Second Nature Landscaping and Guaranteed Greener Grasstwo divisions of Poor Boys Enterprises, Inc.
Lawn-Nurturing Landscaping Company Finds Route4Me Keeps Drivers on Time and Customers Happy.
For 20 years, this family owned business has delivered landscaping and lawn maintenance to only residences in Virginia Beach, hiring local workers and paying them more than the low rate paid by larger, commercially-centered landscaping businesses in the area.”We keep our business local”, says Aaron Morris, the son of the father and son team who run the business, “and we pay our local workers two or three dollars more than the big companies.” There are two divisions of the company, a landscaping service and turf care, called Guaranteed Greener Grass. The turf care division uses a proprietary lawn care process, developed by Aaron and his father, which has prompted rave reviews by homeowners.
Time Saved: Trucks from the landscaping division only stop at one or two locations in a day. But the turf care division may have three, four or even five trucks, making ten to twenty stops in a day, spending ten to fifteen minutes at each location, which can extend as far as the Harbor View Section of Suffolk, twenty miles out from their headquarters in Virginia Beach. Time is of utmost importance, as the company promises an estimated time to arrive on site (as much as possible), which customers appreciate.
Before using Route4Me, Aaron planned all the routes himself, from estimates to service days, using map books, or (later) Google Maps, customer paperwork and GPS on the trucks. Aaron used to put the customers in order, based on his own knowledge of addresses and, for others he did not know, had to look up addresses and locations manually. A problem arose when, after stopping at a location the first time, the driver didn't have a record of the location, so he couldn't easily return. Going from Point A to Point B using GPS wasn't enough.
Aaron first found Route4Me as an app, and now has a subscription for his computer. As this is a seasonal business, subscription rates vary. His subscription varies from “Small Business” (up to 20 users) to “Enterprise”(50+ users) for a few months a year when the work is intensive and hours long. Now, Aaron still plans the routes for his turf maintenance crews, the day before. Planning takes only three to four minutes and the route is printed out with customer paperwork and put in order for the crew, with a schedule in Aaron's computer, so that he knows approximately where the crew is, during the entire workday.
The obvious benefits are time savings, reflected in fewer hours of overtime for the crew (which is paid hourly), savings of wear and tear on the trucks in the fleet (there are seven in the company) and gas. But there is another benefit. Turf maintenance consists of regular stops to apply various products to a lawn, to keep it green and healthy. Each stop can take only about ten to fifteen minutes. If a driver is not sure of an address location, or spends even five minutes more finding it, only three or four of these lost five minutes can add up to ten or fifteen minutes for an additional stop. With Route4Me, not only is time saved, but there could be another customer added to the route, which means new business and enough time to keep a new customer's lawn beautiful.
Andrew J. Olson
Solo Subcontractor Works Across USA with Route4Me
Based in Dallas, Texas, Andrew J. Olson is a subcontractor, working for a large service company. His specialty is maintaining and repairing carpet cutting machines, which are 12 foot machines in retail stores, wholesalers and specialty stores which cut 200-300 foot rolls of carpet and flooring. His contractor-boss' biggest client is Sherwin Williams and Andrew is their only carpet cutting machine repair person to cover carpet cutting machines in all the Sherwin William stores (and locations of their other clients) across a territory ranging from South Texas to North Dakota.
Andrew's company sends him orders in a 3-4 state geographic area. He averages about 50 stops on a trip, which normally lasts about 2-4 weeks. As a subcontractor, Andrew is paid by the stop, but is not reimbursed for mileage or expenses and has his own tools.
Time is Money: Although Andrew keeps track of his mileage in another way, he relies on Route4Me to create a route, allowing him to make stops and get back home the quickest way (particularly because Andrew is traveling under his own expense). Before using Route4Me, Andrew was trained by someone using Microsoft Streets & Trips. He would have to enter the addresses and draw a line to plot his own route. "It took hours", Andrew told Route4Me.
Route4Me works!: Andrew "hunted down" the Route4Me website, and "it's been great!". When he gets an order from his contractor, he goes on the website and enters the addresses. Then he emails it to himself and prints it out. Although Andrew rarely looks at his iPhone on the road, he does look at the map printout, if there is a doubt. Sometimes Andrew doesn't get the exact, or correct address of the location from his contractor, and he has to figure it out himself. Otherwise, Route4Me is working well.
