Landscapers shouldn’t let change scare them

Landscapers shouldn’t let change scare them

Something doesn’t look right to your customer in your design. They don’t like that tree there. It’s the wrong shape for the flower bed. They want a different color of plant, wood or stone. It’s a common occurrence, especially when dealing with people’s tastes, likes and dislikes. Landscapers anticipate change is going to happen at some point throughout an installation project. But how they handle that change can be very costly to their business. With plenty of hours being spent re-doing designs or ordering in new supplies, it’s not cheap to the business when change happens.

For landscapers who are used to doing everything by hand, a client’s change in design could mean an entire re-design of their original plan. And if they are not using some form of landscape design software, that means on many occasions, they are breaking out the pencil crayons and paper and starting from scratch.

“I was trained to do everything by hand,” said Wickie Rowland, APLD of Labrie Associates Design & Build. “I enjoy that whole process. But after a while I started to realize, as much fun as it was, it was cumbersome. I wasn’t able to be all that efficient. When a client had a change they wanted to make, it often meant drawing the whole thing all over again, and that gets old fast.”

Landscape design software saves time

Some landscape designers can take anywhere from three to 12 weeks to complete a design, depending on the size of the property. So, starting from scratch on a large property could add even more weeks to the schedule to complete. If a drawing is being completed by hand, removing an object requires more work than an eraser. It could mean starting from scratch to get it right.

“I started thinking I was going to need to invest in some CAD software,” said Rowland. “I knew these fabulous designs were coming out of it that people were doing.”

Erasing a tree is as simple as hitting the delete button in your landscape design software. With each object being its own individual aspect on the drawing, it allows you to erase, move or alter any object on its own, or as part of a group, but still keep the original design. This is great when customers come in with changes to the design that perhaps only affects 5% of the overall design. It’s not starting from scratch, but just reworking what you already have. That’s something you can’t do with a pencil and paper. You can erase and alter, but once you put color down, you might have to start again.

Made for landscapers

Changes in designs were one of the reasons Rowland moved to DynaSCAPE’s landscape design software. The fun of re-doing designs was no longer there and became a burden to the business. While the idea of switching to a CAD system was difficult at first, the overall experience Rowland got was one with her in mind.

“What made me go with DynaSCAPE is that it was made for landscapers,” said Rowland. “We were the audience. There weren’t also things for architects and engineers, it felt really friendly.”

While the switch from Mac to PC has been a challenge, Rowland said using a landscape design software that is made for landscapers is the difference. It’s not a repackaged tool that was originally made for architects, but rather one that is specifically built for landscapers.

With that in mind, it’s the reason why change requests come naturally in the DynaSCAPE system. When it comes to designs and drawings, no two customers are exactly alike. Details will need to be changed on every design and for some landscaping businesses, that means a lot of extra hours to start from scratch. With design software, it’s now easier to make quick changes to any design. Customers won’t have to wait for changes, which can help you secure more bid victories.

Handle change while on the job

Change often comes while on the job. The customer wants the deck two feet wider. They want more or different kinds of flowers in the garden. Or just any last-minute decision they saw on Pinterest. It happens. If not handled properly, change orders can eat away at profits in a business, as the smallest request could end up costing big dollars in supplies and labor time.

That extra extension onto the deck needs more materials and will require extra labor time. Those new plants will need to be ordered in, perhaps after the original flowers were already ordered. And those last-minute ideas you didn’t budget for in your original estimate are hours of labor that could be involved. But you don’t want to discourage your customers from requesting changes. It is their property, their space and ultimately, your reputation on the line. And being a business that can facilitate change is definitely a victory for you.

With landscape design software such as DynaSCAPE, utilize Manage360’s change orders when you need to add, remove and substitute anything. Here you can apply refunds if needed or come up with the new cost of the work if the client is adding from the original design. See the original contract and all the change orders to know exactly how you got to where you ended up at the final bill. And most importantly, keep your financials and margins solid through the project. Don’t lose money by gifting your clients free labor and supplies when they request a change.

