A mixed bag of the differing programs used by contractors to help them establish efficient methods of conducting business.

WorkTrak software for specialty contractors from True Systems

The WorkTrak business software application is written for any material based specialty contractor and includes the costing requirements of installing insulation whether the material used is fiberglass, cellulose, or foam. Contractors have the ability to manage the daily activities and costs associated with installing product, and take that information to drill into the company's profit margins and bottom line business goals. Everything to quote and complete jobs is managed in one integrated, Windows application. Estimates, work orders, load sheets, work cards, invoices and the optional scheduling module are all tied together with one time data entry. Material inventory is tracked and managed to complete the cycle of a contractor's business processes. An array of standard management reports are available, as well as custom reporting options. Its features include contact management, bids and proposals, work order management, job costing, invoicing and accounts receivable, management reporting, inventory management and scheduling module (optional). For more information, call (800) 414-8783 x307.

3-D designs from @Last Software

The company's latest offering is its ninth release of its SketchUp software. The SketchUp 3.1 is a 3-D design tool for those who need to visualize and present ideas in three dimensions. Its list of features include the addition of thumbnail images to the component browser, 2-D vector export (PDF, EPS, DWG and DXF) now supports text and dimensions, and the direct export of SketchUp models to Piranesi EPIX format has been enchanced and added to the MAC OS X version. Export to 3-DS has been improved to directly include metric units systems and its shadow feature has been enhanced to allow the user to specify a custom geographic location for sun angle calculation. Shadow casting onto faces has also been improved. The upgrade to 3.1 is free to owners of SketchUp 3.0 and $95 for owners of 2.2 and earlier versions. For more information, call (303) 245-0086 or visit www.sketchup.com.

Multi-facet software from Wintac

Wintac is a Windows-based, all-in-one program, which seamlessly integrates job management, marketing and accounting. Features include customer tracking, job scheduling, job costing, estimating, inventory, invoicing, checkwriting, accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll management. The software also integrates with Microsoft Office, QuickBooks and other programs. Included with the system are an interactive step-by-step tutorial, an illustrated user guide, and a full year of unlimited technical support services. It is available in both single-user and unlimited multi-user network editions. For more information and a free demo, visit the Web site www.wintac.net.

Detailed estimates from On Center Software Inc.

Quick Bid is a powerful estimating program giving you the fastest way to provide a detailed estimate with the ability to review multiple cost scenarios on bid day. This program allows you to generate reports and bid proposals in record time! It is flexible and adapts to the way you estimate. Contractors can track materials, labor rates, change orders and alternates with confidence, and break down labor want by time in any way desired, money or production.

On-Screen Takeoff uses the latest technology to save you time without compromising the accuracy of your takeoffs. You can quantify lengths, areas, volumes and counts right from your personal computer. Create customizable folders for organizing your conditions and coordinate your labor on the job with color-coded drawings. On-Screen Takeoff can be used with paper plans and a digitizer or with electronic plans. Eliminate the guesswork and put an end to countless hours of manual takeoff labor. For more information, visit www.oncenter.com.

Architectural and home design software from Alpine Engineered Products Inc.

Architectural VIEW is an integrated software program that enables architects and home designers to review critical structural framing components before project plans are completed. Roof and floor trusses and wall components are generated in a single program. Architects can be certain roof, floor and wall systems they design will work when they are engineered. It enables users to spot problem areas in the structure before they become expensive issues in the field. The program reads and writes industry standard DXF and DWG file formats. Files can be exchanged with virtually any CAD software program electronically, dramatically reducing component quote and design time. Features include 3-D views with trusses and planes, and VRML to "fly" through a project and share over the Internet. For more information, call (800) 786-6086.

Strategy calculator from Acoustics by J.W. Mooney

The StraTragedy program allows one to determine the best solution for tough decisions by incorporating game theory. A typical problem may be to determine the best way to bid a job. This program allows one to play "what if" with different strategies against other competitors' methods. It also can tell what the best bid is for the competitor.

The program is not limited to business decisions. It can be used to solve problems in games of chance, politics, negotiations, warfare and any situation, which has multiple solutions and measurable payoffs. For more information, e-mail StraTragedy@jwmooney.com for details.

Construction estimator software from Tally Systems Inc.

Since 1987, Tally Systems has specialized in developing software for construction estimators. QuickMeasure is Tally's simple to use takeoff product that generates count, length and area takeoffs in seconds. A seamless interface with Microsoft Excel makes it appear as if the QuickMeasure program is built right into the Excel toolbar. Digitized quantities and images are transferred and stored right in the users existing Excel spreadsheet. For more information, see www.tallysystems.com.