360 Difference: How It All Began

The History and Evolution of the 360Difference Idea
How 360Difference Began...360Difference Features

How 360 Difference Began…

TurtleSoft's MacNail Program

A Screen from TurtleSofts Excel Based MacNail Program (circa 1990s)

It wasn’t until December of 1991 I got my first Macintosh. I bought Microsoft Office and a construction estimating program by Turtle Creek Software called MacNail (JLC-Taking Care of Business: Macintosh Style! /1/1989) which was based on MS Excel. I was fortunate in a sense in that ski racing one night in ’92 I fell and really dislocated and separated my shoulder so I was forced in a way to really learn how to use a computer and I learned to hack at my MacNail program to make it work the way I wanted it to and add up and apply makeup according to my preferred method that of Activity/Capacity Based Markup so my interest in getting to know coding was born.

Some time in those early 1990’s I also became exposed to an Apple program called HyperCard and started to learn how to build small applications that acutally did something. like work out the calculations  for the stairs and railings we were building back them and building lists of the materials we bought and used.

I had some kind of form making program that after building Excel Based versions of some forms I purchased from Walt Stoeppelwerth’s HomeTech company  years earlier in my paper based management era called the Specifications/Requisitions Form 131 Suite that helped me better organize my project estimating and production better  “hack” and “hacking” to mean going into software and making changes and modifications to it to make it work to suit your own purposes.

Specifications/Requisitions Form 131 Suite

Back in the mid 1980s to help organize and track my paper based estimating and job control processes I used this system of forms I bought from HomeTech. Then in the 1990s once I became a profiecint Excel user I built some Excel Based versions of the same forms.

Cover Sheet

Form 131 Spec/Req

Summary

And Then In The Early 1990s Along Came FileMaker…

FileMaker-An-Apple-Subsidiary IconI don’t recall the name of the program anymore but I bought a Macintosh application for making forms and used it to makes some forms I used in the business at the time. More importantly that program became discontinued and when it did they offered an upgrade to a program called FileMaker Pro 2 and I began to explore using it (and another Macintosh database program I bought, ProVUE’s Panorama) to recreate the Specifications/Requisitions form system I had been using for years and I discovered these database programs were great for building lists of stuff. I love lists. Still do. And they were great for searching through the data they contained and sorting and organizing it. Yeah,… I could do that in Excel but not with the speed and ease of a database program.

Then in December of 1995 FileMaker upgraded thier program from FileMaker Pro 2 to FileMaker Pro 3 and introduced what for me was a earthshaking change. The program now worked with a relational database structure. What that meant was when I was working in my file called Estimates I could enter “Client #33” into the  Client field in the program and it would then automatically populate the Client Name, Client Address, Client Phone, etc. fields in the Estimate with information from my Client Contacts file. I could enter the ID# for a particular building Material in my Materials database and it would automatically enter the Material Description, Material Cost, Prefered Material Supplier, Sale Tax for that Material into my Estimate. Likewise I could do the same with Labor. I could enter “Carpenter A” into a field and it would enter what it Cost to have a “Carpenter A” perform that task. And I also then kept a database of Tasks with how much time those Tasks too per Unit and I could look and use that data too. This was all very similar to Excel’s LOOKUP function but a whole lot faster and easier to use and perhaps even more importantly, easier to setup and maintain programatically.

I was off to the races with FileMaker Pro as my horse.

What Came Next Was…

Then in 1997 or somewhere around that time I learned that Dennis Kulva the guy who began his career in the business as Turtle Creek Carpentry in 1972 before developing MacNail was going to develop the next generation of his software to be called Goldenseal in C++ and I was impressed! A tradesperson turned computer programmer! I had poked my nose into learning C++ but at the time it was just more than I wanted to take on and I had just discovered this kool tool for for building my own applications called FileMaker which hid most of the intense programming from me and let me focus on my software’s business logic and interface appearance.

was still in the era of faxes and I hated getting faxes. What I hated was getting faxes and then having to transcribe and digitize the information in the fax into a format I could use in my own digital Word and Excel documents. Idea I came up with

What Kinds Of Features  Are In 360 Difference 23 Jumpstart

• Estimating & Pre-Construction

360 Difference Cost & Price Book

Estimate projects by selecting Unit Costs from a Cost Book built with with precise Materials and Labor Costs and Production Rate Data.

