My name is Chris. I am the owner and founder of Gutter Tools inc & EZ Run Software and here is our story.
I suppose, you could say that EZ Run Gutter Software started in 1994. The reason I say that is because, that is when I got into the gutter industry. I retired from the cabinet making business that I had done for many years and was looking for something that was easier and quick! From the very get go, I began to build software that I could use to run the business with. I started with spread sheets and a portable laptop. Eventually, I moved to a database system. Portability was always important to me, as I wanted to be able to make the best impression I could with the customer. So, in those days, when a customer saw you step inside your vehicle and print out an estimate, invoice or brochure, they were impressed with the technology! By 1997, I had written a program for the company that had grown into 2 states and had a number of locations. It wasn’t the prettiest software, but it got the job done.
A few years later I sold out the of the company. I had taken on a business partner (not a good move, no questions please) and we parted ways. Later on in life, my sons, who grew up in the industry, wanted to start a new gutter company with me. I remember in the early days, when they got out of bed at 5 am to clean and stock trucks. At the time, their ages were 10, 8 and 7. I paid them $20 bucks a week, which they had to split between themselves. Needless to say, they also did some installation (mostly the oldest) and worked in various ways in the business for the next few years. So, when two of them came and wanted me to go into business with them, I was a little surprised. But, away we went. It took us some time to get our feet firmly planted in the industry again, as things had changed, but we plodded on. In the mean time, I got out the old software and began to rewrite the program. A pretty good solution came to mind that could handle the large commercial jobs we were taking on, and I was somewhat happy with it. But, pressures and busyness caused me to set it down and function more on running the business.
But, when the iPad came out, I began to think about the software again, mostly by the prompting of the Good Lord, and soon I was back on the trail. Truthfully, I moved along slowly not really looking to do anything. What I didn’t realize is that along the way, for a couple of years, I was picking up tidbits of code that I needed to assemble what you see today. I assure you, that the Good Lord had His hand in that, as well!
The software today does not have any similarities of what I did in the early days. The installation system that we use in the software today, the boys and I developed for our business. In fact, there are more parts to it that I am looking to implement as the company grows.
How old am I in the business? Well, for you younger guys, I was one of the first, if not the first, to use a cordless drill and hidden hangers! I remember talking to a friend of mine in Detroit who owned a very large gutter company and when I told him what I was going to switch to, he laughed me to scorn! But, by the next year they too had switched. I was the first to use a chop saw for downspouts and gutters, doing away with snips and the guillotine. We now could work faster and a whole lot easier, especially with miters! Once again, I was laughed to scorn, but those who saw the system changed, also. Now I am too old to climb ladders and such, and we are no longer in the business but I am way too young to quit. Perhaps, I will put a page together and share some of the stories (and I have a lot) with you guys.
I hope you enjoy the software, as it will definitely save you boat loads of time and energy and make you more money. Take it from me, a veteran of the industry. You do not have time to waste fiddling around with a calculator and filling out papers and then having to redo them at some point later on! Oh, yeah, that is what lead me to really get busy with this thing in the early years. Once, I was on a job site with a customer of mine and he handed me the estimate that MY MAN had given to him. Yeah, it was on a part of his used lunch sack, of all the… He had estimate sheets but had left them at home. That settled it, there had to be change!
Listen, running a business in today’s world is hard enough. Truthfully, for $49.95 your business and life can change! Just think, if you get in one, two or three more estimates a day, that translates into more systems to install! That means that your $49.95 has paid for itself with just one of those jobs! Also, remember you do not have to go home after a long day of installing and decipher the sloppily written numbers on that scrap of cardboard from the downspout box, so you can send out an invoice, while everyone else is relaxing around you. No, it is all done for you, when you use the Field Installation Module. Just hit the print button! What a time saver, not to mention a life changer! Heck, you can sit in your easy chair and watch the game while printing your invoices and have someone serve you supper because you are “working.” Now wouldn’t that be a change of life!
One last thing, this software is so simple that anyone can use it. It really shouldn’t be called software but gutter-ware. Why? Because you don’t need to be reading no stinking manual and let’s keep it that way!
Chris, The Old Guy