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.
That 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.
“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.”