Software Lets Lumberyards Plug Into Their Customers

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Building materials dealers have another powerful tool to add to their collections--but they need not worry about finding extra room in their trucks or on their shelves because it's a virtual tool that harnesses the power of the Internet.

March 28, 2000

Building materials dealers have another powerful tool to add to their collections--but they need not worry about finding extra room in their trucks or on their shelves because it's a virtual tool that harnesses the power of the Internet. The Estimator's Add-Vantage System Lumberyard Database Toolkit allows materials dealers to provide pricing information to their customers in a format that automatically "plugs in" to a contractor's Estimator's Add-Vantage System estimating and product spec system.

"This tool allows building materials retailers to provide a new level of interaction with their customers," says Russell Santoro, vice president/marketing at Add-Vantage Software, Inc. "With this program, builders can get automated price information and order materials after hours," adds Santoro. "Getting prices has historically been difficult for contractors who often estimate in the evening. Now they can get the information they need from their favorite supplier and insert it automatically into estimates any time--day or night."

This system allows contractors to retrieve up-to-date prices and complete an estimate at his or her convenience, and order materials without delay or waiting for the lumberyard to open. This saves time, money and aggravation by eliminating telephone tag and morning or-dering at the counter. It also increases the accuracy, timeliness and professional appearance of estimates, which could lead to more successful bids for the contractor, and more materials ordered from the dealer.

"The lumberyard will benefit because contractors who on depend their price data to es-timate faster will become loyal customers," says Santoro.

The Estimator's Add-Vantage System is an enhanced template-based estimating pro-gram that is combined with an online contractor resource center and a product price database, which is available for free downloading by general contractors, remodelers and trade contractors. Templates for all major types of residential construction projects speed the estimating process, allowing for more accurate, professional and speedy responses to proposal requests.

The product price database can be updated with information from local lumberyards using the Lumberyard Database Toolkit, allowing dealers to streamline the estimating process for their customers and to receive orders from the program's estimate stock list via fax or e-mail. The Contractor Resource Center contains a product database with a system for organizing, finding and retrieving relevant product information for contractors.

Available for Windows 95, 98 and NT, the toolkit provides a simple and straightforward way for dealers to become a part of their customers' estimating workflow. The system allows users to:

  • Create, edit and save information for a variety of commonly used building materials with an easy-to-use interface.
  • Create disks to give to contractor customers that will automatically update the contractor's price database and place the lumberyard's name at the top of the contractor's faxable stock list.
  • Search, sort, filter and print records for easy updating of stock prices.

  • Create a "Specials" advertising page with information about monthly specials which is accessible to contractors at the click of a button from within the Estimator's Add-Vantage System.
  • Increase the completeness of orders received, so lumberyards will lose fewer sales to competitors whose location may be more convenient for forgotten items.

    Contractors find the Estimator's Add-Vantage System easy to use, as even novice computer users are usually able to estimate in less that an hour. The system also gives them simplified access to a variety of valuable construction-related resources on the Internet. The program is available for download at www.addvantage.com or at www.contractorfind.com.

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