This post was by green industry veteran and SingleOps account executive Sean Adams. To see how SingleOps can help your business, you can schedule a free online demo here.
In an industry where 80% of customers accept the first proposal, speed is paramount. Customers are increasingly expecting faster interactions with your business, expecting ‘Amazon Prime Same-Day Delivery’ level of service. This can be very difficult to accommodate without the proper systems and support in place.
On average, the typical tree and landscape estimating process moves in the following way:
- Requests comes in for new work.
- Description of the scope of work and request details is scribbled down on paper.
- For those with with an admin team, this estimate request may be text, emailed, or written as a note to be forwarded to the owner/salesperson.
- On-site the salesperson jots down additional notes about the work. If it's a more straightforward project, they will hand write estimates on a paper carbon copy of some sort.
- One of the carbon copies makes its way to the office and the office team may type up the estimate in Quickbooks or the like OR the paper copy sits in a pile of submitted proposals.
- If the customer accepts the proposal, the paper copy may re-emerge and become a “work order” for the crews.
- The person that sold the job leads the way to the job, re-explains the scope of work to the crew.
- Once the crew completes the job, and invoice may be hand written OR the office manually types up an invoice.
- The salesperson may visit the job to submit the invoice and gather a payment.
- The salesperson submits the payment to the office to be manually entered into the accounting system.
This 10+ step process requires upwards of 4 manual entries of the same exact information. Why?
For the most part it boils down to habit. One of the biggest objections to involving technology to help improve the sales process is change. We have done our sales process this way for so long that it seems impossible that any time can be saved.
Time is not the only factor to be considered here. Relying on hand writing and manual entry of information has several inherent flaws. Here are a few
- Handwriting - How legible is your handwriting? Has there ever been a situation where your crew, office or customer could not read something that you wrote? Operator error can wreak havoc on your effectiveness. Forgetting words, misspelling and plain illegible writing can contribute to endless frustration and bottlenecks the handoff of information across your organization
- Single point of failure - “Don’t worry, I put everything done in this single note book.” While the habit of writing things done is certainly advised, another downside of a detail only you have and only in one place, is that it makes you the gatekeeper to that information. This means that anytime anyone anywhere has a question they must contact you and have you relay this information to them. This is of course not a scalable model and leaves you, the owner or salesperson, as the single contact point, constantly inviting in interruptions to your day.
- Scope of work Clarity - How often is information that you estimate misunderstood? This could be between you and your customer: A simple 1-2 line hand written estimate rarely contains the level of detail necessary to provide crystal clear distinctions that clarify the scope of work.
Time is precious. Implementing a technology solution to your company's estimating process can help you deliver digital estimates to clients that they can sign before you leave the driveway. Helping you save time that you can use to complete more jobs, grow your business, and spend more time with your family.