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How Smart Charge America uses Zapier and Copper to supercharge sales

By Elena Alston · October 7, 2021
An electric car being charged by a Smart Charge America charger

Electric cars are all the rage for a reason.  

They're smooth. Silent. Sweet on the environment. 

According to the IEA, more than 10 million electric cars were on the world's roads in 2020. By 2030, it's expected there will be more than 18 million electric vehicles in the U.S. alone. 

As electric cars purr their way down American highways, Smart Charge America is following closely behind, installing electric car chargers in homes, retail locations, and the hospitality sector at an impressive rate. 

David Laderberg, the company's Vice President, joined the team in 2016. "Back then, we had three employees working out of shared offices, and we stored car chargers and our electrical materials in the CEO's garage. At that time, we only provided services in Texas."

The company's grown substantially since then. Today, Smart Charge America has over 50 employees and caters to 18 major cities—including New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. They're no longer storing equipment in garages, either. Not with their new 4,000 square foot office and adjoining warehouse. 

Using a CRM to track and manage customer information

As they scaled, the team needed a reliable way to store customer information. They found Copper, a productivity CRM for Google Workspace users, which ticked all the boxes. With it, they could track projects, clients, and opportunities across their residential, commercial, and service sectors. Essentially, they could focus better on their business relationships. 

David came across Zapier while searching through Copper's library of integrations. Realizing how much time he could save the company, he set out to find a way to automate certain processes involving the team's CRM. That way, he could streamline his sales and boost the team's productivity. 

"Zapier enables me to cut significant costs, which I can then use to hire skilled workers to grow my business," David says. "It's given us the power to scale quickly."

Since discovering Zapier, David has set up more than 60 Zaps, and still plans on creating more. 

"We used to spend a lot of time performing repetitive tasks," says David. "Before Copper and Zapier, we would manually build customer folders, send emails and notifications, and create invoices. All this added up to countless productivity hours lost."

One Zap to rule them all: automating quotes, emails, and invoices

The Zap David most depends on connects several apps, including Copper, Gravity Forms, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Sheets, QuickBooks Online, and Google Calendar. 

A prospective customer requests a quote on the Smart Charge America website using Gravity Forms. That's the initial trigger, and Zapier takes care of the rest: 

  • First, Code by Zapier formats the information the prospect submitted, then sends the details—including the client's postcode—straight to Copper. Zapier creates the person and opportunity in the CRM. 

  • Using Airtable, the Zap assigns the territory from the postcode. Then, with Webhooks by Zapier, the Google Maps API calculates the distance between the customer and the operations team in the area. 

  • Zapier creates a customer folder in Google Drive, automatically storing the customer's quote and any attached photos.  

  • Zapier also sends this information to Google Sheets, which is used to eventually calculate job cost and profitability. 

  • When a team member updates Copper to indicate an appointment has been scheduled with the prospect, Zapier sends notification emails and text messages to the attendees. 

  • This Zap also creates an event in Google Calendar and sets up an invoice in QuickBooks Online. 

  • Once the job is approved, Zapier sends confirmation emails to clients via Gmail. 

All of this runs in the background while David can focus his efforts on the business. 

Scaling in surprising ways

I am always surprised by Zapier. It's intuitive and constantly being improved. It has enabled me to easily create new Zaps and scale in ways that I couldn't even imagine.

David says that Zapier has both freed his staff from repetitive, menial tasks and cut significant costs. In fact, it's saved the company over $120k in just one year. 

That's meant he has been able to focus on hiring skilled labor to grow the business. 

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