The software that will transform our business operations

I started to play around with the idea of field service management software back in 2013. Our volume of properties was ever increasing and I’m a big believer that software can drastically improve business operations.

I researched many different software options and I watched a few demos and I told some people what we needed. Ultimately, I didn’t find anything that fit at that time. The software systems that could do much of what we needed were designed for large companies with many users, and even their representatives told me it was not worth the cost for the size of our business.

Costs aside, I wasn’t even fully confident these systems would meet our unique needs, as most were designed for plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians and the like. Stormwater maintenance providers have a different maintenance process, service frequency and reporting format than these trades, and our software would need to match.

Unfortunately, I did not find something in our price range that met my criteria for how to properly track, process and access unit information and service history for thousands of stormwater BMPs in our care.

Dreaming up stormwater software

I started dreaming up ideas about the perfect software and doing mockups in excel of how it would all be structured based on the specific needs of our industry, our business, our clients and the cities to which we must report.

Essentially, I wanted a database to house all of the fixed BMP unit information like latitude and longitude, location description, type of BMP, city identification number (if known). I wanted the option of entering the manufacturer, model, model number, install date, measurements, filter media type and quantity if any or all of that was known.

In addition to the fixed information for each BMP, we would also need to capture service activity, including the type of work performed, the condition of the unit, the condition of the filter media, the dates of service, repairs, replacements, special notes, recommendations for managers, etc. We would then need to pull up the history on any and every individual BMP at the click of a couple of buttons.

In order to capture this information, we would need to build an easy-to-use mobile service reporting application in which our technicians could input the service information from the field during service for every single BMP at the property. Sometimes there are dozens of BMPs on just one property. This information would then need to automatically feed into a service report that we could send to our clients after each completion of service.

Oh, and there needed to be a scheduling module that accommodated the intricacies of our contracts.

I dreamed about this for a long time.

Moving forward with the project

It wasn’t until summer of 2016 when we decided it was time to pull the trigger and develop our own software system. 2016 was a big year for us, and more properties meant more paperwork and processing. The time was right to invest in software to help us manage our operations.

I shadowed the techs in the field and Christian walked me through the field reporting process. Jesse laid out her workflow process from the point she receives the information from the field department to the time she submits the completed service reports to the manager. Pat put together a Systems Requirement Doc and we shot it off to all the developers certified through the CRM software we already use. From there, I spoke to a couple different companies on the phone and told them all about our goals and ideas on how the system should be laid out, completely unsure of what I was even doing.

I had been bundling these ideas together in my head over the years and I had this dreamy vision that I didn’t even know would make sense or be possible to create. I clearly remember presenting this vision the first time to George, who we eventually hired to work with on this project. Not only did he know exactly what I was talking about when I described my vision, he was also confident he and his team could turn it into reality. This was an amazing feeling for me. Someone was offering to build the very thing I was dreaming up in my head.

I’ll have you know this process has been terrifying for me.

As exciting as it is to be working on bringing what was once just a lonely idea to real life, it is equally scary.

What if it won’t work? What if it isn’t perfect? What if our team hates it? What if I waste the company’s money? What if, what if, what if?

What if I never do it and we continue using the same antiquated process and burn ourselves into the ground? We need to be innovative and resourceful and do the best we can. Terrifying as it might be, the best I can means I mustn’t bow down to fear of what might happen in the pursuit of greater things.

This is going to revolutionize the way we operate at Seventy1.

All quarter I have been working with George and our developer Ricardo to build the BMP database, service reporting app and service scheduling software that we will begin testing in second quarter.

Our mobile service app will save time in the field. Techs will enter service activities and unit conditions directly into the BMP database using easy-to-select checkboxes and dropdown features.

The new system will also save our Client Services Manager an exorbitant amount of time. Rather than manually transcribing the tech’s service notes into the document that becomes the service report, our software will process the service information and automatically prepare the service reports at the click of a button. Processing BMP Maintenance Verification forms will take less time as well, as accessing the necessary information that is needed for municipal compliance will be at the tips of our fingers.

