There are many reasons why people start a business, but the end goal is to make money.
Yet when Mike Martinez, owner of Newtex Landscape and creator of the Cappsure app, started talking to others in the green industry, he found that one of the major missed opportunities is pricing.
“It’s the elephant in the room,” he said. “They don’t want to take a leadership position on pricing.”
While fly-by-night crews price low and make the experienced lawn care companies reluctant to raise their prices, there is also the issue of not charging for all the products used during a job, especially irrigation related ones.
Irrigation installs and repairs require a lot of small parts, and the method of having these parts on hand is a drawn-out process that can become expensive.
From ordering the parts, picking them up, distributing them to crews, accounting what parts were used and where, invoicing what parts were used and accounting for and re-ordering parts, it can seem tedious and almost impossible to accurately charge for all of these small parts.
Companies will often charge 30 cents for something that actually cost them a dollar and 25 cents to obtain, causing them to lose significant money in the long run.
“I tell landscaping companies this all the time,” Martinez said. “‘You deserve this. Don’t be afraid to charge for it.’”
While a part itself may not cost that much, just like how you charge for the labor not just the plant you are installing in a customer’s backyard, it took some serious logistics to get that piece to where it needed to go.
Martinez experienced this problem himself of trying to record what irrigation parts were used by which crews on what property. Previously each crew would have a large sheet listing all the small repair parts they carried from nozzles to emitters, and during the day they would mark what parts were used at the properties they serviced each day.
The crews would turn in the sheets at the end of the month, but Martinez soon realized his employees were only accurately accounting for 10 to 20 percent of the actual parts used. Not to mention, no one at the Las Vegas-based company had the time to count parts that were not used, lost or stolen.
Realizing just how ineffective this system was, Martinez happened to notice how his landscaping crew members were proficient at using smart phones and their apps. It dawned on him how technology could easily solve this problem.
The Cappsure app features an irrigation module that allows crew members to select a photo of the irrigation part they used, drop a GPS marker on the map of the property and the part is recorded on the back office system so it can create an automatic billing report for each client.
With this increased accuracy, Martinez knew he could make a profit from the parts used and increase his mark up for the small parts as well.
Another irrigation related feature that the Cappsure app has helped streamline is the memorializing of assets on properties so crew members know where the timers, backflow valves, gate value and other key structures are located.
“Majority of the properties, you’re not going to know where the shut off is at and you could have trouble finding it,” Martinez said. “With Cappsure, all you do is touch the app and it will pull up a map and a photo of it.”
Another one of the main features of Cappsure is how it allows employees out in the field to craft proposals for things they see while out on the job.
“Before our tree foreman would see a tree that’s split and needs to be removed and he would have to call the office and getting a proposal would take about a week,” Martinez said. “Now he uses the app to report it and make a proposal that will go right to the manager who can approve it. We save on mobilization and empower our guys out in the field.”
Martinez has seen a reluctance in companies to entrust their employees with this sort of capability as a majority of their employees are ESL (English as a second language), but he thinks the confidence level will change with education and that there isn’t a language barrier within the app.
“These guys are in the field every day and so much information is getting lost,” Martinez said. “Let’s face it, the account managers can’t be everywhere. Being able to supply the employees with apps is a big part of having the confidence that they’ll be able to use them.”
Also, commercial managers’ demands for professional reports will push companies into taking technology like the Cappsure app more seriously.
“Dealing with these management companies we can provide better reporting and accountability using the Cappsure app,” Martinez said.
The Cappsure app is still on a per property pricing module in order to allow the many levels of employees who are attached to one property to access the information.
Cappsure can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. For more information, go to their website here.