Don’t let change scare you

Change doesn’t have to be a scary thing to landscapers. It should be encouraged. It means you can offer more to your customers and in a lot less time. Wouldn’t it be great to show your clients your design and then tell them the changes they want to be made will be done in a fraction of the time? Days perhaps, even hours to make the slightest touches that could alter their opinion and ultimately select your company. With landscape design software, you have the ability to use change to your advantage. Instead of it burdening your business with extra hours of work, it’s now a selling tool that will win you more bids with quick turnaround times.

5 Major Concerns Of Landscape Design Businesses

5 Major Concerns Of Landscape Design Businesses

LANDSCAPE DESIGN SOFTWARE

Working in the landscaping industry has its challenges. Offering quality at a competitive price, battling price fluctuations, and more competition entering the industry is just the tip of the iceberg. Many in the landscaping field are facing these problems head-on. And they are trying to find solutions. As young homeowners continue to drive new demand for landscape design and maintenance, landscape businesses need to find a way to meet the demand. That means using landscape design software, hiring more crews, and growing their business to match the demand.

Let’s look at some of the top concerns from the industry and how landscape businesses are trying to overcome it.

Quality Labor Shortage

Finding quality workers is a challenge. With more competition entering the field, there are fewer workers to go around. Also, some areas are struggling with wages and having their services undercut by discount businesses. Finding good employees can be challenging, but sometimes you just have to make do with what you have. And it might be time to adjust your crews and figured out how to best utilize them while working in the field. With landscape design software, some of the manual work now automated can reduce the number of employees you need. If you’re doing designs and estimates in a fraction of the time, then one person can do the job of two or three people. Similar, finding out who does the best job in the field can help you field super-crews that can provide quality service in a fraction of the time.

High Fuel Costs

It’s a tough pill to swallow every time you go to fill up the company truck or gas cans of fuel for your equipment. As fuel prices continue to climb, there are only two options for most landscape businesses. Firstly, eat the costs yourself. Secondly, pass it onto your customers. Some companies are now increasing their estimates and building charges in for gas. Others are simply biting the bullet. But how about a third option? How about going green? Battery power may be the answer if you are already paying large sums for gas. Using data from your landscape design software, see exactly how much you are spending on fuel. And then compare it to the cost of buying battery-powered equipment. While these green technologies might come with a heavy price tag at first, you will see the savings long-term in not paying for it at the pump.

Low-Ball Competitors

With more competition comes some landscape businesses that want to be the discount brand. They will offer services for lower prices, while still offering their employees a competitive wage. With start-up costs being low, it’s not difficult for anyone to get into the business of cutting grass or shovelling snow. So, now it has forced many landscape businesses to offer higher quality service and put a greater focus on customer service. Budget companies also don’t invest as heavily in landscape design software, so landscapers are turning to these solutions to offer more quality to customers in designs, estimates and services.

High Overhead Costs

Costs for landscapers continue to increase. There are different insurance costs, the already mentioned fuel costs, compensation costs and just the cost of doing business. These costs can be easily put back onto the customer, but many landscapers are not wanting to put the burden on their customers and risk pricing themselves out of jobs. And if prices do raise, it’s more often just a temporary fix. So, the question becomes, where do you increase costs and when do you absorb the costs. One solution is to really dig into your costs, overhead and expenses and start to budget better. Landscape design software should be able to help you recover the costs that are needed to run a business. And then evenly distribute the costs over all your customers. What you are doing is starting a practice of ensuring your overhead is considered all the time. And then when you are negotiating prices, you are taking it off potential revenues and margins, not the cost of doing business.

Lower Margins On Work

There are many reasons the margins on work being completed is getting lower. We have already talked about plenty of them. Increased competition lowers prices. Expenses, such as gas, are increasing and cutting into profits. And it’s harder to get more skilled workers to increase the work you do. And if your margins are getting slimmer on each job, it’s hard to advance forward. Especially when you need to buy new equipment or start a new crew, the money might not be there.