Fully Relational Estimating Data

Most estimating programs allow you to build your own database of Direct Job Cost items but the data is more often than not flat. With 360Difference you can produce estimate items with relational depth so that your data can be updated automatically as the component cost changes.

Attached External Cost Databases

Estimate projects by selecting Unit Costs from a Cost Book with with precise material and labor cost data and production rate data.

Estimating

Estimate projects by selecting Unit Costs from a Cost Book with with precise material and labor cost data and production rate data.

Detail Unit Costs

Develop Unit Costs in your 360Difference Cost & Price book with detailed Specifications and enriched detail.

Allowances & Product Selections

Enhance transparency, communication while managing and accelerating the process of making choices to ensure timely estimate and project  progress by giving you clients a Product Catalog to make Good-Better-Best decisions from.

Internal Trade Rates

With the click of a button on a screen record all the information we used to collect with paper Daily Job Report forms plus you can enter project photos, videos, receipts, invoices, notes, and PDF documents .

Materials Database

A database of all the Materials your company has used or Purchased for Projects with links to the Vendors you use and organized by Catagories you the 360Difference User again creates.

Markup Sets

Markup Sets is your library of different Markup Sets. The idea is your company may keep different Markup Sets on file for different Clients, different Projects or different Unit Cost items in your 360 Difference Cost & Price Book

External Trade Rates

External Trade Rates is your library of the different Billing Rates your External Contractors (Subs) charge you.

Take-Off

View you take-off data done in you prefered online Take-off progrm such as Quickeye through a web-viewer window in your estimate to facilitate easy transfer of the data into your Estimate.

Personal Log Book

Any Users of your 360Difference System have a Personal Log Book.

Contract Administration

The 360 Difference Contract Administration program module helps you organize and track contracts, create and track payment schedules, and create and track change orders too.

Change Orders

Allow anyone on your system to easily Create Change Order Requests and the have your Estimators, Project Manager, and/or Project Leaders estimate the actual Change Orders using your Unit Cost Pricebook data and have them be a part of your original Estimate or Project record.

Track External Subcontractors Information

Give your subcontractors access to different modules in your system even allow them to work directly on your project estimates

Purchase Orders

Create and submit Purchase Orders with all your Subcontractors and Vendors to collect their estimate/project Pricing information and to maintain and update your company’s  Unit Cost Cost Price Book catalog of items.

Document & Photo Library

Unlimited storage of construction documents, transmissions, plans, photos, videos, and PDFs. 

Customer Access

Control what you give your clients access to with their Projects by setting preferences for what you want them to have access to.

• Project/Job Monitoring & Tracking

Projects

Record and keep track of Leads In the Sales Pipeline and send out marketing messages via the 360Difference Program or Hubspot. 

Work Packages

Projects are broken down into discreet packages of work to be done called Work Packages.

Daily Job Report Logs

With the click of a button on a screen record all the information we used to collect with paper Daily Job Report forms plus you can enter project photos, videos, receipts, invoices, notes, and PDF documents .

Messaging

Message you Users within the 360Difference system  and connect to external tools like Slack to message anyone.

Timekeeping

Your employees keep track of the time they are working on tasks and can even provide photo documentation via their iPhones, iPads, or Mac or Windows laptops in the field.

Requests For Information

 

Invoicing

Generate detailed invoices automatically from the Project Module or build them from scratch.

To Do (Task) Lists

Individual prioritized To Do Lists and you can create and assign Task List Items  related to any workpages and assign them to employees or subs working on those projects

• Marketing & Sales

 

Lead Management

Record and keep track of Leads In the Sales Pipeline and send out marketing messages via the 360Difference Program or Hubspot. 

Customer Access

Control what you give your clients access to with their Projects by setting preferences for what you wan them to have access to.

And this list is growing…

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