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simPRO Takeoffs Beta: A Round-Up of Our Favourite Developments

October 25, 2021

This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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For the last few months, simPRO has been on a mission. A mission to help estimators get more out of their software by introducing a vital feature to their workflow within simPRO - takeoffs. This mission has involved countless hours of development, 11 releases, 34 major features and over 300 improvements implemented. All of this to help estimators save time, become more efficient and estimate seamlessly, within one software package.

We gathered your feedback through customer interviews and an in-app survey that garnered over 200 responses. And, we used this information to make simPRO Takeoffs even better.

A man wearing a cape taking off into the sky, one arm outstretched

So what is our current mission status? simPRO Takeoffs is out of beta, and ready to take off.

It’s not enough for us to just tell you about all of the features and improvements we’ve made, so we’re going to back it up with some customers who have made the switch to simPRO Takeoffs and are loving it.

While not every feature we have released has been monumental, there are some that are definitely worth a shout-out. In this blog, we’ll walk you through updates that:

Seamless Estimating Experiences

New Features and Improvements:

  • Open Takeoffs with one click within jobs or quotes
  • Catalogue favourites - Filter for favourite items when adding catalogue items to takeoff drawings
  • Use attachments as plans - Build a takeoff directly from a quote or job attachment
  • Improved Take Off Template functionality - Browse and search for Take Off Templates from within simPRO
  • Improved search - Find the required quote or job in simPRO Takeoffs
  • Consistent quote and job table headings - Takeoffs headings now match those in simPRO

So how will these features and improvements help you estimate in a more seamless way within simPRO? Great question!

If you’re already familiar with how navigation and logic works within your simPRO build, these improvements will allow you to easily transition into using Takeoffs as the look and feel is more in line with simPRO. You can also access Takeoffs more easily - with one click of a button, through simPRO.

These features allow you to more seamlessly navigate and create takeoffs using your existing prebuilds, catalogue items, Take Off Templates and cost centres. View and search your catalogue favourites with the handy favourites filter. Soon you’ll be a PRO at using Takeoffs.

Estimate Faster and Smarter

New Features and Improvements:

  • Load multi-page plans - Upload a multi-page plan and select pages to create multiple takeoffs at the same time
  • Add one-off items to takeoffs - Add one-off items for when you don't have that particular item in your catalogue or prebuild
  • Increase existing volume measurement - Add more of the same volume-based material or add more of an item without creating a new line in associated quotes or jobs
  • Download takeoff versions - Takeoffs support upload of multiple file types, including .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .bmp, .tiff, .pdf, share files with others not using simPRO Takeoffs
  • Delete counts easily - Amend the count of items added to a takeoff in a few clicks or by using your delete key
  • Create new Takeoffs in fewer steps - If there is only one section or cost centre, Takeoffs will select them for you
  • Access Takeoffs from anywhere - Use Takeoffs on a tablet and access marked-up drawings in the field via simPRO Mobile
A laptop with a visual of Takeoffs on the screen a stopwatch and brain surrounding it

These features are all designed to get you starting and finishing your takeoff faster and more accurately. One thing we’ve learned from our customers is that, essentially, estimating and sketching projects by hand is time consuming and increases the risk of errors. Just think - every minute you spend on a drawing is time that could be better spent submitting a tender. Plus, professional, high quality plans submitted via PDF are sure to impress and may even help you win more jobs.

These days, estimating is not just about accuracy. You also need to be more efficient by being able to work from anywhere. Sometimes that means being out on site, sometimes it means you’ve just remembered about a switch you forgot to add and maybe you’re on your way to another job site, or you’re already relaxing on the beach. Using simPRO Takeoffs on a tablet, allows you to be agile when estimating.

