J&JJ Landscaping wants to make its competitors better. Perhaps not a business strategy you’d expect to hear but, for this family-run business, building trust in the industry is key to success.
“Far too often we meet customers whose defences are up because they’ve been burnt before. That’s why we’re trying to set the bar high for our competitors,” says Ana Saad, co-founder of J&JJ Landscaping.
And her business is making great strides. Having been on the other side of renovations in a previous business, her husband Jonathan knew from personal experience that great customer service and helping clients feel confident about costs was key to keeping them satisfied.
Since launching the structural landscaping company together eight years ago, the business has grown quickly thanks to Jonathan and Ana’s commitment to detail, efficiency, honesty and transparency.
An integrated effort
The company’s push to raise the industry bar and deliver consistently on core values motivated them to manage their business using the latest technology. It was when they integrated project management software, Buildertrend, with cloud accounting software QuickBooks Online that J&JJ Landscaping’s efficiency and customer trust rose to new levels.
They say that the time spent on administration has been reduced by more than 40 per cent, since moving to QuickBooks. This includes time spent processing timesheets and pay runs, project accounting and managing purchase orders.
The digital transformation has further improved communication with customers, employees and suppliers, giving customers greater visibility of what’s happening in projects and minimising mistakes. Staff have been empowered to get work done on the go and self-serve when seeking certain information. Overall, the company has saved almost 700 hours through its digital efficiencies.
A monumental shift
This approach is helping J&JJ Landscaping stand out in an industry that’s still largely reliant on manual project and financial management.
“About 80 per cent of our industry is doing work at the customer site and then going home or back to the office to do the admin. If one of our team wants to make changes to an account, they can do it in the project management system, which feeds directly into QuickBooks. There’s no waiting around for the foreman to get back and feed it in,” says Ana.
“This has made us a hundred times more efficient. Customers are finding it easier to work with us, so they give us more jobs. They trust that we have things under control. It’s really helped to build our credibility.”
Today, J&JJ Landscaping is fully booked a year in advance. After starting out in Jonathan and Ana’s lounge room, their business has grown to become a medium-sized company with about 20 full-time employees and 30-40 sub-contractors. It has won the Australian Business Champions of the Year award for home and garden improvement twice in the past three years.
The shift has also given Jonathan, Ana and the team more time to focus on strategic work. This includes focusing on the development of processes and procedures that will help it operate effectively in a highly regulated market.
Ana is confident that this preparation, and keeping pace with technology trends, will keep the company ahead of competitors and regulatory changes. Transitioning to online accounting and payroll software has the company well-placed to comply with the Australian Taxation Office’s Single Touch Payroll (STP).
“We’re pretty prepared at this stage. It’s just a matter of switching it all on and our bookkeeper is helping us out. We always want to be proactive in reacting to this kind of event,” says Ana.
Ana sees the STP initiative, which requires small businesses to send their tax and super information from their payroll or accounting software to the ATO at the time of each pay run, as a great opportunity for the building sector to manage finances digitally.
“When it comes to technology, we’re still learning but there’s no way we’d go back to how we were doing it before. STP is really a perfect time for those businesses that are passionate about our industry to create a foundation. It will help them better manage their business and grow in a way that’s honest and transparent,” she says.