One of the most important aspects of estimating landscaping jobs is taking accurate measurements. Measuring sounds simple, but actually it is one of the areas where landscaping estimators make their most frequent and costly mistakes. That is because measuring rarely involves straight lines and right angles. Instead, the spaces we are tasked to measure have bends and curves, rises, dips, and dents.
The world isn’t made up of perfect squares and rectangles. We shape our spaces around our lives, not the other way around. As landscapers, we need to be able to make accurate measurements no matter what shape our customers throw at us. Failing to do so can lead to underbids, shortages of labor and materials, and unhappy clients.
An Ancient Problem
Taking accurate measurements has long been a struggle for people. In ancient times, the Egyptians introduced the first standardized system of measurement, the cubit. This dramatically improved the lives of construction crews, who no longer had to measure things based on the width of their hand or the length of their foot.
Some of your more seasoned landscaping crew leaders might remember a time when everything was measured with tape measures and measuring wheels. While those methods can still work (though we’re not sure if Lowe’s sells a standard Egyptian cubit), they require careful, methodical measurements and a series of accurate mathematical calculations.
These days, landscapers have access to incredibly powerful measurement tools such as software, drones and satellite imagery, giving us our biggest advantage yet in pursuit of this age-old quest to take accurate measurements.
Handheld Measuring Tools
We think we can get away with stating a simple fact about measuring tape: When it’s gone, no one will miss it. Luckily, there’s a better way to measure.
Leica Geosystems introduced the first laser measuring tool in 1993. It gained widespread adoption and laser measuring devices are common today. That is because they are more compact and more accurate than measuring tape, and easier to operate by a single user.
Laser measuring devices have their drawbacks though, especially when the object you’re measuring has bulges or other irregularities. An even more modern solution to this was launched just last year.
Moasure uses motion to measure distance, gradients, angles, and calculate area. It combines a measuring device with an app on your phone and exports directly into CAD programs as well as into LandOne Takeoff.
Measuring tools like this offer versatility and accuracy to landscaping products.
Taking to the Skies
It used to be that landscaping measurements had to be compared against blueprints and construction plans. While these may have provided accurate measurements when they were designed, over the years, designs tend to change. Homeowners add rooms and pools and change the layout of their landscaping, and the blueprints landscapers had to work with become less accurate every year.
In response to this, designers of modern landscape takeoff software integrated satellite imagery with their modern measuring tools. Google Earth, Nearmap, and FindLotSize are popular options when it comes to satellite images of properties similar to the feature you get with LandOne.
Many takeoff softwares, LandOne Takeoff included, allow for a technology that’s even more accurate than satellite imagery, drones.
Drone photography offers real-time pictures of properties that cannot be matched, even considering the power of satellites. While satellites might miss the fence your customer installed last week, a drone surely won’t. Drones also get bonus points from us because they are a lot of fun to fly.
This integration of aerial photography provides more accurate layouts than blueprints. And since the photographs are processed by the same software, the integration with drawing and measuring tools is easier, faster, and more accurate than pencil and paper drawings.
All in One Takeoff Software
While it’s possible to take accurate measurements and deliver high-quality estimates to clients using a combination of these tools, having takeoff software that integrates everything into one is faster, easier, and requires less of a learning curve since crews will be dealing with the same interface for every aspect of a project.
Luckily, we picked a good time to be in the landscaping industry, because there are more than a few options to choose from. GoiLawn is a popular choice, as are STACK and PlanSwift. And then there’s our personal favorite, LandOne Takeoff.
LandOne Takeoff goes beyond the others by offering the easiest integration with drones and satellite imagery, and drawing tools that make measuring and calculations easy. Our software can be used to estimate, present plans to clients, and assign work to laborers and landscaping crews, all while keeping accurate costs of materials.
We set out to design the world’s best way to measure landscaping jobs and built a software that allows for real-world conditions, be it odd shapes or clients with last-minute adjustments.
But don’t take our word for it. Almost every company with their name on a takeoff software allows you to try it for free, and we encourage you to do just that. Once you’ve realized the power of takeoff software, you might start to wonder how on earth you ever lived without it.