Igniting a spark: How Latitude 41’s growth powered a transition from Crew Control to Aspire

Read Time4 minutes

AuthorAbby Hart

PublishedJanuary 26, 2024

Igniting a spark: How Latitude 41’s growth powered a transition from Crew Control to Aspire


Table of Contents

Ask any seasoned Las Vegas visitor; "rejuvenated” is not a word they would use to describe how they feel after three nights on The Strip. 

But many of Aspire’s IGNITE Conference attendees proved to be the exception.

Austin Hurst, vice president of Latitude 41 Lawn and Landscape of Iowa, said after IGNITE, “You're rejuvenated and refreshed, and you come back with some fresh ideas for your own business.” 

When we last caught up with Hurst in 2021, his team had onboarded Crew Control and was seeing dramatic results

Two years later, the company went from $1.3 million in revenue in 2021 to projecting $2.2 million for 2023.

Despite nearly doubling in size, the team hasn't added many individuals.

The company had 11 full-time employees and 24 employees during the peak season and has since expanded to 18 full-time employees and 28 total.

“You’re talking a $900,000 increase with seven more full-time employees but only four more employees overall,” Hurst says. “Before, we would've needed to double our workforce, and we wouldn't have been as profitable or efficient.”

Latitude 41 has achieved many efficiencies and growth milestones with Crew Control, including:

  • Significant increases in their landscaping, fertilizer ($72,000), and irrigation ($70,000) departments

  • Increase in sales close rate from 10-15% to 30%

  • Better budgeting, better estimates

  • Boosts in route density and crew productivity due to more efficient scheduling workflows and route optimization

  • Increased productivity and accountability at the department lead level as a result of improvised job and schedule visibility 

  • Improved customer experience with automated text notifications and the ability to gauge crew bandwidth

  • Timely materials purchasing managed by a purchasing coordinator ensures materials are secured and ready, avoiding work stoppages.

Onboarding Crew Control was a big step forward for the business, but this growth meant making an even more transformative step.

Stay with Crew Control or invest in Aspire?

Hurst says Crew Control has been fantastic, but the Latitude team broached the possibility of moving to Aspire as recently as last year.

“It was a fork-in-the-road situation,” he says. “If we want to reach our goals, how we operate right now is not sustainable or scalable.”

Latitude hired a new office manager in June, and rather than using her advanced skillset on manual and time-consuming tasks like contract entry and work ticket creation, the team decided it was time to invest in Aspire and automate these processes once and for all.

“We're tracking for $2.2 million right now. Maybe we can take it to $5 million, $10 million, maybe $20 million,” Hurst says. “No matter how far we can take the business, Aspire will lead us there and continue to push us.”

Fired up for a new way of working

“A software change is always scary, and I give Aspire a ton of credit,” says Hurst. “(The sales conversation) wasn't pushy. They answered our questions and allowed us to take our time to make the best decision for us.”

Latitude signed in July and began implementation in October. They’re projected to go live in January 2024.

“We want to get the most out of these 120 days and have a soft go-live,” he explains. “If we have any questions or concerns, we have that extra time to circle back and get help.”

“Honestly, I wish we could speed up the process and start using it tomorrow,” he says with a smile.

Even though the Latitude team was only a third of the way through implementation, Hurst and Director of Landscaping Kenneth Hall hopped on a plane to IGNITE, armed with questions and anxious to learn more. 

“We had a bit of a peek behind the curtain, talking to other peers on the platform,” he says. “We know it's not going to be easy. But the long-term vision is so positive. We're not planning for today but for a year from now and beyond. That's what this whole commitment and investment in Aspire is about.” 

Creating a holistic view of operations

With Aspire, the Latitude team has the tools to look at the business holistically.

“We feel good about production, but let's dive deeper into estimating, creating opportunities, pursuing new customers, and taking it to the finish line,” Hurst says. 

What changes does Hurst expect daily once the team is trained in Aspire?

“Aspire will change the way we communicate,” he says thoughtfully. 

The current production process still involves a paper contract and sometimes notes and other manual tasks. Bringing the workflow to a paperless platform ensures that all information about a client, property, or job remains in the system for more accessible communication. 

He believes that Aspire will change how his team thinks, with the goal of every single department essentially operating as its own business.

This structural shift means sales, overhead, costs, year-end profitability, and forecasting data will be more accurate and accessible, and goals more realistic and ambitious—because of the visibility a single platform like Aspire provides.

Latitude’s relationship with Crew Control and Aspire has changed the team’s outlook.

“We have more confidence in what we're building and how to scale it,” Hurst says. 

This confidence led Hurst and Hall to take the leap and attend IGNITE. The “rejuvenating experience,” as Hurst referred to it, reminded them of the camaraderie of the green industry.

“You're so involved in your day-to-day operations, you almost get pigeonholed in your own business,” he acknowledges.

“You can bounce different ideas off of people here. We met a company out of Michigan, Ace Outdoor Services, that’s been with Aspire for four years. The president, Aaron, was awesome. We drilled him with questions about Aspire and business in general.”

“Everybody's in this together,” he says. “It’s a tight-knit, unique industry because people want others to succeed."


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