STACK (STACK Construction Technologies, www.stackct.com, 866/702-6078) is cloud-based pre-construction software for Mac and PC. It features tools designed to empower contractors to store, view, and collaborate on plans and project documents and to complete fast, accurate takeoffs using digital blueprints uploaded into the software.
The solution, which is completely customizable and supports multi-user, real-time collaboration, has a proprietary autocount function for quick, precise counting of common HVAC symbols on the digital plans. Users can adjust the takeoff type to determine area, linear and other measurements. There are three subscription-based editions, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise.
The generated estimates incorporate labor, equipment, overage, profit margin, tax, and other business considerations. The software come with a library of pre-built items and assemblies and users can customize the database to accurately determine quantities. The solution can also calculate lengths of plumbing runs, air ducts, and wiring, and quantities of duct hangers, plumbing fittings, elbows, and registers.
The Plus edition includes basic quantity takeoff tools, unlimited project storage and plan measurements, Microsoft Excel integration, printing, and exporting. The Pro version adds a pre-built materials database; the ability to import your own custom database; a custom assembly formula editor; and the ability to generate material, labor and equipment reports. It also incorporates an Excel Project cost calculator, a bid calendar for project status and assignment management, and advanced material takeoff tools such as bookmarking, hyperlinking, and plan text search.
The Plus, Pro, and Enterprise subscriptions include a dedicated customer success manager, free training, ongoing support, and software updates. All editions also enable numerous integrations, including direct connections with invitation-to-bid software (e.g. Smart Bid, Smart Insight, Pipeline Suite, and Dodge Data and Analytics), and one-click connectivity to a variety of document storage solutions for uploading plans (e.g. Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Google Drive, and One Drive). STACK also integrates with several project management platforms (e.g. Buildertrend, eSub, Red Team, and Procore).
Pricing is dependent upon the edition, based on a per user/per year fee structure. A free edition with select capabilities limited to 7 days is available.
HindSite HVAC Service Software (Hindsite Solution, www.hindsitesoftware.com, 888/271-4076) is field service software for mid-sized contractors that includes sales and estimating, scheduling, intelligent routing, GPS tracking, billing, reporting, and customer communications. Users can set up multiple contract tiers and particularize services offered, frequency (one time or recurring), and billing rules for each contract type.
A daily screen shows technician location during each day, facilitating scheduling of repair with the closest tech. It is also possible to mass schedule customers, grouping neighborhoods by technician and day, with the software using GPS for most efficient routing.
The HindSite Android or IOS mobile app gives field personnel all customer data, including service history, plus the ability to send messages, job notes and other communications. Crew in the field can capture on-site photos of equipment and work performed, time spent on the job, and material records.
Flexible billing supports time and material or flat-rate billing (changeable at will). The software offers two-way syncing with QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, and Sage 50, eliminating duplicate entry.
For contractors with commercial properties with multiple units, the software’s asset functionality allows tracking of each HVAC unit separately, with data such as model name, model number, and serial number recorded for each.
Customer invoices can include explanatory information such as drive time, field notes, descriptions of problems, due date, payment terms, and upsell promotional messages.
Daily MustDos ensure the software user reviews information on incomplete jobs, enabling easy rescheduling and reminders for still open tasks.
Various types of reports are available, including budget vs actual, by technician, crew, or customer, and service reports. Users can create queries in real time to generate data on virtually any information collected and stored in HindSite. Data can be coupled with Microsoft Word and Excel templates to create printable reports. It is possible to design an estimate in Word and upload it to HindSite and the software will merge the estimate values into the Word document, resulting in branded estimating templates, ready to print or e-mail.
HindSite’s Sales Manager offers campaign management tools to target and market to prospects and customers, with the ability to build and maintain a pipeline of sales opportunities and track the activity, effectiveness, and ROIT of specific campaigns.
The optional add-on HindSite Connect enables contractors to send appointment confirmation e-mails after a job is scheduled, appointment reminders a day ahead, and notification when a job is completed. (It is also the customer satisfaction reporting engine.)
The optional higher-tier Connect Pro provides for sending personalized, branded e-mails to members of your campaign, post service satisfaction surveys, and automated requests for online reviews from “happy” customers, with links to popular review sites.
The Sales Manager capability features a dashboard and stores all call notes, e-mail notes, and tasks, and facilitates reminders. You can generate sales analytics and reports on opportunities to sales reps, with each rep’s close rate and revenue productivity. It also supports integrating sales visits into your calendar.
The optional add-on, GPS-enabled plug & play HindSite Tracker monitors location of company vehicles during the day with respect to scheduled jobs, in real time. The add-on includes speed tracking of each vehicle and real time alerts of speeding, as well as a maintenance record for each vehicle.
Pricing of STACK is per user/per month.
Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. She can be reached at [email protected].