Turning poop into profits – and hundreds of hours into just a few clicks
How A2X helped Patio Pet Life sort out its messy accounts
Patio Pet Life is unique. The California-based company runs a subscription service that delivers swatches of fresh grass in plastic trays to pet-owners who don’t have outdoor space, so their dogs can do their business on the porch or patio.
Owner Mike Moore started the business with his wife Devon back in 2015. It began as a small-scale operation, with Mike driving around their home city of Newport to deliver trays on weekends. Now, it’s a bit bigger.
“We finally decided to just pull the band-aid off and go full nationwide. So, with the help of some friends, a little bit of social media and putting the product on Amazon, it just went crazy,” Mike explains.
Now, Patio Pet Life delivers all over the country, five days a week. People order through their Shopify website, Amazon or Etsy, and deliveries go out with FedEx. Dealing with one of life’s messier problems is paying off.
Bigger business, trickier accounts
Delivering all over the US was a huge achievement for Mike and Devon, but it did make things a lot more complicated. While the business was taking off, Mike focused on sales, finding new customers and new e-commerce platforms, without necessarily paying much attention to the back-office. They used Xero for general accounting and Shopify to run their website, and that worked well.
Unfortunately, selling through Amazon isn’t quite so straightforward – as Mike soon found out.
“I remember trying to reconcile the payments from Amazon and I was like, I don’t even know how to make sense of it. It was horrendous. I let it pile up for almost six or seven months,” he admits.
Being unable to reconcile a huge portion of the accounts was an obvious problem that couldn’t be ignored forever. And that’s where A2X came in. After doing some research online, Mike found A2X and decided to give it a try. He says that he signed up just in the nick of time – only a few days before he had to do his yearly tax return for the business.
“That was the problem I created for myself – I mean I was pure panic,” he says.
“I wanted to cry, I was so happy”
As Mike explains, A2X solved his Amazon problem almost instantly.
“We got it all linked up and synced, and I wanted to cry I was so happy. I go into Xero, and it was automatically matching. Click the OK button, and it was just done,” he says.
Those months and months of payments were resolved, and he could complete his tax return without a lot of manual checking and recoding. Now that A2X is a permanent fixture, all the manual work involved with reconciling invoices and syncing payments from various platforms is almost gone.
“It went from taking hours and hours a week to reconcile invoices to – I don’t think I spend more than 30 minutes a month on it now,” says Mike.
While he’s still keen to figure out one or two more of A2X’s other features, Mike says he and Devon already have far more time to focus on the business.
“The biggest thing is, it provides us with the flexibility and time needed to focus on the things we need to focus on, not worrying about the back-end office paperwork stuff. That has by far been the biggest upside for us.”
A lean team for a nationwide service
Patio Pet Life may have a nationwide reach, but the team is made up of just four people – Mike, Devon, and two others. Devon runs the customer service side, Mike does the back-office work, and the two others cut, package and ship the product. The grass, a special variety grown hydroponically on plastic sheets, reaches the customer around 24 hours after it’s harvested.
The fact that such a large operation can be managed by such a small team comes down to digital tools. A2X helps streamline the back-office, meaning the business needs less help with accounting, while Shipstation makes shipping out packages simple. Amazon, Etsy and Shopify handle the orders, and a service called Stripe manages online payments.
“It’s pretty automated, especially with A2X and the other programs. I wouldn’t dream of doing something so high-transaction manually,” says Mike.
“It’s absolutely amazing”
Finding A2X was a game-changer for Mike and Patio Pet Life. All transactions – whether customers purchase through Amazon, Shopify or Etsy – are reconciled automatically. Record-keeping and taxes are no longer a time-consuming issue, and most manual processing is a thing of the past.
“My record-keeping is extremely pristine. I mean, when I go to do taxes, I just pull up my Xero accounting and print off the forms, and I’m not stressing or anything like that. That’s by far been the best thing.”
“We’ve saved tens, dozens, hundreds of hours a year in a couple of clicks. I mean, it’s absolutely amazing.”
Mike is thrilled with the results of using A2X – and he’s not shy about recommending it to other business owners as well.
“Time, effort, money, stress – there is a solution right there in front of them. Don’t be afraid to learn, and really, the learning process is super-easy. You’re just hurting yourself more by not jumping right onto it immediately,” he says.