Area Calculator With Unique Functionality
Area calculators have been around for a while and they are very useful for certain things such as measuring a potential customer’s lawn to provide a quote for a lawn mowing service or fertilization and weed control program for example. Although their lack of functionality has been frustrating in the past, Lawn Crack has addressed prior area calculators’ shortcomings and added features to make their area calculator a secret weapon in your business owner’s toolbox.
You may be familiar with the area calculators that have been around for a while like FindLotSize.com or DaftLogic’s area calculator. The good news is, if you know how to use these tools, you already know how to use Lawn Crack’s area calculator! You will find the same basic functionality with the ability to ‘snap off’ an area on the map and see the generated outputs based on the area you created. Since this is the extent of shared functionality offered by the other area calculators, this is where the similarity starts and ends!
Check out what Lawn and Landscape Magazine has to say about Lawn Crack’s Area Calculator to measure lawns and quote jobs from the computer.
How the Newest Area Calculator came to be
First, here is a quick backstory on how the Lawn Crack area calculator came to be. Ryan Sciamanna, the founder of Lawn Crack, used DaftLogic’s area calculator when quoting lawn mowing, fertilization and weed control, and overseeding related services for his lawn care company. Any service that could be quoted based on the square footage of turf was promptly quoted remotely using one of these tools. This often occurred while the perspective new client was still on the phone during their initial call into the company requesting their quote. This expedited speed to quote time led to a huge increase in conversion rates.
Obviously, there is huge value in this alone, but you can do this with any functioning area calculator. Google even has this ability built into Google Maps although not many people are aware this is offered by Google. Ryan wanted more beneficial and useful features integrated into an area calculator. After selling his lawn care business in April of 2018, he revisited how he used the area calculators in his business with his on-staff web developer, Noah Fields. What happened next…is history!
What else does the Area Calculator by Lawn Crack do?
We will go over all of the new features you can now take advantage of with Lawn Crack’s area calculator. Some of the more basic features are available on some of the other map, but Lawn Crack’s area calculator gives you the ability to give custom names to each section you create, create multiple sections with individual and aggregate output totals, color code each section, toggle the makers on and off, draw on the map, leave notes on the map, and print the map or save as a PDF. We will go over how each of these features and how you can make the most of them in your business.
- Give Custom Names to Each Individual Area – Some maps, such as FindLotSize.com, do not even allow you to make more than 1 area per map. You can create as many individual areas as you need on a single map with Lawn Crack’s. On top of that, you can re-name each area so they make sense to your employees. Use Case: Let’s say you have a perspective client with a larger property and they want the main part of the lawn mowed weekly and the outlying areas mowed every other week. Your first shape will have the default label of ‘Shape 1’. Simply snap off the weekly mowing area and click on ‘Shape 1’ to rename it whatever you would like. In this case, ‘weekly mow’ may be a great label anyone would understand. Then, repeat this for ‘Shape 2’ and so on as needed.
- Create Multiple Sections with Individual and Aggregate Output Totals – DaftLogic’s map allows you to create multiple areas on a single map too, but the way it displays the outputs is less than ideal. This has been fixed with Lawn Crack’s area calculator. You will see the outputs for each area you create as well as the total aggregate output for all created areas on that map. Use Case: Using the same example as before, you would not need to create 2 maps to get all of the numbers needed to provide a weekly quote for part of the property, and a bi-weekly quote for all of the turf on the property that gets cut every other week.
- Color Code Each Section – This is an alternative method of giving custom names to each individual section and can also be used in conjunction with that feature or with the notes feature. Use Case: Implement a standardized color-coding system to make interpreting the maps fast and simple. Maybe your company decides a green area represents a primary mowing area on all of your company’s maps and orange represents secondary mowing areas. Red represents primary fertilization areas and yellow represents secondary fertilization areas. Please note if you do choose to utilize a color system like this, the color options are limited on the App versions so it may be wise to pick colors from those available on the App version!
- Toggle the Makers On and Off – This is a pretty common feature on maps that utilize ‘pins’ as markers on the map which Lawn Crack’s does. Sometimes the number of pins on the map makes the map too cluttered and hard to interpret. No worries, simply toggle them off. Use Case: You will be emailing a map you created to a client to verify property lines and make sure you are quoting the desired area, before saving the map as a PDF and emailing it or texting it to your client, toggle the markers off to make your map easier to read.