In addition to service reporting and BMP tracking, scheduling and contract management will be a breeze.

Most importantly, our clients will continue to receive the same quality of reports and service they’ve come to know and expect from us, and the experience of working with our company will only improve as we continue to develop new systems and refine our operations. Win win all around!

Vendor Experience: Contract Processing & DocuSign

As part of our Vendor Experience blog series, we are talking about our experience as stormwater vendors in the property management industry.

We work with quite a few management companies (83 to be exact), and every one of these companies has their own system for contracts.

To authorize our company to proceed with service, some of you only need to sign our proposal while others of you require notarized signatures on detailed 8-page contracts. Others just say “agreed” or “please proceed” in an email reply.

Some documents are called Service Agreements and some are called Contracts. Some must be mailed and others are faxed, but most are sent as attachments via email. There is also Docusign.

We became familiar with docusign in late 2015 when one of our portfolio clients started using it to manage the contract process for the 16 of their properties that we service. We are always interested in using software to streamline our business’ operations, and it has been cool to see what other companies are choosing to streamline theirs.

From the vendor perspective, Docusign really gets the ball rolling with new client services and it speeds up the process of contract renewals each year for existing clients. So we like it! Quick and easy.

I asked Jesse and Pat what they think of Docusign.

“I like it from my end. Really easy to use,” says Pat.

Jesse agrees. “It’s easy to use and it saves paper.”

What type of contract systems does your company use, and how can vendors make the service agreement process easier for you?

Tell us on Facebook

Trashy Facebook and Instagram Pics

Our Instagram and Facebook followers might say we post a lot of gross photos. Some might not like seeing the in-your-face trash as they slide through photos of beaches and dogs and new babies in their feed. Who wants to look at trash?

We sure don’t, which is one of the reasons we post pictures of it to begin with. Seems counterintuitive, but we want to get the word out.

Stormwater pollution is not pretty. What we are letting into our waterways is not pleasant to look at. The litter that passes into storm drains is unacceptable. The oils and chemicals and heavy metals entering waterways via runoff is astounding.

It’s hard to look at.

But we need to. Ignorance is no longer bliss.

The stormwater system is largely underground, meaning it’s also pretty much out of sight. Many people have no idea what stormwater is, let alone how much pollution it carries into streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, bays and other waterways. We had no idea until we got involved with this issue, but now we see it every day.

We can’t just clean the storm drains and then sit back and relax and act like everything is fine. Part of our job is in sharing with others what we are experiencing first hand, especially when it impacts all of us and the planet on which we all live.

We are going to continue posting our trashy pictures of what we find in storm drains across southern California. We’d love it if you followed along on Facebook or Instagram.

Reflecting on Six Years

This January, I celebrate my six year anniversary at Seventy1.

It was late 2010 when I was pitched an idea that sounded interesting. Essentially I was asked to help turn what was a growing side project into a business. I was shown the potential, and then asked to help make something of it. There was no game plan, just a blank playbook that I could help make up as we went. For me, this is the sweet spot, where I thrive.

I was offered complete creative control in the areas of website, business systems, marketing, sales, branding and culture, mission and values. I started at nine hours per week, which quickly grew into a full time job. I wore many hats, as people in small businesses do, and I had to learn many things. I made prospect calls, set up our CRM system and our cloud server, sent invoices, scheduled jobs, walked properties, visited managers, researched stormwater everything, prepared service reports, designed our website, shadowed the guys in the field, printed our fliers, attended conferences, started our social media, coordinated webinars and on and on. On top of the fact that I was learning how to build a business, I was working in a growing industry that directly benefits the environment, namely water quality. Cha-ching.

As my interest and excitement grew, so did my realization of the potential of this opportunity. And I am absolutely motivated by potential. I’m also motivated by freedom. From the very beginning, I have been offered the chance at both.

My work then was ultimately the same as it is now. To make something of the ingredients before me. To see the potential and go after it hungrily. To envision the next phase and work strategically to get there. To build. To grow. To create something meaningful and important and worthy. To try my best.

