5 Ways Route Optimization Can Help Your Landscaping Business
May 4, 2021
What is Route Optimization?
Route optimization is a software feature where a computer program analyzes all available data to auto-arrange visits in the most efficient order possible. Before software, planning a landscaping crew’s route was time consuming and relied heavily on assumptions. There simply are too many factors to consider when planning a route. If you only have one or two stops in your day you probably don’t need route optimization, however as your business grows and each crew has more visits, the task of route planning becomes exponentially more difficult. Hence, route optimization tools.
1. Reduce Human Error
Humans are great at coming up with solutions that require critical thinking and soft skills. However, we are really bad at analyzing large multifaceted data sets. That’s why we rely heavily on computer programs to help us make decisions. Using machine learning to calculate the most efficient route significantly reduces errors in human judgement. Using the combination of spreadsheets and Google Maps to plan routes is prone to error. You can alleviate this problem by using the same system to schedule and plan routes.
2. Increase Productivity
Using a route optimization tool will increase productivity. Let’s say it usually takes a crew of three to complete five visits in a day. If you’re able to reduce their drive time by optimizing their route, not only does this mean the crew can begin jobs earlier, but you might find that you shave off enough time to add more jobs to that crew. Now multiply this productivity increase across all of your crews and you’ll find that you have even more labor capacity.
3. Make Happy Customers
Consumers want specifics about everything. Saying you’ll arrive “sometime in the afternoon on Thursday” is no longer a satisfactory answer. Arguably, saying “we’ll arrive between 2pm-5pm on Thursday” isn’t a good enough answer either. Customers want to know exactly when to expect you. If you’re not able to offer that, there is a risk that customers will jump ship. Route optimization gives you the ability to give customers precise and accurate arrival times.
4. Reduce Vehicle and Fuel Costs
Equipment costs add up quickly. Any way to lower fuel costs and vehicle maintenance should be considered. By saving drive times between visits you’ll be able to reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel and the amount you spend on maintenance. Even if route optimization only shaves 20 minutes off of a crew’s drive time per day, multiply that across multiple crews over the course of a season and you’ll end up saving thousands of dollars on fuel and vehicle repairs alone.
5. Save Admin Time
Planning routes manually wastes valuable time office workers could be using to focus on more important tasks. Since route optimization tools create the routes automatically, and visits are scheduled ahead of time, the only time admins have to spend on route planning is verifying the routes are correct and that drivers receive their maps. This creates less confusion for drivers as they’re able to receive their routes faster and admins don’t have to spend time wondering if they’ve planned the best route, because the computer already did that.
Route optimization isn’t magic. It’s a simple way to solve a complex issue. Saving minutes every day per crew might not sound like much, but multiplied over the course of a year, you’re saving valuable man hours that could be used completing more jobs. Finding enough work is hardly ever a problem for landscape and tree care companies. It’s usually the opposite, you usually have too much work and not enough time. You should use every tool in your arsenal to complete more jobs because that’s more profit for your company.
Growing a landscape or tree care business can be difficult. Finding the right tools to help you grow can be even harder. Thankfully, Google provides