Focusing on the work: Andrew took his college-student son with him last summer, for four weeks of teaching him how to get his hands dirty with machine tools. It was a great experience for both of them, and Route4Me let them focus on the trip and the work, not how to find their way. He doesn't see that there is a crew in the future, as his contractor-boss likes the fact that they can count on Andrew, the expert, to show up at their clients' locations on a regular route--about every 6 months for each client. But he does see himself using more Route4Me features, such as last minute, on the road, changes to the route.
Benefit to being a solo: Route4Me has helped Andrew do well in his job, raising two sons as a single parent, and making a good living. When he started working in this field, his sons were small. Now the older one is a sophomore in college, and was the son that got his hands greasy for the first time last summer, working with his father and following the route created by Route4Me.
Shepherd's Guide of Greater Tyler, Texas and Shepherd's Guide of Greater Houston
Christian Business Directory Now Available to Millions with Help from Route4Me
The Carters manage a franchised distributorship of a national directory, similar to a phone book, that lists Christian businesses and service providers, published by region. Their franchise territory extends throughout Tyler, Texas and Houston, Texas. They have racks positioned around their territory, and keep them filled on a continuous basis, rain or shine. When it was just Tyler, said Annetta Carter, it was easy, as the couple had lived there a long time and knew it well. When they expanded to Houston, it was a different situation.
Houston, Texas has a current population of 5.7 million people. It takes the Carters about one to two hours to traverse their distribution area in Houston. In comparison, it took about half the time for Tyler. But there was another challenge: The Carters needed to make 30-40 stops a day and are returning to the same stops every other week, to fill racks. And the Carters were not familiar with Houston, and all its different sections. With one driver, Annetta and Mark knew they needed to find some routing assistance.
“I was looking for software, downloaded several different ones, and just found Route4Me about two months ago”, says Annetta Carter. Her husband, Mark, says he was looking for a map that would plot all locations, and cue up one location. In using Route4Me, in an area, he can see all the dots in the area, touch on the dots, pull the address, and enter the address. Using his Galaxy Pad, he takes the extra step to load it through their gmail address, but it worked “fine”.
Since they've only had Route4Me two months, there are a lot of features they don't use yet. As they drive themselves, they are still small. The next step is to download turn by turn directions through their GPS.
The Carters are planning to expand their distribution territory in Tyler. Even though she knows Tyler, Annetta Carter isn't familiar with every church. Using Route4Me will make it possible for the Carters to distribute Shepherd's Guide to racks at the many churches in Tyler and East Texas, expand the Carters' own business and expand the readership of this valuable business directory.
Gabe Moyer, driver for Tobler's Flowers
Flower Delivery Driver is a Star with Route4me
Covering the entire Kansas City Area, Tobler's Flowers has been a family-owned and operated business since 1900. Affiliated with FTD florists, they fill internet orders, as well as offer local, Tober's-exclusive, flower arrangements, delivered by a fleet of seven floral delivery vans.
Gabe Moyer has driven a delivery van for Tobler's for a year, about the same time he has been using Route4Me. When he started with the company, there were drivers who had been with the company for years, who knew the Kansas City area well, and who were only using GPS, for routing assistance. Gabe didn't want to work with paper maps, so he looked for an app.
As a new delivery driver in the Kansas City area, Gabe had to navigate an unfamiliar Kansas City area (which takes about one and a half hours to traverse, by highway), delivering fresh flower arrangements on time. Drivers average 10-15 delivery stops on normal delivery days and 20-30 for holidays. Afternoons are more of a challenge, as there are more time-sensitive deliveries (10-20), traffic is heavier and Gabe's supervisor tracks the drivers.
Gabe started using Route4Me, and found it an easy to use timesaver, which streamlines his routes, so that he flies through his deliveries. Using his Samsung Galaxy, Gabe picks up delivery tickets and arrangements from Tobler's warehouse, and puts the addresses into his Route4Me app. In under a minute, Gabe has his route, and finishes his morning and afternoon deliveries in record time.
“My supervisor knows how efficient I am”, Gabe says. He's never been stuck in a van and is now learning the entire Kansas city area because of Route4Me.
“As a private company, owned by husband and wife Brian and Chris Auckland, Toblers has had the same drivers for years. In the old days, supervisor, Alicia Cox, would “mapquest” the addresses by computer and assign drivers to routes by area. Some would get the Missouri side and some would get downtown, etc. Drivers were taking sections of the city, depending on a number of factors, including their familiarity with the area. Now that Gabe has been performing like a champion with the assistance of Route4Me, his supervisor is taking notice. Gabe doesn't need mapquest assistance. Even though he started as an area “newbie”, he is delivering flowers like a 20 year native.
