Property Works improves visibility into operations and drives growth through sales performance with Aspire
"Start to finish, Aspire is a great program to do anything you'd need to in the service industry. Janitorial in general, maintenance, and landscape—and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I don't see why any other service industry provider couldn't use the platform."
Property Works was founded in 2007 by Tony and Jason Batallan, two brothers born and raised in southern Florida. The brothers owned about 200 commercial rental properties in Palm Beach County and the surrounding area and created Property Works to manage the landscape maintenance work on those properties. Over the years, the company grew as the Batallans met other property owners and began to maintain landscapes on other sites in the region.
As Antonio and Jason continued with their efforts to fulfill their maintenance obligations, they launched a private equity group in their name. The Batallan Group has acquired landscape, general maintenance, and janitorial companies in the Florida market and onboarded them to Aspire to integrate these endeavors. In the fall of 2021, The Batallan Group purchased the Tampa-based company Painters On Demand and its locations in Tennessee and Georgia, all of which will eventually be integrated using Aspire.
As of 2021, The Batallan Group employs over 150 people and 100 subcontractors in the state of Florida. It has seen 30-35% growth overall from 2020 to 2021, due in large part to its expansion into janitorial services and big wins in its landscape maintenance division. Antonio and Jason have an aggressive growth strategy, with expectations to purchase and integrate 3-5 additional companies by the end of 2022.
Dana Shaw began working with the Batallan brothers in 2016 while he was an implementation manager with Aspire Software. After building a strong relationship with Property Works while at Aspire and later as an independent consultant, Dana joined Property Works in 2020 as a full-time manager in operational strategy, overseeing the systems the company uses to manage its business.
At a glance
With Aspire, Property Works has been able to:
- Establish a janitorial services “branch” of the business
- Improve visibility into all areas of operations using Aspire's schedule board
- Develop dashboard dials for individual and companywide sales performance incentive fund goals, leading to 30-35% growth in sales over a three-month trial period
Though the company runs their own labor and is asset-heavy on the landscape side, Property Works uses mostly subcontractors and territory managers to handle services in its janitorial business, which serves bank branches and offices, car dealerships, K-12 and college/university campuses, retail stores, conventional offices, and municipal facilities.
Property Works has been using Aspire since 2016 and turned to Aspire to run its janitorial business in 2020.
“We were already using Aspire for the landscape side, and we were already paying and using that asset quite robustly,” Dana says. “So it made financial sense to use it for our needs on the janitorial and general maintenance side.”
The company has one office in West Palm Beach, Fla., but since there isn’t much crossover between their landscape and janitorial properties, employees, and subcontractors, the company sought to separate these two profit centers by creating branches for each of them in Aspire.
“The higher-level reporting capabilities of the branch versus divisions in Aspire lent itself to how we wanted the financial information to end up in QuickBooks,” Dana explains.
It was necessary to determine how the QuickBooks chart of accounts received information from Aspire to ensure revenue and expenses for janitorial services were set up correctly within the platform.
By having Aspire sync with QuickBooks at the branch level and assigning janitorial and landscape specific prefixes to purchase orders, the company is now able to transfer the costs of goods and services (COGS) over to QuickBooks accurately for each profit center. These COGS are compiled accurately in the correct branch location for financial reporting.
“I spent a lot of time in 2020 remapping that so that everything would be correct for 2021, which we were able to successfully do,” he says. “Right now, it's working really well.”
The epicenter of operations
Dana calls the schedule board in Aspire a huge win for the company, because of the visibility it provides into many areas of the business.
“There are so many aspects of the system you can touch from the schedule board alone,” he adds. “You can easily see time, payroll, purchasing, invoicing, and cash flow—just in that epicenter, we're running the core aspects of our business right there.”
The schedule board allows the company to easily move visits, view crew trucks and assets, and create issues directly from work tickets, in addition to having subcontractors use mobile devices to clock in and complete work tickets—a must for their subcontractor-heavy janitorial services.
“It's a very simple thing, but the schedule board is hugely beneficial to our day-to-day operations,” Dana says. “For us, it works incredibly well. A lot of different things stem from the use of the schedule board, which is helpful, especially in a strategic meeting.”
Create visibility to boost sales performance
A key element of Property Works’ growth strategy is to develop a sales performance incentive fund (SPIF) program to drive up sales for slower periods of the year.
The team created tailored goals for each salesperson based on their tenure at the company, accounts, and historical sales numbers. Aspire allowed them to go a step further and create a list that reflected the metrics around each salesperson’s numbers for the previous year so they could easily build out and track SPIF goals for each salesperson.
“We actually created individual dashboard dials in Aspire so sales reps could see what goals they were given and their progress,” Dana says. “Without even having to talk to them about it, they knew whether they hit their goal.”
Property Works also built a SPIF dashboard aggregated from the individual salespeople’s lists for a companywide sales goal KPI dial.
“We had an Excel spreadsheet that was the origin of the SPIF, but then we could build it all in Aspire and track it to its execution,” he says. “With Aspire, we can compare (our numbers) from beginning to end. It works amazing.”
The company used the dashboard system for three months and grew 30-35% over those months. “We had tremendous growth month over month over month,” he explains. “We could see it in real time because Aspire affords you that visibility into your sales and your operations.”
Property Works is currently managing their janitorial inventory in QuickBooks and outside of Aspire. In the company’s process, account managers travel to sites, meeting with site managers, picking up purchase orders and receipts, and managing these materials in QuickBooks as a general and administrative expense based off divisional revenue.
Given the volume of consumable products like cleaning supplies used in janitorial services, Aspire could offer an easier solution for managing this inventory.
“I would argue that a company could better take advantage of Aspire if they were to manage their inventories through the system, so the team leader out in the field can actually allocate materials from their mobile phone onto the ticket as the teams are cleaning,” Dana says.