Making Takeoffs More Intuitive

  • Unlock takeoffs - Save time and unlock a takeoff that has accidentally been left open by another user
  • Add your own symbol packs - Upload and use your own specific symbols
  • Create takeoffs from a blank canvas - Don’t have a plan? No dramas, create a new one from scratch
  • Easily change count, length, area or volume - You don’t need to decide on these attributes until after you’ve clicked “add item”
  • Guidelines - Quickly and easily align your lines and items using the guidelines Improved zoom - Increased zoom sensitivity for a faster and smoother zoom
  • Improved summary table - A new Summary button allows you to click to view and edit the summary or items added to the takeoff. It also enables you to view labour and fit time multiplier values, deductions and markup quantities all in the one table
A laptop with a visual of Takeoffs on the screen with a lightbulb in the right top corner

Improving your experience by streamlining and revising the way things are done in simPRO Takeoffs is important, and we’ve used your feedback to help us move forward in the right direction. Simple things like improving the zoom, allowing you to unlock a takeoff if someone has forgotten to exit out of a plan and even view everything you need at a glance, in the summary table, are all small things that have an impact on how you experience Takeoffs.

Some of the bigger updates like using guidelines, changing and choosing the attributes of items, and the ability to create a takeoff from a blank canvas, allow you to be more autonomous in the way you set up and design your takeoffs. You no longer need to rely on having all the paperwork right then and there. No need to depend on having a computer mouse or a steady hand to draw straight lines, you can even upload your own symbols. These updates give you more control.

A large blue ticket with yellow exclamations coming from it

You Asked, We Listened - BIG Ticket Items

  • Pin your favourite and commonly used items - When choosing items to add to your takeoff, pin the item for easy access in the future
  • Access Takeoffs - Launch Takeoffs from a corresponding quote or job in a single click
  • Preview plans - Click to preview a plan without downloading it
  • Duplicate plans for other cost centres - Copy a plan into a new cost centre, copying across all items and continue working
  • Improved item picker - Set multiple item types, symbols, colours and size at once, and load them into your takeoff in one go
  • Symbol packs - Over 400 symbols have been added, with more each release
  • Take Off Templates - Create or use existing templates so that you can quickly mark up your drawings
  • As Builts - Record changes from an estimate, and use to create variations
  • Improved scale options - Set your scale using ratio and page size

Time to bring in the show stoppers! You’ve been asking for these features, and we’ve listened. These are the game changers, the ones you’ve all been waiting for.

Symbols, symbols and more symbols. We’ve been working with a range of professionals across all industries to gather more industry specific symbols for you to use, plus a mammoth amount of generic symbols have been released, with more being created for each release.

Using the same symbols over and over again? Pin your items and choose the symbol and other attributes for you to use across all of your takeoffs, regardless of the job or quote.

Now, when you start a new takeoff and add items, you can assign their type, symbol, colour and size all at the same time. You can also "insert all" or select the items which are relevant for your current job, from the one pop-up screen.

I could personally talk about all of the game changers in simPRO Takeoffs forever because there is SO MUCH to talk about. But, we have customers that have said it better than I ever could. AC Electrical used Takeoffs from the very start of the beta, and have revisited it since. This is what they had to say:

AC Electrical logo
“After revisiting simPRO Takeoffs a few months after the beta had started, it was just brilliant. It integrated with our system, did everything we needed it to, and after a week trialling Takeoffs, we cancelled our other software and are exclusively using Takeoffs for all of our estimating needs.” - Dan Walsh, Contracts Project Manager

Listening to our customers is very important to us. We listen to your needs and do what we can to help by creating new features, improving workflows and developing new products. And you know what? Takeoffs updates won’t stop here. We will continue to listen to your feedback through the Ideas Portal, and add to the list of features we have in the pipeline. Beta might be finished, but Takeoffs isn’t!

A man wearing a cape taking off into the sky, one arm outstretched

More to come

  • Create deductions to area and volume - Make your measurements more accurate using deductions
  • Create cost centres - Create a cost centre directly in a takeoff
  • Double click to finish a line, area or volume
  • Add a count to a mark - Have a mark/symbol count as multiples of the same item
  • Grid overlay - Use a grid over your drawing to line up items and lines
  • Arc tool - Draw an arc instead of a line
  • More symbols - More industry specific and generic items to be added
  • Plus more, see the Product Roadmap for more information.

Mission status update? Takeoffs, prepare for take off.

Why leave it there?

To find out more about simPRO

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