Darren Black, Plans Express

Position: Owner

Company: Plans Express

Products Used:

  • EstimatorXpress
  • PlansXpress
  • Health & Safety Xpert

Builder testimonial: How PlansXpress has changed Darren’s life

Darren was on the tools for over 30 back-breaking years, latterly using EstimatorXpress to cost his projects. When he added PlansXpress to his toolkit a couple of years ago, he discovered very quickly just how impressive the software is. And everything changed.

How quickly did you learn PlansXpress?

“After the initial learning curve, which was inevitable, I found PlansXpress easy to use. Of course you need to understand construction but it really is straightforward. And if I need any help, the support team is there.

“I found I could design extensions and loft conversions with ease, drop the file into EstimatorXpress and get a full cost breakdown of the job.”

So much so, he decided to turn his (aching) back on the building site to concentrate on designing extensions and loft conversions for homeowners. “You can lift only so much timber” as Darren puts it!

What do you do for your customers now?

“I visit customers to discuss their requirements, produce the design, provide the building specification, building regs, look after the planning process if they request it, and advise on their choice of building firm. My job ends once they start building.”

Could you have offered this service without HBXL software?

“Not a chance. I know that designers and architects are taking two, three weeks to return a plan. I’m turning them round in a matter of days. I’m not doing anything by hand, it’s all about the software.”

Eighteen months on and Darren hasn’t looked back. “It’s a no-brainer. PlansXpress and EstimatorXpress are easy to use, they’re thorough and professional. Customers like to see the Build Programs and all the detail.”

Any other HBXL software?

“I offer the Health & Safety Xpert documents as well, if requested, again just dropping the file into the software. ContractsXpert is next on the cards.”

So a real turning point in your working life?

“Amazing. I’m turning work away – you could say I’m a victim of my own success. I’m producing 2-3 plans a week, which is as much as I want to do, to try and keep a work-life balance.

“I can honestly say that if I wasn’t using HBXL’s software I’d still be breaking my back on site.”

We call that a success, thanks Darren!