Imagine that a property manager, working for a popular school in the town, is given the task of landscape maintenance during spring. Upon issuing an expression of interest (EOI), five local landscapers approach him. One of them calls in the morning and requests for a meeting in the afternoon. He comes prepared with a quote by working on the finer details through landscape measurements around the property and he then delivers a final, accurate bid in the evening. Meanwhile, the other four bidders request 5-10 business days to revert with a quote and schedule a meeting. So which landscaper do you think won the bid? Your guess is as good as ours. It is the first bidder who had been responsive and could manage everything on day one itself.
Responsiveness is a differentiator in a highly competitive market.
Be it any business line, competition is immense and companies that are responsive to customer needs will survive in the long run. Responding quickly to customer inquiries can be a key differentiator in any market because –
- It shows commitment
- It builds confidence as it shows you know what you are doing
- It shows how much you value your customer’s time
- It helps your customers be more productive
- It delivers a unique experience to customers and makes them feel special.
Automated measurements speed up the slowest step in the bidding process
The bidding process can be long and extremely time-consuming as there are many activities, some of them cannot even start until the others are done. Typically, a bidding process involves decoding an RFP, measuring property features, estimating takeoff, labor, and equipment (done using formulas that require measurements as input), and preparing the RFP response. Property measurements require a lot of resources in terms of labor and time costs when done using a physical survey. Additionally, there is always a concern regarding errors in measurement. This could lead to approximations and underbidding or overbidding of any project. Moreover, since there is no additional information on offer, this could lead to missing out on important operational insights and parameters.
Property measurement software solutions like Go iLawn and Google Earth are an option but they have certain drawbacks. They do not offer the same level of insights that can be obtained by a physical visit to the property. Features in the third dimension like the slope of turf, the surface area of hedges for pruning, the height of trees cannot be measured. Drawing feature outlines on these tools is also extremely time-consuming, time which could otherwise be better spent on sales or operations.
By the time, a field team does landscape measurements for estimations, the sales team has to wait for inputs to prepare the bid. Even customers do not have clarity regarding the turnaround time till the estimates are ready which usually takes 7-10 business days with a cost-head of its own. Workarounds like hiring low-cost resources or outsourcing do not help as these do not fundamentally change the way measurements are done. The time spent on the activity would remain the same, and only the incurred costs would get diluted by a very low amount.
The way ahead for winning customer trust
Time is the most precious entity in today’s fast-paced and ever-competitive world of business. Thus, the need of the hour is to have a solution that can substitute physical property visits, do away with manual drafting on software tools, and deliver insights remotely with a high level of detailing and accuracy.
Computer vision and aerial imagery provide a comprehensive solution in this situation. The use of a GIS framework provides the locational input which when automated using deep learning becomes an unprecedented autonomous property measurement tool. Such tools are the way ahead for winning customer trust with accurate measurements in the shortest turnaround.
How do autonomous landscape measurements work?
Autonomous measurements input addresses and a list of features (e.g lawn, shrub beds, trees, etc.) as inputs. It can be succinctly summed up in the following five steps.
- Accessing a parcel linked to the address of a property.
- Accessing imagery linked to the parcel.
- Extracting features from imagery.
- Measuring the extracted features.
- Returning desired output.
How can autonomous measurements help you win over your customers?
Whether you have residential or commercial customers, autonomous measurements can help you in the following ways.
Residential customers – It would generally take you between five minutes and a few hours, depending on how you handle customer inquiries. However, with autonomous landscape measurements, you can measure the required parameters within two minutes, thus considerably improving your responsiveness.
Commercial customers – Usually, it takes around a few days to reply to customers with an estimate. If you can produce the measurement data within a few hours, you will be left with a lot of time to move ahead quickly. You can schedule a meeting to discuss the estimates within the same or next day. It helps in keeping the lead warm and increasing the conversion rate.
Responsiveness is the key to converting leads into happy customers. Businesses that are responsive score better over those that are moving at snail pace. Autonomous measurements are here to revolutionize the responsiveness of property measurements and thus estimating and bidding.
How to get an autonomous measurement system for your landscaping business
Attentive AI has developed a fluent autonomous property measurement system called MapX. MapX helps you to measure properties from the comfort of your office or home without stepping out and without drawing a single polygon on computer screens. As a landscape business owner, it is imperative that you should check out MapX and gauge the benefits your business can derive out of it. To know more about MapX and to schedule a demo, please get in touch with us today.