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Goom says the grass really is greener with Simpro

Choosing the right workflow software can be a make or break decision. That’s how Goom Landscapes managing director and former Registered Master Landscapers chair Anthony Washington describes it, whose business is going from strength to strength since adopting Simpro’s software platform

Goom Landscapes has been a fixture of the Canterbury landscaping industry since 1981. Anthony bought in about ten years ago and, when asked about the most challenging period for the business in that period, he says it wasn’t the first Covid-19 lockdown, it was something much closer to home.

“When I joined the business, it had been using a bespoke software system that could no longer keep up with what we were doing. We started looking at other options and, unfortunately in hindsight, began a journey building another bespoke system,” recalls Anthony.

“A few years in, we turned off the old bespoke system and started using the new one, but it didn’t work properly at all. As a result, business went downhill very quickly.

“It was a pretty tough period. We had to switch back onto the old software, re-install all the data, and work very hard to recover from the issues it had caused. At that point we decided we should look at ‘off the shelf’ options.”

Back to square one

To ensure it made the best choice from the products available, Goom enlisted a consultant to evaluate all the options and come back with the one that best suited the business.

“The consultant recommended Simpro as the clear preference,” says Anthony. “We reviewed it and decided it was a good fit, and also changed our accounting to Xero, as they work so well together.”

Anthony says it didn’t take long to get started and the implementation process went remarkably well, given the magnitude of the wholesale shift.

“It was a big project for us to implement, but the Simpro team was really helpful and spent several days on site getting our team up to speed,” he says.

“My sister-in-law Rachel Goom led the project on our side because she’d worked in the finance side of the business for years and understood our processes really well.“

Smooth sailing

Six years later, the “stressful bespoke software nightmare” is just a painful memory, and Anthony and the team are confident they made the best choice possible when selecting Simpro.

“It works so well for a project-based business like ours, where design and every aspect of a build is effectively its own project within a project,” says Anthony. “It has all the functionality we need for leads, quotes, progress reports and job management, and the quoting works particularly well, which is a huge time saver.”

Anthony says it would be hard to quantify exactly how much time is saved, especially as the team has grown significantly since “the old days of quoting with pen and paper, and the most recently printed price list”, but he’s confident it’s a “night and day” difference.

“We swear by the Simpro add-on called Takeoffs, which is really helpful for building base templates for different features a landscape plan may have. For example, you can set up a deck takeoff based on a specific size and, if you are building a different size deck, you can set a different scale and easily adjust the quantities required per material item.”

“By combining that with live material pricing, you have a quote you can rely on, and share with customers.”

On the rare occasion that there has been an issue, Anthony says Simpro has been quick to respond, and is open to customer feedback on product suggestions.

The delight is in the detail

For finance manager Gail Lineton, it’s the small – but crucial – Simpro features that set it apart from other software options, and make life easier.

“In many ways, we’re like a construction company, which means we need to be able to have various cost centres under one job. For example, one project will include several features, such as a deck, fireplace or exposed aggregate driveway, and each of those features needs its own cost centre with all associated costs such as subcontractors, materials, labour and more.“

The design project side of things has its own job created in Simpro for the architects to associate their time to.

“Simpro is designed to host these different cost centres, which allows us to track progress and profit and loss on the overall project, or each cost centre individually.”

Gail says its timesheet integration is also helpful, and being user friendly makes it easy to make sure no gaps are missed. More than anything, she loves the detail that can be added to each job, making it easy to review and enter notes that help with communication within the business.

Spreading the love

As a Registered Master Landscaper for more than 20 years, Goom Landscapes places great value on trust within the industry, and recommendations are part and parcel of that.

“We don’t recommend anything lightly – be it suppliers or providers or contractors – and we’ve suggested Simpro to many companies we work with, so it’s a fairly strong endorsement,” says Anthony.

As usual, the proof is in the pudding. When Goom acquired Compass Pools Christchurch three years ago, it didn’t look to test out another software provider, it went straight to Simpro.

“It has been good for our business and for many of the others we’ve recommended it to, including landscapers, suppliers and contractors. If I could go back in time, I’d choose it again, which is saying a lot for a software system!”


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