Last month in this space, I reviewed a series of market projections for 2014 from Harvard University as well as the industry’s leading associations.
Freeware links to suppliers
John A. Buttaro spends most of his day in the field, working his projects.
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John A. Buttaro spends most of his day in the field, working his projects. Running to the lumberyard or building materials dealer to check prices or do takeoffs may be a thing of the past for him with new software that allows him to link directly to his suppliers via the Internet. "I don’t have to be home or on the cell phone getting prices," says Buttaro, owner of John A. Buttaro Inc, a framing and remodeling company in Woburn, Mass. "I can do my takeoffs at 11 p.m. if I want to."
Add-Vantage Software has introduced a lumberyard database toolkit for use with its Estimator’s Add-Vantage System. Suppliers who use the toolkit can be accessed directly by remodelers using the software package. In addition, Add-Vantage is putting the estimating package online, where it can be downloaded free of charge.
The freeware allows users to:
With the package and a supplier using the toolkit, Buttaro says he’ll be able to download all the pricing information he needs when he needs it. "When you get the lumberyards to participate, you can go into their database and the price is there," he says. "All the information can be downloaded any time."
For Buttaro, that means the flexibility to do estimates whenever is most convenient. It also means he’ll have the most up-to-date, accurate pricing when he runs the numbers. "Prices are changing constantly," he says. "A quote may [only] be good for 20 days. You can update your prices as often as you want."
In addition, materials orders from the program can go directly to the supplier via fax or email. Russ Santoro, vice president of marketing for Add-Vantage, says the toolkit will benefit suppliers and remodelers alike. "Remodelers can get the information they need from their favorite supplier and insert it automatically into estimates," he says. "Building material retailers will be able to provide a new level of interaction with the customers by providing them with automated price information, and the ability to order materials after hours. The lumberyard will benefit because [remodelers] who depend on their price data to estimate faster will become loyal customers."
The estimating software is for use on Windows 95, 98 and NT. The ideal system, according to Add-Vantage is: