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View Full Version : Using mapping software (google earth) to give estimates?


walker-talker
02-13-2011, 01:03 PM
Anybody ever try using google earth or similar software for figuring square footage for estimates? We have a local county website that allows you to pull up properties and outline them to get square footage. I wouldn't suggest it for mowing, but it might work for other services like aerate and chem apps since those services are pretty much based off square footage alone. It might be useful for wide area mowing.

I don't think I would give an estimate over the phone with this information, but it might be useful to get a general idea of what you are working with.

What do you think?

Landrus2
02-13-2011, 01:06 PM
Not a bad idea

phillie
02-14-2011, 01:33 AM
Ya, It works pretty well. You have to upgrade though to google earth pro

walker-talker
02-14-2011, 11:06 AM
What does that cost?
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phillie
02-14-2011, 11:45 AM
It's like 300-400'bucks.. Cheaper than going with other software but still kinda expensive
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walker-talker
02-14-2011, 12:39 PM
Yeah...I just checked it out.....$399....a little high. I used my county software, which is much slower moving from property to property, but when I used the measure tool on properties that I have already measured with the wheel, I came very close. All were within 500 sq feet. Had one within 10 sq ft and another within 30 sq ft. Good enough for me...and it's free.

phillie
02-14-2011, 12:45 PM
Hmm, I wonder if there is a site for my county like that.. I have used measureanythingfromspace.com but it kinda frustrates me.
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Ted at HindSite
02-16-2011, 02:36 PM
Have you checked out Go iLawn? Looks interesting, but haven't heard people talking about it.

http://www.goilawn.com/home.aspx

Ted at HindSite
02-16-2011, 02:38 PM
And then I saw this thread... hehe, wups...

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=340475

Ric
02-16-2011, 03:02 PM
http://www.findlotsize.com/

Is a free site that I have used. It might not be as actuate as some of the pay sites, But it is close enough for me.

I recently used it on a very broken up Common Ground Bid. I already Knew the area so it was only measuring that I wanted help with. I measured Wide and came in a half an acre over the HOA blue prints of the 25 acres.

phillie
02-16-2011, 07:32 PM
Ric, that site got me pretty close to what goilawn said my lawn was. Only thing is for some reason goilawn is better with the trees being in the way

PROCUT1
02-16-2011, 08:07 PM
I use google earth all the time for measuring parking lots. The measuring tools is pretty balls accurate. Very rarely do i take the wheel out anymore.

walker-talker
02-16-2011, 08:08 PM
I use google earth all the time for measuring parking lots. The measuring tools is pretty balls accurate. Very rarely do i take the wheel out anymore.

I am guessing you have the pro version? If so, does that version outline zip codes in your area? Also, does that $400 for the pro version last a lifetime or do you have to pay for updates?.....or is that $400 for a year?

Thanks
Matt

walker-talker
02-16-2011, 08:12 PM
Wow...I just looked and that is per year....hmmmm....think I'll pass. But, I think I will check out the free trial...when I get time.

nobagger
02-16-2011, 08:14 PM
I think it would be a nice tool but I need to meet and talk with customer's person to person.

walker-talker
02-16-2011, 08:25 PM
I think it would be a nice tool but I need to meet and talk with customer's person to person.

Oh definitely. I would think of trying to make the sale over the phone or via email. I got a call a few days ago about a HOA. I used my local county software to figure what kind of sq ft I was dealing with and came up with a "rough" estimate. I met with the lady yesterday to look at the property. My orginal estimate was $395. After looking at the property, I dropped it down to $375....so I was real close. Didn't see some trees, but over-estimated the mowing in a couple areas.

I also got a call from an existing mowing customer and she wanted an estimate for chem apps and fert. I was able to measure it online, give her a call back and she agreed to the price. I would of had to drive 15 miles round trip to give her that estimate if I had to use my measuring wheel.

So I think it does have it's place in your tool box, but I don't know about $400 a year. What I was using is free. It's just the county website that allows you to pull up zoning and maping.

PROCUT1
02-17-2011, 10:24 AM
I use the free version

I have compared it with using the wheel and it's very very close. The measuring tool itself is 100 percent accurate. As long as you click the points on the screen accurately
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walker-talker
02-17-2011, 10:36 AM
I use the free version

I have compared it with using the wheel and it's very very close. The measuring tool itself is 100 percent accurate. As long as you click the points on the screen accurately
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Ya know, I thought the free version had a measuring tool on it, but I'll be darned if I can find it.

PROCUT1
02-17-2011, 11:18 AM
On the top toolbar click the little ruler next to the envelope

walker-talker
02-17-2011, 01:02 PM
On the top toolbar click the little ruler next to the envelope

Yeah...I had tried that awhile back, but I can only get it to measure linear feet. I need to get it to enclose the area and compute square feet....how does that happen?

PROCUT1
02-17-2011, 02:21 PM
This was more clear than your PM

No it doesnt do that

starry night
02-17-2011, 02:59 PM
With basic google earth, just use their ruler to measure lines and do your own multiplication for area.

walker-talker
02-17-2011, 03:02 PM
My county's website is much easier than that, but the satellite images are not as clean, but very do-able. I got one with 10 sq ft and another within 30 sg ft. I think the worst was within 500 sq ft...and I might of rushed that one.

HighSpeed
02-18-2011, 12:33 AM
If anybody here has a droid, check out "Maps Ruler". I have checked accuracy in miles while driving from point A to point B. Haven't really tried it in feet yet. You can use the gps on the phone and walk the area, or you can go to a specific spot and measure. I assume though, this uses the same images and probably tools as google earth.