To increase margins, you can find discount supplies. However, your customers may not like the cheaper alternative. Or you can find better practices to slim costs down. If your designer is using a landscape design software, they are spending less time designing by hand, which lowers the overhead. But you still get a great design and fast estimate for your customers. Finding ways to automate your business will help reduce the overhead that may be crippling your bottom line.

Face concerns with landscape design software

Concerns for landscapers will always pop up. What is a concern today might not be one tomorrow. Or it could be an ever-larger concern for some companies. Gas prices change, fewer people are getting into the landscaping field. It’s harder to build crews and carve out good profit margin. Every concern can’t be solved with a landscape design software, but it can be the foundation in which to battle present and future concerns. As your company grows, you need greater insight into your overhead and budget and how crews are performing. That’s something you can’t get unless you are tracking it. And the way to track it is through a business management software.

Attracting And Retaining Quality Landscape Employees

Attracting And Retaining Quality Landscape Employees

General Information about DynaSCAPE

We’ve all been there. There are plenty of requests for work coming in, but as more jobs pile up, we reach a tipping point where we don’t have enough time in our schedule to add this extra work. This leaves us with only two options: try to hire more crews; or leave the job for someone else to take. The latter is not any landscape business owner’s ideal situation.

I won’t sit here telling you that hiring is easy; we all know there’s a difference between filling the role, and finding proficient, skilled people. I also won’t sugar-coat it; the landscape industry continues to be an unpopular career path for new graduates, and many are not pursuing post-secondary channels to enhance their skills and learn a specialty trade.

To truly find successful, career-oriented hires at the top of their field, you should be strategic and proactive in the way you hire. It can’t be expected that posting ads online in late winter will be enough to fill your crews for the year. It’s not just a competition with other landscaping companies to hire top talent, but many other trades as well. Job candidates need to view the industry as an attractive, long-term career path or it will be inevitable that they look to see if the grass is greener in other industries.

Attracting and maintaining a top-calibre team is not a challenge you should only focus on in the spring. This challenge must be tackled year-round, incorporating many different strategies to attract, retain, and review the success of your new hires and existing team members.

Attract

Let’s face it, posting on your company website that you’re hiring just won’t cut it anymore. Employees can be hired through schools, industry associations, online channels, and although there have been significant challenges recently, H2B workers as well.

Industry Associations: If you’re not a member of your local or federal landscape associations, you’re missing out on a great hiring opportunity. These associations share the common goal of supporting the success of the landscape industry and the contractors within it. They likely have a Careers page where you can post your listing, or they may even be able to recommend a few potential hires.

Post-Secondary Schools: DynaSCAPE Design is taught in over 100 landscape design programs throughout the USA and Canada. Many of our clients leverage these programs to hire DynaSCAPE-trained designers as soon as they’ve graduated. The same can be done with the horticulture and landscape technician programs in your area. Many of these graduates are fresh out of school (unemployed), eager to join the industry, and have already been trained by professionals. The instructors may even be able to identify which students excelled during the school year.

High Schools: For many teenagers, the landscape industry is seen as a dirty job with a lot of hard, manual labor rather than a glamorous career. Many high schools don’t have programs that focus on horticulture or landscaping, sometimes leading them to overlook the career altogether. By talking to these students early you can help to clarify what a landscape professional does (more than grass cutting and plant install), clarify salary and benefits expectations for trained professionals, and offer summer jobs to get them interested early.

Promote Online: If you’re not already promoting your job openings online, you need to be. Your website and social media channels are constantly being looked at by people who are interested in your company. Handing out resumes is a thing of the past. Job postings are now found online, and resumes are submitted digitally. You should make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply to your company by having a careers section on your website which outlines available jobs, and by posting on social media when you’re actively seeking new roles. You can “promote” these social media posts to target local viewers who are interested in landscaping. Keep in mind you’ll have a better selection if you’re hiring and training in the off-season.

Recruit Year-Round: Run a hiring campaign year-round. Even if you’re not planning to fill the role immediately, you never know when the right candidate is going to be searching for a new career. By searching year-round, you’ll have a great pool of candidates to select from when you’re ready to hire, and have a better chance of finding the best fit for the open positions.

