Prepping for the Season of Business

Prepping for the Season of Business

by Joe Salemi, Vice President, DynaSCAPE Software

For most of you, the Spring is the busiest time of the year with new jobs breaking ground and seasonal maintenance contracts getting underway. As the Spring approaches many of you are working to ramp up your businesses so that you and your teams are able to hit the ground running. It’s this preparation and ramp up that is intrinsically critical to the successful launch of your Spring operations.

Well managed, well run, professional landscape companies are typically the most prepared to go into the Spring rush with all hands on deck with the smoothest of transitions. It’s no fluke, there’s a ton of hard work and co-ordination that goes into this.

These companies put significant attention and effort toward the following key areas:

  • Investment in people: making sure they have the right people in the right positions (and making sure they have enough key players in all areas of the operation). Through the “off-season” key members of the team have been upgrading their skill sets. Leadership has made sure that the right training is in place for their returning field crews and new team members.
  • Equipment: they have inspected every piece of their equipment to ensure safe, efficient working order. Any equipment that needs to be replaced is done so, and any new pieces of equipment needed to increase productivity and capacity are added to the fleet.
  • Software systems: they have reviewed their workflows and efficiencies in the software systems they use to operate the business. For some, this means Excel spreadsheets and accounting packages. For others it means a fully integrated landscape design, CRM, sales management, estimating, job + crew tracking, job costing, and billing system (like DynaSCAPE!).
  • Consultants + Peer Groups: Owners and leaders in the business connect with industry consultants to help them work ON the business rather than IN it. They also engage/participate in peer groups to get a sense of what other successful landscape companies are doing and learn about best practices to implement in their own businesses.

I reached out to a few landscape industry friends to see what advice they would offer their peers as they prepare for the Spring rush. The advice is they gave is priceless!

 

Matt Hiner, Hiner Outdoor Living, Colorado Springs, CO

“For the Spring rush we do a few things to prepare. We’ll do some basic housekeeping things like go through all our equipment and make sure they are good to go and restock small tools.

When it comes to handling clients, we will lean on our processes – but we try and take a proactive approach to things too. For annual services we send out reminders and incentivize them to prepay and get on the schedule early to reserve their spot but also allows us to be more organized and efficient. For the procrastinators it’s very important to be polite, upfront and set proper expectations about how long they may have to wait for your services.”

 

Matt Hudson, Matt Hudson Consulting, Jupiter, FL

“Get clear.

Take the time over this next month before the spring rush begins and really get clear about what you want to accomplish during this upcoming spring season. You only get one Spring per year and you want to make the most out of this opportunity.

Set tangible and measurable goals that you want to accomplish this spring. They could be financial goals, both top line revenue and net profit goals month by month, they could be safety goals, they could be operational goals, or anything else that is important to your business this spring.

Once your goals are set then begin preparing to achieve them. Take a hard look at your business and identify what you do best and where your weaknesses are. Find ways to leverage your strengths during this upcoming season and be proactive on improving your weaknesses so they don’t cause you pain in the near future.

Get clear, be prepared and enjoy the ride!”

 

Patrick DuChene, DuChene Design Solutions, Ocean City, MD

“I think the most important thing that any designer can do, especially those using a software program, is to take time before the rush to address the redundancies they experienced on 2019 and turn them into tasks that are much easier to accomplish in 2020.  For example, I have decided that this year, I am going to streamline my automated takeoffs process within DynaSCAPE Software that will save me approximately 15-30 minutes per drawing throughout the year.  For other DS users, one recommendation I have is to work hard at fully utilizing the plant and hardscape takeoffs function within the software.  This is a massively under-utilized tool in the community that is bleeding hours and hours of precious time from many designers’ busy and often overloaded schedules.  Do not try to change everything you do…just pick the 2-3 of the most time-consuming tasks you have, address how to improve upon those tasks, and enjoy the time savings through the season.”

 

Improving processes, leveling up skill sets, adding software systems are all things that DynaSCAPE can help you with to make the absolute most of the impending Spring rush. We believe in well run, well executed landscape businesses and commit to partnering with you to for a safe, profitable, and prosperous 2020 landscape season.

 

Let DynaSCAPE help you get started!

 

Landscape Design Software is All About Saving Time for Perfect Landscapes

Landscape Design Software is All About Saving Time for Perfect Landscapes

Landscape Design Software

Christian Brown’s brain thinks in two ways. “How can we save time and how can we cut out waste?,” said the CEO of Perfect Landscapes.

