Increasing Efficiency in Your Estimation Process - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Increasing Efficiency in Your Estimation Process

Whether you work on the landscape maintenance or landscape construction side of the business, estimating and site measurement is a time-consuming task. If you aren’t taking advantage of the software and services available to speed up this necessary process, you could be sacrificing efficiency.

“Estimators spend anywhere from 40-70% of their time on measuring sites,” says Shiva Dhawan, CEO and co-founder of “But that hardly wins you deals. The true value lies in value engineering, aligning proposals with the prospect’s budget and specific needs. It is in this crucial step that estimators can truly shine and secure lucrative deals. With less time and resources spent on drawing polygons, you can invest in upskilling your estimators and sales reps, helping them do more and ultimately augmenting sales efforts.”

Companies like and SiteRecon provide automated takeoffs, freeing employees from manually surveying a property.

Utkarsh Sharma, founder of SiteRecon, estimates that landscape companies save 40% of time spent during bidding seasons and 80% of time is saved in the total estimating process.

Photo: SiteRecon

Dhawan says that by switching to automated takeoffs, landscape companies provide the first quote to reach your customer. He says by being the first quote, there is a 60% chance of winning the project.

Despite this technology providing significant time savings, the adoption of automated site measurement is estimated to be anywhere from 2 to 10 percent of the industry. Sharma says this low adoption rate is due to mindset problems, issues with processes and a lack of awareness.

He says some landscape professionals only trust things done by hand and want to keep their estimating in-house. Others simply don’t have reliable estimating templates to generate their costs and another subset isn’t even aware this technology is available.

Dhawan adds that data transfer from one software to another can make landscape companies reluctant to switch tools.

“The outdoor industry is continuously evolving and staying competitive in today’s market demands embracing automation to be able to shift your focus from repetitive, tedious tasks to strategic, meaningful tasks,” Dhawan says.

Automate Site Measurement for Landscape Maintenance

Landscape maintenance, parking lot maintenance, asphalt paving construction and snow maintenance operations are the sectors that benefit the most from’s software as it can streamline the sales workflow, optimize bid accuracy and maximize opportunities for sustained growth.

“With’s automated property measurement software, you save 95% of your time on one-off and multi-site takeoffs,” Dhawan says. “All you need to do is 1. Enter property address 2. Confirm lot boundary 3. Approve takeoff. That’s it! You can queue up to 10 properties in a single go and forget about them for the day. Return the next morning for 10 highly accurate takeoffs (we guarantee 98+% accuracy) with comprehensive takeoff reports featuring HD, color-coded sitemaps.”


Dhawan says users can upload large multi-site portfolios by sending over a list of the addresses in Excel format and receive the results in a few days’ time.   

Sharma says that SiteRecon is useful for everything from lawn care and pest control to landscape maintenance, landscape construction and snow removal.

“We found most of our customers actually turned around their workflow,” Sharma says. “Once we start working with them, they get the map first and then they visit the property so that they can talk to the property manager with some actual tangible stuff in their hand.”

Sharma says SiteRecon is able to map more property features and conditions than their competitors. Their collaboration features allow multiple users to work on one map, allowing crews to use the map created during the estimating process once the job is won.

“We are the only open and extensible mapping platform in the industry,” Sharma says. “We integrate with all CRMs out there; we enable data exports in multiple ways.”

For those hesitant about AI’s accuracy, Sharma notes that automated site measuring takes the grunt work out of measuring. He says you can win or lose on deals and margins by focusing on fine-tuning.

“You will still need to review the measurements supplied by any program, just to make sure it matches with the scope of work in the office and the field,” Sharma says. “That’s called a production review. No one is asking you to get rid of that process.”

Speed Up Landscape Construction Takeoffs

Meanwhile, on the landscape construction side, Takeoff Monkey provides takeoffs based on blueprints or commercial plans. Like site measurement, the takeoff portion of a construction process can take 50 to 80% of the time spent bidding on a project.

This work is tedious, but it must be done and it has to be correct. Takeoff Monkey’s team of civil engineers handles this process and notes any discrepancies or contradictions in the plans as well. Landscape contractors receive their takeoff plans in a couple of days.

Photo: Takeoff Monkey

“I’d say the adoption rate is somewhere around maybe 50%, but it’s definitely come on strong,” says Tommy Lather, founder of Takeoff Monkey.

Aside from landscape contractors, those providing irrigation or erosion control services can also benefit from Takeoff Monkey’s service.

Lather says all of their staff are U.S.-based and experienced in the landscape industry.

“We speak your lingo,” Lather says. “We feel your pain. We know the pressure. Whereas some of our competitors you’re dealing with only folks that are overseas. Not only is there a massive time change barrier, there’s also a language barrier. There’s just an experience barrier. These guys may know the software. They may know how to read blueprints or plans better than anybody, but have they ever installed any of it? No.”

By freeing up your estimators, they can work on other meaningful tasks like dialing in your material costs and labor rates, bidding on more work, and talking to your customers.

Companies can either pay per property or sign up for a subscription service with Takeoff Monkey.

Future of Estimating Software

Sharma believes estimating will become more scientific in the future with more property features being measured such as slopes, shrub height and tree height. He also predicts that property features will be measured closer to operational requirements, such as providing the length of string trimming or blowing areas versus using soft edges and sidewalks to approximate these services.

“I think the next frontier when it comes to digitizing what’s going on in the field is going to be mapping,” Sharma says. “It’s happening on paper. It’s happening in people’s heads. It’s happening in text messages. People are just sending photos to each other. That structure is going to bring out efficiencies across the business and then also make them future-ready for electrifying their fleet or automating mowing.”

Lather believes there’s always going to be a space for them in the future. He does expect some standardization with designs and drawings to enable AI to do a better job doing takeoffs in the next 10 years.  

Dhawan predicts end-to-end automation with estimating software is the future so employees can focus on fine-tuning the estimates and provide exceptional service to customers.  

“The future is all about empowering outdoor services businesses to work smarter, not harder, and unlocking their true growth potential,” Dhawan says.

Want to know more about what these brands have to offer? Don’t miss speaking to them face-to-face at the ELEVATE Expo in Dallas, Texas.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.