At Blackjack Horticulture, collaboration is key. We caught up with estimator Eli Nichols to find out how LandOne Takeoff Software is improving team communication and streamlining their estimating process.
How it Began
When Blackjack Horticulture reached out to LandOne in March of 2018, the Alabama based landscape company was looking for a way to give its estimators more freedom and flexibility during the takeoff process. They wanted a tool that could facilitate multiple revisions, which would allow team members to work collaboratively on the same project and estimate quantities with pinpoint accuracy.
Two training sessions later, the team was set up with our LandOne Takeoff software, and according to Eli, they haven’t looked back.
About Blackjack Horticulture
Blackjack Horticulture has been bringing architect visions to life since 1998, creating outdoor spaces for businesses and families throughout the states of Alabama and Mississippi. From small formal gardens to large commercial sites, Blackjack’s ethos is that the daily details matter as much as the big picture, and nothing matters more than relationships.
The company’s average job size is around the $50,000 mark, with some larger-scale jobs tipping $600,000. With a core team of nine designers and contractors, the folks at Blackjack take a collaborative approach to takeoffs having anywhere from five to six people working on the same bid at any one time.
Switching from On-Screen
Prior to adopting LandOne Takeoff, the company was using OnCenter’s On-Screen takeoff software and iSQFT. However, they found those didn’t allow for the inevitable revisions that arise throughout the estimation process. Each time a change was needed the team would have to start from scratch, wasting valuable time and energy which would have been better served working on the bid.
On top of this, Eli said that the clunky user face was causing unnecessary confusion, and team members were having to spend time working out how to use features and tools.
Training and Using LandOne Takeoff
Blackjack Vice President Betsy Hayes was one of the first team members to try out the software and relayed what she’d learned to the rest of the crew. One of the biggest concerns many business owners have about adopting new software is the time it will take for the rest of the team to adjust, but after just two training sessions, Blackjack was ready to rock.
Eli told us, “After the training sessions we started clicking around and learning on our own. We didn’t have to watch many videos to get the hang of it. LandOne is easy to use, well-labeled, and just easy to learn. Everything is laid out so that it’s easy on the eye, and simple to navigate.”
The team has used the software on a couple of different devices, but for Eli, most of the work happens on his Desktop Office PC. As the lead estimator, he spearheads takeoff projects. He says the software has allowed for more efficient collaboration across the company, with between five and six contractors working on a plan at any one time. This cloud-based collaboration means that while one person is completing a landscape section, another can be working on a hardscape estimate portion.
For Eli, LandOne’s new pan tool has been a lifesaver. The updated feature allows the user to pan by either holding space and dragging or through a right-click and drag, eliminating the need to be in “blank space” in order to pan while in selection mode. Touchscreen, tablet, and mobile users now also have fully functional panning and zooming, both in selection mode and while actively drawing, allowing greater freedom and flexibility when out on-site visits.
The software has also helped the team make quick, seamless revisions to drawings. Instead of having to start from scratch, Eli is able to clone a section or tab to add changes. Not only is this a time-saver, but also a convenient way to keep track of how the project is progressing. The ability to make small changes like this has helped make quantity estimates more accurate, reduces waste, and provides precise budgets and material lists.
Eli said, “Shortly after adopting the software we took on a large drainage project. We created the drawings and takeoffs through the program. We had more than 500 ft of drainage pipe to deal with, and the software allowed our contractor to estimate within 5 feet of the total amount of pipe for the whole project.”
Looking forward, LandOne is working closely with customers like BlackJack Horticulture to make our takeoff software even more effective and tailored to the landscape industry.