Offer Cutting-Edge Technology: Crew members want to work for companies that make them more productive on the job and reduce strain. Make sure your team is equipped with the right equipment for the job. Whether that’s equipment for lifting pavers, top of the line mowers, safety equipment, or being able to track their time and job cost through a mobile app, rather than filling out piles of paperwork.

Prove That You’re A Winning Company: Let’s face it, employees want to know they’ll have job security within a growing organization. When you’re hiring, promote your success, how long you’ve been in the industry, and your position. As much as you’re interviewing them, they’re also making sure that you’re also a fit. When promoting the job opening or interviewing, celebrate your companies’ successes and strong culture.

Retain

With all of the time and investment spent on attracting the right talent, the next step in the process is to keep team members energized coming into work every day. It’s important to avoid a situation where your employees feel complacent and are happy with business as usual. So how can you do this?

Onboarding – Retaining an employee starts the day after they’re hired. The first three months in a job can be a turbulent time. Having a refined onboarding process gives employees a great first impression and helps them to feel more comfortable in their role more quickly. At the end of the onboarding, discuss with them how the process went and find ways to improve it.

Continuing Education – Some of your employees will be more motivated to expand their skills and become more experienced in their craft. Help support and provide avenues for expanding employees’ landscaping or business knowledge if they’re driven to pursue it.

Provide a Career Path – One of the big concerns we discussed earlier in attracting employees is the landscape industry being seen as a job, not a career. Career-oriented employees want to be able to see and map out their road to success. Make this process easy for them. Document ways that employees can enhance their skills and take on more responsibility, which results in promotions and pay increases.

Automation in the Workplace – Good employees get tired of inefficiencies. Take a look at your internal systems. Are they optimized to avoid double entry and to streamline the process? Eventually, this becomes draining on team members, where they feel their time could be better utilized. Implement integrated systems, such as DynaSCAPE Design & Manage360, so that your team can save time using cutting edge technology.

Compensation – Your team members must be paid competitive wages. That’s the bare minimum. Above that, think of ways that you can be flexible with vacation time, flex hours, or even employee appreciation incentives to better fit your employees. By leveraging systems like DS|Manage360, you can report on your crew’s installation times, salesperson close rate, and other key employee metrics, which can be then used to provide performance-based bonuses.

Keep Employees Busy Year-Round – A big focus in retaining good team members is the ability to keep them occupied (and earning an income) year-round. The seasonality of the industry can be one of the biggest challenges, with many team members wondering where they’ll be working when the season ends. Offering services such as snow clearing, renovations, and holiday lighting install can help to keep team members busy during the slower months.

Review

The Process is Never Complete – Don’t think of the hiring process as something that happens in the spring or just needs to be focused on once a year. You should talk to past hires and find ways to improve the experience for future employees coming in. The hiring process should continue to be molded and developed over time, based on what you find to be most successful.

What Do Landscapers Do In The Winter Off-Season? (They Work!)

What Do Landscapers Do In The Winter Off-Season? (They Work!)

LANDSCAPE BUSINESS MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

Winter can pose quite a challenge for landscapers. It’s their off-season when patio projects and beautiful backyards aren’t being built. Unless climate permits of course, in which case, build away! But for those landscapers who have the misfortune of Mother nature bringing in packs of snow and cold weather, fall and winter can be a difficult season. Especially for those who are just getting started in the business and don’t have the capital of summer projects to take them through the winter months.

Luckily, even though backyard projects may be coming to an end, maintenance and seasonal projects begin. Landscapers don’t have to put away all their tools and let their crews sit idle when there is work to be done. Especially for those who have invested in landscape business management software and are using crew tracking and maintenance scheduling tools. It may not be the lavish profits of full designs and construction projects, but it’s income you can take advantage of through the slow season.

Snow Removal

The most typical off-season work for landscapers is snow removal. They have the trucks already for summer use, so what’s adding a detachable snow plow to the front and plowing parking lots and driveways. It’s a perfect way to flex your landscape business management software, showing that software isn’t just for those busy months. And that it can still help earn you profit in the off-season.

