Business Management Tools Win High Marks

July 14, 2008
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Running a successful HVAC business, whether residential or commercial, requires more than installation and service skills. Mastering the design-build concept and conquering back office functions are demanding skill sets that require contractors to invest time, money, and effort to ensure success. The Contractor Services and Software category of The NEWS’ fifth annual Dealer Design Awards highlights products that contractor peers felt were the most helpful in navigating these challenges. FastEST Inc. won the gold award for its On-Screen Digitizer. Wrightsoft Corp. took silver for its Right-N® software and bronze for its Right-Contact™ software.

GOLD: FastEST Inc.’s On-Screen Digitizer has the ability to copy and save a portion of the takeoff to be pasted onto a different portion of the plan.


FastEST Inc.’s On-Screen Digitizer allows the user to import project drawing files of 14 different file types in the FastPIPE and FastDUCT estimating software. By having scale drawings within the programs, the user can do takeoffs directly on the computer screen.

Drawings can be imported into the FastPIPE or FastDUCT estimating program from a location on the customer’s computer or from a CD-ROM. Scale information and a description of each drawing can be applied to each drawing. A custom scale feature can allow for determining the scale, if one dimension such as the distance between two column lines can be verified.

Once a plan is selected for takeoff, the user can zoom in and out and move around in a manner similar to Internet map programs. Piping and duct systems on a project can be taken off and marked on the drawings simultaneously, directly on the screen, using the computer mouse. The plans are marked with transparent highlights in various colors to distinguish between different piping or duct systems; for example, orange for water, green for gas, and so on. The program saves the graphical image information of the takeoff for future reference. The user can toggle back and forth between the different plan sheets on a project.

The product also features the ability to copy and save a portion of the takeoff to be pasted onto a different portion of the plan. The highlighted plans can also be printed out.

According to the company, the use of the On-Screen Digitizer eliminates the need to print out a set of blueprints when digital plan files are available from an owner or architect. “Trips to make copies or the cost of large format printers can be avoided,” said the company. “Print shops can charge up to $3 per sheet for large size prints, so the On-Screen digitizer can have a very short payback for the contractor as well.”

Organization and time saving are primary benefits to the contractor with this program. “It appears to be an excellent product,” noted one judge. “It seems to be an advantage over the old scale and magnifying glass method of doing takeoffs.”

SILVER: Wrightsoft Corp.’s Right-N® is the computerized version of the recently released Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual N, 5th Edition light commercial load calculation method for light-commercial projects.


Wrightsoft Corp.’s Right-N® is the computerized version of the recently released Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual N, 5th Edition light commercial load calculation method for light-commercial projects. It includes the latest Manual N 5th Edition requirements for energy, comfort, and ventilation. Right-N can be used to rapidly determine the latest Manual N 5th Edition load calculation, generate standardized reports, zone the project, and size and select equipment based on the calculation from the full ARI/GAMA database.

“This is well thought out and needed,” said one contractor judge. “As usual, Wrightsoft seems to go the extra mile.”

Right-N can function as a standalone, automated worksheet or add another level of functionality to the Right-Suite Universal software package. Users can determine the Man- ual N load by using the Layered Materials Technology to represent and build accurate materials selections and the library of schedules and scenarios to help determine accurate internal gains.

When used with Right-Draw and other Right-Suite Universal modules, the Manual N load is calculated using the drag-and-drop HVAC Shapes to sketch out the floor plan.

Then with the Hotlink Technology, the worksheet is automatically populated and the load is calculated. Regardless of which method is used, Right-N includes pro- fessional packages of standardized reports, and the ability to zone the system and select equipment.

With Right-N in the Right-Suite® Universal program, contractors can draw the floor plan of their project, select the Right-N method, and have the Manual N worksheet automatically populate to determine the load and break down and generate standardized reports.

Current Right-J® users in particular will be able to follow the same process and compare their current loads to Manual N with a single menu selection, enabling them to produce the most accurate results for their projects and make changes based on their compliance requirements. In conjunction with other modules available in the Wrightsoft program, the contractor can then design duct, radiant, or geothermal systems; generate a parts takeoff list; compare system operating costs and options; and generate a professional, complete proposal.

BRONZE: Wrightsoft Corp.’s Right-Contact is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module, allowing contractors to integrate HVAC design and sales tools and project files with contact and relationship data, scheduling, and customer history.


Wrightsoft’s Right-Contact™ is a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module in the company’s Right-Suite Universal software. It enables contractors to manage their customers, sales leads, and additional contacts, including customer contact information, activity history, and associated proposals.

With Right-Contact, contractors have the ability to integrate their HVAC design and sales tools and project files with contact and relationship data, scheduling, and customer history. With the optional Quick Books, the program will also allow contractors to link their accounting, invoicing, and customer lists into customer proposals, job estimates, and more.

The history feature in the contact database also stores important information and follow-up notes about each of their customers and vendors to help track their projects over time, improve their sales, and give individual attention to customers as needed.

The Right-Contact module can be run on a laptop to provide a mobile contact management tool and can also work on an office computer or network situation for shared databases and tracking. The interface of the Right-Contact module puts schedule and contact information on the same screen and allows the contractor to see a single-screen representation of a customer’s profile and schedule, while maintaining accurate pricing and job information through their integration with Quick Books.

“I am currently using Wrightsoft, and this would be a clever enhancement to my system,” said a judge.

According to the company, Right-Contact satisfies one of the largest unmet needs it has identified in its customers’ professional lives - the need to have a smooth path for pricing, creating, and tracking proposals, customers, and prospects. As part of the Right-Suite Universal software offering, users can also track any combination of projects and customize the software with their logo and company information.

Honorees: Services & Software

FastEST Inc.
On-Screen Digitizer

Wrightsoft Corp.

Wrightsoft Corp.

Publication Date: 07/14/2008

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