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View Full Version : How do you guys keep track of your lawns.


LawnMower
09-14-2006, 11:10 PM
How do you keep track of all your lawns? Do you do the same lawns on the same days every week? I have over 50 and I don't get to some of them on the same days, but I do try. I have a little system that keeps track.

Also how do you guys keep track of any extra work out side of lawn cutting. For example the customer asks you to cut down prickers or plant a bush. I have ADD, so keeping track of everything is extremely challenging for me.

On top of remembering the stuff I mentioned, there's remembering maintenance, and all kinds of other stuff.

whats your system?

parkeeee
09-14-2006, 11:30 PM
I have a small notebook in my truck.

I write out the date and time spent for each account, services rendered, and bill monthly according to the notebook.

ALarsh
09-14-2006, 11:32 PM
You have to go electronic to be affective in this day and age. I use gopher and it works great.

grass disaster
09-14-2006, 11:38 PM
i keep most of my stuff in my brain.

Uranus
09-14-2006, 11:45 PM
I made a list and print it out on monday morning. It has all my mowings name address and contact info and a spot for comments where i can write down a note if needed. As I mow them I put the date to make it off.

__ Name Address _________________


Something like that. It works for me and i can have all the info for billing on a few pieces of papper right in front of me as I do my billing.

1MajorTom
09-14-2006, 11:46 PM
You get a small index box, then buy yourself a pack of different colored index cards. Buy labels, and on the labels print out the customer's name, addy and phone #. Keep all routes together, we have 6 routes, so we have 6 different colors of index cards. After the day is done, if you do 20 lawns, you mark on the back of each customer card the date of service. You keep that index box with you in the truck, so at any time during the season, you can pull out the customer's card and reference back to when their last cut was.
When a customer asks for extra work, such as hedge trimming, mulching etc, when you get back to the truck, you make a note of it on the customers index card.

As for maintenance, you buy a nice notebook, and record in the notebook each time you service one of your machines. Keep it in the garage/shop with you.

Everything of course is kept on the computer, i use spread sheets, and groundskeeper pro, but having those index cards out in the field is mighty handy. We are not a large operation, nor pretend to be, currently only have 104 clients, but we still need to be organized.

Aaron's Lawn Care
09-15-2006, 12:04 AM
Gopher. I don't know how I lived without it.

par69
09-15-2006, 12:08 AM
I use a large 16'x24' desk calendar. Write down when they need done. Then that morning I write them on paper. Through the day I make notes and transfer the notes on to the calendar for billing. I can fill in the whole month and keep track. I usaully have changes through the month. You can get generic calendars and fill in the dates.


Works for Me!!

Jason Rose
09-15-2006, 12:24 AM
You know all your customers, where they live... Make a route. Stop driving around aimlessly doing this one and that one and putting off one till tomorrow. Set a schedule, try to make it so that you can drive to them in a row, if you know what I mean. That in itself will help eliminate missed lawns.

Second, Take that schedule and just type it on WORD or whatever you like, 2 columns per page, like 2 days per page, list them out in the order you do them each day, double spaced. This is your weeks jobs. Print 4 of those for a month... Write in the date on each day for later use when billing. Use this and each day check off the lawns as you do them. If you did extra something scribble that next to their name. At the end of the month when u bill just look over your list and let your memory take a nap!

Sorry if thats not a $800.00 computer program that prints out "route sheets" with barcodes and maps on them... Hey I'm not jonny 1,000 lawns here. With 50 to 100 lawns this system works for me very well and dosn't require me to plug things into the computer daily nor carry a palm pilot.

ALarsh
09-15-2006, 12:38 AM
It is still such a waste of time... Spend $200 and get gopher. Print out the route schedules, check them off as you do them. Go into gopher at the end of the day and hit "complete" and keep on doing it for the next day and so on. Hit generate invoices at the end of the month and bam, your done and it will print out all the invoices with the dates you serviced their house and the amount due, all that info.

Can't get much easier and not waste any time

Jason Rose
09-15-2006, 01:09 AM
It is still such a waste of time... Spend $200 and get gopher. Print out the route schedules, check them off as you do them. Go into gopher at the end of the day and hit "complete" and keep on doing it for the next day and so on. Hit generate invoices at the end of the month and bam, your done and it will print out all the invoices with the dates you serviced their house and the amount due, all that info.

Can't get much easier and not waste any time

I wish it WAS that easy... I'm like the original poster here with ADD. I downloaded Gopher, and while it looks like a fine program, I played with it for a couple weeks, no matter how hard I tried I was just totally LOST in the program. with a computer program everything is hidden until you click it, it's like a giant "memory" game. For those with no memory or attention span it's VERY hard to make it work. I need paper where I can just look and see without having to remember the steps it takes to get to this screen or that menu.

dlm17
09-15-2006, 01:22 AM
I Keep A Day Planner With Me Write Down Everything I Do , Each Lawn Any Extras How Many Hours We Work So Its All There And Fresh At The End Of The Month Enter Into Computer, Quick Books Pro Print Invoices For Month Put In Envelope Stamp Mail It Wait For Check No Knocking On Doors

DuraCutter
09-15-2006, 01:24 AM
i keep most of my stuff in my brain.