Marcos
03-02-2011, 07:43 PM
Then there's this problem of distinguishing tree canopy from turf, looking straight down from the sky.
goIlawn is much more accurate in winter months when there's no deciduous foliage to shroud grass that could be lying underneath.

organiclawncanada
03-03-2011, 12:46 AM
Tried quite a few and still can't find a great free one.

spitfire3416
03-07-2013, 02:11 PM
i just use zillow.com

it gives you the lot size plus the sq footage of the home, so you are able to gain a pretty good understanding of the actual surface area of the property you will be cutting

GW Andy
03-07-2013, 03:48 PM
You should check out freemaptools.com go to the area calculator. You drop points around the prop like the paid sites but its free! I usually un-click the show markers because the get in the way on small properties. Start dropping points along the drive and around the house then go around the lot line. This gives you a very accurate sq. ft. or acres ( MORE ACCURATE THAN WHEELS) in one measurement. It works good on the new samsung 10.1 tablet with the stylus pen.

nightshutter
03-07-2013, 07:17 PM
I use the free version of google earth with the measuring tool. Then I manually times length and width to get square footage. really only good for open areas. I just did a bid on a commercial property with tons of trees and shrubs that make it difficult to see the grass areas. It has its pros and cons. I still find sometimes it still good to walk the property

spitfire3416
03-08-2013, 10:14 AM
Anyone who has an ipad should check out the app "measure it"

inzane
04-14-2013, 10:20 PM
i'm thinking that i am about to get google earth pro, $399 for the year does not seem like much compared to the money i spend driving around doing estimates each week. I drove a good bit of miles friday (not even gonna look at the mileage log..) trying to work in estimates with my regular daily route. I've used other tools but none have been as clear as google earth for me. I'm tired of people wasting my time anyways. I am gonna atleast try to do the online estimating thing for my lawn apps, I even have a new field on my estimate request form on my website where a potential client can upload up to 4mb of images of there lawn if they want my 2 cents... I'm tired of driving out to peoples lawn and they come out saying, "oh, well i just wanted some opinions.." or "oh, i just wanted a competitive quote.." I know thats the nature of this business, however... with the technology today, i think i'm gonna try to see how it works out with online quotes and save my gas money for now. If i can cut down the amount of lawns i have to drive out and look at, it will be worth it to me.

humble1
04-14-2013, 10:22 PM
I have wondered how that would compare to goilawn let us know
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cpllawncare
04-14-2013, 11:39 PM
Inzane,

You can cut down on customers wasting your time with a few qualifying questions when they call, I know what you mean about people wasting your time, if they tell me they are just looking for some opinions or information I just ask then point blank am I going to be doing the work, if not then I'm not interested.

GrassGuerilla
04-14-2013, 11:49 PM
I haven't found any of the free ones to be useful. Can't imagine how you will ever replace walking the ground, seeing firsthand. The images at best give an idea. With little idea how current, or meticulous the trimming will be. I can guess how big of a mower ill need, but no idea about gates and access, or condition. None of them give me the confidence to give a price.
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inzane
04-15-2013, 12:04 AM
google pro is alot more detailed, however... I am more comfortable giving lawn application quotes online, over mowing. Hills and the amount of trimming/edging are some things i'd like to see in person before i give a mowing quote. I probably won't take on much more mowing anyways, I just need a few more.. I want to mainly do lawn apps.

I haven't found any of the free ones to be useful. Can't imagine how you will ever replace walking the ground, seeing firsthand. The images at best give an idea. With little idea how current, or meticulous the trimming will be. I can guess how big of a mower ill need, but no idea about gates and access, or condition. None of them give me the confidence to give a price.
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inzane
04-15-2013, 12:10 AM
i'm using the free 7 day trial of google pro right now, if any of you are wondering about it.. its worth a try, very nice program. Not sure why it took me so long to finally give it a shot, but glad i did. bingmaps, and findlotsize are just not as good as this.

inzane
04-15-2013, 12:25 AM
what kinda questions do you ask? I just don't want to come off defensive or like an a-hole sometimes. People are quick to get online and bash a company... that could really make things hard for me if i piss a few people off, so i just gotta be tactful about things i guess. I think i'm gonna do the online quote for lawn apps, send them the bid sheet, the satellite image of the areas i'll treat. let them know what the first app will consist of, and that it includes an evaluation and full report with expectations.. Ill gladly meet with them when i do the first treatment. I got 2 i'm gonna try this on tomorrow.

I am even thinking of charging for consultations if they have to meet with me, and just want opinions then that $10 or $15 bucks can go towards the first app if they decide to go with me. Anyways, i know this will never work because all the big boys do free evaluations.



Inzane,

You can cut down on customers wasting your time with a few qualifying questions when they call, I know what you mean about people wasting your time, if they tell me they are just looking for some opinions or information I just ask then point blank am I going to be doing the work, if not then I'm not interested.

humble1
04-15-2013, 07:07 AM
Consultations don't have to be free, as far as qualifying them you can ask who do they have now, what are they looking to change going forward, how soon are they looking to make a decision etc. you can tell them upfront I do a lot of consultant work in the green industry just need to know if this is for an estimate or a consultation. If they ask how much a consult is 120 an hour, billed in 15 min blocks, that does two things, keeps the ball rolling fast if it is a consult, all of a sudden the kids bugging mom and dad and small talk time wasting bs ends fast.
And it gets rid of the people looking for a few ideas.
I know a pest control guy that charges 40 for a personal appointment or inspection, the 40 comes off the bill if you hire him, time is how we all make our money, it has a worth
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