of them again.
Would their price be competitive for a small residential or commercial roofer? I know it would be cheaper IF the travel time and cost of meauring is figued, but few small contractors account for those costs.
If they're inaccurate, their price is irrelevant. The last time I used one of these, it was Geoestimator. It was on an insurance claim that was in the 40's squares. We convinced the Adjuster to go with the Geoestimator numbers only to find out later they were around 5 SQ's short on a 30 year laminant. So it cost us $1,500 as the Adjuster refused to do anything since he agreed to use our numbers to start with.
With that said, as far as I'm concerned, that report cost me $1,550. It was the last report I bought from any of them. The guy at Geoestimator, Chad was his name, had nothing to say except they were working on some things. The prick didn't even offer to refund the money I paid for the report.
At $250 to $325 per square, 5% isn't close enough for me, particularly when they always seem to miss low. I don't remember EVER having a report or seeing a report from one of these companies that missed high.
I've given serious consideration to opening something similar myself. Were I to do it though, I would require people to provide some ground photos (to catch portions that are often hidden on the aerial images) and to measure their own pitches. Perhaps I am too much of a fanatic about accuracy but at the money involved, I don't know how people can even think about being casual about it.
We use EagleView periodically for large cut up projects. Saves a lot of time for the estimators. When you consider travel time, gas, time on site, on the larger jobs it really adds up. The estimators really like it so far, they confirm measurements and are good to go. Some of the really large projects it is almost worth it just for the roof drawing. They have different pricing structures depending on the number of squares, and commercial vs residential.
I have Pictometry also. Don't use it much as about half of my area isn't included. Google maps has a distance measurement tool which works very well. Free too!
I'm going to be with Authentic Dad on this one. At $300 a sq, I can't afford to have them miss.
Second: I have found homeowners with the copy in there hand, quizing me about how many sq I have come up with. Obviously the other bidder used the purchased view, and included it with the bid. My sales team is instructed that going to the clients home and making the drawing, listing any flashing details, plumbing vents, Chimney problems and siding issues, is our way of selling the job, over the bird view. I show them my drawing and it never fails, I sell the job.
Third: Job site estimate can catch the 2layer, wood shingle and the Low slope that I will not shingle.
With that said, if it works for you, then great. It isn't applicable to our company as of now.
There are too many variables in the roofing business that I am not ready to trust someone else with my measurements. Dad, that's a heck of a lesson to learn. Thanks for sharing it.
you guys know xactimate 27.3 has a sketch model..it works with pictometry and will correct your measurements and pitch if things dont add up right. its by far the best ive used ever, heres a link for it.. but after you read about it, watch the webcast. its awesome. i think if you hit the back button twice after this link takes you where it will.. then youll see where to watch the webcast.. and its 4.85 cents vs 25.00
xactware.com/solutions/claim ... ial-sketch
Try doing a multi-level cut up roof with that tool. You make it sound like it's a new miracle and honestly, I didn't find it very useful at all. So much so, I never use it. I find it much easier to simply sketch the roof with their build in CAD tool.
really? did you watch the webcast? it tells you how to do multi level and cuts have never been an issue with that program for me.. some things take some getting used to before they become easy.. if your like me, youd frustrate the hell out of yourself trying to figure out how the software works before you even think of reading directions... even then, prob still wont read em. i dont. i find the online training very helpful.. my attention span is like 3 and a half seconds long and shortens as the frustrations of new software swell.
i like it, but i didnt like it until i knew how to do it... same with photoshop.. i can wiz thru photoshop elements like no bodys business... but give me ps7 or 9 and ill break my mouse into pieces slamming it on my desk...
none the less, different strokes for different folks. thank god estimating software is not a monopoly.
I tried it on a number of roofs. I simply find it easier to use their standard sketch/CAD program versus the thing that integrates with pictometry aerial images. And more accurate. I've sketched several thousand roofs with the built in program and it works reasonably well. We also own a RoofCAD license that works similarly to the new tool in Xactimate you are referring to. If I'm going to go that route I will use the RoofCAD tool as it is much more robust. If you find the other one works for you, that's great! Seriously. At least you're using a solid tool which is the important thing.
i dig the cad program too... actually started out on that o ten yrs or so ago and still use it. you are absolutely correct about it being much more robust.
I have noticed when the satellite measurements are off it is typically due to the actual image was taken early in the morning or in the evening. Meaning one or more sides of the house were significantly shaded. Which messed the pitch up therefore throwing the measurements off.