For AJ Ballantine, the remodeling industry seemed to be left out of virtual innovations. The co-owner of Baltimore-based Cornerstone Remodeling came to this understanding during COVID when he saw that the nature of remodeling required more than a Zoom call. Ballantine needed accurate measurements to move forward with design and estimating.
So what did he do? Ballantine and Cornerstone Remodeling Co-owner Jim Killorin made their own app, RENDR, which launched officially in February.
RENDR puts the power of measurements into the hands of both the remodeling contractor and homeowners. The app requires an iPhone or iPad Pro to take measurements of a space, using the device’s built-in LiDAR scanning. RENDR claims its augmented reality scanning measurements come in with 99.6% accuracy, which includes structural elements such as doors and windows. With those measurements, remodelers can also produce 3D models in different file types, such as CAD.
And it didn’t start as an app.
What we saw was that not only were we winning these bids in the same, if not better, rate that we were winning or other jobs, but we were bidding them 10 times faster with no travel time.
“My designer and I at the time devised a plan,” Ballantine explains. “We said, ‘Can we feel confident enough to get proposals out the door based off of photos?’ So I took photos of my parent’s kitchen and sent it to Lauren [Weber].”
From there, Weber (now general manager) and Ballantine stitched multiple photos, creating floorplans and designing spaces through the information gained from these photos, individually measuring and scaling based on appliances pictured. Instead of their projects being pushed down the line awaiting the virus to subside, the team began offering their patchwork service as a “remote quote.” This became a third of all of Cornerstone Remodeling’s work in 2020. And when in-home appointments were normalized again, Cornerstone Remodeling continued its remote quotes, and “people were still loving it.”
“What we saw was that not only were we winning these bids in the same, if not better, rate that we were winning or other jobs, but we were bidding them 10 times faster with no travel time,” Ballantine says.
You may doubt the photo process—many did, according to Ballantine. When word got out of his new strategy, the industry listened, but quickly changed pace as concerns over “guesswork” came up. But one thing was clear to Ballantine: remodelers wanted the benefits of remote quote. What remodelers also needed though was an accurate, seamless, simple, and quick process.
With the launch of the official RENDR app, Ballatine says he can receive a floor plan with square footage, walls, and more in just 90 seconds from a homeowner. His job is to send the link, while their job is to hold their phone and scan their space.
First-time users receive three free scans, and the total price for a Pro account is $399 a year.