Conducting a landscape takeoff is an essential task in the construction process. It forms the base of your budget and allows project managers to calculate the materials and supplies needed, providing a detailed projection of what is needed to keep the job on track. If you don’t have a decent takeoff to work from then you will find it much harder to compile cost estimates, proposals, and supply order forms.
The Old Way to Estimate Landscaping Jobs
Traditionally, creating a takeoff was a lengthy process. The manual method required contractors to follow the engineer’s instructions directly from the blueprint or create their own design, relying on rulers and notepads to calculate areas, volumes, and lengths. This information would then need to be entered into a database and converted into quotes from local vendors. This not only took time but also made it harder for landscaping companies to take a team approach to the task, due to the niche skillset needed to read plans.
The New Way of Estimating and Designing Landscaping Projects
In recent years, an innovative solution to these issues has emerged. Tech companies with an interest in landscaping have turned their attention to takeoffs and built modern software to automate most of the processes involved in this stage of the project. This speeds up the process, reduces errors, and allows for greater flexibility in the event that something needs to be changed.
Price for Landscape Design and Takeoff Software
There is a range of different types of software on the market, and each offers a different set of tools and functions. Depending on these factors, companies can expect to pay anywhere from $900 to $3,000 a year, for varying levels of customization and service. The average monthly fee is around $85. Working out what the best deal is can be tricky, because of the variation in the way that companies charge for software.
How Companies Charge for Landscape Software
There are three main ways that companies tend to charge for their software.
Per lookup: This approach means you will be charged each time you enter an address as a search. The software company uses a third-party company like NearMap to show you the address and charges you each time you use their software to lookup an address.
Monthly: Companies that charge a monthly fee usually calculate costs based on how many users are working in the software. They do this so they can adjust according to data usage.
Yearly: The yearly payment model works in much the same way as the monthly method, but will often offer users a discount for paying in advance.
Which landscape takeoff software offers the best value for money?
With the number of landscape takeoff software options growing year on year, it can be tricky to cut through the noise to determine which provider offers the most bang for your buck. To help you wrap your head around the market, we’ve compiled a list of the eight most popular options out there, along with how much you should expect to pay, and what features and tools are included with your purchase.
Developed by landscape designers and irrigation experts, LandOne Takeoff and Design allows you to create simple and accurate landscape and irrigation estimates from an uploaded PDF design or aerial image.
Features: Takeoff and design functionality. Robust measurement and material cost calculation tools, customize materials to match your company’s guidelines, use aerial imagery or photos to layout landscape enhancements, cloud storage, unlimited projects,, multiple users, and training/onboarding included.
Cost: Takeoff and Design starts at $80/mo which includes 2 users, with a 10% discount for customers who pay yearly.
Features: Start designs from property surveys or templates, select from 9,000 plants in Horticopia and over 1,200 symbols by DynaScape to produce designs, render your designs from 2D to 3D, Mobile Crew Tracking App.
Cost: $2,995 design bundle, + $189/mo for sales and estimating add-on. Yearly updates are additional.
Features: Measures square footage, volumes, and linear dimensions, area dimensions for sod, mulch, gravel, and other products, point, drag and click interface.
Cost: Takeoff Only $1895; 1 user first year with 3hrs training. Updates $300/year/user thereafter.
Features: Auto-Count Objects, Annotations, and Callouts, Point, Click, & Drag interface, Multi-Condition Takeoff, automatically saves your takeoff calculations.
Cost: Native solution only. $2500+ for 1 license, additional fees for updates, and training.
Features: Overlay plans, drag & drop tools to organize plans, AutoCount, takeoff templates, cloud-based, callout and markup tools, unlimited projects.
Cost: $1,999/year for one full user and two view-only users.
Features: markup and collaboration tools, cloud-based storage, measures volume, depth, radius, wall area, angle and arcs, custom markups and measurements, visual search tool, link measurement totals from multiple PDFs to Excel worksheets.
Cost: Takeoff Only $349 one-time/device/user; $99/year maintenance/user; $99/year support/user or $1,299/year for open license (multiple users/devices)
Features: photo imaging, CAD specific for landscape design, 3D rendering, companion app.
Cost: Design Only $1,495/user/ 2 devices. Updates $295/year/license
An all-in-one landscape design and takeoff solution
We can see from this list that the vast majority of software options can only facilitate certain aspects of the design and takeoff process. Unless you choose an all-in-one program such as LandOne, you will need multiple licenses to complete your project.
For example, to get all the features included in Landone, you would need to purchase:
Dynascape for the design section, $2,995 (annual) + PlanSwift to create your takeoff, $1895 (annual)
Doing it this way would bring your total annual spend to $4,890.
Comparatively, a comprehensive, all-in-one program like LandOne will only set you back $864 for the entire year, giving you access to construction takeoff tools, design tools, and accurate property measurements.
How to Justify the Cost of Landscape Takeoff Software
Purchasing and installing quality improvement software can be a game-changer. It can improve quality, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve profitability. But how do you convince your employer to get on board?
The most convincing argument you can make for implementing new technology is to break down exactly how much it will save the company. The numbers can be arranged into three categories:
The total implementation cost
To figure out this number, work out how much it costs to purchase and implement the software. You should include the obvious costs like the software price and license fees, as well as less obvious ones like training sessions or new hardware.
The total cost of ownership
To calculate the TCO of new software, determine the upfront costs for each solution and the net present value of recurring costs over the expected lifespan of the program, then subtract the upfront costs from the present value of future costs.
Return on investment (ROI) calculation
The basic formula for calculating ROI is:
(gain from investment – cost of investment) / (cost of investment)
Obviously, it is impossible to foretell with 100% accuracy how a business will grow and change over the lifespan of your software, and your ROI will only ever be an educated estimate. However, make sure you can demonstrate how you arrived at your numbers and be transparent at every stage of your calculations.
LandOne Takeoff Software
Our LandOne Takeoff software aims to streamline every aspect of landscape and irrigation installations. From planning to project management, our intuitive, lightning-fast technology updates each measurement and estimation in real-time. Our takeoff software makes it easy to calculate costs and give your customers an accurate estimate every time.
Start your free 14-day trial today.