Kasel Rocks Landscape Company and its CEO, Scott Lesak, grew up together. When he was 17 years old, he started the company and ran the hardscaping business with his dad while he went to school to study landscaping. Today, the company has grown from a mom-and-pop operation to a rapidly growing, high-end landscaping, hardscaping, and snow- and ice-removal business set to net $2 million in revenue this year.
Realizing he had to work on himself before the company could genuinely succeed, Lesak made a life change in 2018 and became sober. The following year, his business nearly doubled in size.
“The momentum was going strong,” Lesak says.”We were filling vital positions and had the right people in the right places.”
But there was still a pivotal challenge to work out.
“We were using an in-house spreadsheet for bids, which surprisingly gave very accurate pricing,” Lesak says. “But then we had to manually enter everything into a contract in Microsoft Word. From there, we had to get signatures, file it, and pass off to whiteboarding for scheduling.
“There were two of us running that process, and data entry had become 50% of our jobs rather than what we really needed to focus on to move the business forward.”
They began looking for software solutions.
“Aspire can do exactly what we were looking for from a prospect phase of logging client information all the way to winning the opportunities and scheduling them,” Lesak says. “It streamlines everything.”
Taking on more work without increasing headcount
Aspire business management software allows Kasel Rocks’ team members to achieve more.
“Aspire has made our operation more efficient by allowing us to have a dual functioning role of operations manager and account manager,” Lesak says. “That position within our organization is able to handle the client communications and upsell opportunities of the account manager, as well as scheduling day-to-day operations and purchasing materials––all in one role.”
In addition, the Aspire customer success manager assigned to Kasel Rocks—Peggy Hughes—helped streamline crucial accounting processes.
“We struggled with closing months due to not having an in-house accounting or office management position,” Lesak says. “Peggy’s knowledge of QuickBooks and accounting has been incredible. She really filled the gaps for us.”
Managing a growing division
As Kasel Rocks grows, their focus is shifting more into commercial facility maintenance and snow and ice removal due to the scalability of those services.
“Our market has a ton of distribution centers and warehouses,” Lesak says. “We are a hub on the East Coast, and that provides a lot of opportunity for us to scale in that direction––with location two in the works, and location three not far behind.”
Aspire enforced accuracy and brought efficiency to this arm of Lesak’s business.
“Anybody who does snow removal knows how much detail you need to keep in your notes due to the liabilities involved,” Lesak says. “We were able to go from measuring and tracking all of our job sites with pen and paper to crews clocking in onsite with geofencing technology to prove when they’re there.”
And with streamlined invoicing, the company sends out invoices much quicker after a snowfall.
“Invoices are produced for us as soon as the work tickets are completed,” Lesak adds.
Confidence in costs improves estimating and profitability
The reporting features within Aspire changed the game for Kasel Rocks.
“The fact that we can get down to the hundredth of an hour of what our job costing data is and see everything in real time on the work tickets is huge,” he says. “We have to look at the numbers. We have to see what our crews are doing to make changes.”
Up-to-date reporting helped Kasel Rocks maintain consistency, even amid the supply chain shortages and economic uncertainty of the last couple of years.
“Because of Aspire, we were able to have our finger on the pulse for the entire 2021 season,” Lesak says. “As we were watching the reports and seeing what was happening to our bottom line, we increased prices incrementally in June 2021. We were able to grow through that instead of throwing a 24% increase at our clients all at once.”
What sets Aspire apart from the competition?
Lesak’s team evaluated a few software solutions before choosing Aspire.
“The differentiator for us was Aspire gave us the capability to manage the maintenance and the design-build sides of our business simultaneously,” Lesak says. “The other solutions were either maintenance-heavy or build-heavy—not a good combination of the two.”
Aspire’s reporting gave Lesak critical insight into labor hours to increase profitability.
“I've always considered myself a numbers guy, but after using Aspire, I learned I knew nothing about the numbers before,” Lesak says. “Now, we know exactly what we need to earn per labor hour to make our company thrive and grow. When labor hours aren’t appropriately managed, it becomes a numbers game. By tracking that in real time, our profitability has increased tremendously.
“Our gross margins have gone from wishy-washy to dialed-in, within 4% of each other on every job and site. That predictability and scalability sets the bar very high and sets us apart from the rest of our competition in our area.”