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View Full Version : Wha?? Measure, and quote a lawn from the net?


Rayholio
01-19-2008, 04:54 PM
Ok.. just got a trade magazine in the mail that features a pair of lawn care guys who have an awesome web site..

Customer enters address, and they're instantly given a quote based on their lawn size.. Next day the applicator shows up, and performs the Tx... Freakin' awesome..

So.. I've heard of people using google earth ect. for measurements. but How? I've downloaded the thing, and my neck of the woods looks like a mess of green, cuz all you can see are the tops of the trees.. and where there arn't trees, it's still a blur.. on the other hand, I can see individual people in new york with it..

I know you can pay for an enhanced version.. but does it only work for major cities?

If I could quote from the office, or set up a net deal, it would save a ton of time.

bblawncare
01-19-2008, 05:17 PM
I used the 7 day free trial of Google Earth Pro and the images used are exactly the same as the free Google Earth. And they even tell you that upon starting the Pro version. It seems that certain areas have better images than others-and it seems those areas are the more populated areas. Places with a lot of trees are hard to see. Some places allow you to zoom in closer. Most of South Florida comes in pretty clear for me and I have been able to measure my properties with the free version of Google Earth-I compared those results with the measurements I took years ago on those same properties and they are pretty darn close. Luckily FL is very flat so no hills to worry about. I would not want to rely on this program entirely, but I find its good for reasonable size estimates.

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
01-19-2008, 05:44 PM
It all depends on how important they think your area is, as to what the resolution is... Some more rural parts of the country they didn't take high resolution pics, so it is a little more blurry, or pixalated if you zoom in real close. If nothing else, it can give you an idea of what the property looks like before you waste your precious $3/gallon gas to find out it is in a trailer park, or somthing. :laugh:

Runner
01-19-2008, 05:48 PM
Actually, yes,...there are a few pitfalls around this. First, some areas ARE not as clear as many others. With some address, you just can't tell what house is what addres. When you put in the address, sometimes the mark just shows up in the general vicinty, so you can't really tell what house it is. My address puts me in a field next door. Further, sometimes, it puts you at the wrong address altogether.
Now, as was mentioned above, trees will mess up the ability, the lack of knowing where the definite boundaries (property lines) are will also. Another, many of these pictures were taken 2 to 4 years ago....much has changed since then. (Garages built, etc.). You can't see fences, which affect price. You can't see ditches, hills, and other factors that affect price, either. And another issue, because the shots are so old, many places aren't even on there. They do not even register some streets, and if you want to lok at a new house in a new development, you end up looking at an empty field.
It DOES work well for the most part, for existing places for those places you are generally familiar with. you just have to look real close for the beds and their dimensions and such.

bill8379
01-19-2008, 06:10 PM
Many cities have their own data base about property sizes. Mine I can type in an address and it will tell me everything. Sq ft, pool or not, 1 or 2 storeys, corner lot and it will even show me a diagram the property shape along with all the properties beside it.

That's actually how I know the sq ft of my lawns. I'm not sure how I would integrate that into the system your talking about though. I have to do it manually.

Rayholio
01-19-2008, 06:31 PM
Many cities have their own data base about property sizes. Mine I can type in an address and it will tell me everything. Sq ft, pool or not, 1 or 2 storeys, corner lot and it will even show me a diagram the property shape along with all the properties beside it.

That's actually how I know the sq ft of my lawns. I'm not sure how I would integrate that into the system your talking about though. I have to do it manually.

Sounds great! where do I get THAT?

bill8379
01-19-2008, 07:59 PM
Sounds great! where do I get THAT?

Well for me I just go to the city's website under property assessments. I actually got this Idea from JustMowing. They had a link in their website (which is down for the winter), a customer who didn't know what their property size was could type in and find out. Then they would know how they were going to get charged. For Just mowing I think its anything under 12k is $28 with extra few buck for corners or something like that.

Here is what my cities web site assessment looks like, I just type in an address..

