Innovator Series: What The Future Holds for Landscaping Maintenance Companies - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Innovator Series: What The Future Holds for Landscaping Maintenance Companies

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The process of doing takeoffs has witnessed a sea change over time.

In the past, it was common for business developers with years of experience to just eyeball a property and arrive at an estimate. This served as the cornerstone of our proposals. It soon became apparent, however, that this process can be inaccurate, especially for commercial properties.

So we started using the measuring wheel to be more accurate. Business developers started showing up on properties with this strong ally by their side, and the takeoffs improved in accuracy.

However, the process of measuring properties for commercial sites was very time-consuming and labor-intensive. And measuring properties using a measuring wheel became a pain – standing in the rain, snow, and heat was not always possible.

Then came the next generation of takeoffs – drawing polygons on satellite/aerial imagery to measure the sites. Sales teams flocked to this new method so that the travel to the site could be avoided as this was the digitization of the on-site measurement process.

The problem with existing site measurements procedures

What is fundamentally wrong with all these methods is that sales teams are wasting hours on measuring sites. Think about it, why should sales teams be measuring sites manually? How is it even remotely related to a typical sales job description?

Not just that, the problems with the manual property measurements are manifold, in addition to wasting precious time:

Manual errors in the measurement process lead to bad estimates

  • It slows down the bid turnaround, often leading to missing submission deadlines
  • Limits the number of proposals you can send out, especially in the peak season
  • Multi-site portfolios are hard to measure accurately because of the sheer volume
  • Missing your sales quota because you just did not have enough qualified leads in your pipeline

Where Attentive Comes In

We, at Attentive, have developed AI-based software that fully automates your property measurement process. Your team just needs to spend a couple of minutes setting up the takeoffs and then the AI takes care of the labor-intensive measurements for you. It literally takes three clicks!

The software analyzes every pixel of the high-resolution top and side views of the property to recognize patterns that determine what that property feature is, i.e., whether it is a lawn, a mulch bed, a sidewalk, or a tree.

The software has been trained over more than a million property images to recognize the various property features reliably.

Why Is Attentive a Breakthrough in the Sales Process

Attentive adds those hours spent on manual takeoffs back to your calendar. So that you can spend more time prospecting, qualifying leads, and spending time in front of the customers understanding their requirements.

Do you miss submission deadlines often? Do you often ask the property managers to allow for a delayed bid submission? Have you spent weekends away from your family because you were stuck measuring sites for your next bids? Attentive is the answer to all these questions.

Get auto-generated site measurements for a 100-acre HOA in less than a day. Send out all the proposals you want – without all the hassle. Win that inch!

Being done by a machine, these auto-generated takeoffs have the advantage of not being prone to human error. While a person might become tired of sketching their 100th polygon, an AI won’t stop working. As a result, the measurements are more accurate.

Also, on a complex property, a person would not study every area of the property by zooming in incredibly close, which would result in some mistakes, which is another reason AI performs better.
With accurate estimations in hand, you have a considerably better chance of outbidding your rivals by proposing an on-the-money price.

Mark from Juniper, Kenny from Lonestar

Mark Michalek, director of maintenance estimating at Juniper Landscaping, was using a manual measurement tool for maintenance takeoffs before switching to Attentive.

“Attentive is saving a lot of time for our team,” says Michalek. “The software is able to measure sites for us quickly and the measurements are spot on. It’s made our sales process highly efficient.”

When we initially spoke with Kenny, an account manager at Lonestar, he used to spend four hours a week using Google Earth to take measurements and repeated site trips to confirm those findings. He began to believe that he needed to recruit an assistant just to help him with the manual measurement process.

Switching to Attentive has saved Lonestar more than 350 hours per year, which equates to $15,000 in salaries for sales staff. Thanks to Attentive, he can now spend more time cultivating relationships with consumers because he doesn’t have to spend hours sketching polygons on outmoded maps.

Attentive for the Win

“Time equals money,” explains Shiva Dhawan, CEO and founder of Attentive. “Business developers (BDs) are wasting time by manually measuring sites. A BD typically spends 8 to 10 hours each week measuring sites, and this amount rises sharply during the busy season.”

“Almost 90 percent of the time that a BD would normally spend on measures is freed up by automation,” he adds. “By eliminating this headache, he has more time to devote to cultivating client relationships, seeking out new prospects, and upselling current clients.”

Imagine being able to double the number of proposals you can send out in a peak month. Imagine being able to spend more time with your prospects. Imagine being the first bid out. Imagine being able to show your prospect the true value of your service on a high-resolution sitemap.

Crush your quota with Attentive. Sign up for a demo today!

This article was published in the Nov/Dec issue of the magazine. To read more stories from The Edge magazine, click here to subscribe to the digital edition.

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