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Premium Member
Retired deck builder
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Discussion Starter #1
I am seriously thinking about getting the decktools program. My biggest reservation is that it will be hard for me to learn how to use or will take a lot of time to get good at it. I got the sketchup program & got quickly frustrated & quit doing anything with it.

So the question is, is it easy to learn how to use? How long before you felt confident enough to use at a customers house? Also what kind of laptop are you using to run it?
 

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Workin' Hard & Havin' Fun
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1,763 Posts
Call me if you need a current user to talk to. Number is on my website.

Not perfect, but the best thing out there- and should be getting better soon.
Great support, and a nice program.

HTH,
~Matt
 

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Workin' Hard & Havin' Fun
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1,763 Posts
BTW,

you can run it on a lot of decent laptops- but the bigger, the better.
You'll also want to check with the guys @ DeckTools before buying one, sometimes they have a suggestion, or a concern about something specific.

I'd personally suggest something with a 17+ inch screen, 4gigs of Ram, and the most expensive NVIDIA graphics possible- preferable their mobile quatro FX line...

~Matt
 

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Deckman,
I am an early adopter of Decktools. I signed on with them way before there was any thing but blue lines, no full color 3D rendering, no in depth take-offs........
I am about as slow a learner with new software as you'll find anywhere!

I don't take DT w/me for every meeting as sometimes the project would take to long to draw for them as they are waiting. I will usually bring it a long for the simpler projects and let them see what I have in mind.
I always bring my computer on the second visit to show the design and make any changes at that point w/the client sitting there.

All of this being said the program is excellent for decks and all of the accessories that go with them. For arbors, pergolas and other shade structures the program is very good. The one lacking piece is patio covers and such as these are labor intensive to draw and a harder to modify when sitting with client.
I have to admit it took me awhile to feel comfortable to sit at someone's house and design their deck. This was due more to me then the program, as I am a perfectionist and want everything be just so........
I finally realized that the design I could show them in 3D, quickly, would blow the doors off of whatever me or my completion could provide on paper!
Over all I am very happy with Decktools and would recommend you really look into purchasing it!

The users support forum if FANTASTIC! There is a file sharing section that will knock your socks off!

Hope this helps,
Brian
 

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You're welcome!
I wish we could get Clemons or Brian B. on here! D-22 would be really impressed!

Good to hear from you Matt, hope all is well!

Brian
 

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Premium Member
Retired deck builder
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5,479 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your thoughts guys, I do appreciate getting feedback from someone who uses it.

How's it do when you want to do something non conventional. Say a pergola that has different sizes from one end to the other, not square, but fan shaped or sunburst? Non geometric shapes & odd curves on decks, things like that.

One last question, can you give a timeframe on the learning curve? I'll double whatever you all tell me for my own learning curve. :laughing: As long as we're talking weeks or even months, but not years.
 

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Workin' Hard & Havin' Fun
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1,763 Posts
You should be able to start using it pretty quickly- it's really pretty simple for the basic stuff. Like, first day you can design a basic deck.
Then you watch every instructional video, and ready a bunch of older posts on the support forum... and start putting what you see into use.

I felt like I could use it & make money with it within a month... and I felt confident that I could create custom stuff within the first 6 months. However there are guys that use it that are simply amazing with what they can do!

~Matt
 

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The program is easy to use .. It has very good pre-set stuff for decks. You could use it right away.. But with custom stuff like curves and sunrooms, roofs, it will take you a while depending on how much time you can put into it. The good thing about it is - It will inspire you to learn more as you learn the short cuts.

They also have alot of free training available.
 

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The Deck Guy
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3,126 Posts
Simpson just bought DeckTools.

I was going to buy it, but DeckTools was incredibly difficult to deal with pre-purchase and I told them I'm not buying it without a good long demo.

The other thing I heard is that DeckTools charges manufacturers to have their products included in the software and it's VERY expensive to buy in, so some companies are opting out.

I don't know...It would seem to me that once you reach a certain sales level, the deck companies should PAY FOR US TO OWN this software to SELL THEIR products.
 

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Simpson just bought DeckTools.

I was going to buy it, but DeckTools was incredibly difficult to deal with pre-purchase and I told them I'm not buying it without a good long demo.

The other thing I heard is that DeckTools charges manufacturers to have their products included in the software and it's VERY expensive to buy in, so some companies are opting out.

I don't know...It would seem to me that once you reach a certain sales level, the deck companies should PAY FOR US TO OWN this software to SELL THEIR products.
Amen, them and their distributors should pay..

As far as I have heard everything so far on Decktools has been free promo for the manufactures..
 

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Premium Member
Retired deck builder
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5,479 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Simpson just bought DeckTools.

I was going to buy it, but DeckTools was incredibly difficult to deal with pre-purchase and I told them I'm not buying it without a good long demo.

The other thing I heard is that DeckTools charges manufacturers to have their products included in the software and it's VERY expensive to buy in, so some companies are opting out.

I don't know...It would seem to me that once you reach a certain sales level, the deck companies should PAY FOR US TO OWN this software to SELL THEIR products.
Decktools price is too much imo. However my main supplier is giving me a deal too good to refuse. He bought a bunch of licences for the program & everything from his yard keyed into it, which I think will be helpful.

Plus several of my competitors all ready have it & I don't want to be odd man out.

Now that Simpson has bought it (I didn't know that til now) I'm wondering what effect that will have on their customer service.
 

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Workin' Hard & Havin' Fun
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1,763 Posts
Service- better.
Funding- better.

Simpson has been an awesome supporter of our industry.


BTW, pricing is substantially less than most professional 3D design/ CAD programs out there.
Yes, it's expensive if you're comparing it to the mickey mouse stuff @ Bestbuy/walmart... but cheap compared to specialized 3D CAD... just to put it in perspective.


~Matt
 

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Fine Deckbuilder
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402 Posts
decktools

Deckman,
I would say: Go get decktools. It is not complicated. I would give it 3 to 4 weeks to learn most tricks. Nice thing is to use other designs from other users. Ungroup the objects to find out how it is done and how you can create your own. Rick the owner is coming out very shortly with a new release (about time LOL) If you have a question you can always ask Brian !!! or me.
Clemens ( Decktool master LOL)
 
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