Aphix was founded in 2003 as Al's Complete Lawncare by then high school student Allen Sweeney in his hometown of Frankfurt, Kentucky. Al grew the company quickly and in 2007, expanded to a branch in Lexington. In 2012, the company sold the residential side of the business to focus only on commercial clients with an emphasis on equine farms. In 2016, Aphix purchased a competitor in Louisville, KY and expanded to a third branch. Today, Aphix provides commercial maintenance to properties that range from 200 to 3,000 acres.
Making the switch
Aphix was an early adopter of technology and started working with a competitive solution in 2012. “At the time, it was the best tool on the market, but it lacked mobile capabilities. When I heard that [Aspire Software Founder] Mark Tipton was building a new platform, I was anxious to get on board.”
Aphix signed on with Aspire Software in June of 2014. “We were immediately impressed with the user-friendly interface. We also appreciated that Aspire was working with clients who were bigger than us so as we grew, I knew they could support that growth.”
In the five years since implementing the Aspire platform, Al has discovered numerous efficiencies that have allowed him to improve operations and accelerate growth.
With the system's mobile capabilities, production managers can now make schedule changes, track hours, and update estimates while on the job. This has cut down on administrative work and, in cases of overtime, helped PMs either improve estimates or increase crew productivity.
The same mobile capabilities have empowered account managers to speed up their sales cycle. For larger jobs, the time it takes to produce a quote has decreased from one to two weeks to one to two days. For smaller jobs, quotes are now completed on site. Collectively, these efficiencies have allowed Aphix to focus less on paperwork and more on growth.
With efficient inputs have come useful outputs. Al and his team use Aspire to run up-to-the-minute reports on sales, production, material management, scheduling, and crew oversight. “Years ago, people had to wait for a monthly close before gaining insights into their company’s performance. Now, you don’t have to wait for a decision to go poorly before you react. Aspire empowers us to make informed decisions in real-time so we can optimize revenue.”
Al gives an example: “We were running 150,000 working hours, which meant there were several thousand unaccounted driving hours. Reports from Aspire helped us realize how those hours were impacting the bottom line, so we could adjust our pricing.”
In another example, Al acted on the platform's reporting to make a bold choice not to renew a $2M client. The gross revenue on that client was solid, but analysis in Aspire revealed that the gross margins were weak due to huge overhead. Al recalls, “We couldn’t have made that decision without the information coming out of the Aspire platform.”
Through these types of analyses, the company can better understand their costs and evaluate their wages in order to build proposal templates where price points align to production points.
On adopting a new product
Change can be difficult, especially when introducing potentially intimidating technology. But according to Al, his leadership team was quick to embrace the Aspire platform as a tool for success. In recent years, they have shifted to an open-book management style, with the system as the centerpiece. “Aspire has made us more accountable. Every branch knows how the others are doing and that generates a sense of pride in the good months and accountability in the challenging months.”
Looking ahead, Al says the Aspire platform will continue to be a core tool for his company.
“Our goal is to be a multi-branch operation. Whether that branch is in Kentucky, Ohio, or Tennessee, Aspire will be the hub. It will help us be more efficient and more profitable, weed out bad customers, and accurately price out new customers. It’s going to be a key to our consistent growth.”
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