At a Glance:
> The economic and logistical shifts have made it imperative for businesses to move from physical to digital.
> Landscape businesses can tap into cloud-based technology to gain greater visibility and accountability of their business personnel and data.
> Being proactive in technological decisions can give landscape businesses a competitive edge.
Incorporating Technology to Lead Better
As industries across all sectors witness varying degrees of digital transitions, the landscape industry is also adopting digitization and automation as a driver of change. The early adopters of technology-based landscape management solutions are now looking for increased flexibility and mobility in their solutions. A significant factor contributing to the industry’s need for robust solutions is the evolving customer mindset. Customers are now looking for more creative and streamlined solutions to their needs, such as being presented with a 3D rendering of the landscape design before they decide to invest, as well as options to view and discuss any changes right then and there. One of the most recent shifts is the increase in virtual client interactions and the reduction of on-site and face-to-face visits. The ever-evolving customer preference pushes landscape business owners to look beyond traditional solutions to adapt to their market’s needs.
Here we’ll discuss some steps you can take to adapt your processes, and help to better position your business for success:
Upgrading to Cloud-Based Landscape Technology
When it comes to managing a business, it is essential to decode and evaluate the technological solutions surrounding the business environment. The dynamics of a cloud-based software are different from that of traditional software that you would download to your computer’s local storage.
> Save the cost on additional infrastructure
With cloud-based landscape software, you don’t have to worry about any of the technological infrastructure or buy any additional hardware to support your data storage needs. All the data is stored in the cloud, and the cost is usually included as part of your subscription fee. You also save on the cost of hiring an IT consultant because the software vendor usually provides customer/technical support.
> The time invested in installation
A cloud-based system is hosted either by specialized cloud hosting services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or by the vendor on their hosting platform. Either way, the software is already installed and backed up in the cloud, saving you the extensive time and effort spent on installing, deploying and backing up traditional software.
> No time spent on updating your software
New version releases or updates are taken care of by the software provider. The cost of updating is usually included as part of your subscription package so you get the peace of mind that your software is up-to-date without the need to purchase the latest version. The update is automatic which means you don’t have to spend time updating, and avoids any version discrepancies across your teams.
> More accessibility
One of the biggest advantages of having a cloud-based solution is its accessibility. It can be accessed from any location and any device with internet access. This feature makes cloud-based services the preferred solution for working and managing teams remotely.
> Equips you with flexibility and empowers you with scalability
With conventional software, once you invest in its high installation cost, it is a tedious process to scale your software up or down depending on your business’s needs. Since an external vendor hosts a cloud-based software, it is flexible and changing your usage plan is easy. This feature makes it a flexible solution for seasonal businesses.
The Milestones You Can Achieve by Adopting Cloud-Based Technology for Your Landscape Business
Milestone #1: Make Your Design Accessible
There’s something so cathartic about hand-drawing a landscape design, but there are a lot of challenges that come with this method; one of the biggest issues is sharing your ideas with customers. To share a hand drawing, you either have to schedule a meeting, visit them in person and discuss the project, or find a scanner big enough to handle your drawing and email it to them. Sure, the latter can reduce the amount of in-person interaction, but what if they want to make changes? This will literally send you back to the drawing board, and eventually back to that scanner. Sharing a drawing that’s been scanned come with its own issues too; the copy may lack clarity and professionalism. The goal here is to accomplish the maximum and win the client virtually.
The best way to maximize your drawing’s accessibility is to digitize the design process using landscape design software. You can start your digital design right away without any prior setup by selecting a pre-built template. Weave in pre-set layers and line weights to represent different structures such as building, decks, driveways, and fences; you can also import and use a .dwg file as your base plan. The landscape software should automatically scale the elements to represent accurate details of buildings, sidewalks, driveways and other property lines.
Another benefit of digitizing your design process is that you can create professional-looking designs with higher accuracy. You also get increased flexibility with client revisions, can save as many versions of your design in user-friendly digital formats like PDF or JPG, and share them through email, cloud-drive links or even screensharing. The biggest takeaway is that your designs and creative ideas are not restricted by any physical or geographical boundaries; you have the freedom and ability to work with anyone from anywhere in the world.
Milestone #2: A Streamlined Sales Pipeline
The ways in which you interact with your prospects is continuously evolving from cold calls and references to social media marketing, digital ads and online networking events. The question is, in these changing modern times, how do you keep tabs on your sales pipeline? Imagine writing on a piece of paper all the quote requests you’ve received through your Instagram account.
Modern times require modern solutions. Using a landscape business management software to keep a detailed record of your sales opportunities makes it easier to stay on top of key accounts. Maintain a record of your sales pipeline right from the initial contact all the way to the final invoice. Identify and mark how close you are to closing your sale and take action accordingly. The sales & estimating module lays out tangible metrics to help you achieve your milestones. In each stage of your business, you need to monitor your sales funnel for any cracks, along with determining the win-rate of your sales calls and estimating how many more projects you’ll need to complete to achieve your year’s targets. In essence, maintaining regular contact with the people in your sales funnel helps you streamline your prospects, approach them effectively and achieve your goals.
Milestone #3: Get Equipped for Remote Management
The efficiency of your crew is directly related to the efficiency of your business, and crew management remains one of the primary concerns of every landscape manager. A lot of times, managers struggle with crews’ accountability, labor hour discrepancies and subcontractor management issues.
The mobile nature of a landscape business calls for a robust mobile solution for better remote management. What you need for remote management, in a nutshell, is greater visibility when you are not physically present.
Cloud-based landscape business management software helps you monitor each job’s status and keep track of your crew. The crew leader can easily clock the team’s in and out times, giving you better insights on your team’s efficiency. Any crew roster changes can be done on the fly. Along with knowing the crew’s time and location, you even have visibility over your equipment, materials, and subcontractors. Having access to all the vitals of your business on a single dashboard makes your decision–making streamlined and data-driven.
Want to find out how DynaScape can help you achieve your technology goals?
Milestone #4: Digitize & Automate Your Workflow with Cloud-Based Landscape Software
When you work on a client project, your time and effort is divided between two significant aspects: first, facilitating and providing the actual service, and second, managing all the documentation from the proposal to the final invoice. What is important to realize here is you’ll be getting paid for only the first part of your job – the actual service you’ll provide and not the time and efforts spent on travelling, documentation or other administrative tasks. All the administrative functions are the bulk of costs that you have to bear. In a highly competitive field like landscaping, every single cent matters. Digitizing and automating your landscape business management processes using specialized software can significantly reduce the burden on management. The goal here is to spend more time doing real business, and less time with tedious administrative tasks like data entry.
A landscape business management software takes care of the administrative tasks for you in an efficient manner so that you can focus on providing more billable services. All of your client and proposal details are automatically added to the work order. The cloud-based management system automatically generates invoices for the job at each pre-determined milestone. An even higher level of automation is achieved when your landscape business management software is integrated with your accounting management system, such as QuickBooks, to provide an end–to–end business management solution. This means landscapers and green industry professionals can spend more time generating real business and less time trying to manage their invoicing and resources.
Make This Decision with Your People
DynaScape is a boutique software company specializing in design and business management software solutions for landscape professionals. For more than 20 years we’ve been an industry leader in CAD-based design solutions with our software being taught in over 150 schools across North America. Since our humble beginnings in 1998, we’ve expanded our design suite of software to include DS|Color and DS|Sketch3D.
Recognizing the green industry’s need for a comprehensive business management system, our team enlisted the expertise of top landscape professionals and set to work on building Manage360 with streamlined workflows to align with industry best practices.