The company is considering installing new GPS units in their vans, which shows they recognize that relying on the memories of longtime drivers may not be the best business direction. Gabe is paying for his own Route4Me app now (his company doesn't reimburse him). But, in the foreseeable future, Tobler's may consider the enormous benefits of using Route4Me to bring their business up to date. If Gabe's success with Route4Me is any indication, with Route4Me, Tobler's would have a bright future.
Pillow Logistics is a same-day, multistate courier delivery service in the Indiana, Illinois areas, with 125 drivers, half on routes and half "on demand". Clients are businesses that need same-day service, such as hospitals and pharmaceuticals.
Competition for business. Pillow Logistics wants to expand more into banking and United States mail, both of which which use private courier companies. Business contracts are awarded in a competitive bid process and Eddie Pillow met with both potential clients to discuss the bids.
"I made two big bids, met with both customers the Friday before Christmas. I had to show cost effectiveness for an optimized route for each potential client. With route4me, I was able to create the route and show how the bid was put together, right in front of them!" Pillow used route4me to demonstrate the cost savings of creating an optimized route, in person, during the bid process.
Route4Me Helps New Company Transform the Trash Industry in Michigan
ORGANICYCLE LLC, which has been in existence since the end of 2011, was created by Dan Tietema to transform the trash industry, and create an easy way for residents to recycle compostable waste that usually ends up in landfills, such as food, yard waste, paper and cardboard, and pet waste. Subscribing customers place their compostable waste into an Organicycle container, and place it curbside for collection by an Organicycle truck. Organicycle turns over the contents to industries that make compost, and other renewable energy. Only compostable waste is picked up, although the services are modeled after any other trash company, with regular routes and containers earmarked for pickup. Customers do not have to separate compostable waste into categories. It all goes into the same Organicycle container.
Customer Service is key: As pickups are at residences and businesses, good service on a route is critical to Organicycle's success. This is a new industry, set up the same as a trash collection company, but limited to picking up compostable waste. The service component is the same. People are used to having their trash picked up on a certain day, at a certain time. Route4Me is making this possible, and even easy.
Increasing business and keeping good service: When they first started, Organicycle was making about 30 stops a day, and now can go up to 100 stops a day. The next goal is to increase stops to 400 a day, by the end of 2014. Route4Me is critical for this expansion.
Putting the routes in the driver's hands: Before using Route4Me, Dan had to personally plan a route with a new driver, particularly if the driver was not familiar with the area. Dan also had to be present to go over the log book and plan the route, which could take hours.
Now, the driver plans the route and puts addresses into the system. Dan is free to focus on selling and running his business, and Route4Me is "putting routes into the drivers' hands, where they should be", according to Dan.
Creating new business: Currently in the Grand Rapids area, Dan is looking to expand Organicycle to the Western Michigan area, and go from 400 stops up to a thousand. As a young industry, recycling compostable trash has the potential of becoming as commonplace as garbage trucks in every city in the United States. "People are used to separating their trash now", says Dan. This is just one more step--to take the waste that couldn't be recycled before and put it all into one more container, to be picked up by a truck.
Reducing the carbon footprint and growing a business at the same time: Benefits to the environment are clear, as landfills fill up and people look for alternatives. Benefits to Organicycle are assured, as the company continues to use Route4Me, expand their routes into other areas, and achieve Dan's goal--to change the trash industry as we know it.
SIGNATURE HOME BUYERS
Unique Renovation and Real Estate Company Relies on Route4Mme for Marketing
Deana Schuttig, Marketing Director for SIGNATURE HOME BUYERS, joined the company about 4-5 months ago and starting using Route4Me in early December, 2013. A local investment company that buys, sells and renovates properties in the upstate New York area, Signature Home Buyers is revolutionizing how buyers look for properties, sellers sell properties and investors profit by involvement in the process. By renovating houses that need substantial updating (using a team of trusted, local contractors), and showcasing these restored homes on their website, Signature Home Buyers does more than buy and sell properties. They bring people together to revitalize aging neighborhoods, one hidden gem of a house, at a time. In bringing investors together with rehab projects, the company has created opportunities for outside investment in the process. Additionally, Signature Home Buyers conducts training for new real estate agents, new investors and those who are first time home buyers, ready to navigate the process to reach the American Dream.
