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Take a moment and picture this:
You have a client that has described a project that you really want. You want to make a good impression when you show up for the first consultation. This is when you want to show off your professionalism and your knowledge of the industry to ensure you have the best chance of being able to land the project. You also want to make sure that your measurements are accurate so that you can accurately quote the project itself. Not to mention, you have three other consultations scheduled for that very same day so time is of the essence.
What do you have in hand when you meet this customer for the first time?
Ideally as little as possible. Something to take notes, something to take pictures, something to show off your portfolio or products, and something to take measurements. Ideally you have a tablet to take care of everything except that last part.
Do you bring a tape measure? Well if you work outside in the elements like we do, likely you are going through tape measures often as the dirt and water clog them up real good. There is nothing worse than taking measurements for a customer and your tape measure wont retract all of the way. So, what is the alternative?
Having the right tools for any project is important to the efficiency and professionalism of any business. This is why we have opted for a measuring wheel. We want to show the customer that we have the right tools for the job and being able to show that off starts with that first consultation. Along with the advances in technology surrounding the construction industry, the measuring wheel has come a long way from its analog approach. Now with digital options and even connecting your smartphone to it so that you have the area plotted, these tools have really come a long way.
What is a Measuring Wheel and How to Use a Measuring Wheel
A measuring wheel is simply a wheel attached to a long rod that allows you to measure distance. All that you need to do is run the wheel along the ground along the path in which you want to measure. There is generally a trigger that allows you to start, stop, and reset the measurement. It really is an extremely simple tool, but there are iterations of it that are coming onto the market that allow you to plot it onto your phone to be able to see an overhead view of your measurements. This becomes extremely helpful when providing a quote on an exterior project.
Especially when you are running a significant distance or the shape of a space is irregular, using a measuring wheel to efficiently run the distance that will be accurate that you can take back and confidently create a quote based on those measurements. There are a couple of options to consider when deciding on a measuring wheel such as whether or not you want to go digital. Also, having a measuring wheel that is built to provide you with the least amount of friction to measure and read the measurement so that you can take it back to the office to prepare your quote is something worth considering.
Why Get a Measuring Wheel
Though there are a couple of really great reasons why you should get a measuring wheel, it is not meant to be used for certain aspects of measuring. For example, a measuring wheel is really great for getting those larger distances over a project with minimal effort. However, it is not great for those measurements that require an accurate measurement while on a job site.
Really this tool is for the initial project estimate. Alternatively to get a large scale project measurement that does not require perfect accuracy, you can always use Google Earth. This works really well if you have a backyard that you are looking to measure because you have the fence as markers to follow with your measurements. Google Earth is not the best for odd shaped measurements. This is where a measuring wheel comes in handy.
That being said, a measuring wheel is really going to help you stand out to a customer when you first meet them showing them that you come prepared and ready to go even with that first consultation. Here are the two greatest reasons why you should get a measuring wheel.
This is always an important factor as to why you should invest in a tool. Especially one of little cost as a measuring wheel that will be used on every consultation that you visit. If it can save you some time, it is likely going to save you more than what that tool is worth over its lifetime. The easiest way to think about whether or not this is going to save you money in the long-term is to do a cost analysis on the tool itself.
If this tool is only going to be used for initial measurements during the first consultation, think about how many consultations you went on the previous year. Then think about how much time this would save you as opposed to the way in which you are doing it right now. For example, last year as an estimate we went on 50 consultations and if we had a measuring wheel we could have saved 10 minutes. That is a savings of 500 minutes or 8.33 hours. If I had a sales person being paid a salary of $50,000 or lets just say $25 per hour, this would equate to $208.25 in savings. If the tool itself lasts 3 years before it is lost, destroyed, or stops working, it would have saved me $624.75 not to mention the overhead expenses that we did not include in this. So as long as the unit itself does not cost more than this, it is a good purchase for my business. Again, these are just estimates and you would need to run through the numbers in your business.
Not only is efficiency important, but so is the perception of professionalism in your industry and to the customer. As soon as you meet your customer, you are selling them on the idea of having you take on their project. If you come prepared with the right tools in hand, you already are showing them that you will be prepared with the right tools to complete the project when they sign on with you. A measuring wheel is not going to sell a project for you, but it does not hurt in adding to that sense of professionalism that you are a person who invests into their business to increase that image of competency and efficiency.
Measuring Wheel Reviews
There are several different measuring wheels on the market, all of which do the most basic of tasks which is simply measuring distance. However, some are built a little more better than others and have various buttons, triggers, and readings that are easier to read than others. For example, some measuring wheels hold a trigger or brake at the bottom where the wheel is that is meant to be stepped on lightly to stop or reset the count. However, this can easily lead to that stepping action being a little harder than it should be and simply breaking the trigger.
Another thing to look for is where the measurement reading is. Some readings, especially on smaller measuring wheels, is at the base of the wheel which forces you to lean over to take a look at the reading. Though a minor inconvenience, it is a little more difficult nonetheless. Measuring wheels with the reading right at the handle makes for a better built unit with frictionless reading.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you want to remain with an analog reading or a digital one. The two options that we provide below are on either sides of this spectrum. It really depends in how much you are willing to invest into a measuring wheel and which features are more appealing to you in your business. The digital option is more expensive and requires the connection to a smartphone through an app, while the analog option is easy to use and get a reading immediately. Though the digital measuring wheel has some great features that you should definitely consider when making your purchase.
Professional Measuring Wheel
If you are looking for a professional surveyor measuring wheel that is going to last you a long time and be able to take accurate measurements every time you pull it out while improving your efficiency while taking those measurements, then there are a couple brands that we are definitely drawn to. Here are the measuring wheels that we recommend to you when you are considering adding one to your business.
Keson Measuring Wheel Review
The Keson measuring wheel is simple in its build and features which is just what you need when it comes to a measuring wheel. It has a pistol grip that includes a reset trigger and a counter reset on the handle, as well as a brake so you can stop measuring instantly. It also folds down to half of its size and measures up to 10,000 feet.
Small Measuring Wheel
Map Measuring Wheel
What is hitting the market now is a measuring wheel that connects to your smartphone and allows you to plot a measurement and place it on an overview satellite image of a property so that you can take quick measurements and have a visual of them on a map. Now, it is worth mentioning that Google Earth has an excellent feature that allows you to take rough measurements that are actually really accurate. However, this next tool takes that to the next level especially when you do not have markers to reference when looking at a satellite image.
Plott Measuring Wheel Review
This measuring wheel allows you to mount your phone on the handle, connect it to the measuring wheel, and map out a space. Simply hit start to begin plotting, review the project, add pictures, leave notes, and share with a team. You can air drop, text message, or email it to anyone. This takes plotting and taking measurements to a new level, especially if you have a sales person separate from lets say a designer. This allows the sales person to take the measurements, plot them, and send them off to the designer easily. This is one of those tools that is built beautifully and has such a step up in function compared to the other measuring wheels on the market that it is really going to get your customer asking what is that and showing them that you embrace new technology to make the job to proceed efficiently.
Whether you decide to purchase a measuring wheel or not, this article is mostly about opening you up to exploring new options to add to your business to improve your efficiency and to increase your perceived professionalism when meeting a client. This is going to help your business as well as this industry. You would not think that a measuring wheel could have the ability to do this, but it is a small step forward from using a tape measure to measure large distances. If not to improve your professionalism, then at least consider it as an increase in efficiency that will save you money over the course of a season and it will last you at least a few.