Sometimes, a lack of confidence in your data can catalyze implementing new software for your janitorial company.
For CAM Property Services, it was a total failure on the part of their previous software system.
“As soon as we transferred our data, it pretty much broke our business,” recalls David A. Herrera, president of CAM Property Services. The system billed some clients multiple times and others not at all, and the system’s glitches made it difficult to rectify these issues, angering some long-term clients.
The $20-plus million company is based in Torrance, CA, and provides day porter, landscape maintenance, steam cleaning, janitorial, and property repair and maintenance services to commercial real estate clients.
The company turned to Aspire as their new software platform and spent six weeks learning the system alongside a dedicated implementation manager.
“It’s not easy moving your data into a new database,” Jamie Scheel, consultant to CAM Property Services, says. “But our implementation manager was accommodating and informative.”
The ins and outs of implementation
Scheel recommends being open to change—not just new software and terminology but also to entire workflows and processes.
“We had to change how we did things because we had a lot on our hands,” he says.
For example, the team would decide on a process for creating jobs with multiple service lines, like landscaping and sweep services or janitorial and porter services. They built each job with various services in a single opportunity. But their implementation manager advised them to label each as its own opportunity and attach them to the same invoice.
Trial and error can be a part of the initial process. “To me, I don't know how you get around that other than really immersing yourself in Aspire early on to set the framework,” Scheel says. “There were multiple times when we completely redid things, like contract renewals.”
Aspire is intuitive and guides users to follow the designated workflow to extract accurate data. “Aspire presents workflows that come from experienced people who have put a lot of thought into it,” Scheel says. “You have to set up employees, routes, and schedules correctly; then, it will show up on your employees’ phones where they can check in. You are notified when they check in, so you can be confident knowing you have coverage.”
Above all, Scheel recommends taking action on implementing new software as soon as possible.
“If you're thinking about doing it for any reason, that means you should do it,” he advises. “We should have done it sooner with (our previous system), but we didn't. Do it and know there will be some hiccups because you're completely changing a system. It's okay if it disrupts how you're doing things because it might mean you're not doing it correctly. That's what we found in a lot of cases.”
Once implementation was complete, Aspire support continued. “Whenever I reach out for support, everyone's always helpful, patient, and detailed,” Scheel says. “There's support all the way around for people using it.”
“(Aspire) constantly wants to improve the program — it's continuously evolving,” he adds. “Every month, features like job completion notifications complement the work we're trying to do. Their new features simplify tasks or provide us with the functionality we’ve wanted or hadn't thought possible.”
Integrating partners for better visibility
Herrera looks forward to fully integrating Aspire partners Acumatica, an accounting solution, and Inova, a payroll platform, to better track revenue, profitability, and payroll trends.
“(Aspire’s) allowed us to rip apart all of the complexities of our business,” he says. “We've been in business 36 years, so we’ve always analyzed our business from a service line aspect and drilled down on those service lines.’ We've turned that sideways, and now we look at it from an asset perspective. Now that we've introduced Acumatica, we will look at it both ways and say, where's the revenue coming from? Is it coming from shopping centers? Is it coming from industrial?”
Supporting a new labor structure
The company has seen its bottom line and operations improve with Aspire, using site audits, better billing and accounting practices, and mobile crew management to attain double-digit growth.
Janitorial and Day Porter Service Line Expert John Salido keeps his eye on real-time trends and now has instant knowledge of P&L at his fingertips with Aspire. This accessibility to accurate data is invaluable as CAM’s growth plan will see its full-time janitorial services staff double in size in a very short period.
The CAM team will rely on the structure and data accessibility Aspire provides to focus more on labor output versus budget and revenue as they hire and train new full-time staff members.
“We have to scale intelligently. We can't just hire 80 janitors and say, all right, go to work,” he says.
Herrera adds, “Aspire’s unparalleled transparency and detail into each work ticket’s labor and material will allow us to onboard 80 people quickly while profitably ‘micromanaging’ the KPIs of all work tickets through dashboards.”
From a recruitment perspective, CAM highlights that they use Aspire. “We let applicants know Aspire’s crew mobile app tracks their time from when they clock in to start their day to each client site they visit when they clock out for the day, ensuring they’re properly compensated each pay period,” he adds.
“I'd like to see our company become a leader within the Aspire group of companies and be the go-to company of multiple service line providers because I think we're pretty unique.”
On the client side, the company looks to Aspire to support their larger contract bids and instill the confidence to accurately quote materials, direct costs, and forecast profitability for high-revenue clients.
“It helps us ensure a proper return on investment,” Salido says. “It gives us peace of mind.”
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