Tripling marketing efforts: When she started as Marketing Director with Signature Home Buyers, Deana saw that there was only one person who posted marketing signs, and always visited the same familiar locations, every weekend. When Deana expanded the coverage to 2-3 new persons posting 80 - 100 signs every weekend over a 40 mile radius, she used a map to train them. "I had to hand-hold them the entire time", she said, "and, if they were not familiar with the area, they zig-zagged all over the place."
Paying drivers mileage needed controls: As the company uses independent contractors to post signs, and drivers use their own cars, the company pays an hourly rate, plus mileage. As in any business, costs needed to be controlled.
Routes emailed: Now, with Route4Me, drivers receive an email on their own phones with their routes, which are created by Deana. Time and distance are optimized.
Mileage easily calculated: Deana uses Route4Me to calculate mileage exactly, for reimbursement. If a driver decides to drive around, instead of going from designated location directly to another designated location, that driver is only paid mileage for miles calculated by Route4Me, from starting to ending. Clear, and supported by the mapped route.
Using more features is on the table: When Deana first started working with Route4Me, she read all the support pages and attended Thursday webinars. There were some software problems, but she worked through them. Now, Deana is looking at a feature to track drivers by requiring "check-in" at points where signs are supposed to be posted, so she knows drivers reached the location. She also wants to eventually make route optimization and assignment completely automated, using Route4Me, by setting it up to email out a specific route to a specific driver on a specific day, and is seeking assistance from Route4Me IT support to create it.
New uses in training: Signature Home Buyers conducts training sessions for new real estate agents, investors and those looking to buy a home for the first time. Deana plans to incorporate Route4Me into the training program, to urge new agents to learn the software, and start their careers with route optimization tools.
True heart Rose Company
Route4me Helps True Heart Roses Conquer V-Day 2014
True heart Rose Company is a wholesale company that supplies flowers, primarily roses, through agreements set up with major stores, gas stations, neighborhood stores and small groceries. One of their major clients is Walgreens. The company covers the whole Houston, Texas area, from Rosenburg to the west, south to Galveston and parts of San Antonio, as well.
With 21 people employed, there are 6 drivers, and 400 stores receiving normal weekly deliveries of fresh flowers, about 30-35 stops a day, per truck. For holidays, such as Valentine's Day, the company added another 60 stores, increased personnel on trucks to 12 and delivered ten to fifteen times the amount of flowers. During holidays, trucks carry more flowers and drivers need to spend more time with client stores, to ensure that their flowers are well-presented and managers are happy. More flowers and more public relations time spent, means that drivers can only cover 15-20 stops a day, during holiday periods.
The company was founded by Young Bohle's father, who, until he semi-retired this year, planned all routes by memory and wrote them out. Last Valentine's Day, in 2013, after son Young Bohle started taking a more active role in the business, his father mapped routes by memory, as always. After the holiday, when Young looked at the record of deliveries, he noticed drivers were criss-crossing large areas to make deliveries on each side and traveling from one end of the city to another. Many of the drivers were familiar with the stores, but some addresses had changed, or were faulty.
Young looked online for assistance in route optimization and found Route4Me, which consistently was ranked high in Google listings. This Valentine's Day 2014, using Route4Me cut route planning time in half. Young placed 3-4 different routes on the screen, then rearranged them by driver (to pair drivers with stores they knew and managers with longstanding relationship with those drivers) . He looked at how the routes appeared on a map and then kept stops for one driver all in one region, eliminating the criss-crossing of 2013.
The result was great: deliveries were much easier; managers were happy—a successful Valentine's Day 2014!
As True Heart Rose Company is a wholesale operation, with major contracts, they do not focus on advertising to the public, don't have a website or logo, and do not use sales personnel. Their name is spread by the roses themselves, and recommendations from their clients—to other businesses. However, their clients, like Walgreens, are increasing the numbers of their stores, and the company sees Route4Me as an important partner to help them keep up with their clients.
In the meantime, next stop: Mother's Day!
The Visalia Rescue Mission
Route4Me Helps California Homeless and Drug Recovery Nonprofit Thrive and Grow
The VISALIA RESCUE MISSION, a nonprofit, God-centered, organization, has been operating for seventeen years in the Central Valley of California with programs to serve the homeless, those in transition from homeless to self-sufficiency and those in recovery from drug dependency. There is an on site drug recovery program that has 40 beds and a waiting list, that covers applicants from the local area, to other California cities, such as Stockton and Mariposa, in adjacent counties.