When the snow comes falling, businesses, condo units and residents want to know someone is going to be on scene to clear away the snow. Setting up snow removal contracts in your landscape business management software is a great way to earn some recurring revenue. It’s basically your lawn maintenance, but with snow on the ground. The same scheduling you do for your crews in the summer can work in the winter. Your snow plowing will need to be more flexible depending on when snow is falling. But snow removal contracts can be great profit generators in the winter months for landscapers.

Planet Trees and Shrubs

As long as the ground is not frozen, fall and winter are the perfect time to transplant bushes, shrubs and trees. Schedule your crews for each of your clients using your landscape business management software and get them into the yards of your clients to transplant. This can also include other activities such as pruning, trimming trees back and planting winter annuals and raking the soil. It might be the off-season but think of the prime season and what your clients will want their yard to look like when the snow melts and it’s ready to use again. And for future projects that you could be doing in the summer months.

Other activities that can be completed during the winter months include:

  • Removing dead plants from flower beds and planters
  • Draining sprinklers
  • Dethatching and aerating the lawn
  • Fertilizing the lawn
  • Wrapping young trees in protective burlap
  • Moving patio furniture into storage

Christmas Lights Installation

One of the most profitable winter jobs for landscapers is putting your design skills to the test and installing Christmas lights. Keep the project work coming with Christmas displays, which between materials and labor hours, could net you over $1,000 for each installation, depending on the size of the display and the property. This kind of off-season work does require more planning than other work in this list. And it requires proper insurance to cover your crews that are going to be climbing up ladders and on roofs.

With landscape business management software, however, this can be a great revenue generator during the winter. Schedule your crews for each project and the takedown as well. Ask your customers when they want them up and down and plan out your crews to accommodate. Get yourself a wholesaler in materials for lights and other Christmas items and put your designs to the test to brighten up any house on the street. Your work is on display each off-season and could make you a busy and in-demand company come to the next off-season.

Leaf Removal

Does anyone enjoy raking leaves? If you have customers that have plenty of trees, and maybe you planted them, an add-on to your project work could be lawn maintenance. And that includes leaf removal. Some customers won’t want regular leaf removal, except if their backyard is full of trees and it’s a weekend activity to have to rake up what has fallen this week. Depending on how long winter snow holds off for, it could be up to eight weeks of leaf removal. Much like your regular lawn maintenance, schedule your crews using your landscape business management software and keep your customer’s lawn, which you work hard on during the summer, still looking great.

Training and designing

The off-season is the time to relax, but it’s also the time to learn. If you have decided to go with a landscape business management software that includes a design element, there is always time to brush up on new techniques and get more training in your software. Never stop learning as a landscaper. A tool, module or element inside your landscape software may change the way you look at off-season business.

You can’t turn your landscaping business into a multi-million-dollar business if you don’t work all year long. It may not be the same glamorous results you get from completing award-winning backyards, but it’s still revenue. And whoever turned down revenue? Don’t have your crews taking the winter off and keep them busy by scheduling recurring maintenance for the winter months.

3 Big Ways Landscape Design Software Saves Time

3 Big Ways Landscape Design Software Saves Time

There is that old saying in the business world that “time is money”. Every minute someone is designing, working on a bid, planting, shovelling or putting the finishing touches on a picture-perfect backyard, costs the business in expenses. And that in turn, eats away at the profit you are earning on each landscaping job. The overhead costs for each job can quickly spiral out of control and cost a landscaping project at the end. Hours add up, wages need to be paid, and all that extra time spent can take a massive bite out of your revenue.

So, when we talk about saving time, we are also talking about saving money. And with landscape design software, there is an opportunity to save on both. That is if you are willing to change your business and not just automate the way your business runs but rethink how you do business, to begin with. You can have the nicest drawings in the industry, but if those drawings are taking hours to complete and costing you a pretty penny, what is their return on investment against your closed deals.

