Time Is Your Currency...Spend Wisely

Let’s face it, the daily routine can be a grind. Some days it seems nearly impossible to accomplish everything on our list. And more often than not, despite the very best planning and prioritizing, things change. The things we intended to do are lost, forgotten or postponed as we work to cram as much as we can into our quickly-evolving day.

For those of you that work in construction, you likely know this concept well. Between the bid deadlines, field visits and day-to-day operations, there’s only so much time in the day and only so much energy you can exert. Deciding what to do and making tough priority calls is necessary, but it doesn’t have to take as much of your valuable time as you might allow.

If your bid process is long and laborious, if you’re still using yesterday’s takeoff tools for tomorrow’s projects, if you want to spend less time in the office and more time in the field or with friends and family - it’s TIME to make a change.

Taking advantage of takeoff and estimating software can not only have a tremendous impact on your business, but can also add valuable time back to your day. Leave paper plans, rulers, markers and out-of-date spreadsheets behind and invest in software that will allow you to bid more work, in less time. In doing so, you’ll improve the accuracy of your takeoffs, eliminate costly errors and significantly expedite your bid process.

“Time is free, but it’s not priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”
-Harvey Mackay

Time is your currency – spend wisely.

Contributed by Tom Zapf, Customer Care Team
Tom Zapf is a senior member of STACK's customer care team. He's passionate about supporting a product that he believes in and loves to hear the success stories and experiences of STACK subscribers.

What to Do When You Miss a Deadline

So you missed a bid deadline, huh?

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not the end of the world. A little time spent following up can go a long way – even if you are tardy to the party. Stop sweating and start here:

  • Check to see if there’s a bidders list. If there’s not, call the architect listed on the plans for that particular job.
  • Introduce yourself and your company – establishing a good relationship with an architect can never hurt. Ask if the job has been awarded and to which GC.
  • Call the GC and ask if they are still accepting numbers or bids for your particular division.
  • Let the GC know when you can submit a competitive bid. Verify what you’ll include and what is spec to ensure they’ll be comparing apples to apples with other bids.
  • Don’t blow your second chance – deliver the bid ahead of or on schedule with what you committed.

Most General Contractors are willing to take a look at another number, after-all your bid represents an opportunity to save money on a project that is likely tight on budget. Even if the GC chooses another bid, your outreach had helped you to make a valuable connection – one that has the potential to earn your company a bid invite for future projects.

Contributed by Cameren Mcberry, Customer Care Associate

As a member of the STACK support team, Cameren’s view of STACK has stayed consistent through significant internal and external growth. He’s a firm believer that STACK software is changing the bidding world for the best and feels lucky to see that as he helps customers everyday.

In his free time, Cameren enjoys coaching Jr. High School football and mentoring kids in the community.

Top 10 Reasons to Move Your Takeoff & Estimating to the Cloud


So much of our day-to-day activity is spent interacting with or relying on cloud-based applications - from the the way we store and share photos and documents to the tools we use to collaborate with friends and family. The connectivity and flexibility that the cloud fosters is essential for consumers, so just imagine how it can transform the success and productivity of your business!

Not convinced? Perhaps these top reasons to make the move will inspire you:

1. Lower cost – More Money in Your Pocket.

Do you really know the cost of that old-fashioned desktop software? Consider the cost of not being able to work remotely. Consider the cost of having to pay the annual “maintenance” fees, which often only account for bug fixes and not valuable new features. With a cloud-based solution, you pay one price, monthly or annually, and the new features and updates simply appear. You know your cost and encounter no surprises when new operating systems are released. You never need to upgrade your computer’s storage capacity. With desktop software, your true cost is most evident when it comes the value that you are missing elsewhere. By empowering your employees to work together, no matter where they’re located, you’ll realize significant value in the form greater productivity and business opportunity as bids accuracy increases and deadlines are met.

2. Document Control – One Version of the Truth

Before the cloud, workers had to send files back and forth as email attachments to be worked on by one user at a time. Following this antiquated process, you end up with a mess of conflicting plan files, out-of-date modifications and a confused and frustrated group of collaborators that aren’t sure where the truth is. When you make the move to cloud computing, all files are stored centrally and everyone sees one, consistent version. Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately means better work and a healthier bottom line. If you’re still relying on the old way, it’s time to try something a little more streamlined.

3. Mobile Access – Work from Anywhere

With cloud-based solutions, if you’ve got an internet connection you can be at work. Whether at the jobsite, at a hotel on the road or in your home office, a cloud solution such as STACK makes it easy to be productive from anywhere at any time. You aren’t tied to a single computer by an old-fashioned software license key. The result? Businesses can offer more flexible perks to employees so they can enjoy the work-life balance that suits them – without productivity taking a hit. One study reported that 42% of workers would swap a portion of their pay for the ability to telecommute. On average they’d be willing to take a 6% pay cut. Increased productivity and happier employees - what are you waiting for?

