By Rick Weinberg, Editor, California Business Journal.
FOR A CENTURY, THERE HAS BEEN ONLY ONE WAY TO MEASURE A ROOF: unload a heavy duty ladder from a truck, physically climb up on the roof and measure every inch of it by gingerly walking across treacherous areas that are steep and slippery. Imagine having to do that in brutally cold or hot weather, or in rain, sleet or snow. Imagine having to scale a roof if you’re overweight, scared of heights, or if you’re 55 years old – or older.
Now, with Eagle View Measurements revolutionary innovation, roofing contractors no longer have to climb a roof to measure it.
Eagle View made one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of the industry by creating a state-of-the-art software program that remotely snaps sophisticated aerial pictures of roofs and accurately measures lengths, pitches, valleys and other hard-to-see areas on roofs.
“Eagle View changed the industry forever with this technology,” says roofing contractor L.C. Nussbeck, Owner and President of Aspen Contracting.
Here is how Eagle View’s system works:
Roofing contractors throughout the country provide Eagle View with the address of the residential or commercial structure they need to estimate. With state-of-the-art software and sophisticated aerial imagery to accurately measure lengths, pitches, and valleys on a roof, Eagle View creates a 3-D view of the location, complete with individual line, slope and area measurements, most often in as little as 24-48 hours. Eagle View then produces a thorough, informative and comprehensive 7-to 11-page report that features five different images of the roof – a straight overhead image as well as north, south, east and west views of the property. The colorful images include pitch angles and very detailed measuring that is much more accurate than manual measurements.
Industry experts like Nussbeck and Matt Spanton of Mastercrafts Exteriors consider Eagle View’s invention the “greatest technological breakthrough” in the industry because it not only saves contractors hundreds of dollars, it also saves an enormous amount of time and expense in several areas (like insurance) while eliminating the risk of injury.
Measuring a roof is the biggest and most time-consuming component of a roofing estimate. It can take two to three hours when you factor in driving distance, unloading equipment, getting up on the roof, measuring the roof, going back to the office, putting together the estimate, going back to the house to present the proposal (consider weather and traffic conditions too), and then, finally, going back to the office.
But Eagle View has eliminated that exhausting process.
“Long-distance drives and increasing traffic turns productive daylight hours into non-productive commute time,” says Eagle View CEO Chris Barrow. “Roofers receive complete measurement diagrams before the sales call and that eliminates the need to travel to perform an on-site measurement. So the sales call can be scheduled during off-commute times or in the evening when traffic is lighter, saving time and money.
“Plus, bad weather can affect the ability of the roofer to make measurements in order to complete estimates. Every roofer has performed risky and dangerous measurements on slippery, steep roofs at one time or another in bad weather. Every roofer has also questioned his own good judgment in some of those situations. The risks can outweigh the reward. With our technology, we remotely measure roofs in the worst weather conditions imaginable.”
By erasing the need for contractors to hike up on a roof, Eagle View has impacted insurance and workman’s comp rates in a positive manner.
“The moment a roofer or sales person steps on a roof, it’s not only a major safety concern but the company’s workman’s comp rate goes into a different class,” says Dave Carlson, co-founder of Eagle View.
Eagle View’s innovation can reduce a roofing company’s insurance rates by up to 50 percent, according to Carlson.
The cost of Eagle View’s services start at a mere $25 per home – a fraction of the cost contractors pay to go out to the home to do a “free estimate.”
“If your hourly rate is $75 per hour, and you spend three hours doing an estimate, well, you do the math,” Spanton says.
Moreover, as he points out, “Safety-wise, accuracy-wise and efficiency-wise, Eagle View is the best thing I’ve seen come along in this industry.”
When it comes to the accuracy of measuring a roof, “very few contractors are good enough to do an accurate drawing of a roof,” says Kevin Curry, a veteran roofing contractor based in California. “If a roof is steep, most contractors don’t even get up on it. They measure from the ground and they can miss some very important details. If the measurement isn’t accurate, there’s a lot of wasted time and money.
“Historically, there has always been a lot of guessing in this business,” Curry says. “Contractors have been doing it forever. We call it guesstimating. I’ve heard roofers say, ‘Hey, I’ve been doing this for 40 years; I can eyeball the size of this roof.’ Then they wind up ordering too much or two little, and then they return it and there’s a 20% restocking fee, or they have to order more product and wind up using more time, energy, money and gas. And if you’re returning damaged product, they won’t take it back, so you’re out more money, cutting your profit margin.”
As Barrow points out, “If your measurements are too high, chances are you could price yourself out of the job. And if you’re under, you can eat the job.”
Eagle View’s creation has given roofing company owners the ability to measure more homes in a day — and close more customers – because their contractors are spending less time on roofs. Additionally, they can now hire top sales experts who do not need to climb up on a roof – or are too afraid to climb on a roof — rather than roofers who can easily scale the roof but who are not adept sales people and closers.
“There are a lot of great sales people out there who may be unable to measure a roof for a variety of reasons, but now that’s no longer an issue with our service,” Carlson says. “Closing rates can go up at much as 40 percent.”
Nussbeck has “doubled” his sales force.
“It took me two years to learn how to climb a roof and measure it properly,” he says. “Eagle View has eliminated that altogether. We never have to climb on another roof again. We can now utilize that time selling. So I hired more quality sales people.”
The presentation that Eagle View generates provides contractors with a first-rate proposal package, wowing customers and increasing the prospects of closing the client.
“These days you have to go with a very professional package and presentation,” Barrow says. “If you’re coming off a roof dripping and sweating and writing numbers down on a small piece of paper that’s all smudgy, it’s just not professional. It says a lot about your company and who you are.
“Customers can lose confidence and question an estimate based on sloppy graphs or hand written calculations,” he says. “Graphs can also be a very helpful tool when explaining the estimate to a customer and pointing out important details to work crews.”
Spanton says Eagle View represents a new era in the roofing industry.
“There are two sets of people in this industry,” he says. “There is a set of people who do things the old way – the slow, inefficient way. Then there’s the technological side of this business that is starting to evolve in companies like Eagle View, where efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness are paramount.”
“Homeowners are impressed by the accuracy and professionalism of the presentation and our measuring innovation,” Barrow says. “Every business owner knows that the more professional the presentation, the higher the closing rate. Those who embrace this new technology will unquestionably have a serious edge over their competitors.”
For more information about Eagle View, visit www.EagleView.com or call 866-659-8439.
Copyright © 2013 California Business Journal
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Rick Weinberg is Editor-in-Chief at California Business Journal. He is a well-known journalist, writer, reporter and on-air talent who has worked for the New York Times, FOX and ESPN. He launched CalBizJournal.com to focus on California businesses and business professionals as well as California business news and information. Contact: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / 949-648-3815