How TruCo Services used real-time job costing to build competitive bids, improve profit margins

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PublishedAugust 22, 2022

How TruCo Services used real-time job costing to build competitive bids, improve profit margins


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Successful landscaping companies know that data-driven insights lay the groundwork for growth and scale.

TruCo Services witnessed this firsthand after implementing Aspire Business Management Software, which gave the Utah-based landscaping and snow removal company the foundation they needed to take them to the next level. 

TruCo Services––the landscaping portion of their business––serves commercial clients with a focus on turf maintenance, fertilization and irrigation services, construction, snow removal, enhancements, and lighting. With an eye on growth, they needed a software platform to help them understand how they could maintain profitability.

“Aspire really helped us maximize revenue from the assets and human resources we deploy,” says Kale Stevenson, controller at TruCo Services.

Besides transforming the company with its work ticket management system, Aspire enabled TruCo Services to properly allocate time and capture critical data to support price increases for spot-on estimates.

Streamlining accounting and operations breeds newfound efficiencies

Prior to Aspire, TruCo used Service Autopilot software for roughly two years. But they needed a work ticket system that captured materials to perform job costing, as well as a starting point for making changes in workflow, personnel, or equipment.

“Operations was just running amok,” says Nial Magoffin, operations manager at TruCo. “And it was kind of like, ‘Yeah, we did good on this job. Maybe. Looks like we did, but did we?’” They didn’t have the data to support their assumptions and guesswork wasn’t going to cut it.

Aspire takes work ticketing to the next level. Aspire’s all-in-one platform provides a detailed breakdown of the hours, equipment, and costs associated with each job––by division, service type, property, manager, or crew leader—providing real-time visibility into actual job costs.

“How did I keep track of this before?” Magoffin asks himself. “It was all on an Excel spreadsheet. This was the turning point for me, when I learned what Aspire could do from an organizational standpoint to keep someone organized in an industry that is so chaotic.”

Generating better estimates with real-time data 

Prior to Aspire, TruCo billed for snow removal based on the size of the snowstorm, versus billing for labor time. This resulted in constant inaccurate bids––some over, some under. This was not a scalable solution for generating revenue forecasts. 

Aspire’s granular work ticket system allows TruCo to generate more accurate bids based on data from past bids with similar work requirements. Now TruCo can not only provide more accurate bids––improving profit margins––but also identify trends for more accurate forecasts. 

Aspire also eliminates TruCo’s unallocated time. Since much of their irrigation and snow removal work relies on time and materials, decreasing unallocated time means more profit.

“In our previous system, we had thousands of hours each month of unallocated time,” Stevenson explains. “Over the course of a month, it was often 3,000 to 5,000 hours of time that was unallocated. There’s no such thing as unallocated time. That time is spent somehow.” 

Aspire provides insight into how every hour is spent so TruCo can modify processes for optimal time management and better efficiency. “We implemented Aspire and it quickly paid for itself in the first couple of months of snow,” says Magoffin. 

Accurate estimates increase profitability

Aspire’s real-time data capture also gives TruCo the confidence to support price increases for contract renewals.

For example, crews often started spring cleanup in March when the weather turned nice (before the start of customers’ contracts on the first of April.) Similarly, in the fall, customers called for additional leaf removal after their contracts ended. Now with Aspire, TruCo tells their customers, “If you really want your property looking good by April 1, we really should start in March and get these extra couple weeks of services,” Magoffin says. “So contracts have gone up.”

With Aspire’s data tracking historical accurate hours and materials, TruCo can also increase renewals if the data indicates the need to do so in order to maintain proper margins. For one contract, that meant an 80% price increase.

Stevenson notes that the cost of labor and materials has necessitated price increases for many contracts. “But now we have the data to support our decision and that never would’ve been possible without the numbers to back it up,” he explains.

“It gives you the advantage,” Magoffin says. “Because you go in with confidence saying, ‘If you want to bid this out, fine. I know you’ll be back because other companies don’t know their true costs and hours. We do.’

“To sum it up in one word, it’s accountability. And you just can’t run a business at the magnitude we are without that accountability. It’s impossible.”


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