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Summer proves to be outdoor proptech companies’ time to shine

Property technology has established an increasingly bigger presence in the commercial real estate space in recent years. While it’s natural to equate proptech with in-building operations, it turns out companies that offer solutions for outdoor use are having their fair share of success as well, Commercial Observer reports.

For example, Nashville, Tenn.-based Paintjet is a commercial painting company that uses robotics to make the process more efficient. The company’s “cobots,” which are robotic extensions of its human workers, help save time spent painting every inch of a building by hand. Instead, PaintJet uses robotic attachments that work with industry-standard manlifts like cherry pickers that allow painters to cover more than 7,000 square feet per hour vs. 500 square feet in the same timeframe, company CEO Nick Hegeman told Commercial Observer.

“We are painting large commercial buildings with the push of a button,” Hegeman said. “(We’re) using human cobots to empower commercial painting contractors to drastically improve their productivity and quality and enabling them to actually keep up with the demand for painting.”

Additionally, PaintJet’s ability to increase a painter’s availability allows the company to overcome any labor shortages it might face at a given time.

“It really speaks to exactly why we exist,” Hegeman said. “Our ability for a painting crew to increase their capacity by over 10 times really helps mitigate a lot of those issues.”

Two other proptech startups, Lawnstarter and Rachio, have made outdoor tasks of lawn mowing and watering more efficient as well, Commercial Observer reports. The Lawnstarter app gives homeowners access to thousands of local lawn service businesses across the U.S. Meanwhile, Rachio developed a solution that gives homeowners an app-based watering product that pairs with their current sprinkler system to cut down on water waste.

An outdoor proptech company for all seasons

While companies like Lawnstarter and Rachio might thrive more during the spring and summer months, contracting proptech startup Ergeon has been put to work throughout the year. The company, which operates in California, Georgia and Texas, uses tech and a globally located workforce to build and maintain fences faster and less expensively, CEO and founder Jenny He told Commercial Observer.

“The summer isn’t necessarily our business time and sometimes we actually see more work in the spring and fall,” said He. “There is a little bit of a slowdown in the winter, but less due to weather, more due to the holidays.”

Ergeon uses measurements taken though satellite, parametric computer-aided design modeling and real-time pricing so customers can make decisions from wherever they may be. Clients can also get 3D visuals of their project. The remainder of the project is automated — anyone with the proper training and data tools from Ergeon could know what’s necessary regarding local regulations, specs, etc.

The company serves both homeowners and businesses and provides its services year-round to fit their clients’ needs. For example, He noted that restaurants might prefer to have their fence work done during the winter when outdoor seating isn’t available or in demand, while a school might hire the company in the summer when children are not in school.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a bit of shift in demand for Ergeon’s services, however; restaurants suddenly needed more outside seating.

“We do see a bit more demand when people try to do a major upgrade,” said He. “They are actually often trying to do it just before the summer so that they can enjoy it during the summer. During the pandemic, we saw a lot of demand (from restaurants wanting to) build little parklets so that there is more outdoor dining space. I know there’s going to be a lot in demand for that, especially during the summer months.”


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