The Urban Foresters

Taming our urban forests using Kickserv

Helping people and climbing trees with Grant Crowell

Service is built into the name – Kickserv. The Kickserv tool could be thought of as the main trunk of your growing service business. From Kickserv you can reach out to your broader customer markets using reminders and integrating with our partners.

This story is about a young man that wanted to branch out and help people. Graduating from the legendary university of Texas A&M with a degree in forestry thinking he was going to work somewhere within the paper industry. Grant made a quick stop in Australia to do some ministry work in 2003 helping teach people and lending a hand. Grant returned to Houston Texas to figure out how to apply his skills and degree to serve others. Little did he know he would come full circle and become one of the larger urban foresters in Houston Texas.

He earned his arborist “tree spikes” working at another tree service initially until they merged with a bigger company. Grant learned that he really did love all things trees. He witnessed the tree service company expand to a great size, yet they were all on paper.

He explained that old tree service company had the field crew bring their paper time cards into the office, locate the file cabinet for that week, then find the folder for that day and file the timecard. Then, the foreman would bring all timecards down the hallway to the payroll lady every week. Oh, so 1990!

The modern tree crew

Grant knew he could do this better and he was not going to do it using paper.

Here is how the spotlight typically goes:

1. The Pain

2. The Resolution

3. And The Fix

The Pain – what pain?

Speaking with Grant you discover quickly he is very pragmatic. He avoided some of those typical business pains. Upon strategizing for his business start-up, he reflected on those mental notes from the earlier tree service and figured out how to bypass some of those hurdles that others businesses endure. When Grant sprouted The Urban Foresters he insisted on implementing a Field Service Management (FSM) software immediately.

By starting out with an FSM what Granted avoided was creating a large paper process of moving paper, filing paper, storing paper, losing papers and purchasing paper.

The Resolution – automate it!

The task was given to his business consultant Jane. Jane scoured the world wide web back in 2010 and used the following criteria for her search:

  • flexibility,
  • mobile
  • easy to use interface,
  • automation of job scheduling
  • a custom flowline to keep track of customer data and follow-up
  • and great customer support.

Not surprising, he landed on Kickserv.

The Fix – mobile automation

Using Kickserv as the main hub of their tree service business. Grant and his crew can now head out to their job sites with their mobile phones and tablets knowing they have all the data they need to get the job done. The fact that The Urban Foresters schedules can change throughout the day and they can be notified via the mobile app makes Grant’s team efficient and dynamic.

Grant has stories of having to drive to job sites to simply update the scope of the job or re-assign crews to new jobs – no more!

Plus, the crew can take pictures during the job to document their progress and securely attach photos to the job.

Grant has taken his tree service business from operating from his living room to a $5 million dollar per year, and growing, business. He has been able to remove himself from the day-to-day operations but keeps tabs on delivery of service remotely using Kickserv’s web interface.

His plans for the near future are to expand the company to Dallas Texas and then take it national. He says he is confident he is going to take Kickserv along with him.