Who is Kaz Graphic Dezign?

We’re a design studio that undertakes branding, websites and marketing for clients in the Waikato, central North Island region of New Zealand. We have an eclectic group of clients, which is what we love and what we thrive on. As a small- to mid-size agency with a team of four designers, we love to work with small start-ups, medium-sized businesses (automotive groups, lawyers, accountants, coaching companies), through to high-performance sports organisations.

What makes you different?

Our close client relationships are key to what we do – this is very much a relationship business. We work one-to-one with our clients, and they deal direct directly with the designer working on their brand.

Because of this, we still have original clients from when we set up the business 16 years ago. We know our clients really well, on a professional and personal level, and have a great rapport with them.

We’re different, as well, because of our approach to building a community or network of people who can trust each other. When a client comes to us for a new brand, we introduce them to others in our network who we think they can collaborate with. For us, it’s about us helping them grow their business in many ways and being continuously involved. We like to pass on lessons that we’ve learned from running our business for over a decade, and that includes telling them about systems that we love … like ROLL.

Life before ROLL

The biggest problem we had before we started using ROLL was the inability to capture our time. In our business, we sell time, so our profit and loss depend heavily on how much of our time spent is chargeable.

For the first 15 years of the business, we knew we needed to measure how we were using our time – really measuring it accurately – but we were falling short. We always thought we knew how long something was going to take to do. But unless you measure it, you don’t really know for sure. We were writing manual job sheets, and then trying to transfer those to a client’s docket. There was a bit of "guestimating" involved.

Here we’re talking about everything that goes into a project – prep time, admin, appointments, following up, proofing, invoicing – everything, and not just the design time that we charge for. We’ve come from a very creative structure, so we were focussing on the design time and making assumptions about the rest.

While we love doing a thorough job for our clients, and giving them as much added value as possible, we weren’t doing justice to our bottom line by just rolling all of those tasks into non-billable time. We were undervaluing our profit potential.

What other software did you trial or use?

We looked at a couple of other systems, but they were too big and too clunky. We knew what we needed to do – we just had to find something effective, affordable and easy to use. We wanted something we could just click on, click off, click on, click off.

After hearing about ROLL, we got in touch with them and trialled it. We were one of the first users of ROLL, and instantly really liked its simplicity. So many software companies make things too complicated. The beauty of ROLL is that it is so simple.

Because it’s so easy to use – and nicely laid out for us creative types – everyone got on board using it immediately. There were no real learning curves or stumbling blocks with starting to use it. We started being more efficient straight away, creating an almost instant lift to our productivity and, therefore, our profitability.

What has ROLL done for your business?

We now really understand how we’re spending our time, and we’re making informed decisions about how we charge for that time and those parts of a project. We have a much clearer view of where we can make things more efficient and, in essence, more profitable.

Using ROLL has also helped us take a really good look at our systems and processes – where we’re possibly wasting time and not being efficient. It keeps us all accountable.

Because ROLL allows us to drill down into every minute to see why a job has gone over time or over budget, we can keep an eye on things and eliminate unnecessary surprises. There are no more shocks for the client with higher than expected bills, and there is no more absorption or writing off of overtime tasks that we can’t charge for.

Previously we didn’t know whether a specific job was profitable or not. We just knew at the end of the year how much money we were making. We didn’t have a clear idea of specifically which clients, jobs, or types of work were profitable.

How has ROLL added value?

We have specific goals around what percentage of our time should be chargeable. With ROLL, we can now see at the end of every week where our non-chargeables have gone over, and we can adapt and adjust as needed. We’re now much more accurate. We’ve gone from guestimating to accurately forecasting and managing our projects.

Over the past year, we’ve been able to track another $100k of growth through capturing our time. The business has grown, and because we’re now capturing our time, we’re also capturing our growth.

For anyone looking to grow a business – or looking for an exit strategy from a business – ROLL gives you real data to see where you’re spending money and where you’re making money.

What are two standout benefits that you love about ROLL?

1. From our first look at it, we’ve loved the simplicity of use. We just click on, click off, click on, click off. It’s so simple to use!

2. We love the new traffic light system – the green, orange, red circles on the home page. We can see right away how we’re tracking on a job. We’re visual people, so that is so easy.

If you were to sum up ROLL in one sentence, what would that be?

ROLL has made a massive difference to our bottom-line. It’s well worth the investment of a monthly subscription.