The landscaping industry is evolving, and increased costs and demands mean you have to find a way to run your landscaping business efficiently. Saving time and costs wherever you can is essential to staying ahead of the competition. Technology designed specifically for the landscaping industry makes it easier than ever to ensure that you are working as effectively as possible.
GPS fleet tracking
One area where you can lose time and money quickly is with your company vehicles. If your workers are taking side trips or spending too much time on the road by taking less-productive routes, you are losing money. GPS fleet tracking technology is designed less for the work of landscaping and more for the logistics of your company — but it will certainly make your work more organized, particularly if you have multiple teams heading out to tackle landscaping on any given day.
Fleet tracking allows you to monitor where your drivers are while in your company’s vehicles. Some systems give you insight into driver behavior as well, so you can limit fuel-wasting activities, like excessive idling or driving too quickly. With GPS fleet tracking, you can ensure that your drivers take the best route to their destination, which also limits wasted fuel and wear and tear on the vehicles. This technology also helps you track missing or stolen assets, which can help law enforcement get them back.
One of your responsibilities in the landscaping industry is to accurately measure before starting a job. From measuring distances to height, you can use laser rangefinders to make this job a bit easier.
With a laser rangefinder, you can find the distance between two points without physically walking to them. This saves you time while on the job, and can improve accuracy as well. If you are bringing heavy equipment to the job, you can use a simple, handheld rangefinder to determine if there is enough clearance for the equipment, preventing damage to your client’s buildings and structures as well as your equipment.
Irrigation Planning Technology
Landscaping requires proper use and planning of irrigation. Without water, the plants you deliver to your clients are not going to grow. Irrigation planning technology starts with an understanding of the current use of water on site, and the specific water requirements of the site and the landscaping project.
In the past, landscapers relied on their personal knowledge and understanding of water needs and irrigation to plan the right layout, but technology is changing this. Computer-generated models will show how water should be best delivered to the project, giving you the ability to estimate costs and plan for the implementation of your project’s irrigation design. This ensures not only that you have sufficient water for the project you are designing, but also that you have planned for the costs and design elements you will need to deliver that water.
While mobile devices, whether tablets or smartphones, are not new technology, they are becoming an integral part of the modern landscaping business. Since most contractors will carry a mobile device, you can use the device to stay in contact with your team members. Texts can be an efficient way to send information, without the need to interrupt a job with a phone call.
Mobile devices are also invaluable in helping contractors take photos of the area where they will be working, and use those photos to design the landscaping elements or show potential problems that could change the quote. Apps even make it possible to create mock designs in the field to show customers what the plans may look like, using photos taken on site.
Credit card processing via mobile devices is also helpful to the modern landscaping company. With the ability to take credit card payments in the field, you can increase the amount of each sale, because you offer a convenient way for your customers to pay.
Efficiency is essential when working in landscaping. Technology makes it easier than ever to run a tight ship as you work toward making your landscaping business effective, productive and profitable.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for a variety small and midsized companies, including landscaping businesses.