Perfect LandscapesThat is the rule of business for many professional landscape companies who are looking to increase revenues. It all comes down to the simple concept of saving time or reducing overhead. For Brown, who started his landscape business over 23 years ago, that is what he thinks about all the time. That’s because he has seen first-hand what wasted time equates to in the landscape industry and, more importantly, how easy it can be to solve these problems with landscape design software and business management tools.

It’s the reason Brown first started off with DynaSCAPE’s landscape design software before moving into the business management software. In both cases, he was able to save plenty of time on both the design and management of projects once the estimate was won; that’s kept him motivated and moving forward ever since.

It’s about the business – not the art

At one point, Perfect Landscapes employed a landscape architect who was hand-drawing all of the designs. The process was extremely slow, and took way too much time for Brown, especially when changes had to be made to the design and sent back to the customer in a timely manner.Landscape Design

“It was painful to watch,” said Brown. “He was more of an artist than worrying about getting jobs sold.”

A neighbor of Brown’s was using DynaSCAPE’s CAD-based software for their designing. After conversations about the software, Brown booked his first demo and started learning the landscape design software on his own. Through training videos and many long nights, Brown learned how to design landscapes using DS|Design. He parted ways with his architect and taught himself the CAD program.

“I spent many long nights watching the training videos and pausing them and mimicking it and taught myself the CAD program,” said Brown. “I sold a ton of work by doing that. That’s how I got turned onto the landscape design software.”

Managing after the design

The next step was the estimating process, for which, like many landscapers, Brown didn’t have a process. He and an employee built kits in an Excel spreadsheet to make the bidding and estimating process easier. But, like Brown’s original point, it was a lot of time being wasted doing the bidding process.

Shortly after, DynaSCAPE came out with Manage360 as part of their landscape design software package. Included in that was the automated estimating integration from DS|Design, straight into Manage360. Now Brown was saving time on his designs and on his estimating bids. With the use of kits, labels, coloring, and the cost book, he was creating designs and proposals a lot faster than he ever did before.

“In the way DynaSCAPE talks to Manage360 when you’re labeling designs, it just saves so much time,” said Brown. “When I export the labelled drawing over to Manage360, it just saves a ton of time. It all evolved using DynaSCAPE’s landscape design software.”

Look at the time saved over the cost

Brown’s advice for anyone looking to purchase landscape design software is to not look at the cost, but rather, the time it’s going to save. That’s because the time you save will pay for the software on its own. By removing manual processes, such as drawing and estimating, Brown has saved his company plenty of time and money; it has won him a lot more business by getting proposals to clients faster than the competition.

He also suggests utilizing the entire landscape design software and Manage360 tools, not just a small piece of it.

“Whatever landscape design software program you go with, you need to understand it and implement 100% of it,” said Brown. “I notice a lot of people purchase landscape software and only go 20% in and get it working to where it is functional, but they are not using the entire program. They are really shorting themselves out by doing that.”

In the end, the reward is a more efficiently-running business, less time being wasted, and a better overall process. Brown even joked on a reference call that the landscape software works so well, people could lose work in the office because it’s being replaced by the software, or someone else can now do the work of two people with the time being saved.

“The reward on the back-end is huge with the time saved,” said Brown. “Your estimators are going to be able to estimate more accurately because you can create templates, so they will save time. There are so many reasons to use a landscape design software, especially if they are using a DynaSCAPE program already, with the way it talks to each other.”

Interview with Wickie Rowland

Interview with Wickie Rowland

 

In a recent interview with Wickie Rowland, APLD of Labrie Associates Design & Build, our own Joe Salemi asks Wickie how she got started as a professional landscape designer, how she stays motived, where she draws her inspiration from, and how she decided to move forward with DynaSCAPE as her landscape design software of choice.

Wickie has recently achieved her certification with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers!

Wickie Rowland LandscapingWickie Rowland has been drawing ever since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Her landscape design work has been featured in KLC School of Design’s 2011, 2012, and 2013 London shows, and she won two bronze medals in the KLC School of Design’s 2013 Alumni competition, designing two gardens for the Eden Project in Cornwall, England. She was the recipient of the APLD Silver Award for the modified rain garden in 2017. On the other side of the competition coin, Wickie has also been a judge of the Boston Flower Show.

