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How many of you are using PDA's in your business? What type of tasks do you use them for besides keeping your schedule?

I've used one for about 2 years now and I'm hooked. I know everyone says that you could just write your appt. down but that doesn't work for me. I loose/forget to take the paper with me. I also forget to look at the paper! My PDA syncs with Outlook and then beeps at me everytime I need to do something.

About 4 months ago I bought a new one, the HP 2215 . This thing is small, light and quick. You can even do estimates with it by using a Quickbooks plugin.

So, am I the only one?;)
- Nathan
 

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I have a dell axim. I use it for all my appointment and estimate scheduling. I also use it for reminders like paying my mortgage on time :)

It has the capabilities to do more and I really want to get my portable printer setup in my truck, but I've been lazy/busy. That would allow me to workup and print estimates on the spot and close more sales.

Send the link for the estimate plugin so I can learn more. Maybe qb would be better than exell.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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My future business? No! Thogh I did upload a crappy splash screen to show to my brother.

www.reliableamerican.us
www.reliableamerican.com

That site is going to be for personal use, site coming soon this Winter! I used to have another personal site www.insanitycity.com but I took it down when I stopped hosting web sites. I didn't feel like paying for ANOTHER hobby.
 

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OK now I have my mobile printer finally working. I have downloaded the trial of captra and lowfat. I will keep ya guys posted on each. I also got the RSI invoice trial, and pocket books trial.

The last necessity for my mobile office is a cellular modem attachment :) Hmm maybe cheaper to buy the handheld with the cellular hook up built in. Decisions decisions. :)

Hmmm thought about something: Instead of having this quickbooks addons, if I have a cellular modem I can have the gotomypc program running and just control my actual full version of quickbooks remotely. Good thing that's a trial too. I might give that a shot after I decide to buy the cellular modem :)
 

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The company I work for buys us computers and give us up to $400 for a PDA.. more if you know the right people..haha. The computers are typically desktops until you get to Project Manager then they replace the desktop with a laptop.
I'll typically use it, depending on where in the job we are, for punchlists (through Documents to Go and Excel), discrepancy lists, stop cards, etc. Never used it for estimates or anything like that - we have around 10 full time estimators.
 

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Yeah hatchet but we ALL don't work for multi billion dollar GC's ;)

I kinda like the fact that I take my jobs from estimate to production. I know large GC's like you are setup with different people carrying each role, and I know I could only grow to a certain point being setup the way I am now... But I feel a sense of accomplishment doing things the way they are and I make decent money. More than any estimator according to Monster.com. I probably don't make as much as you do Hatchet, but I still consider myself to be in the early stages of the game yet far ahead of most people my age. I see no reason why by age 40, I am not living in neighborhoods with surgeouns and lawyers. (Except for the fact that I cant spell surgeon)

Kinda way off topic but I'm in one of those moods :)
 

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Honestly I won't realize much from this job until I retire.. which I don't think I'll be here long enough to retire. I do agree with you btw.. I've lost quite a bit of estimating basics in the 3 years I've been here.
 

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It's funny how in a few weeks of being slow I can lose some of my estimating basics also. Yesterday I gave gave guy a verbal which I never ever do, and I forgot to charge for the tear off. Thank god it's only 7 squares of siding, and not 100 squares of roofing. :)

I didn't have my spreadsheet with me to do the math on. Oops. I'm gonna eat the loss cause it's an old customer that's also given us referals... and is rehabbing a house that needs more work.
 

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When I remembered all that stuff for concrete and framing takeoffs I created online calculators. So know I use those all the time and for me to go back and change something on it I can barely follow my logic.. haha.
 

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I have one for roof areas and another for rafters that may be able to help you.. umm.. of course you're doing it in excel so it may not relate all that well. :)

But if you want the formulas that I use I can definately give you those.
 

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I figured you had one already.. but though I would offer. What information does yours use? Of course it would need slope first off.. but after that?
Mine uses flat plan dimensions of the roof and the slope. Solves for any roof size whether it be gable or hip.
I'm sure yours solves for many other things also like roof perimeter etc.
 

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Dude didn't you download mine? It asks many things. If tear off is involved how many layers? How many stories (though that was an addition after I posted mine here), how many linear feet of ice shield, how many lead stacks for soil pipes, home many rolls of felt, how many shingles, how much ode, flashing, step flashing, gutter apron.... If it's on a sloped roof it's on my spreadhseet. There is amultiplier based on pitch of the roof.

I tweaked the hell out of my spreadsheet. It's pretty damned accurate. It counts every nut and bolt. I was tired of losing jobs for no reason other than stupid estimating. My boss had the philosophy of adding a few bucks per square for certain things... I said why add anythign per square unless the job grows? Add a few extra bucks for that extra thing and move on... Adding extra cash per square is in-accurate and in-efectiant if you need to revise for what ever reason.

Eventually when I have a more firm grasp of payscale and insurance costs I will further revise my estimate to reflect those factors. As it is, the program works great if you pay your guys per square. If you pay them per hour you need to figure how many squares they can do an hour.
 
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