JG Innovations, based in Wisconsin US, began using Countfire in November 2021 as a solution to remote-based work within their estimating team. Since then they have been able to take advantage of the benefits of true automated estimating, from speed and accuracy to accessibility.
We caught up with Kendra Tietz, an estimator at JG Innovations, to find out more about how Countfire has enabled her to work more effectively in her remote role.
About JG Innovations
JG innovations is a manufacturer of custom interior and exterior metal soffit enclosure systems. These systems protect a variety of mechanical structures such as plumbing, HVAC, fire sprinkler systems, conduit and data cables.
The company’s installation team and estimators work on projects across the United States and Canada, covering both residential and commercial spaces. These include university housing retrofits for fire protection and HVAC, as well as institutional facilities such as prisons.
One of the most notable projects they are currently involved with is the installation of soffit enclosures over the fire protection systems in the FEMA disaster relief trailers, which provide temporary housing for victims of natural disasters.
Adopting new methods of estimating
The estimating team at JG Innovations previously worked using the traditional takeoff process; printing off scale drawings and manually measuring and highlighting where fittings and soffits would be installed.
Last year, Kendra took on a remote position which meant she would no longer have access to printers that could output large-scale paper-based plans. This was when the company decided to look for a fully cloud-based solution that they could use to complete takeoffs.
Kendra was very specific in her requirements and after trialling different solutions, she soon found that Countfire was the only software that not only met her criteria, but also provided extra benefits to her estimating team.
“A lot of other automated estimating programmes would only give a total footage per plan page, whereas in Countfire I can itemise and measure from wall-to-wall and document the individual measurements.
Our soffit systems come in eight or 10-foot lengths, therefore I need to know when a measurement is over in order to include a coupling, so it's really important to see those individual numbers.
Another criteria that we needed to account for is vertical measurements. On a plan page, you can't see verticals, but with Countfire I am able to snap a line to a specific length. For example, if the ceiling was eight-foot, I could include a vertical eight-foot measurement in the takeoff, which is very useful.
Also, we often need to include additional fittings on the plan, such as end caps, therefore I would need to mark those out. With Countfire I can simply put a dot on the plans and the app automatically adds them up for me so I don't have to manually take the time to count these individually. I couldn’t mark up these fittings as well on other programmes.”
The benefits of cloud-based, digital estimating
Kendra says that since the company began using Countfire 6 months ago, she has completed over 60 takeoffs and saved hours of manual counting and highlighting.
“When working remotely, the traditional takeoff method is just not practical and having everything saved in the cloud is so much more convenient as we don’t have to print out any documentation. A single project can be anywhere from one to 20 pages of plan papers so it also saves us plenty of space.”
One of Kendra’s favourite features in the Countfire app is the ability to export takeoffs to Excel, she notes that she can “transfer the data straight into the estimating files that everyone in the company uses, which makes it a really smooth transition and accessible for everyone.”
Customer support at Countfire
Kendra says that her queries or issues are answered within 24 hours by Countfire’s product specialists, and she also makes use of the help centre which includes plenty of videos and ‘how to’ guides.
One feature Kendra finds particularly useful is the feedback log. Kendra recalls she recently suggested including the bid date on the dashboard of the app, and the feature was added within a week or two of her request. This means estimators can now organise their bids by date-order to see what work needs prioritising.
"Countfire has been a great investment for our company as I've been able to pick up the work at home and complete my tasks more easily and faster than I ever could by doing manual takeoffs. Even if we all went back to working in the office full-time, Countfire would still be an invaluable tool for our company."
Trial Countfire today to see how automated estimating can improve your businesses’ speed and accuracy, and help you win more work.