Charae Landscaping is a family-owned business operating out of Wilmington, Delaware, for over 30 years. Starting with just a single mower, the business has since grown to offer services such as grass cutting, mulch, tree trimming, and snow and ice removal. They currently serve over five hundred residential, commercial, and government sites in the tri-state area.
James Edinger was brought on in April of 2022 as an office manager tasked with creating new systems and operational workflows for the growing business to adopt. Though the company has taken huge leaps in growth over the past 3 decades, Edinger was shocked to find that the business's operations hadn’t scaled at the same pace.
The first challenge Edinger discovered was the lack of an electronic system. Everything, all the way up to the CEO level, was being managed manually through handwritten documents. To begin creating a more efficient management system, Edinger tasked team members with filling out printed lists he created on Word Documents.
“I would take those lists once a week and create invoices in Quickbooks—usually about 200 a week to enter, week after week. It was tedious. I knew there had to be an easier way.”
After discovering Crew Control on Facebook and doing some research behind the scenes, Edinger booked a demo to see if the system could meet the needs he was looking for in an online solution.
“What sold me was that as soon as a job was completed, an invoice was created.”
Edinger understood the upfront challenge of integrating an entirely new system into a manually run business, but he also understood the potential payoff. That’s why he was determined to ensure the team invested fully in Crew Control to maximize efficiency returns.
“Once we came on board, I put in maybe 50 hours during kickoff just putting in all our data and creating the processes. Since then, my end-of-month has been substantially quicker. For my role alone, Crew Control has probably freed up 80 hours a month.”
The platform provided benefits that trickled throughout the organization. Edinger spoke about the value of ensuring his crews knew exactly where they needed to be, what they needed to do, and how efficient the system was at helping him manage all of it.
“I love the route optimization,” Edinger said. “I literally would spend weeks ensuring that I was keeping the guys on the road for the least amount of time as possible. When I put the routes into Crew Control, it optimized all that for me, almost to the tee of how I used to optimize them myself manually.”
Communicating through Crew Control has become another proven benefit of the new system. Not relying on pre-printed checklists and templates means he can inform his crews about last-minute changes or updates.
“I am a very detail-oriented person,” Edinger mentioned as he described the benefits of being able to simply tag changes in jobs rather than manually note every update. “I love the tags.”
The simplicity of jumping into a task and simply tag a needed update such as “no leaf removal” is a big lift off Edinger’s plate. This kind of flexibility is easy to appreciate on the internal side of things, but the external business affairs seem to have benefited just as much.
Crew Control payments
Payments on Crew Control have helped Charae landscaping clean up their invoicing as well. The more automated payment system has taken a lot of weight off the manual tracking of payment data for Edinger’s role and beyond.
“With our previous payments provider, I had to copy and paste payment details into their system. With Crew Control payments, the customer’s account is automatically linked to [QuickBooks]. So we get all that payment information instantly.”
The reduced data entry is also a significant benefit on the customer side of things. Requiring less information during the Crew Control payment process was a “selling point” when informing their current customers about the transition to the new system. Crew Control’s click-to-pay style proved to be a major hit with customers happy to drop the previous multiple-step payment style.
Monitoring payments has also become increasingly simplified by Crew Control. Before, it was sometimes challenging to track down when and who had missed a payment on an invoice, requiring manual management to track down payments that may have been due months ago.
“I’m in the billing tab quite often,” Edinger described. “I get excited when I see that instant percentage of invoices paid vs. unpaid.”
Having the real-time status of customers’ accounts provides a bird’s-eye view into where customers are at with their payments and leaves Edinger excited about the future of how they can better manage behind payment accounts.
Making a clear investment
When Edinger started in April, he knew Charae needed to invest in a new solution. Making the decision to choose Crew Control was an easy choice. From researching the product to the live demonstration, Edinger could tell Crew Control could tackle the exact challenges he needed to solve.
“I’ve systemized things so much that I’ve almost put myself out of work,” Edinger jokes. “I’ve been able to do things that weren’t a part of the original plan when I was brought on back in April,” he continued as he described how much time has been freed up to focus on other aspects of the business.
According to Edinger, Crew Control remains an integral part of how Charae landscaping plans to propel its growth. He and the rest of the team remain excited about the possible operational optimizations ahead.