Type in "2 Mulligan" These people are from India, everyyear they phone me for an estimate. They only want to pay $20 I tell them $30 and they say how can you know without seeing the property. I tell them I do the one across the street and I give you an estimate every year now stop phoning me.http://www.winnipegassessment.com/AsmtPub/english/propertydetails/default.stm

They property is an external corner and much larger then the 6900sq ft the city says because they don't include city property in the assessments but we still got to mow it. Press the Value Map button to see their yard.

MStine315
01-19-2008, 09:55 PM
It DOES work well for the most part, for existing places for those places you are generally familiar with.

Along with what the rest of the posters have said, this is it, in a nutshell. It's a tool, not a magic bullet. A tool that can compliment the rest of your operation. I also use it for snow to measure parking lots. I used it last winter to essentially verify every customer's measurement and to get some that I didn't have at all, but here's the key, I knew the property and knew the approximate size, so I was just getting closer. I wouldn't want to measure "blind" with it. And I have some rural area that I know pretty well where I can't even pick out houses, let alone property lines, roads, etc... because the resolution is so poor. I'm sure in the next short while this will be improved, but in the meantime, a measuring wheel it is.

LushGreenLawn
01-20-2008, 02:48 AM
Try

www.zillow.com

Its like what you are talking about, but nationwide. I find there are about 10% of properties that I can't find on here, but for the ones that I can, its great.

bug-guy
01-20-2008, 09:58 AM
i think you can ballpark some areas through the county tax apparisers web site.
i just went on and checked my own property. total sq ft minus house, garage,shed and poured concrete. really close and since we deal with 1000 sq ft and round up the difference is insignificant. And if the is alot of landscaping or other features that take away turf it would add to the degree of difficulty.

xtremelawn
01-20-2008, 11:01 AM
Ok.. just got a trade magazine in the mail that features a pair of lawn care guys who have an awesome web site..

Customer enters address, and they're instantly given a quote based on their lawn size.. Next day the applicator shows up, and performs the Tx... Freakin' awesome..

So.. I've heard of people using google earth ect. for measurements. but How? I've downloaded the thing, and my neck of the woods looks like a mess of green, cuz all you can see are the tops of the trees.. and where there arn't trees, it's still a blur.. on the other hand, I can see individual people in new york with it..

I know you can pay for an enhanced version.. but does it only work for major cities?

If I could quote from the office, or set up a net deal, it would save a ton of time.

Can you give the web site you are talking about i would like to check it out>

thanks

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
01-20-2008, 11:05 AM
www.smartlawn.com

Rayholio
01-20-2008, 01:01 PM
The really cool thing about it, is that its all real time. no human involvement in the server end, it pulls lawn size using microsoft virtual earth. anyone use THAT service?? is it identical to google earth?

Runner
01-20-2008, 03:18 PM
Zillow is the same type of thing. I was using that a few years ago before I started using google. It has about the same resolution and such that google has, including the problem with the missing areas. I am willing to bet that they both use the same pictures. Zillow doesn't have the tools like the ruler, though.

Rayholio
01-21-2008, 01:48 AM
K... I just spent about an hour messing with zillow.. unless there is some other version of it, It only had like 30 records for homes in my city.. and of those, I could only find one with lot size filled in... so I guess I'm stuck with a measuring wheel, and a big gasoline bill..

topsites
01-21-2008, 02:31 AM
Don't feel bad, County records is just a heads up type of thing, you still have to look at it, there's way too many factors could mess you up bad if you didn't.
Just for example they could have 1/2 their property in the woods, or maybe they own an annex that doesn't show up on record.

I never give an estimate without looking at the work, that's just asking for it.
btw estimating is part of the cost.

LushGreenLawn
01-22-2008, 11:26 PM
I just checked out the website, and all I can say is...

i'm glad the lowballers have not yet started treating lawns in my area, I deal with them enough mowing.

M&MLawn
01-22-2008, 11:32 PM
I use this site for plowing estimates online all the time....

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=r4t6yk7p8n8z&style=o&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=5436527&encType=1