Ernie Kaplan, owner of FastMeasure Distance Measuring Devices, is the previous owner of Kaplan Paving, so when he talks of tips to improves measuring, he's right on the money.
"Rule Number One for measuring any project is to listen to the customer," Kaplan says. "Rule Number Two is to see Rule Number One."
1. Use a satellite map program such as Google Earth or MapQuest to zoom right in to the property you are going to measure. Go to "Edit" and cut the site plan out and paste it into to a word document. Adjust the size to fit the paper that you can print this map on. Now you can draw patching locations and problem areas on the drawing as well as the measurement for the area being estimated.
2. Have your office staff prepare a map of all jobs so you know exactly where you are going. MapQuest or Google Maps will work just fine. If the mapping program does not show you the correct location be sure to document the correct location, so if you get the job you do not send the crews to the wrong location.
3. If you are measuring a rectangle property with a rectangle building on the site, measure the entire site as a rectangle, then measure the building as a rectangle, then deduct the building from the site measurements, and add the entranceways. This is a lot faster than measuring all four sides.
4. Use a measuring device installed in your vehicle. They are much safer, faster and more accurate than hanging a wheel out the window.
5. Know your customer. Don't be afraid to ask him or her what kind of a budget they have. There is no point in trying to sell the buyer a grinding, patching and overlay job, when all they are looking for is a bag of cold patch.
6. If you normally like to do your estimating in the afternoon and the weather forecast is calling for a hot, sunny, scorcher -- switch your day around and measure in the morning and enjoy the air-conditioned office in the afternoon. You will be much more productive and do a more thorough job.
For more on measuring tools, see the online exclusive article "How Do You Measure Up?".