4. Real-time Collaboration

When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together, and do it better. With a solution like STACK, multiple users can be working on the same project, at the same time, no matter where they’re located. Management finally has full visibility into every project being worked across the entire organization.

5. Rapid Deployment Across Platforms

In many cases, where there may be dozens or even hundreds of users of construction takeoff software, deployment of the software is a major project requiring hundreds of hours of time by IT Professionals. In the new world of cloud-based construction solutions, deployment can happen instantly for hundreds of users. Training needs are minimized due to the point and click nature of the new and intuitive software design. STACK software, for example, runs equally well on any Mac or Windows device.

6. Automatic Software Updates

Using cloud-based software means that any updates are done automatically, behind the scenes and without interruption. You don’t need to worry about your takeoff and estimating software working with the latest version of Windows or the newest Mac OS. STACK solutions are updated automatically with new features and improvements every three weeks – all at no additional cost and without any installation required.

7. Ease of Use – Earlier Productivity

Outdated desktop software is often so heavily laden with features and functions that it requires extensive training. In many cases with this kind of construction estimating and takeoff software, users require days of intensive training before they can become productive, and then still only use a small percentage of the total features available. In the new world of cloud-based computing, products like STACK are designed to be point and click simple to use and in many cases users are productive without ever talking to a support or sales person.

8. Flexible storage

Plans and specs for a single project – a hospital, for example – can equate to well beyond 1 gigabyte of data. When you consider that many companies can bid hundreds of projects each year, the amount of storage needed for project documents can be huge. The days of storing mission-critical project documents on a local, in-house server, or even on your laptop and hoping to avoid a hard disk failure is a thing of the past. With a cloud-based solution in place for your takeoffs and/or estimating, you simply upload your documents and forget about it, as you pay nothing more for storing a Terabyte of data than for storing a single Gigabyte.

9. Security & Disaster Recovery

Many small to medium sized businesses don’t have or don’t take the time to implement automated processes to handle the backup and storage of their mission-critical data (plans & specs, addenda). This leaves business owners one hard disk failure away from a total crisis in terms of the operations of the company. Users of STACK solutions for construction rest easy knowing that their data is stored safely in the cloud and that the security of their data is guaranteed, no matter what happens to their local computers.

10. Competitive Edge

If you’ve often wished there was some simple step you could take to become more competitive, you’re not alone. Moving to the cloud give access to enterprise-class technology, to everyone. It also allows smaller businesses to act faster than big, established competitors. Pay-as-you-go service means small outfits can run with the big boys, and disrupt the market – all while remaining lean and nimble. Cloud-based takeoff and estimating is the best competitive advantage you can give your business.

Contributed by Phil Ogilby, Founder & CEO
As a former commercial contractor and founder of iSqFt, Phil knows the challenges that come with streamlining the bid process extremely well. His passion for technology and helping STACK customers to bid more work, in less time is unmatched and evident throughout STACK's intuitively-designed, easy-to-use, cloud-based takeoff and estimating platform.

Afraid to Learn Something New? Get Over It!


Learning something new can be intimidating. In fact, when it comes to learning new software, we know this to be true. Often we work with users trialing our software who sound as if they want to give up before they even get started. We understand that fear of the unknown can initially cause people not to try new things, even if the end result has the potential to improve [your business] dramatically. We get the fear, but you need to get over it and we can’t wait to help.

You’ve likely heard the saying, “It’s all in the approach,” and here at STACK, we couldn’t agree more.Learning an entirely new process can seem overwhelming, but not when you break it down. Chances are there will be elements that you’re actually quite comfortable with. Follow these 3 steps and you’ll be well on your way.

Step 1. Give yourself credit.

You might be new to the world of digital takeoff and estimating, for example, but if you’ve been conducting paper takeoffs, you already know the process extremely well! Instead of approaching this new method as something completely foreign, give yourself credit for the related knowledge you’ll bring to the table.

Step 2. Identify familiar elements.

You already know how to do a takeoff, right? The same skills you’ve grown accustomed to leveraging will still be essential as you get started with software. You’re still measuring, quantifying and planning – you’re just doing it with a new and improved tool set.

Step 3. Ask for help.

The most important thing to keep in mind when learning something new is to ask for help along the way. There are always people ready to assist you – especially here at STACK! Don’t spend time trying to figure it out only to end up frustrated. Reach out – call, chat, email – communication is key.

Contributed by Troy Newman, Customer Care Manager
As head of the STACK support team, one of the things Troy has come to enjoy most about his job is hearing how STACK software helps customers - from winning more bids to gaining more time with family. In his free time, you can find Troy hiking or camping!

July new features release from STACK!

Log in today to see the latest improvements in action and learn firsthand how these additions are sure to infuse your bid process with ultimate efficiency!

Rotate Geometries Icon

Rotate Geometry

Select one or more geometries and give them a spin - an incredibly useful tool with multi-unit projects like hotels and apartments.
Bookmark Icon

Bookmarks

Save individual details or whole pages to the new bookmarks folder for quick access, or use the place bookmark tool to add clickable links right to your floor plan!
Add Points Icon

Add Points

Need to add a point to a geometry? No problem! Edit mode now includes an add point tool - great for making minor changes and quick fixes.

