If you sell conservatories, you'll know that surveying is absolutely critical to delivering quality installations and delighted customers. Party Wall Agreement This article describes how conservatory software is now a MUST HAVE in the conservatory business.

Firstly, it's critical that the customer knows exactly what they have purchased prior to survey and has detailed Sales prints. These can then be used for a sensible discussion with the surveyor. Although the surveyor will be familiar with traditional construction plans, the customer may not, so having a 3D illustration of the design will aid communication. At the outset, having this information in a form both parties can understand leads to less ambiguity, which in turn leads to reduced time in confirming the survey.

All good sales software these days should produce accurate base plans - the surveyor can then take these with him to site and just check off the prints that the conservatory will fit - including subtle things such as the need to resize to avoid windows, soil pipes and so on. In addition, the surveyor will check if there is sufficient access for fire regulations, distance from boundary walls, any privacy requirements etc. Again, all decent software should print roof plans, ridge heights and wall heights for the surveyor to take to site with no need to work them out (a particular problem can be ridges which intrude into upstairs windows!

Along with base plans and roof plans, a set of window and door drawings is essential to confirm with the customer where doors will be, which direction they open, whether there is sufficient clearance for doors to open fully, frame colours and handle colours, ventilation requirements etc.

If the surveyor takes their laptop with them, they can amend the drawings on site, and any contract variations (and hence price variations) made face to face - the surveyor is may be in a better position to explain why this is required to the client whilst on site and having just completed the survey. Contract variations can even be printed out in the customer's home and signed off immediately.

Because of the immediacy, there is no need to return to the office, amend drawings and post them to the customer with the corresponding delay before work can commence. This can typically remove 1-2 weeks from the sales cycle, with resulting benefits to cash flow.

Compared with the traditional paper-based approach, there is little room for errors in copying data. One of our customers who used a paper-based sales and installation process often copied the customer's name and address and contact details 40 (FORTY!) times during the installation process. This has a significant impact on errors and costs.

The presence of accurate drawings means that both roof and frames can be ordered directly from the contract, removing doubler handling and any errors this incurs. Because the order paperwork is comprehensive there will be fewer delays whilst manufacturers query your paperwork. In addition, some software supports checks to make sure that you can't order products which are out of specification (e.g. extra large or very small windows, roofs with very steep or low pitches etc.

And finally, all costings can be automated, removing the likelihood of any errors. The surveyor can always know that whatever he proposes produces at least the minimum required margin, and can truthfully say to the customer, "I can't do that for the price - it's going to cost us money!" Overall, the benefits of using conservatory software massively outweigh the costs. In some cases conservatory surveying software has paid for itself in a few days!