- Business: Matthew’s Grounds Maintenance
- Location: Bloomington, IL
- Interesting Fact about Matthew’s Grounds Maintenance: Matthew purchased the business from his father and has grown it tenfold.
- Interesting Fact about Matthew Brown: He has been playing hockey since he was eight years old.
When Matthew Brown’s dad was ready to retire from the landscaping business he had built from the ground up, Matthew knew he wanted to take over. He purchased a portion of the business and over the years has grown it tenfold. But manually keeping track of employees’ hours was a time drain, and a responsibility that took his attention away from his clients. After his office manager discovered ezClocker, Matthew now saves 10 to 15 hours a month. That’s time that he can devote to servicing clients and strengthening his business.
Growing a customer base with ethical business practices
When he found out he was expecting a son in 1989, Matthew Brown’s father, Todd, started a landscaping business to support his growing family. For the next 24 years, he grew the business from the ground up to eventually servicing about 500 clients. Matthew started working for his father when he was just a kid, developing a work ethic that would serve him well his whole life.
When Matthew’s father was ready to retire, he knew that he wanted to carry on the family business. So he saved up his paychecks, using them to buy a portion of his father’s business in 2013. The business was split five ways – each buyer purchasing 20% of the company, which included one truck, a trailer, a mower, and a list of 100 clients. “We had to prove to the customers that we were going to be reliable and have the integrity to do the same type of work they came to expect from my dad,” Matthew says.
And Matthew has worked hard to do just that. He believes in operating an ethical business and treating customers right. He shows up on time ready to meet the needs of the customers. As a result, he’s gained referral after referral. In the nine years since making that purchase, he’s grown his business ten times over, now servicing about 1000 customers. “It’s something that my father is really proud of me for doing,” Matthew says.
Today, Matthew’s Grounds Maintenance does residential landscaping, including new landscape installations to improve curb appeal and turf renovations – turning a poor-quality lawn into a healthy, thriving lawn.
“The last thing you want to be doing every day is clocking in staff members in the morning, and then clocking them out in the afternoon, manually.”
Time and money drain
As Matthew’s business grew, he began using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of employees’ clock in and clock out times. But this presented a couple of problems. First, he was rounding up employee’s hours to the nearest quarter hour to make the manual entry easier. “You can never round down a staff member’s hours,” Matthew says. “The business was losing money by overcompensating. Over a year’s time, that tends to eat into the profit margin.”
Second, as the business grew and Matthew got busier, the Excel method was taking up valuable time that he could have been spending communicating with customers. “The last thing you want to be doing every day is clocking in staff members in the morning, and then clocking them out in the afternoon, manually,” he says. He wanted to switch the onus onto the employees.
It became clear that Matthew’s Grounds Maintenance needed a new option for time-tracking. So Matthew asked his office manager, Maxx Reich, to look into apps that offered this service.
“ezClocker is very simple. You just send the guys an email, they download the app, click the link, and they’re already in. Done.”.
Affordable and user friendly
Maxx searched in the App Store for a timekeeping app and downloaded a few different apps. But the apps were expensive, and most didn’t offer a free trial. They also offered a lot of features that Matthew’s Grounds Maintenance didn’t need. He decided to do some research.
Maxx started looking online for a timekeeping app and reading recommendations. He came across a recommendation for ezClocker. The app seemed to have the simplest user interface at a low price, so he decided to give it a try. Right away he discovered that it was easy to use. “ezClocker is very simple,” he says. “You just send the guys an email, they download the app, click the link, and they’re already in. Done.”
Matthew agrees. “I like how quickly we can onboard a new employee without having to enter a whole lot of information,” he says. “And it’s just very user friendly.”
Maxx also discovered that it’s easy to fix mistakes when people forget to clock in or clock out. He can make the change from his phone in about 30 seconds.
As a business owner, Matthew also appreciates the affordability of the app, and the fact that the cost is consistent every month so that he can budget for it.
Without having to manually enter employees’ hours, Matthew is saving 10 to 15 hours a month with ezClocker.
A small change for a long-term vision
For Matthew’s Grounds Maintenance, ezClocker ensures accuracy when doing payroll – no more wasting money by rounding up employees’ time. “Using ezClocker has allowed us to pay what’s fair, down to the right minute,” Matthew says.
The app has also simplified the process of tracking employees’ hours. Before using ezClocker, Matthew had to rely on texts from employees to know when they’re leaving a site, and then make a note of that to enter into the Excel spreadsheet. Now, the employees handle clocking in and out on their own. “It eliminated a lot of the different steps from timekeeping,” Maxx says. “It’s been a very necessary tool.”
Without having to manually enter employees’ hours, Matthew is saving 10 to 15 hours a month, plus the added stress that goes along with that responsibility. And he no longer has to be locked down at his computer in the mornings and afternoons to enter clock-in and clock-out times. “It allows me to a be out in the field, doing bids or doing a job,” he says. “And we’re able to spend more time communicating with the customers to lock in those bids”
Now that time tracking is taken care of in the app, Matthew can focus on the bigger picture for his company. He wants to be a year-round employer for his team, paying living wages that can support families. “We’re pretty close to that,” he says. “Most of our employees work about 10 months a year and some of them do have families that they support. That’s something that a lot of lawn care or landscaping businesses struggle to achieve. And that’s something we’re proud of.”
He also wants to pass the business on to his children, so that after he retires it will continue to service loyal clients and provide reliable employment to his team. “I have that vision every day when we go to work,” he says. “Always trying to make a small change for the long-term future. Implementing ezClocker is a small change for the betterment of the company.”