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Ohio Painting Contractor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We would like to start using pc tablets and an estimating program/software such as PDCA Pacer Estimating, One Step Estimating, or Total WorkFlow for the purpose of keeping better records while estimating. Does anyone have any advice or hands on experince with these products? Im not sure which tablet or software to buy.
 

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I am also considering the same system so I have done a lot of research on them. When it comes time to buy I will definitely be buying a Panisonic Toughbook CF-19. They are one of the few tablet PC's that were originally designed for the military and law enforcement. You can throw them against the wall and dump hot coffee on them. They are also designed to do well in desert situations. So being rolled around the back seat of a pick-up truck all day would be no problem.

The CF-19, Itronix, and Motion Computing tablets are the only ones, as far as I know, that can be viewed in direct sunlight without a problem. Crucial for exterior estimates. They range in price from $1800 to $2800.

As far as the software goes, that's a problem. They are all different and will serve different functions in a business. (I don't know anything about the PDCA software as I'm not a member) The only one I have seen in action is the One Step Estimating software. It's pretty nice...

You do the takeoff while you are walking through the job with the customer. Once the walk through is over it automatically generates a contract, which they can sign right on the tablet, a work order for your crew and a materials list. Done. If you need to you can then run out to the truck and print a copy, or email it to them if you have a wireless card...

One Step is just estimating software with a one time fee.

Total Workflow on the other hand is software to run a contracting business, with a monthly fee. So it has a lot of other features like start to finish job tracking, profit loss statements and customer retention.

So it really depends on what you need. Both companies have sales reps who will do an online seminar with you. Both companies have a package deal with the software and a Motion Computing tablet PC.

Let us know what you decide.
 

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Ohio Painting Contractor
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275 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Im leaning torwards PDCA or ONESTEP. Im not sure if I should use our software and spreadsheets and buy a pc tablet or if I should use their software and buy my own pc tablet. Thanks for the info Humble I will let you know what I decide. I like the idea of someting that can be tossed around in the truck all day long.
 

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I have tried, One Step and hated it. If you are good with Excell make your own spreadsheet. We have a Motion tablet now and it sits in its cradle. They are slow to process and are a bit cumbersome to use. We have Total work flow now and it is a bit over complicated for Painting. I have since stopped using TWF and have taken the time to enter sq ft pricing into our Quick Books Pro. We have the latest program and can't be happier with it. IMO do it yourself and save a bundle in machines, programs that sound great and do not quite live up to standards. If a H/O wants you to break down a price into rooms, you can't do it with eighter program...and that stinks
 

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Born To Be Mild
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I use PEP and National Paint Estimator. Like PEP better. Once you get the hang of it (it's not that hard) you can do estimates fairly fast.
 

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Born To Be Mild
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Ethan, if you want to see what a PEP estimate looks like, I can email you one. I think they also give you a free trial which would be even better.
 

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:cowboy: I've been using Invoice2Go. Pretty inexpensive but does take some time to REALLY set up and wouldn't work well at the customer site.
I tried PEP and liked it and will probably upgrade to that this year. Pacer is too much money for small company like mine.
 

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an estamater used a tablet pc for the company i used to work for and he got it out of jobsite magazine i forget what the device was called..i think it was like 23700$ though annd i knkow he had problems seeing it in direct sunlight and that was his only complaint besides price...does give a proffesional looking image to an estamator though
 

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an estamater used a tablet pc for the company i used to work for and he got it out of jobsite magazine i forget what the device was called..i think it was like 23700$ though annd i knkow he had problems seeing it in direct sunlight and that was his only complaint besides price...does give a proffesional looking image to an estamator though
Dear God, 23,700$ is a lot of money for a computer;) that you can't even see when your outside
 

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I have a motion tablet and love it! We were using forms that we had printed years ago and every time we had to make changes it was VERY expensive because we always had four carbon forms (customer, powerwasher, leader, office) what I did was buy omniform from ebay (too expensive in store) and scanned my forms into motion tablet. I then made all the changes (you can move stuff change it whatever) now I can fill out the form, save it, print it from my portable printer (HP 460 also ebay) and saved all those costly reprinting fees.

Now when a customer makes changes it is a matter of second to change on the form instead of a rewrite that might get missed.
 
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