How to save time with scheduling

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Person mowing property (Photo: ND Landscape Services)
Know before you go Some software includes square footage with each account, allowing managers to estimate time spent on-site. (Photo: ND Landscape Services)

With scheduling, it comes down to efficiency. Landscape company owners share the tools they use to maximize their scheduling or routing. Landscape Management spoke with Nicholas DiBenedetto, president of ND Landscape Services in Georgetown, Mass., and Andrew Walsh, co-owner of My Fertilizing Co. in Livonia, Mich., about why scheduling is an important part of an operation.

Tech tools

It’s easy for contractors to understand exactly how to maximize the time on a job site with equipment to do the job quickly and efficiently. Time spent going from job to job and the time a crew might spend in traffic getting to the site can eat into that job site efficiency.

ND Landscape Services uses Boss LM software for its commercial and residential design/build, maintenance and snow and ice management. Production managers pull together schedules using the software. Each account includes data on the square footage of the property, which helps production managers estimate the amount of time associated with that service.

Production managers can easily see the man-hours for the task and drive time from stop to stop.

“You’re in real time getting the hours associated with the list,” DiBenedetto says of each day’s work schedule.

Building a relationship

An office manager uses Real Green’s service assistant software to set My Fertilizing Co. routes the day before, and Walsh says this process gives his crew time to prepare for the materials they’ll need for the next day’s applications. The company primarily serves residential customers with lawn care, maintenance, tree and shrub, mosquito and pest control and holiday lighting offerings. While Real Green’s service assistant software designs the routes, an office manager prints out hard copies of the materials needed for those calls, so they can load their trucks with the correct product.

“They already have their next route,” he says. “They know what it looks like, they know what exactly to load.”

Walsh says his company sends out emails or automated messages via text or phone call to clients about the pending service. The email includes a photo and bio of the technician, services scheduled and the price.

“We think about what our customer wants, and then we try to tailor our service for that,” he says. “What the customer wants is to know when you’re coming and who’s going to be there. I think it’s a lot easier to fire My Fertilizing Co. than an actual individual technician if they have a relationship.”

Right crews for the job

DiBenedetto says one thing his production managers take seriously is the need to match the skill set of the crews to the tasks scheduled.

“When you’re scheduling the activity, there’s a lot more to it than just the activity,” he says. “It’s the upfront prepping for that activity. You’re looking at skill set first. Do you have the right crew with the equipment to be able to perform it?”

DiBenedetto says thanks to Amazon and other same-day delivery services, clients expect services much faster than is feasible, but he says his sales team sets a realistic time frame
for maintenance.

“We’ve tried to get in front of that in the sales process to tell how many weeks we’ve booked and what activities are going to come before them,” he says.

Christina Herrick headshot (Photo: LM Staff)

Christina Herrick

Christina Herrick is a former Editor for Landscape Management. A Journalist graduate from Ohio Northern University, Christina is known for sharing her insightful experiences on the road with her audience.

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