My motto has always been “this is what we make of it,” and it’s true of business just as much as it is of life. I am very fortunate to, first, have been given this opportunity, and secondly, the right mind to see it as such. The people I get to work with and the company-wide understanding that anything is possible keeps me coming back for more each and every day, year after year.

I am beyond grateful to all of those who support our mission, our vision, our business and our dreams. Thank you for the last six years!

Giving Back: Annual Community Service Work

Every year for the past three years, our team has either hosted or participated in a community event in an effort to expand awareness of stormwater and polluted runoff. We figure the more people who know how stormwater impacts water quality, the better our chances to reduce water pollution as a community.

Has it really been three years?

We held our first event in May 2014. We decided to host a beach cleanup at Tourmaline Beach in North PB, and we partnered with San Diego Coastkeeper to make it all happen. Volunteers removed 94 pounds of trash from the beach!

Beach Cleanup

In 2015, we switched things up a bit. Instead of hosting a cleanup, we sponsored I Love a Clean San Diego’s Coastal Cleanup Day event. Lots of fun!

Seventy1 ILACSD Coastal Cleanup Day
Seventy1 Environmental coastal cleanup day

This year, we thought we would change things up again. So last weekend we ran a booth at Adam’s Ave Street Fair in Normal Heights. It was a very hot September weekend here in Southern California.


Our 3 Community Event Goals

We have three primary goals for our annual community events.

1. Share the stormwater story.

We want as many people as possible to understand what stormwater is and how it impacts water quality. There is a tremendous amount of pollution that enters the waterways in our communities via the storm drain system, and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to address this problem. The first step is community awareness. Our StormwaterAware community outreach campaign is designed to do just that: increase stormwater awareness. Join us on Facebook and Instagram.

2. Bond and connect.

Getting our team together outside of our regular day-to-day work is a great way to bond and connect on a deeper level. We get to hang out in a completely different setting than normal. Presenting our work to the public as a team is very rewarding, and it allows each of us to think about how what we do impacts the community and the planet. Many people thank us for the work we do, and that definitely adds to our team’s morale.

4. Have fun.

Enough said! 🙂

What’s in stormwater?

Polluted runoff at the beach
Polluted runoff
Oil stains
Gas and oil


Lawn + garden chemicals


Waste from animals and humans

E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria cause illness and skin irritations for surfers and swimmers.


Phosphates + nitrates from fertilizers and detergents

High nutrient levels in water can increase plant and algae growth, harming underwater ecosystems.


Bottles, cans, plastics, cigarettes, etc.

Anything on the pavement goes down the drain.


Copper, lead, mercury, zinc, iron, etc.

Vehicles deposit metals into the environment through exhaust, brake linings and tire and engine wear.


Gas, motor oil, grease Leaking vehicles and machinery drop petroleum products on roadways.

Car washing deposits oils and grease into the storm drain system.

Company Updates

Oh, where has the time gone! It seems like summer just began, but here we are in mid September.

We have been quite busy the last few months! In our line of work, summer is our busy season. During this time, city stormwater departments verify our service through their annual BMP maintenance verification process. Jesse, our amazing Client Services Manager, works diligently to ensure all properties we service are compliant with their respective city.

Our stormwater techs shift into overdrive and take on a high volume of properties this time of year. And most of our prospects and clients start their property budgets for the coming year during summer, so we do a lot of property walks and submit a lot of proposals in July, August and September.  Do you need a proposal?

In addition to the annual summer workload, we have also started a company-wide systems integration project to improve our internal operations, which will dramatically impact our work flow as our business continues to grow. Right now we are highly focused on systems and process, and we are laying the framework for our future. Super exciting stuff is in the works!

Lastly, we are gearing up to participate in our third annual community event later this month! As a team, we are committed to spreading awareness about stormwater to the community, as the issue of stormwater impacts everyone yet is still not widely discussed. The past two years we have partnered with Coastkeeper and I Love a Clean San Diego for cleanup events. This year we have decided to participate in the Adams Ave Street Fair on September 24th and 25th. Our booth will be between 34th Street and Hawley. Come say hi!