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Discussion Starter #1
Is anyone using a Laptop or Tablet PC to do estimates onsite? If so, what program are you using to come up with the estimate?

A know a painter that uses a small Toshiba Libretto laptop and a customized Excel spreadsheet to type in the estimate as he walks the house. Then he goes back to his truck and prints out the estimate on a portable printer. The estimates look very professional and the client gets it right away.

What system do you use?

-Nathan
 

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nwingate said:
Is anyone using a Laptop or Tablet PC to do estimates onsite? If so, what program are you using to come up with the estimate?

A know a painter that uses a small Toshiba Libretto laptop and a customized Excel spreadsheet to type in the estimate as he walks the house. Then he goes back to his truck and prints out the estimate on a portable printer. The estimates look very professional and the client gets it right away.

What system do you use?

-Nathan
I've been tinckering with this idea but for one reason or another I havent comited to it yet. I actually have it all setup on my hand held with windows ce, which acompanys me everywhere. Windows CE has word and excell and you can print through an IR port, so another $200 investment for a portable printer and I too can do estimates on the fly.

I was even thinking of removing the passenger seat in my PU truck and building some kind of stationary desk for the printer and necessary office equipment. My truck will become an estimating machine!

I figure I will spend less time in the office, but overall spend less time period. No, that isn't true. I will spend the same ammount of time just do more work. Some days this would work when I only have 3-4 esitmates. Other days this would suck when I have 7-8 estimates... Not to mention Our part time office assistant barely stays busy as it is and his main duty is to type and send out these estimates.

I also think of the quality of my estimates. I know when I work up my own estimates I always proof read them then find mistakes a day or two after they are sent out... There is something to be said about two people reading the same estimate.

I think I may try it next Spring and see how it works out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You don't have to remove your seat to fit a simple printer, although I would love to see some pictures of that!

Here's an example of an HP printer thats smaller than most. hp deskjet 450ci mobile printer

If you can do full estimate onsite I think its a good idea. Not only does it save you a trip to the office... the customer doesn't have to wait either.

-Nathan
 

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nwingate said:
You don't have to remove your seat to fit a simple printer, although I would love to see some pictures of that!

Here's an example of an HP printer thats smaller than most. hp deskjet 450ci mobile printer

If you can do full estimate onsite I think its a good idea. Not only does it save you a trip to the office... the customer doesn't have to wait either.

-Nathan
I know I don't need to remove the seat for a printer but you shoudl see pics of my truck now... samples, brochures, basic tools, folders, forms, flyers, tapes! Argh it's a mess but everything I travel with I need.

I was only thinking of removing the seat because it would allow me to more organize everything and for the most part I am the only person to ever be in my truck anyways.

I may do it, but keep the seat. This way if it doesnt work out I can replace the seat. Decisions Decisions...

Also to anyone readint this post, if you can afford it a tablet pc will work better than a hand held/palm pilot. A tablet costs about 2-3 times what a hand held costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I really think Tablet PCs would be a great tool for the field.
Theres a great tour of the product HERE

It would be easy to walk a job and do an estimate with one of these things. It acts just like a note pad and pen. As you write on the screen it converts your handwriting into text. Some of them can be used as a normal laptop as well (Toshiba).
They cost around $2000 though! :eek:

Any thoughts?
Nathan
 

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nwingate said:
I really think Tablet PCs would be a great tool for the field.
Theres a great tour of the product HERE

It would be easy to walk a job and do an estimate with one of these things. It acts just like a note pad and pen. As you write on the screen it converts your handwriting into text. Some of them can be used as a normal laptop as well (Toshiba).
They cost around $2000 though! :eek:

Any thoughts?
Nathan
Yeah like my post said I *almost* got one but I couldnt get over the $2000 bill, I like my palm. Maybe if I can find a good used one on Ebay. Oh maybe I can get my boss to pay for it! Naw he paid for the hand held... just thinking aloud again.
 
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I use ACT for the data base and Xcell. The spreadsheet calulates all the numbers, then I enter into ACT fields. The proposal or letter has the fields from ACT, then I can print out with all important information. Saves a lot of time.
 

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I use ACT for the data base and Xcell. The spreadsheet calulates all the numbers, then I enter into ACT fields. The proposal or letter has the fields from ACT, then I can print out with all important information. Saves a lot of time.
I saw this in a back issue of roofing contractor mag. that I hadn't had a chance to read until recently... www.cms.net
 

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Juan

I'm Using Windows Xp,Have Several Estimates But Don't Know If I'M Bidding Right,( I Lost My Estimator 3 Months Ago)Been Out Of Work Since The Beging Of Nov.I'VE Been On The Computer Day And Night Trying To Land A Job It's A Good Thing My Last Job Was Profitable.
 

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I had a Toshiba Satellite tablet ...piece of crap, first time I jarred it a little the LCD shattered, glad I had extended coverage on it. I replaced it with an IBM ThinkPad T43. Solid as granite titanium allow, and an air bag technology.

My printer is a 450 ci HP.I have my contracts on memory stickj, so when I bid a job I just pull up the contract, fill in the relevent info, and print. This is one of the main things that set me apart from my competetion, that and my good looks ofcourse.:whistling
 

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"Buy Quality, Cry Once"
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Nathan said:
I really think Tablet PCs would be a great tool for the field.
Theres a great tour of the product HERE

It would be easy to walk a job and do an estimate with one of these things. It acts just like a note pad and pen. As you write on the screen it converts your handwriting into text. Some of them can be used as a normal laptop as well (Toshiba).
They cost around $2000 though! :eek:

Any thoughts?
Nathan
Oh yeah.... the tablet pc doesnt do a good job at all of converting the handwriteing into text, it got about 60% of what was written correctly, it turned out not only to be fragile, but it was a serious pain. Please take my word for it, if you want a good field Laptop, look into the ThinkPad.
 
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