Landscape design software saves design time (obviously)

This one might be the most obvious to point out, but your landscape design software will save time on designing. The best pencil crayons and designers can’t match the ability of design software to turn ideas into amazing and beautiful designs in a fraction of the time. With color swatches, patterns and other design elements, an entire design can be rendered into a presentable piece faster than someone can manually color each flower, tree or stone being placed.

Where landscape design software really saves time is on repetitive tasks. Store designs and concepts you have used before and reused them on new designs. Why redraw what you already have done before? And to really wow your customers when presenting, show multiple angles of the same design. But you only need to create it once, as design software will give you the ability to create different views of the same original drawing. The manual way of designing can be very labour-intense. But with design software, you are not only saving time but getting beautiful, colorful and 3D rendered designs that will win you more business in a fraction of the time.

Designs to estimates

Now that you have this beautiful design, you need the facts and figures that go along with it. You need the estimate. How much sod was used in your design? What kind of plants and trees did you use? How much time is it going to take to do the entire project? All of these questions require someone to calculate in order to give the customer an estimate along with their design. And plenty in the industry are still using spreadsheets for each project and manually pulling costs from their master cost book into their estimate.

All of these spreadsheets equal a lot of time being wasted. Whereas, if you already pre-loaded all of your cost books into your landscape design software, you could import your design and have a full estimate prepared. Every shrub, tree, plant and stone are accounted for out of your cost book. Did prices change? Update your cost book and your estimates change as well. No more having to go and manually update each bid to include the new cost of materials.

In-depth budgeting

Some landscapers are only thinking about the project and estimating and budgeting for that. But if you’re going to save money, you need to be thinking of everything you spend money on. And that isn’t just materials and labor hours for the project. It’s all your overhead, like storage fees, dump runs, inventory, equipment repair and if you have an office, the overhead expenses of running it. Those costs need to be built into every single project you complete. They are a part of your business and should be part of your final quote.

By planning your budget out before estimating, you can include overhead charges and decide how much you want to make back on each project. Save time when estimating by having a set method already in place to charge overhead back to the customer and include it in the final estimate cost. Remove the manual work of trying to calculate your overhead, and then how to spread that around to all your project work. Load your overhead budget into your landscape design software and let the estimating tools do the rest.

Time not spent is money earned

Every hour spent working on some aspect of your landscaping business costs money. But there is only so much you can return back to the customer. Offering designs and estimates is part of the overhead you eventually have to make back. But if you are spending hours upon hours designing and estimating with manual processes, it can be very difficult to recoup the loss. By reducing the time it takes to make designs and estimates, you save money. And by automating the budgeting of your overhead, you save money not having to calculate it. Turn to a landscape design software and speed up some of the processes that are eating away at revenue.

Automation & Job Costing is a Business Changer for Scarlett’s Landscape Inc.

Automation & Job Costing is a Business Changer for Scarlett’s Landscape Inc.

General Information about DynaSCAPE

Working long days used to be the norm for Jeremy Scarlett. The Vice President of Scarlett’s Landscaping Inc. in Ventura, CA, used to work in the field on new landscaping projects during the day, and would head home to continue working at night. It was a stressful time for him and his family as he worked alongside his dad in the family business and didn’t draw a salary in the early years. That is, until he discovered the benefit of using landscaping software.

The business was growing, and new bids were being done every night on his computer using spreadsheets. While Scarlett considers himself an Excel spreadsheet guru, it was a labor-intensive process to manually produce bids for potential new customers. 

“That’s how I was doing my bidding,” said Scarlett. “Keeping Excel spreadsheets of pricing of products and then just creating a new Excel spreadsheet for every bid that I did. I’m still working in the field all day, so this is at home at night when I’m supposed to be resting.” 

It was a great problem to have, as there was constantly new business to bid for; however, it reached a point when there were too many bids to complete using the spreadsheet format. When he came across DynaSCAPE’s landscaping software (Manage360), he was immediately impressed with the automation tools and their ability to change his entire bidding process. 

Prior to using landscaping software, Scarlett’s entire cost book was located in an Excel spreadsheet. It was a tedious process of typing it into a new bid, or even having to refresh costs, which wouldn’t be reflected on past bids unless he went back to manually update them.