Besides using her drawing skills to design gardens, Wickie has written and illustrated two children’s books, Good Morning Strawbery Banke (which won first place in the New England Museum Association’s Publications competition in 2011) and Good Morning, Piscataqua, released in May of 2014.

Interview With Landscape Designer: Matt Hiner

Interview With Landscape Designer: Matt Hiner

In a recent interview with Matt Hiner of Hiner Landscapes in Colorado Springs, CO, our own Joe Salemi asks Matt how he got into the landscape business, what he has done to surround himself with a great team, and what drew him to DynaSCAPE. Matt referenced a great book, titled “The Great Game of Business” which is a very helpful business coaching system (https://www.greatgame.com).

 

Elite Award Winner for Innovation from the Association Landscape Contractors of Colorado!

Hiner Landscapes may not have invented 3D design, but they have definitely pioneered a design process that takes full advantage of its capabilities to provide a positive and informative experience. Their ground-breaking efforts earned us The ELITE Award for Innovation from Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado last year. Using several software programs together, Hiner is able to create a photo-realistic, animated fly-through video of a design concept. Illustrating the design in a way that 2D cannot. For professional landscape design, consultation and installation, more local homeowners are choosing Hiner Landscapes over any other landscape design/build firm in the area. They are the only firm that works laterally with their clients every step of the way to ensure their landscaping needs are met while upholding their high standards of professionalism and excellence.

Landscape Design Image
DynaSCAPE Client Profile: Pearce B Designs

DynaSCAPE Client Profile: Pearce B Designs

Pearce ButcherPearce initially made the decision to invest in DynaSCAPE Design this past Feb ’18. In a very short amount of time, she was able to learn how it works and create beautiful job-winning landscape plans. Her hybridized approach of creating her plans using DynaSCAPE Design and rendering them by hand produced a style that can only be described as a marriage of her passion for art and landscape design, and they really are stunning.

 

Getting Started

When I was talking to Pearce about how she got started, she described her passion for the outdoors and how her creative curiosity drove her to wanting to design and create. Her undergraduate studies included art and geology, but she found a new passion, learning about landscape design. Moving to the DC Metro area to take an internship with a landscape design/build firm, she enrolled George Washington University’s landscape design program in the evenings. Right around the time she earned her certificate in landscape design is when she started her family.

PearceButcherLiving in Phoenix, AZ for the better part of four years with her plant expertise residing with east coast palettes meant that she was feeling a bit out of her element. Pearce and her family moved back to South Carolina about three years ago and has really found that she’s hitting her strides now.

Building the Business

Seeing a gap in the marketplace, Pearce positioned herself and her business as a resource for homeowners that were looking to get landscape work done but wanted to start with a plan, and a resource for homebuilders and landscape contractors who don’t have landscape designers on staff. Now Pearce B Designs is a booming landscape design business that regularly keeps Pearce in a fun balancing act being a mom to three beautiful children and running a successful landscape design firm.

Catalyst for Change

As a professional landscape designer who drew by hand for many years, Pearce found herself with a heavy workload that often took much too long to turn around finished presentations needing to increase her capacity. She mentioned that she was avoiding discussions about plan revisions simply because they were too difficult to do by hand; couple that with needing to manually creating plant lists, takeoffs, plant photo catalogs and not being able to be mobile in her work. She decided that she was going to move to a software solution for her landscape design work.

In her search for the right software solution, Pearce evaluated Pro Landscape, Vectorworks Landmark, Land F/X, and DynaSCAPE Design. She mentioned that she had been looking at Vectorworks Landmark for sometime, but kept coming back to DynaSCAPE because of the beautiful graphics (the artist in her had a hard time letting go of the hand drawn look), the learning curve, and the price point.

An Educated Decision That Paid Off

PearceButcherIn five months, Pearce has learned how to be very effective using DynaSCAPE Design and references her successes in increasing her capacity to complete larger projects and more work overall as well as significantly increasing her efficiency has led to a more successful landscape design business. She said she loves that she can make changes quickly and can easily work with the data she collects during the site analysis phase. If she could add one thing, she would like DynaSCAPE to add more plant symbols of larger varieties.

Please check out Pearce B Design’s website and follow her on Instagram!

Website: https://www.pearcebdesigns.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pearcebdesigns/

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