Building material dealers have a reputation for tinkering with stuff, but not for invent-ing new products. That’s one reason to take note of a new millwork estimating application called Mobile Visual Pro. Its roots lie not in some Silicon Valley start-up, but rather at Main Street Lumber in the dusty Red River border town of Denison, Texas.
Mobile Visual Pro (MVP) bills itself as the first software application that lets millwork sales reps turn their smart phones and tablets into devices that enable them to do door and trim take-offs as they walk through a house. Information entered via MVP not only synchronizes with the home computer but also produces what its creators claim is “the industry’s first easy-to-understand graphic bid and order.” Main Street, which has used early renditions of the software for years, claims it has regularly beaten competitors in Dallas, 75 miles south, because builders can more easily see what they’re buying from Main Street compared with the lines of coding found on non-graphic bids.
The software came about because of three Main Street men. Steve Linn, a millwork expert, had the idea of improving millwork sales easier by showing what’s needed and what could be installed. Robert Pool, a co-owner at Main Street, saw its possibilities as a technology. And Pool’s brother Chuck Pool, who has decades of experience in sales and entrepeneurship, recognized its potential as a product.
The three eventually were introduced to Luxwood Software Tools of Ontario, Canada, which already had on-site estimation and quote generation tools. Luxwood partnered with Main Street Millwork, a unit of the Pool family’s lumber operation. Then came five years of testing and development, including integrations with mobile devices.
The product was announced early this month.