Sometimes opportunity presents itself during a time of devastation. Such was the case in 1982, when Randy and Cathy Nicely found themselves pitching in to help the Evansville area clean up after a devastating windstorm. Two chainsaws, a pickup truck, and a friend, combined with a strong work ethic, led the Nicelys to discover a niche to fill in the Tri-State and Randy’s Tree Service was born.
No one suspected it would take so much paper to cut down a tree
Building and running a tree service business takes, ironically, quite a lot of paperwork. From the moment a call comes in to request tree trimming or removal work, a sizeable trail of paper begins to form. Requests for estimates become a log sheet for field estimators, divided into geographic areas. At the estimate site, the estimator must make notes regarding ground conditions, equipment needed, and any special requests from the property owner such as precautions about pets. Once the estimate is completed it is returned to the office, where it awaits final approval from the property owner. After approval is given, office personnel contact the property owner to schedule the job. As a final step, once the job is complete an invoice is sent out.
Solving a lot of problems at once with custom software
The heavily paper-based system was cumbersome for many reasons. The volumes of paper generated by the process, in addition to the handwritten schedule kept by office staff and numerous files supporting various stages of the process, combined to make the system inefficient at best. Finding information on older completed jobs was painful. Knowing for certain which stage a job was in was nearly impossible. There was logic to the process, but the volume of paper made it painful and time-consuming. Protecting against things falling through the cracks required a fanatical level of detail by the office staff….and lots of lots of time.
In order to tame the paper monster and create a job management system that operated more efficiently for both the business and its customers, Randy’s Tree Service turned to Lieberman Technologies.
Lieberman’s answer to the paper monster was to create a hosted application that can be used both in the office and in the field. The process employed by Randy’s Tree Service was a problem only because it relied on paper. Lieberman simply automated the process. The use of paper didn’t completely disappear, but it is used far less now. Since it is cloud-based, mobile-friendly and searchable, any of Randy’s employees can access information such as job location, equipment needed, and customer contact information from their smartphone. In the office, the application can help sort through estimates needed, estimates completed, jobs scheduled, and other information necessary to help keep the schedule moving forward.
The tree service that went paperless
Taking the small business into a reduced-paper environment has served to streamline the process. Owner Cathy Nicely can’t imagine going back to the old system.
“I love the ease of looking up customers using different parameters. I feel that my organization is much better now. Dates are important because I can see when they first called and when they gave us the job. I can put notes in – after the fact – and stay up to date on changes. Of course, the cloud-based program keeps me connected – even when out of town. It’s really been great!”
By significantly reducing the amount of paper created by each job and creating a system that can be easily accessed by everyone in the small business, Lieberman Technologies helped Randy’s Tree Service to better serve their customers (and save trees on top of that). Providing a mobile component to the application helps employees in the field to provide information on the go, which is a boon to the office staff in trying to keep things organized. Cathy Nicely sums it up best:
“I’m glad we made the move to a program like this! It has definitely made my life easier!”