Pro's Pick: Hover

This nifty platform is a productivity and accuracy booster

January 25, 2017

Using Hover, you can create 3-D images of projects, such as this one. Image: courtesy Alco Products

Alco Products' president Zak KreismanZak Kreisman
President
Alco Products
Washington, D.C., metro area

 

We first discovered Hover through a cold-call from the company. In fact, we nearly dismissed that call, but the guy on the phone mentioned how the platform could digitally calculate the measurements of any openings, and that piqued our interest. We really started using Hover when they partnered with James Hardie, since we’re a Hardie preferred contractor. The James Hardie app—Contractor’s Eye 3D Home Exterior Estimator—is powered by Hover, and has Hardie products as part of the 3-D renderings.

Our company sells windows, doors, roofing, siding, and gutters, and our sales team of four now uses Hover to estimate all of our siding jobs. (We use EagleView for roof measurements; for window jobs, our installers do the measuring.) Hover saves time measuring and dramatically reduces errors. Used to be that on a sales call our salespeople would walk the property to take measurements, but those results weren’t very accurate. Now, while on a sales call, the salesperson walks around the house and takes photos of the home from all angles using Hover on an iPad or on their cell phone. (The Hover mobile app works with both Apple and Android.) The result: accurate measurements that can be used to generate a 3-D model. And, since Hover is cloud-based, you can access those property measurements and 3-D models on any mobile device and online. 

There’s a bit of a learning curve in getting up to speed using it, and I’d say that being computer savvy definitely helps. But it’s worth it. Hover has really boosted our ability to be more efficient. The fact that it has taken human error out of the estimating process is key for us. Now when we order materials, we’re able to complete the job quicker because we don’t have to go back and forth to manufacturers to pick up additional materials as a result of mismeasuring. And precise measurements mean fewer material overages, which in turn means we can pass those savings onto our clients (see [10] below). Also, because Hover saves time in collecting measurement data, our salespeople can create proposals more quickly and without error. (Did I mention that Hover has boosted accuracy and cut down on human error? I can’t stress that enough!) I’d estimate that the app saves about 40 minutes per proposal.

Hover is also a great sales tool: When you can show your client a 3-D rendering of how their house would look with new siding, they get a much better sense of how big an improvement it will be, and making the sale is that much easier.

Here are excerpts from a 25-page Hover report for one of our siding jobs. Although this project was for siding, each Hover report also includes roofing and window information. (All images: courtesy Alco Products.)

1] Photo of the front facade of the project.

Hover summary2 ] This summary page of the report shows all of the job components. The colored-dot key clarifies where the various components will be installed. We use this in two ways, first as an internal report to help us come up with our job cost, and second, we use the measurements and 3-D modeling as a sales tool to help the client visualize the project. The summary page is also a great tool in helping us calculate the material order, and because it eliminates human measurement error, it's more exact and saves time. The Hover app is quick and easy to use, saving our sales staff valuable time in creating their proposals.

Hover footprint3 ] The footprint of the home 

Hover measured front of house4 ] Here you see the front of the home noting dimensions and openings. The color-coded key from the summary page continues throughout to make the labeling clear and consistent. The inset footprint diagram indicates which facade you're looking at. The Hover report documents all facades in this way that are part of the job, but we're just going to show a couple here.  

Hover front right facade drawing5 ] Front-right facade 

Hover front left facade drawing6 ] Front-left facade

Hover facade siding7, 8 ] Here you see the measurements for siding on each of the home's facades. Measurements are broken out by material: siding, brick, and stone, in the case of the facade, each with their own table, like the one shown above for siding and below for brick.

9 ] This siding chart provides measurement details for trim, corners, roofline, and openings.

10 ] The waste factor calculation page shows details of potential material waste for the job. This helps us order the correct amount of materials, which is key for any project. Under-measuring products delays job completion, lowers profit margin, and results in unhappy customers (which, in turn, results in bad reviews for our company). On the other hand, over-ordering because of inaccurate measurements makes us less competitive because we bid on more material than is needed, making the proposal more costly, and, potentially, losing us the job to a contractor with a lower estimate.

11 ] This page shows details for window and door openings.

12 ] The roof summary page shows  roof area, pitch, and waste factor. There is also a separate page each for roof measurements, roof area, and roof pitch. 

13 ] And, of course, the report includes several pages of photos of the exterior.

14 ] Using Hover, you can create 3-D images of the project, on which you can manipulate the different materials (using the toolbar at right) to illustrate different looks.

 

April 18, 2017, product update: Hover introduces two new features

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