Kyle T. Webster

Typically, after a first meeting with a remodeler, a prospect talks to friends, goes online, gets inundated with advice and ideas, and by the time they meet the remodeler again for an estimate, things have shifted, especially ideas about budget.

Determined to create a system to shorten the time between “dates,” remodeler-turned-consultant Neil Parsons developed Design Build Profit software. Using the system, “the discussion that would happen in three weeks can happen on the initial meeting,” Parsons says. “The excitement level is still high, and the scope of work is defined and doesn’t drift.”

Easy and Speedy

Design Build Profit software includes 39 cost code categories with a detailed scope of work from initial demolition to post-project maid service. There are CAD designs, floor plans, elevations, and detailed itemized pricing for the entire project. It can be used for design/build remodeling or using existing architectural plans.

As for the sales aspect, someone with a general knowledge of remodeling can put together a job with a client that is no different, says Parsons, than “going up and down the aisle in the supermarket” to pick and choose components.

Mark Elia, owner of Mark of Excellence, in West Long Branch, N.J., has been using the system since its inception in 2006. “It makes things move more quickly,” he says. And Elia usually gets a retainer at the first meeting.

Accuracy Breeds Trust

The software’s line-item pricing is drawn from vendor and trade partner price lists. All that’s necessary to calculate project cost is linear- or square-footage information.

The program propagates everything needed, right down to light switches, circuits, hardwood flooring, windows, etc. “The formulas are based on the history of jobs produced and what the common choices are,” Parsons says.

The document created goes to production and stays with the client throughout the job. If a client wants two more recessed lights, the price is already determined.

“If someone is going to give me a price, I want it to be an accurate expression,” Parsons says, referring to client expectations. “You don’t get to the fun part unless you get past the money hurdle. We include everything. I don’t want to argue whether hardwood flooring was included.” More important, Parsons says, is that “once we get past [that] hurdle, we never argue or debate about money.”

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.

Read more about Neil Parsons’ estimating system.