:laugh: what a coincidence

Dale Mcafee
09-15-2006, 01:31 AM
What is a gopher as one fellow said his anwser was ,and where do you get them thanks Dale

GLC51
09-15-2006, 01:35 AM
My system. I have a loose leaf binder. The front pages list all the customer names, address, phone number, price per month. They are grouped together on the day that I normally cut them. At the end of the line is a check box that I tic off when it's been cut. Each customer has a few pages behind the listing pages, filed alphabetically. I also have a miscellaneous page for short term stuff or one shot customers. After I cut, I write down the day and date, the length of time it took, what height I cut at, a shorthand for the amount of clippings, and any other notes that I think are relevant, it was wet, raining,etc. When I get paid I write the amount in the book and the date, if it's owing a circle, when it's paid then I put a stroke through it and enter the amount below next to the date I received it. There is a column for everything else other than mowing. If they want something done I write it on a yellow post it note and stick it at the front of the book to remind me. I write the amount of time, materials, what I did etc. These are done on a Lotus spreadsheet by the way. I print out the sheets from the workbook. At the end of the season I plug the amounts in the worksheet on the computer and it totals everything up for taxes. At the end of the season I put the years pages in a big binder and keep that in the truck too. It's good to refer to when you get asked to do something other years, or whatever, it's right there. Hope that's understandable, sounds like a lot of work but it really helps keep things straight.

Richard Martin
09-15-2006, 06:13 AM
I wish it WAS that easy... I'm like the original poster here with ADD. I downloaded Gopher, and while it looks like a fine program, I played with it for a couple weeks, no matter how hard I tried I was just totally LOST in the program. with a computer program everything is hidden until you click it, it's like a giant "memory" game. For those with no memory or attention span it's VERY hard to make it work. I need paper where I can just look and see without having to remember the steps it takes to get to this screen or that menu.

Just use Par69's system. You can buy large calenders at Office Depot or Staples for cheap. I did it the same way for years before I went computerized. It works very well.

dfor
09-15-2006, 06:58 AM
I also use a Day Planner (hardcover), that I keep in the truck. At the end of every day, I write the customers name under the date that it was serviced.

Then I will schedule next weeks lawns by adding their name to the specified date at the bottom of the column. (90% memory now) There is always extra pages in the book to write down anything extra that the customer asks for.

yardmanlee
09-15-2006, 07:59 AM
I use excel spread sheets and make out a weekly calendar w/ all customers listed each day 5 diffrent highlighters (colors) and mark them off when done
a slot beside the name if they paid or if it is billed then when I get home just put the info in the computer

grass_cuttin_fool
09-15-2006, 08:44 AM
I also use a Day Planner (hardcover), that I keep in the truck. At the end of every day, I write the customers name under the date that it was serviced.

Then I will schedule next weeks lawns by adding their name to the specified date at the bottom of the column. (90% memory now) There is always extra pages in the book to write down anything extra that the customer asks for.


I use a planner like this also and keep it in the truck, then when i get home at night add it to a home made excel sheet on my computer and then back it up to a storage device, that way I have 3 copies in case I loose one

wayne

ALarsh
09-15-2006, 08:59 AM
I wish it WAS that easy... I'm like the original poster here with ADD. I downloaded Gopher, and while it looks like a fine program, I played with it for a couple weeks, no matter how hard I tried I was just totally LOST in the program. with a computer program everything is hidden until you click it, it's like a giant "memory" game. For those with no memory or attention span it's VERY hard to make it work. I need paper where I can just look and see without having to remember the steps it takes to get to this screen or that menu.
Did you go through the tutorials? I didn't know how to work it either but spent 15 minutes watching all the different tutorials and after that, I was ready to go.

http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=2;t=683#training_start

http://www.gophersoftware.com/

iblonger
09-15-2006, 09:33 AM
Here is what I use. I bill monthly and I only have 15 customers, but you should be able to expand it to your needs. I keep it in my truck until the end of the month when I'm ready to bill. I just write the date I was there in the block next to the customer name.

LawnMower
09-15-2006, 03:12 PM
I also use a Day Planner (hardcover), that I keep in the truck. At the end of every day, I write the customers name under the date that it was serviced.

Then I will schedule next weeks lawns by adding their name to the specified date at the bottom of the column. (90% memory now) There is always extra pages in the book to write down anything extra that the customer asks for.

I use something similar to this. I have a day planner, I mark the customer mowing list under the day I'm doing them. I mow the same customers on the same days every week (I try). So I look at last Monday and transfer it to this Monday. Then if I don't get to a lawn, i spill it over to the next day along with the next days yards.

I have a "to do" list in the front of the day planner, and thats how I remember to do the extra work. When I remember, I transfer it all to quick books.

and I also wash under my arms when I'm taking a shower....if I remember. Is there Medicine for ADD?:dizzy:

Turfcutters Plus
09-15-2006, 04:07 PM
How do you keep track of all your lawns? Do you do the same lawns on the same days every week? I have over 50 and I don't get to some of them on the same days, but I do try. I have a little system that keeps track.

