Automate Property Measurements for the Win

property measurements of a school

Whenever automation is adopted, be it for property measurements or for daily household chores, its impact is definitive and historical on its users. A study conducted at the University of Montreal assessed the impact of household technologies on the empowerment of women and found a massive reduction in time taken to complete chores every week in the US.

ChoreAppliancesTime taken in 1900Time taken in 1980
CookingStove, microwave, blenders44 hours10.5 hours
LaundryWashing Machines24 hours1 hour

Did women sit around and watch Happy Days in all that extra time? Maybe they did, but they also went to work. The graph below shows the trend in average weekly hours spent on home production and market work among female prime-age workers, 1900–2012

time for home production and market work
Time dedicated to home production and market work by women throughout the years. Image credit: Valerie Ramey, “Time Spent in Home Production in the 20th Century United States,” Journal of Economic History (March 2009), Updates through 2012 are from Ramey’s website, “Valerie A. Ramey,” Department of Economics, University of California, San Diego.

The value generated by these appliances went far beyond the household – higher participation of women in the workforce led to higher household incomes leading to increased household consumption and fueling demand for consumer goods which incentivized the growth of businesses and increased production of goods & services in the economy. 

Manual property measurements are like doing laundry

For landscaping professionals, accessing property measurements can be a chore like laundry was in 1900. High-resolution imagery is used to see the latest state of a site and tools like Go iLawn or Measurement Assistant are used to measure surface areas and generate a layout. Sales & estimating teams spend significant time on these tools laboriously drawing outlines on property features to get accurate measurements. This is pretty much like doing laundry without a washing machine. Nobody loves it. 

imagery annotations meme
Property measurements take time as accurately annotating property features is key to accurate project estimations. Right is, Yoda. Image credit: imgflip.com

The time required to create layouts scales linearly with property size. God forbid if it snowed last night and an estimator needs to measure an entire neighborhood looking for snow removal service.

At Attentive AI, we documented the time it takes to measure a property assuming that parking lots, lawns, sidewalks, land parcels and building footprints need to be measured to prepare an estimate. 

Property TypeAverage Size (acre)Average Time (minutes)Bids/monthTime/month (hours)
Residential0.2 3 min200
Commercial20 min5017
Commercial90 min50 75
Commercial15 150 min2050

If your team bids on 200 residential properties and 120 commercial properties every month, measurements alone require over 147 hours or 18 days of work. Moreover, while the measurements and estimates are being done, the sales team waits for the inputs to prepare bids and the customer is left wondering how much his landscaping needs will cost.

Workarounds such as outsourcing or hiring low-cost resources to finish the task do not fundamentally change how measurements are done. They simply redistribute the costs incurred and the time spent on the activity remains the same. 

1 acre property measurement
A restaurant is a typical example of a 1-acre property. Image credit – Google Maps
5 acre property measurement
A multi-store commercial lot as an example of a 5-acre property. Image credit – Google Maps
15 acre property measurement
Apartment complexes with a combination of parking lots and lawns is an example of a 15-acre property. Image credit – Google Maps

Automating property measurements for the win

What if property measurements can be accessed at the click of a button? At Attentive AI, we are happy to announce that it is now possible for anyone to automate property measurements. Over the past few years, advancements in artificial intelligence and computing power have made it possible for us to extract features from aerial imagery to reduce the effort of manual measurements. And now, we are working to bring this to landscaping professionals looking to gain a quantum leap in business value.

The table below details the savings of time achieved by transitioning to automated measurements. 

Property Size
(acre)
Bids/monthManual 
(minutes)
Automated 
(minutes)
Time saved/month
(hours)
5020 10 8
50 903050
15 20150 60 30

Total savings of 98 man-hours or 12 man-days every month when using automated measurement. Time to measure properties is reducing by 66%. If $15 is saved for every hour, then it is a saving of $1460/month.

Automating property measurements generates 360-degree value for a business.

1. Customers win

Since the time taken to respond to an inquiry for commercial landscaping goes down to a few hours from a few days, the biggest winner is the customer. He/she can move from an inquiry to getting the services within the course of a working day. 

2. Brand wins

Automation creates a clear opportunity for landscapers to differentiate themselves from competitors in the market as an agile landscaper who is highly responsive to customer expectations.

3. Sales teams win

The time saved on measuring properties every month is redirected to core business functions. Estimators get measurements within minutes and can return estimates to the sales team in under an hour. As a result, the sales team bids more. This converts into topline growth for the company. 

4. Operations win

Growth in sales creates an opportunity to increase utilization of fixed assets like storage units, pieces of equipment and project execution teams.

We reap what we sow

Automation is here and it is up to us to create history with it. At Attentive AI, we are excited to work with landscaping businesses that want to be the first movers and reap benefits from automation. To learn more visit Attentive AI’s website or drop me a message at utkarsh@attentive.ai. Let us build the future together. 

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4 Responses

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  2. […] It is difficult to find funds for initiatives to combat climate change as free markets do not factor in negative externalities associated with transactions. But the landscape industry is an exception to this rule as it generates revenue for managing green spaces.  […]

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