It’s coming up to seven o’clock on a Thursday evening. Frankie, who runs a small business called Northern Roofing, is craning over a set of drawings as he works on a proposal for a job he knows he’s got, at best, a 50% chance of winning.
Like many of the thousands of roofers up and down the UK, Frankie counts takeoffs and proposals as the most stressful, most time consuming and usually least rewarding parts of his job. Using the same, manual pencil-and-ruler techniques he’s used since he entered the roofing trade, Frankie faces the same issues as thousands of his peers.
He needs to pick up some full-scale architectural drawings, and then using a pencil, ruler and his notebook he needs to measure a potential project, count off or estimate his materials for a job, and then prepare a full proposal for a potential new job (which he may not end up winning).
Just getting the drawings is stressful enough. The nearest printer is miles away, printing up multiple plans to measure a roof is becoming more and more expensive year on year, and ensuring that the drawings are the correct scale adds an extra layer of difficulty to something that should be the simplest part of the process.
The actual measuring is anything but simple. Scaling and drawing is painstakingly slow, and can often be an inaccurate science. Roofers from all over the UK have tales of receiving a takeoff from a supplier and realising that a roof billed as 150sqm is actually more than double the size.
Already, Frankie has been working on this task since finishing on-site at 5pm, and he knows he’s not even half way done. At this point, he’s wondering whether it’s worth the half a day’s time and expense to drive up to a (potential) client’s property and measure up the job on-site tomorrow. At least then he’ll avoid forking out for yet another set of drawings.