Stay tuned for more features and improvements in 2016!

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Kick-off your summer with something cool from STACK!

The newest feature from STACK gives you the ability to find text on plan pages - making it easier than ever to identify the pages most relevant to your business & quickly find the keywords you’re most interested in.

More Exciting Features in This Release

  • Grouped Reports - You’ll now see the grouping field appear as a column, making the excel export much easier to pivot & manipulate.
  • Sortable Reports - A new sorting button at the top of each report now allows you to sort by up to two columns.
  • Performance Improvement - Lots of behind-the-scenes work was dedicated to making STACK faster and more responsive to your needs.

Don't let April Showers Get you Down!

Introducing Company Label Groups - an exciting new feature addition!

The latest innovation from STACK will put a smile on your face as you create and save label groups to your company library. Label groups are a powerful, flexible way to customize STACK to your business and this new feature will help you to organize your takeoff data just the way you like it - from building location-based takeoff reports to your own one-of-a-kind organization solution.

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March 2016 Software Update

Plan Key Icon

Enhanced Plan Legend

Quantities on the plan legend? Yes! Start drawing and watch them update, in real-time. Sorry free uses, you’ll have to upgrade to access this exciting new feature.
Hide Plan Icon

Improved Page View

Customize your tree and thumbnail view using the new hide/show feature. Don’t worry, you can bring back hidden pages anytime by clicking the ‘show hidden pages’ option.
Line Snap Icon

Simpler Line-Snap

Keep your lines straight by hitting the shift key to toggle the snap option on and off. You’ll also find a snappy new button in the edit tools.
Multi Select Icon

Easier Multi-select

Multitaskers, meet the easier to use multi-select feature. Just hold down the shift key and click on each figure you want to add. Click again to deselect and remove from the group.
Color Icon

Expanded Color Selection

Much improved color picker! Select from an expanded pallet of colors, or click the Custom button to dial in your own values.
Search Icon

Smart Search

Spend less time looking for plans, takeoffs, items & assemblies. Enter any word in the search bar and we’ll return all possible options. Use “quotes” to search an exact phrase.
Speed Icon

Faster Plan Loading

Go ahead, zoom in on a plan and prepare to be pleased. Not only will your view clarify much quicker, but it will also use less bandwidth.
Organization Icon

Increased Organization

Upload ANY file type to the new Documents folder added to every project. Spec books, Excel sheets, BIM models and more can now be centrally stored.

There are many more features and improvements to come in 2016, which we're very excited to share with you.

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February 2016 Software Update

The winter weather in Ohio has been challenging this month but things are warming up with a new STACK software release.

Here’s a quick round up of the changes to STACK Estimating.

  • Improved multi-select tool - You can now change height, depth, pitch, and multipliers.
  • Snap works with dimension line - Just hold shift to snap to horizontal, vertical, or 45 degree angles.
  • Improved workflow on fixed dimensions - you can now enter height, depth or pitch before drawing.
  • Hover box for takeoffs now shows height of surface area, depth of volume, and pitch measurements.
  • Improved print to PDF speed.
  • Improved display order for items and assemblies.
  • Increased thumbnail functionality.
  • More secure web server.
  • Several bug fixes.

Join Us at World of Concrete 2016 in Booth #C7632 !

Our Sales Team will be attending the World of Concrete Trade Show in Las Vegas from Feburary 2 - 5, 2016

Phil Ogilby STACK President and CEO will be on the showroom floor demonstrating our cloud based takeoff and estimating software. We will be featuring our updated concrete and masonry catalogs.

Click the button below to learn more about STACK at WOC 2016

Learn More

More New Features for January 2016

STACK Construction Technologies is happy to announce the latest release of our digital takeoff and estimating software. We’ve added a bunch of great new features that will help save you time by simplifying your takeoff process.

Feature Spotlight: Takeoffs in Thumbnail View!

This is one of our most highly requested features which will allow you to quickly browse through your plan thumbnails to find the takeoff you are looking for. See it for yourself on the thumbnail of any new takeoffs that you complete or of any newly edited plan pages. Click here to login and check it out!

More New Features for January 2016

  • Takeoffs in Thumbnail View (on new and edited takeoffs)
  • Improved Dimension Line Customization
  • Improved Markup Tools
  • Smarter Takeoff Tools Remember Wall Dimensions for the Current Session
  • New Fractional Inches (Measurements under 20')
  • Several Bug Fixes
  • Increased Processing Speed
  • Improved Performance on Large Projects

What we do

STACK brings together the very latest in web technologies to deliver a powerful yet surprisingly easy to use, web based software as a service solution. We believe that STACK will transform the way the construction industry works, estimates and collaborates using digital plans. It is our mission to continue to improve, integrate with more and more plan rooms and to infuse STACK with additional sources of real time data for the benefit of all industry participants.