Anyone use estimating software?



We use Contracker.


Paper and a pencil here


paper, pencil, calculator, digital camera and some satellite imagery to help prequalify.


Hi Marshalls Exteriors,

We will are going to use their service soon.


we deal with insurance companies on 95% or more of our jobs, so we use Xactimate.


for roofing software try

it is a complete solution built for roofers.


i have been using google earth to get a better of idea of what I am going to look at, and also to scope out the neighborhood, maybe geberate a few neighbor’s names etc. Always nice to drop a few names of neighbors
if you happen to know mthem, or have worked for them.

I have been using spread sheets since 1984,
apple had a program called visicalc…
It’s hard to get away from that format after 25 years
of doing paper work. I use quick books, and once I enter in a specification, generating a proposal, and work order and purchase order and invoice are simple.


just started using an excell spread sheet on a laptop. It is all time and materials…not square footage. We sat down and figured everything out down to the hour. overhead, labor and all. put in our profit % and there it is. I have tested it back against what i think i would sell by according to square footage and it was pretty close. But how can you sell by square footage with one house being a straight ranch…and the next one being a hip ranch. you have 5 times as much cap (just a for instance). I am actually training my first ever salesman besides me. Its working pretty good so far.


every item is listed…
footage of capped ridge
fotage of ridge vent w caps/ spec 3 or 4 different manufacturers
I was having problems with purchase orders that shipped 3 tab shingles for caps…not all 3 tabs a useable
for caps on some special order cors on 40 year or 50.
so I break down every detail.

Once I write a specification and save it, putting together a proposal is a matter of either / or…then there’s no way to miss anything. In order to eliminate a certain item, I actually have a spec that states…this proposal does not include chimney flashing replacement unless agreed upon by owner after inspection of existing.


Here’s what I use, in order of how the project goes from the first contact:

  1. Roof inspection sheet (Excel, fill in the blanks for once I’m onsite)

1a. Print a map to the site location & this goes on the reverse of the inspection sheet. Even with a GPS, this makes for an easy point of reference later on when the project is filed away. Important even if I don’t sell the job, I do NOT throw away the file. What happens if there is hail in the area? I’ve already got it measured & inspected for counts on lead jacks, etc… better to have this info & save time if I try to sell the house a 2nd time (plus, if the home is sold to someone new, I have a fresh attempt @ selling the job).

  1. Google Maps & to get an idea of what the project site looks like.

  2. Where possible, take the Google image & dump it into MS Paint, then blow it up to a useable size, add different colors for things like hips, ridges, rakes & eaves, etc. For about 75% or more of the houses, this is essentially my drawing & I don’t have to sketch the house once I’m on the site.

  3. Excel spreadsheet to calc my costs on parts & labor + any “extras” I think should be tossed in (one of these days I’m going to add a line item charge for suspected incidents of “PITA”, or Pain In The @ss", i.e. customers that I just know are going to be a potential liability downline, like ask for a few hundred off the cost if there’s even one nail showing into the reveal).

The spreadsheet is my P&L statement per job. So long as this works out correctly & I have even added a line item ‘fudge factor’ on the upside, then I know I’ll always make money on my projects (some less than others, but in the end I’m banking vs bleeding).