Dotson Group LLC is a general contracting and design consultant company, based out of Nashville, TN. The company has been in business for just over 2 years, and employs 7 full-time workers and 3 vehicles. We had the opportunity to speak with Jarod Dotson, owner and president of Dotson Group.
Jarod, what does Dotson Group do?
At Dotson Group, we work with general contractors and consult on design for new constructions, residential remodeling jobs, and commercial projects. We have 7 employees that work directly for us and are responsible for about 30-40% of the work we do in a year. The rest of the work is completed by subcontractors we partner with.
Our team is great, and they’re so bought into everything we do here. They see how different we are from most other old school contractors out there, and love it. Our tag line is ‘Building for a better tomorrow’, and all of us here believe in it whole-heartedly.
Walk us through a day in the life of your mobile workforce.
All our employees are mobile, but we offer our company vehicles to our 3 project managers— the guys who oversee the jobs.
Our team meets up at our office location between 6:45 am and 7:15 am each morning depending on where they’re going and what their drive times are. Once they get here, the team loads up the required material into the vehicles. They also get to decide if they want to ride to the job site with a project manager in the company vehicle or drive themselves there. We expect all our men to be at the job site before 8 am.
Jarod, what made you decide to invest in a telematics solution?
Before we got a telematics solution, we were just handing the vehicle keys to our guys, and banking on their word that they were doing what they said they were doing. It’s not that they’re not trustworthy, it’s just that on the back of our mind, we always questioned if they were where they said they were at.
We also wanted an easy way to keep track of mileage on the company cars and have vehicle maintenance reminders sent to us regularly. We wanted a solution that could do it all and needed it early on in the business before we kept adding more vehicles to our fleet. We have so many moving parts in our business, that the more we keep track of the better.
How has Automile helped with your challenges?
Our team loves Automile. When they are out at job sites and need construction material or other things from the team, I can see who is close to them on the Automile live map, and ask that employee to help them out.
When our employees record their job times on our timesheet system, we can double check the accuracy of their clock-in and clock-out time based on the trip details from the Automile app. We can make sure that everyone is getting billed correctly.
We also use Automile for tracking the mileage on our company vehicles.
What ROI have you noticed with Automile?
When we first signed up for Automile, I was a bit hesitant about getting into these systems. I was weary that this would have the opposite effect on our team, and it would give rise to trust issues. But from the get-go, my team was excited about it. They knew we were using the system to double-check things they were saying or doing, and there really was nothing bad about it. There was no room for another employee pointing a finger and saying, “Oh you didn’t work that long”, or for anyone on the team to pad their times on the job. Having Automile in place has cut down a lot of unnecessary stress in managing our mobile workforce, and made everything a lot more transparent at our company.
Automile has been fantastic to use. We never worry about where our vehicles are at because we can see the vehicle locations on the map. If there’s a last-minute emergency call that comes in, we can see who is closest to that location and ask them to attend to that customer. Because of Automile, there’s accountability on the employees’ end, and we know they are where they’re supposed to be.
Why did you decide to choose Automile?
When we were considering a telematics solution, most other options out there seemed outdated, like nothing had changed since the year 2000. Automile is easy to use and has a ton of great features with a great mobile app.
We particularly loved the try-before-you-buy feature. Automile offered a free trial before we committed to the system to make sure it was a good fit for us. There’s nothing worse than buying into something that you’ve paid for that doesn’t work out later.
What other software do you use at your company?
We just started switching everything to digital at our company and it’s a game changer! It easily saves me 20-30 hours a week.
- TSheets to eliminate paper-based scheduling and tracking employee time on the job. We love it.
- Quickbooks online for our online and cloud-based accounting needs
- CoConstruct to easily manage our projects and clients
- Adobe‘s suite of products for documentation purposes
- Automile to track our vehicles, validate our employee check-in and check-out times, mileage tracking, and emergency dispatching purposes.
How do you market your company?
We contract a third-party company to do our websites, digital media, and social media marketing.
We also bank on word-of-mouth marketing and receive a ton of recommendations on what we do. Our team on-site also does a great job of selling our services.
What advice do you have for other businesses such as yours?
My advice to other businesses out there is to just work harder and smarter than everyone else, and everything will work out. From the start, do your 80-90 hour weeks. And when you look back in a few years, it will all be worth it.
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