Estimate Rocket vs PEP Cloud (Painting Estimating Program)

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Estimate Rocket vs PEP Cloud (Painting Estimating Program)

While setting up countless Zapier automations for many painting businesses, I’m often asked,

What’s the difference between Estimate Rocket & PEP Cloud?” 

or “Which is better?

With the help of my good friend Shawn Derby of Sir Paints a Lot, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of each of the programs, and what you can expect from them.

Estimate Rocket Pros

Estimate Rocket is estimating and invoicing software that is a huge time saver for many painting contractors.

  • It Includes a whole automatic e-mail follow up sequence that triggers automatically or manually.


  • The interface is much more user-friendly than PEP Cloud.
  • It also offers some of the best software support in the industry including live support – your questions are answered by real people, not bots!
  • Another good thing is that Estimate Rocket keeps scheduling, invoicing, and customers together in one place.
  • Estimate Rocket can be automated with Zapier, which many painting contractors rely on every day.

Here are some examples of automations I set-up for painting businesses using Estimate Rocket:

  1. When an Estimate is Booked via You Can Book Me, Then a Client is Searched for or Created in Estimate Rocket
  2. When an Estimate is Created in Estimate Rocket, Then a Deal is Searched for in Pipeline Deals, Value Amount is Updated, Moved to Next Stage in Pipeline
  3. When an Invoice is Sent in Estimate Rocket, Then an Invoice is Created in Quickbooks Online
  4. When a Proposal is Accepted in Estimate Rocket, Then a Customer is Searched for or Created, a Deposit Invoice is calculated and Created in Quickbooks Online, and a Basecamp Project is created

Here is a quick overview of Estimate Rocket:

Estimate Rocket Cons

  • Others have had issues with the CRM (customer relationship management) functionality of Estimate Rocket and have ultimately had to rely on other CRM software for those needs.
  • Another issue that people seem to have with Estimate Rocket is that there’s no native app that painting contractors can take with them on their phones.
  • There is no button for the customer to push in order to decline an estimate, you have to remember to close them out instead
  • There isn’t a “Proposal Accepted” trigger offered in Zapier – this can however be created using the “Email Parser by Zapier”

PEP Cloud Pros

PEP Cloud is a cloud-based solution that is made with painting contractors in mind.

  • The best thing about it is that all you have to do to get an estimate going is to input your hourly wage, what you’re painting, and the measurements.
  • You can take pictures with any means you have available and add them to your estimates.
  • You can use flexible estimating and use different metrics such as charging by the square foot, production rates, or other metrics.
  • PEP Cloud also allows for e-mail campaigns that can contain multiple e-mails sent over a period of time.

Here is an introduction video to PEP Cloud: 

Pep Cloud Cons

  • One downside that painters reported most often is that they don’t like that they have to be online to use the software. Though it would seem that people are online more often than not, there are times when a person just can’t get online.
  • There are also times when we lose our connection and there’s no way to get access to your customer information, which is less than ideal.
  • The interface is not very user-friendly

Shawn says, “When I look at these platforms I look for scalability and ease of use. How easy it is to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’”

Estimate Rocket VS PEP

  • Estimate Rocket: The overview, you can get a 1,000ft view of all projects via the dashboard. Say you want to see just the open work orders, you can get what I call the 100 ft view before you grab the microscope and dig into the specific job
  • PEP: The overview is pretty segmented. There are a few different ways to see it and none really tell you what you want to know. It’s either 1,000 ft view of microscope. 

Estimate Rocket Wins for those who us a CRM.

Estimate Rocket VS PEP: Change Orders  

  • Estimate Rocket: Change orders can be added to the customer portal and signed independent of the original contract. 
  • PEP: a change order is an extension of an already signed project, so getting acceptance requires clear email communication or something in writing. Knock on wood email has worked well for me. 

Estimate Rocket wins the contract signing department.

Estimate Rocket VS PEP: Estimation Process 

  • Estimate Rocket: when building a proposal on mobile, EVERY SINGLE UPDATE that you apply resets the page and you have to scroll back to the end of the proposal to add another area (room 1, room 2, etc) Talk about frustrating…
  • PEP: Each area is split into well… areas… so you enter the dimensions, count your windows or what have you and start a new area. You can go back and edit each line item, or area without scrolling for miles (or so it felt… but I’m very particular) 

Organization of the estimation process goes to PEP all day.

Estimate Rocket VS PEP: Tweaking Numbers

  • Estimate Rocket: to tweak your numbers… I found it really difficult to adjust your margins on the fly without having some number blown out of proportion but that could be my failing not ER. It just wasn’t super intuitive.
  • PEP: tweaking the numbers is the easiest part. You want 10% profit, 40%, 100%? Maybe you want all the profit in the materials or you want to add some discounts. Anyone could make this change with the most basic understanding of the platform. 

Tweak ability goes to PEP 24/7 and if there becomes an 8th day it gets that too. 

Estimate Rocket VS PEP: Client Info

  • Estimate Rocket: Contact information, ER Is sooo much better. I mean you can see the proposal on the same page as the contact details.. Like I said for someone without a CRM or not really big enough to need one ER does pretty well. 
  • PEP: I think there are 2 or 3 clicks between the phone number and viewing the proposal

Estimate Rocket is better for viewing all of this info in one place.

Estimate Rocket VS PEP: Proposal

  • Estimate Rocket: the actual document looks like a legal notice obtaining any visual appeal is incredibly hard.
  • PEP: I call the eBid( the electronic proposal) “my eBook”. My actual words to the customer are something like “This is my eBid, think of it like a book, on the left are the chapters and here (pointing) are where the pages turns.”  It’s so easy to add colorful pictures and PDF documents, like the renovate right pamphlet that I’ve added.

Estimate Rocket VS PEP: Math

  • Estimate Rocket: it has a calculator but doesn’t count for me.
  • PEP: does math for me. I can enter Lxwxh and have the walls, ceiling, base, or crown all precalculated. 

From a math standpoint, PEP wins.

The Bottom Line

If you want an estimating software that generates really professional looking proposals with great presentations – PEP Cloud is for you.

If you are not only a painting contractor but deliver other services alongside this and need to make templated proposals to reuse – Estimate Rocket is for you.