“Whereas in DynaSCAPE, you have the Costbook and it’s really easy to update materials and pricing,” said Scarlett. “You can always refresh and pull in the new pricing.”

It also includes budgeting tools which allowed Scarlett to create a budget and enter it into Manage360 so he knew exactly how much he needed to cover for overhead costs on each new project. With the job costing model already set, he started gaining greater insight into the margins he was making on each project and where his pricing was coming from.

“When you are doing these bids, it’s correctly calculating things like overhead, subcontractors and whatever profitability you want on a job,” said Scarlett. “It really just dials in your focus. Whatever you set your focus at, it helps you execute that focus. Just the ability to have that budget in there and your pricing model already set that calculates it and enables you to execute it day after day.”

With bidding under control with a faster process, Scarlett turned his attention to data collection. He was looking for a system that was able to track his closing rates, what his margins were compared to his estimates, and even deciding if his crews should continue making runs to the landfill, or just buy a dumpster for the yard.

Data became so important to his everyday decision-making, and it was something he just wasn’t getting out of Excel spreadsheets. Today, no matter the size of the decision, Scarlett is looking at Manage360 for the data he needs to make decisions that will positively impact his business.

“You need a way to collect the data to make business decisions on a day-to-day basis,” said Scarlett. “I have to have data. All my small and large decisions are based on data. I want to look at past performance, how we have done on projects. I want to look at how much I’ve spent on dump fees last year and how much is it going to save me to buy a dumpster. I’m all about doing analysis.”

“Unless you have systems in place to keep that information, I don’t know how you access that information. You’re making decisions based on gut feelings or what you think is happening. I don’t want to base decisions on what I think is happening. I want to know the data.”

With Manage360, Scarlett is now able to be more accurate in his estimates. For him, if you’re off on your estimate, you’re making a mistake. While it’s great to know if you are hitting your gross margins over the course of the year, Scarlett wants to know if he is hitting them job by job. He has taken that data and analyzed the efficiency of his crews, looking into things like the location of jobs that cause his crews to drive too much, or looking at specific crews to see why they’re not as efficient as others, and what they’re doing differently.

With more accurate estimates, Scarlett has been able to win more bids by tweaking his budgets if needed, knowing his crew can come in at the estimate he put in and still achieve the profit margin goal. All of this is possible because of the budgeting, job costing and estimating system that is feeding him plenty of information to make these kinds of business decisions.

“We want to be able to analyze it job by job so we can see if we are hitting our goal or not,” said Scarlett. “If you are hitting it, then maybe your net profit is not enough. You have to have that info in order to analyze and set your goals and constantly be reviewing. Things change, you get new guys, or you want to be able to know if you can give a little because you really want this job, knowing I can execute what I planned on. Without that information and job costing, I don’t know how you are doing that.”

With landscaping software in place, DynaSCAPE’s Manage360 has turned Scarlett’s Landscape from a $100,000 business in to a $2.5 million business. They are taking on and winning more projects, so much so that they focus exclusively on new projects and designs. It’s grown the family business by so much that today, Scarlett has an estimator to complete all job estimates and bidding, because now the automated process is in place to ensure it will be accurate.

No more working all day and estimating at night. No more spreadsheet cost books and bids. Just a complete, automated system that has allowed this vice president to become more hands-off after more than a decade in the business.

“Having a system that can do all of these things for you is very important to me and my business,” said Scarlett. “The estimating system abled me to automate my estimating process to the point where I was able to hire an estimator and I don’t have to do that anymore. I wanted a system that was automated enough where someone could read a set of plans and do some takeoffs, and if they had some basic knowledge of construction they could execute an estimate accurately. Having that system and information has grown our business. DynaSCAPE has really enabled us to get to where we are today.”

Check out this interview with Jeremy Scarlett, and DynaSCAPE’s Vice President, Joe Salemi:

Contact one of our account managers today to learn more about DynaSCAPE’s business management software, and how we can help you save time and grow your business: