For more than 25 years, Cody Whelchel, his wife Shelly, and their skilled team have been creating landscapes for families in the Fort Worth, Texas area. The family-owned business, Cody Landscape, focuses on landscape design, installation, and maintenance. With their son as the operations manager, the business is truly a family affair and keeps everyone busy.
While “busy” is always good in the landscape industry, not too long ago, Cody set out to simplify things in an attempt to help production run more smoothly. Having been using Asset for more than 20 years—almost as long as the business has been in operation—Cody knew that it was a robust system.
But he says that he also worried the high-level of the system was holding him back from simplifying—that perhaps there was something a bit more simplistic that could still do what he needed it to.
“Being such a complex system, I felt that perhaps I should consider trying something different—something that more staff members would be able to learn how to use,” he says. “I was never dissatisfied with Asset, I just thought there might be something simpler out there. I felt like staff members had to be pretty savvy to be able to use Asset and I figured I could find something that everyone could adapt to more easily.”
Cody decided to run a trial with LMN landscape software to see if it could “simplify his business” and get more staff involved in operating the landscape business management software. But what he discovered was that simpler wasn’t better for his business.
He found it fell short of fulfilling his needs.
Scaling Back in Complexity Meant Scaling Up the Workforce
In his attempt to “scale back” the complexity of the landscape business management software being used in his office, Cody says that he had to pair LMN with QuickBooks in order to have the capacity to perform the accounting tasks associated with his business. He says there’s no question that both LMN and QuickBooks were easy to use, but he had to have both in order to be able to do everything he needed. This also involved synchronizing data (or hand keying it) from LMN into QuickBooks since these were two completely independent software programs.
On top of that, though Cody found that more people in his office understood how to run these two programs, he required a lot more office staff to get the work completed. Herein lied the biggest problem of all—a simpler program meant that he needed more hands on deck.
“With Asset, I was able to do so many different things but without so many people,” Cody says. “What I discovered is that other programs, like LMN landscape software, required a lot more people to operate them. I physically needed more people.”
In order to make up for that disparity, Cody actually had to hire some temp workers while running a trial with LMN. While he had wanted to simplify, he determined that having a program like Asset, that could do the work of several roles, ultimately proved to be much more beneficial, even if it was more complex to operate.
“I never actually left Asset, I was just trying something else,” he says of the experience. “But it’s been good to put things back like they were—because I’ve found that for us, there isn’t really a better way. We can’t do what we’re doing now without Asset.”
Cody says that the business and the software have both grown together and it’s incredibly integrated into the work that they do. Though he wanted to simplify, Cody says that he’s learned that having a complex program is what his business needs.
Of course, he says that there are some businesses that might be able to run a simpler program—and it would be good enough. Include Software has never claimed that Asset is the right product for everyone, and nor will they ever will. Cody says that choosing the best program for your business often comes down to how you run it.
“Our business is primarily all time and material and Asset is ideal for that,” he says. “It allows us to know where we stand in a way that other programs just can’t do. It’s really good at what it does, it just takes someone relatively savvy to work with it. But given the fact that it takes fewer people, we can make that work for us. I’m happy to be back to working solely with Asset. I don’t think I appreciated the fact that with Asset, you can operate your business with fewer people on payroll until I tried something else.”
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