- Draw on the Map – As far as we know, no other area calculator allows you to do this. With Lawn Crack’s area calculator, all you need to do is click ‘Start Drawing’ and then start drawing on your map. Click stop drawing once you are complete. Use Case: I have a couple examples for you. 1) Circle cross street names to help identify exactly where the property is. 2) Draw arrows on the map to note which gate to use per the client’s request. 3) Draw the outputs in the shapes on your map for super quick and easy reference. 4) Draw X’s through areas that are not to be included 5) Write the client’s name on their property.
- Leave Notes on the Map – We are still working out the kinks for the note feature on the Apps as of early September 2018, but all features are working properly on the Lawn Crack Area Calculator Web App which can be found at LawnCrack.com/Area-Calculator. This is another unique feature to Lawn Crack’s map. All you need to do is select ‘Create Note’ and then tap on the map anywhere not inside an area you have created. Type in your note and click submit. You can drag your note anywhere on the screen after creating it. These notes will be included in the PDF you can create of your map. Use Case: The customer mentions an area that holds water in the back-right corner of the property, so you create a note that says ‘wet spot’ and drag it to the back-right corner of the property so your crew is aware! The uses for notes are about endless. Another example of how to best use them would be to create a note that includes any of the miscellaneous details the client gives you over the phone so your employee can see all of this when reviewing your map and preparing the quote or about to perform the first service.
- Print the Map or Save as a PDF – Ryan’s favorite feature and the one he really wishes he had available when still running his lawn care business! We aren’t exactly sure why you would need to physically print the map, but now you have that option. What we are really excited about is the save as a PDF option. Using this feature will create a PDF that you can either print or save. The area you have selected on the map will be centered at the top of the PDF and will show any drawings you have added to your map. Below the map itself, the PDF will also display the outputs for each area and the aggregate total as well as any notes you have created. Use Case: Here are several examples of how Ryan recommends you take advantage of the save as a PDF option: 1) Email the map you just created to your perspective client to ensure you are quoting the correct area. 2) Email or text the map to your salesman so they have the aerial property outline to reference when viewing in person along with the square footage and any related noted. 3) Email or text the map to your crew leader or spray tech to make sure they understand where the property lines are and what is included in primary and secondary services.
Pro Tip for Quoting when using Area Calculators
We are sure this tool will appeal to a large range of users. For those who are just starting their business, are new to area calculators, or are just wrapping your head around how to properly price your services, we wanted to include how we are actually providing quotes using the square footage of the area we are measuring! That is kind of the point, isn’t it?
Lawn care and landscaping is a time and material business just like most other service-industry businesses. To effectively use any area calculator, you will need to understand your numbers! The specific numbers you will need to know are your hourly rate (this will cover overhead expenses), how long it takes you to perform each service based on the scope of work (AKA the size of the property plus any unique variables), and the direct costs for providing that service.
Please keep in mind that if using the area calculator to quote services like lawn mowing, you should take more than square footage into account. You could very well measure 2 different properties that each measure 10,000 sq. ft. of turf. What if one of the lawns has a steep hill in the back leading down to a pond and has a 34” inch wide gate and the other is flat with minimal obstacles and no gate? The lawn with the hill, pond, and gate should be quoted a higher price because their service will require more time to complete. You can often get a good feel for things like this by using a combination of an aerial map and a street view map. If you cannot get a good view on a property or part of a property due to trees or other obstacles, it would probably be best to go see that property in person!
Another thing to consider is how much travel time will be required based on the potential new client’s location. You could very well have 2 properties that are exactly the same, but one is 10 minutes out of the way. If you have 2 guys on that crew, that additional 10 minutes one-way becomes an additional 40 man-minutes round trip for the crew. Failing to account for drive time can drastically reduce the profitability of your business!
Finally, when using this tool to quote services that will also have direct material costs such as fertilizer, weed control, or grass seed, make sure you are passing along the appropriate amount of your cost to your customer with a reasonable markup included.
We made an Excel spreadsheet that had square footage going down the first column in 1,000 sq. ft. increments. We then created our pricing scheme for each service based on our company’s numbers to correspond to the square footage of the property. This made it very quick and easy for anyone in our company to quote services that could be quoted using square footage.
The Bottom Line about Lawn Crack’s Area Calculator
And the bottom line is…Lawn Crack’s area calculator can, in fact, improve your bottom line!
If you are still driving to each property to prepare quotes, you are wasting your time and losing out on a lot of jobs! There will be some jobs that you still need to physically see in person to be able to quote. There is no doubt about that. Ryan estimates he has snapped off 1,500 properties using online area calculators over the past 10 years and about 98% of them he felt good enough in what he saw to provide the client with a quote he was confident with.
Use it! Technology is changing the way business is done. This is just one small example of a way you can put technology to use for you and gain an advantage on your competition that is doing it the old way.