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Google Earth for doing estimates.

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Ipushsnow, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    First post here and I wanted to share a little trick I use for estimates. After getting the customers address I look up the property on google earth. Depending on where you live the photos can be of incredible quality. (I can see individual boards on my deck at my house!) There is a measurement tool on google earth and I measure the exact size of the lots and lengths of the alleys/sidewalks. This is usually most helpful when calculating how much ice control (Salt) material I am going to use on a job. The first few times I did it I took the measurments I got from doing it this way, then measured them in person to double check, they were within a foot or two each time! I am confident enough now just to go off the measurements from google earth. And another benefit, the potential customers have been very impressed every time that I was prepared enough to know the measurements before I even stepped foot on their property. And I know some will give me **** for doing this, but I actually just gave a guy a bid on plowing a lot by just looking it up on google earth. It was a 100x300 rectangle with nothing, no lights, landscaping, anything on it. I gave him the price, he was happy, is checking my references and I will be signing a contract this afternoon!
    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2007
  2. topdj

    topdj Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    now thats a good IDEA! :drinkup:
  3. BSDeality

    BSDeality Senior Member
    Messages: 736

    I use Google earth to mark the accounts and plot the routes better. Just added 25 accounts to last years schedule and I need to skim as much time off the travel as possible.

    Unfortunately not all of my town is in the "high resolution" images yet, so I can't quite measure them. For 90% of my accounts I can't zoom in all the way, but it defintely helps with routing.
  4. mmplowing

    mmplowing Member
    Messages: 56

    Up here in the NorthEast (NH) we can look on www.visionappraisal.com and get pics of peoples houses in many surrounding towns. This is an incredible time saver when the pics are good and show the full driveway :)
  5. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    Yep, I use it occasionally when the property is over an acre or more
  6. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    I use it all the time and the measurement tool is dead on.
  7. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    The pics are several years old on there. I am surprised they dont update it at least yearly. I plow several lots that arent even on there.
  8. jlouki01

    jlouki01 Senior Member
    Messages: 198

    I use it to mark boundries for commercial maint. acct's. Nice to put a picture in your contract so there is no question what gets done and what doesn't.
  9. Snowpower

    Snowpower Senior Member
    Messages: 636

    Ill use it when I get a call here at my desk. While on the phone Ill look at the property. Be careful in that the location isn't always exact, and you need to pinpoint exactly which house or building is what.

    Its funny. Ill be like. You're the house with the big deck, grey shingles, and large shed in the back? lol

    For quick over the phone "estimates" its a great tool.

    Plus I also use it to visualize my commercials etc, and study them for efficiency and how I want to plow it. Great tool. Love it.
  10. The Duke

    The Duke Member
    from WI
    Messages: 79

    The maps for my area are over 3 years old!!!

    The place where I worked for 2 and a half years after it was remodeled is on there 6+ months before the remodel was started!

    I personally wouldn't trust it after seeing that. My nieghbor redid his driveway and moved it to a different location(don't ask me why, 'cause I don't have a clue, but he did), and on Google Earth, it still has the driveway that he hasn't had for 3 years.

    I'm just trying to say, be carefull about relying too much on this.
  11. mmplowing

    mmplowing Member
    Messages: 56

    If you want a GREAT site go to http://maps.live.com/ and then use the birds eye view. I can see MUCH clearer in my area and it is more up to date.
  12. ALarsh

    ALarsh Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    Yup, I use it to give estimates. I can either do an estimate over the phone if a customer is willing to wait or i'll send it to them and they'll get it the next day. It greatly increases your chances of getting the contract by being so prompt and it saves on gas.
  13. sechracer

    sechracer Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    It is a great picture, however, it shows my mothers old truck in my grams driveway.... that truck hasnt been around on over 7 years.....
  14. mmplowing

    mmplowing Member
    Messages: 56

    Oh see its the total opposite in my area.....we are putting an addition on and that is showing on our pics. I guess it will vary in each area.
  15. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Been using Google earth for a few years, now. Before that, it was Zillow.co. We can measure the lots for salt usage, walks for product, etc..
  16. I use Google too, but I tried MMPLOWING.s site http://maps.live.com and I got an amazing picture of a shopping center I couldn't get on google.
  17. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164


    that website is so clear and concise that it SCARES ME..

    if this stuff is available to the public, imagine what the government can see??

  18. The Duke

    The Duke Member
    from WI
    Messages: 79

    Even the Microsoft one has buldings on it that have been gone for over a year.

    For this area, it is much less clear than Google's, though.

    This area must not get updated too often.
  19. Second Look

    Second Look Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Google vs Microsoft

    I hate to admit it, with bing in the computer field for almost 10 years, Microsoft has this one! Google is great as you get a really good idea of an area. Unfortunatly google is about 3/4 years out of date. Microsoft is only about a year. I painted my house last summer and it is showing the current color. I can see the stones in the drive on here as well. I found my new mapping website!
  20. mmplowing

    mmplowing Member
    Messages: 56

    Glad that it is working out for many of you.....would you believe I found out about this site from an 80 year old lady? I love it for doing mapping.