According to Aaron Shields, scheduler for all the donation trucks, there are recovery programs for men and women, with about 45 people per program, an overnight program for the homeless, where approximately 60 people can be housed at night, and a meals program, with more than 168,000 meals a year served to the homeless. In addition, there is a volunteer program for those in transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency by work in the VRM warehouse in exchange for an apartment, meals and a chance to build a solid work history and resume.
Funds are generated, partially, by two thrift stores, Rescue Treasures and Chic Boutique, stocked and maintained with donated goods picked up on routes.
The Rescue Mission maintains four trucks, two of which are designated to make 40-60 stops per day in about a 45 mile radius, picking up donated goods. One truck is allocated to transport goods only from the warehouse to the stores. One truck is reserved for pre-scheduled pickups arranged by people who have specific goods to donate and need them picked up, such as furniture. Each truck has a paid driver and a volunteer. Aaron Shields has been using Route4Me for all routes, since he started with VRM. Before Route4Me, the old service made a lot of mistakes. It didn't recognize exact addresses, would send a truck "way out in the middle of nowhere for no reason", according to Aaron. There were other problems. Trucks were backtracking across the county to make pickups. The challenge was to find a direct route, not to waste gas or time planning the routes or driving them.
Route created in 30 seconds: Aaron created an excel spreadsheet, with name of the person donating goods, address, city and crossroads. He has coded the information, so it automatically places city and state on the right side, so that he can create a route within 30 seconds.
Quick corrections: "I like to see the maps", says Aaron. "So, if the stop is too far out, I can pull that stop from the route and add it in later, when there are other closer, stops."
Last-minute changes: "I can make changes on the route. This morning I added one stop. I called the truck and they added it in." Aaron says he would never have been able to do that before using Route4Me.
Money and time--gas and driver-hours--all saved: According to Aaron, ten gallons of gas a day, per truck, are being saved, as well as driver-hours. More money for programs.
Now on to the next new thing: The Visalia Rescue Mission is expanding its programs to include a new store and new program for work training. The program will begin in the spring of 2014, with a store dedicated to showcasing and selling antique and restored furniture recovered from estate and individual donations and a program geared to volunteer work in furniture restoration. Antique restoration will become a new source of funding and training, and with needed expanded routes to transport the furniture, Route4Me will be there. This new venture is taking the Visalia Rescue Mission above and beyond. From a "thrift store" concept into new inspired programs, bringing craftsman skills to the homeless who can benefit by them, and needed funds to the programs that help them in the Central Valley of California, the Visalia Rescue Mission has a partner in Route4Me.
Additionally, the Mission will be opening a restored antique furniture store in the spring of 2014.
Down Syndrome Association of the Northern Territory Inc.
Supporting People with Intellectual Disabilities
DSANT is a not for profit organization in the Northern Territory, Australia, which offers a wide range of programs supporting students, children and young people (and their families) with intellectual disabilities, such as autism, Down Syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome. There are about 10 employees who work with 30 or so volunteers in a number of programs to instill confidence and abilities in intellectually disabled youth.
One of the programs is Cash for Containers, a recycling program in which clients are assessed based on their abilities and assigned a certain number of collection addresses (more for higher functioning clients) with volunteers driving them to each location, along predetermined routes, to collect cans or bottles, which can bring 10 cents each, at the local recycling center. There are four different routes with over 90 stops at the moment.
Cassandra ("Sandy") Scaife has been using gps and google maps, to map out the addresses, which has been taking about 2-3 hours for each route. Furthermore, volunteer drivers have been getting lost. If there is time lost finding the way, a route that should take 5-6 hours could take 8 hours, or 2-3 days, instead of one, as extra days are added instead of lengthening time on the route.
With Route4Me, planning takes about 30 minutes, the addresses are cut and pasted into the route, and turn by turn directions are provided to the drivers..
Aside from saving time, keeping the days predictable, and routes scaled to one day's work by a volunteer driver and a client, DSANT can add more routes. Scaife is printing out a map, to blow up and post at the local community boards. She will add, "are you on this route?", to ask homeowners and business owners if they will participate to place themselves on the route to collect their containers. Expanding routes makes it possible to add more people and volunteers to this program. More volunteers, more participants and more clients helped in the Cash for Containers program results in more recycling--better for the environment. Everybody wins.