April is National Lawn Care Month, a reminder that spring is here and it’s time to focus on lawn care and planting. It provides an opportunity to explore resources and evaluate your landscaping business to ensure workflow efficiency and maximized profits. Whether it’s dusting off the zero-turn mower, networking with a new supplier, or investing in new cloud-based software, your business needs a spring cleaning.
In an era where most contractors are just realizing they must digitize to stay competitive and relevant in their trade, Breckenridge Landscape, based in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, has been ahead of the curve. Breckenridge’s President Eric Weishaar has been in the landscaping industry for over 27 years – in the field, design, sales, and finally, as a business owner. He started Breckenridge Landscape as a remote-first company in 2009 during the recession, a time when he knew operating costs must be kept under control to survive.
Weishaar started the business lean, but always had an efficiency mindset.
“In general, I think the landscaping industry is a little behind the curve in adopting technology,” he says. “I knew I didn’t need 10 people to do a job when I can find a piece of software to do it quickly and more efficiently.”
Weishaar had experienced all walks of takeoffs and estimating, from pen and paper to spreadsheets to other software. He found the manual methods to be cumbersome and inefficient, making his business vulnerable to mistakes and errors. When he tried other software, it was either catered to the general contractor and too clunky, or didn’t offer the custom presentation he needed for his commercial and residential customers.
Being a remote company, finding a cloud-based platform was of utmost importance to Breckenridge Landscape. Weishaar switched to STACK because it aggregates all his data in one place.
“We needed something quick,” he says. “STACK is robust, collaborative, presents well to residential and commercial customers, and is deployable anywhere in the world.”
Quick is the keyword here when completing bids in a timely manner can make or break you in landscaping.
“There is a big cliff drop-off in the point of diminishing returns with a customer if too much time passes after initial conversations,” says Weishaar. “If we don’t get a contract out within a week and a half, the chance of losing that job increases. With STACK, we can go very quickly from takeoff to estimate to contract and close more.”
“The thing I like about STACK is you’re building an estimate while you’re doing a takeoff in one place,” he says. “You can customize it how you need, and the information stays within STACK instead of switching to other software. With a couple clicks, you can format your contract and send it out anywhere in the world.”
What used to take Breckenridge Landscape three or four hours for a plan takes 1.5 hours now using STACK.
“That adds up when we’re estimating four plans a day, every few days for nine months,” Weishaar says. “Also, the faster I can get contracts out, the quicker my sales guy can close. He can meet his revenue figures because we’re efficient on the backend. This way I’m able to stay competitive in the marketplace with employees.”
Weishaar says the most valuable feature in STACK for his business is the ability to build custom assemblies with materials he chooses, attach them to takeoffs, and then automatically calculate that for an estimate.
“I think it’s great to have the ability to create as many complex formulas as we want,” he says. “Some people might be intimidated by that. It’s a little head-scratching at first figuring out what product you need and the amount, but once the formula is there you have a giant algorithm that’s automatically done for you. You eliminate a big step.”
After 27 years, Weishaar has experience under his belt and valuable knowledge to pass on to other landscape contractors considering STACK.
“If you’re still using manual methods, you’re one disaster away from being financially clobbered,” he says. “You could accidentally punch in 100 instead of 1,000; that’s a dangerous mistake. Grow your business with the least amount of pain with a system like STACK that does everything consistently and accurately for you.”
Weishaar offers this advice to other business owners: “If you’re not growing, you’re dying. You’re going to need to hire more people, whether in the field, sales, or estimating, to grow. Having a consistent system in place is critical to imbue knowledge onto someone else. The only thing that the estimator needs to do is take a proper measurement; the system is accountable for accuracy. You just plug in the next guy, here’s our system – work within it.”
Listen to Weishaar and grow with STACK. Our cloud-based platform will help improve your business with lightning-fast takeoffs, complete estimating, and bid-ready proposals. Create your free account here!
Read the full blog post here.