This is part two in a two-part series. To read part one, click here.
Brake Landscaping & Lawncare, Inc. is one of the pilot users of Briggs & Stratton’s web-based tracking program, InfoHub. Below, Jason Rives, general manager for the company, shares some more benefits of this tool.
Freeing up workers
The company employs around 120 workers full-time during the peak season and on average, about 60 of the employees are out in the field mowing.
Brake Landscaping has a large service area with some jobs being 60 miles away, depending on the contract. According to Rives, one supervisor could potentially drive 300 miles in a day just to check on crews.
Now Brake’s two mowing crew supervisors spend their time focusing on job quality instead of worrying about efficiency. Rives says they are also freed up so they can help with other tasks instead of simply following crews around.
“We know exactly where every crew is at every second of the day; we don’t need to call them and find out where they’re at,” Rives says. “I know when the mowers are running. I know when the mowers are not running. I know when they stop at gas stations or if they take an extra five minutes for lunch. I know all these things.”
Previously, Rives says it was much more of a shot in the dark knowing if crews were where they needed to be and doing what they were supposed to do. Now with InfoHub removing the uncertainty, the company did not have to hire another supervisor.
“It has saved us a supervisor salary for sure and expanded the ability for my other two supervisors to do other things that they wouldn’t have been able to do previously,” he says.
As for those concerned that this level of tracking is too invasive, Rives says his crews didn’t have an issue with InfoHub and its tracking features. The only one who did was a supervisor who was not following the company’s operational guidelines.
“He was the only one who had an issue with the tracking and he actually ended up leaving our company,” he says. “He quit in the middle of last year because of it. I don’t want to lose anybody but at the same time he wasn’t pulling his weight.”
InfoHub also serves as a way to quickly and easily show customers when your crews have mowed, as the system keeps records of all the previous mowing patterns. Rives says he can access the information far faster than through their traditional way of tracking and filing.
“It shows exactly where they mowed at what time and goes through their entire day,” he says. “Proof of service is huge for some customers and some customers just want to know.”
While the mowing patterns can be used to show proof of service if a client wants to know if your crews mowed last Tuesday, InfoHub’s tracking can also prove when crews weren’t in a certain location if someone claims their property was damaged.
This situation has occurred more than once with Brake Landscaping’s crews being accused of breaking a window and the individual demanded restitution. Rives says previously they would have simply had to take the person’s word for it and pay to fix the window, but now he can show the person that his crews were nowhere in the area.
“In the past, absolutely we would take the blame for it, we would pay it and we would be a couple hundred dollars out,” Rives says. “I would guess it’s probably saved us since we’ve had the program $1,000 just not having to repair that stuff.”
The platform also allows users to set geofences around their service area. Once a piece of equipment equipped with InfoHub leaves that area, the user is immediately notified.
“Thankfully, it’s never happened yet but maybe one day it might and whenever that equipment leaves my service area, I will know immediately where it’s at, when it left and where it left from,” Rives says. “I hope I don’t ever have to use it, but it is there just in case.”
Rives says that InfoHub can be helpful to both large and small landscaping companies. While the platform can help bigger lawn care companies improve their efficiencies, it can help smaller businesses transition to a position where they can focus on growing.
Oftentimes, the owner of a small lawn care company is on the crew and Rives says this is the worst place you can be, as this keeps you from your other business task or has you doing them at night or on the weekends.
“Why would you not want to use something that’s going to maybe allow you to take a step back and still feel like you’re involved with what’s going on on a day-to-day basis, (along with) giving you the opportunity to do more sales, do more customer service, spend more time with your family, whatever it may be?” he says.
He also believes that InfoHub could aid in pricing services, as the current bidding for jobs varies greatly.
“I think that if more companies started getting involved in this type of service and this type of program, you would start to see those big, wide range of numbers start to flex more toward the middle because people would know exactly what their cost is and exactly what they have to do to be efficient,” Rives says. “You would start to see the pricing on competitors get closer and then contracts would not really depend on the price as much; it would start depending on the quality of work.”
The InfoHub devices are $229 apiece and subscription pricing for the platform is $19.99 a month (20 or more units) or $22.99 a month (fewer than 20 units). Click here to learn more.
Brake Landscaping is also currently a test user for InfoHub’s new vehicle/compact equipment tracking solution, as Briggs & Stratton is working on offering an expansion in the fall that will allow landscapers to monitor their entire fleet, from the truck to everything in or on the trailer.