Also how do you guys keep track of any extra work out side of lawn cutting. For example the customer asks you to cut down prickers or plant a bush. I have ADD, so keeping track of everything is extremely challenging for me.

On top of remembering the stuff I mentioned, there's remembering maintenance, and all kinds of other stuff.

whats your system?
I'm solo.I have copy machine i take copy of entire week.I fold up sheet to only see day i'm on.That way i can bump people up if i have time.I do 65 accounts in 40 hours,drive time included.I use same list entire week.EASY!:clapping:

hughmcjr
09-15-2006, 05:31 PM
i keep most of my stuff in my brain.

Amazing I do the same. I keep over 50+ accounts and what we did each month in my head. At the end of the month I do need to ask my employees a few questions when I do billing, but I do it all from memory. A lot has to do with things being consistent in terms of work and price I have outlined in my contracts and that makes it easier while working and billing at the end of the month.

lsylvain
09-18-2006, 12:55 PM
Write/type all your jobs on a peeices of paper in order from the first job on monday to the last job on Saturday. Now get in your truck and mow. when you have a date written next to evey name of the list, go get some charcoal, some beer, some bbq sauce and a couple racks of ribs and some beer, and depending on your personal preferences and gender some beautiful women or men may come in handy. If you can't find any good looking men or women you probably need to get more beer, this may not help you find men or women but it will certainly help make the men/women you do have on hand look significantly better.

I have test drove a couple of programs and to me not one of them was user friendly, and they were all over priced. And unless you have a laptop that you take everywhere you go you still have to write everything down with pen and paper, so in my mind why write it down in the truck take it in the house and retype everything that you already have written down.

Get a notebook, give each client a couple of pages write their name address phone number etc. on the top. Then any time to do something for them or speak with them open to their pages in the book write the date first and then below it write what you did or talked about. You can keep adding pages as time goes by and have several years worth of data sitting next to you in the truck for quick reference. If all of your inforamtion is at home on the computer how do you access it when you are on the road. 90% of those programs that they try to sell you for $400.00 are simple excell and access based programs that they put controls on to make them look like stand alone fancy programs but they really do nothing more than you can do with access and excel yourself for basically free since you already have it.

LwnmwrMan22
09-18-2006, 01:09 PM
I just have a list made up on "Word" with each lawn listed, listed under what "normal" day they would be mowed on. It's on my computer screen "Mowing list" so Monday morning, I click on it and print it off.

I then carry it with me in the truck and mark off the lawns as I get to them.

They're hardly ever all done on the right day every week. You have a child's b-day party you have to go to, it rains, you oversleep, something breaks, etc.

This way you have your whole weekly list right there in front of you, so you know that if you missed one or two on a day, you can look and see when it fits into the schedule best again.

Same thing for my snowplowing list, the icon is on the screen so I can just print it off as I'm heading out the door to work.

As far as keeping track, I'll set up a new monthly invoice when I get home that night. 99% of my invoicing gets done monthly, so when I see one that's already made up, I know that it's a special one.

Also, if it's something like cutting down a tree branch, or fixing something that takes 20 minutes or less, that I'm going to charge $5 or $10, I just tell them it's on me. I don't let it get carried away, but I feel it's wonderful customer relations.

When I go to get the account next spring, I'll remind them that I didn't charge them for every single last extra that I did for them, but at the same time, I don't remind them that I also skipped the yard once or twice when it wasn't growing that fast, so I more than made up for it.

Josh.S
09-18-2006, 05:24 PM
... I don't remind them that I also skipped the yard once or twice when it wasn't growing that fast, so I more than made up for it.

When you do your monthly billing, you do them per cut? or such and such price for a month of service?

John Gamba
09-18-2006, 05:30 PM
Just use Par69's system. You can buy large calenders at Office Depot or Staples for cheap. I did it the same way for years before I went computerized. It works very well.


I thought i was the only one that did this:)

dlm17
09-18-2006, 05:57 PM
Mow Right I May Not Be The Brightest Crayon In The Box But I Do My Monthly Billing Monthly Lol Actually I Start Billing After The Last Cut Of The Month So I Dont Have To Do It All On One Night

Josh.S
09-18-2006, 09:27 PM
Mow Right I May Not Be The Brightest Crayon In The Box But I Do My Monthly Billing Monthly Lol Actually I Start Billing After The Last Cut Of The Month So I Dont Have To Do It All On One Night

I meant do you guys say charge somebody $60per month flat rate for the mowing season, or charge them $15 per cut, for example.. I figure that mostly everybody charges per cut

LwnmwrMan22
09-18-2006, 09:33 PM
When you do your monthly billing, you do them per cut? or such and such price for a month of service?

All of my work is done on a flat yearly fee, divided by 6 months (average growing season).

I know of some guys running a 7 month season to make the payments look smaller, but if you have a late spring, it's sometimes hard to get that first payment in.

I base mine off of 22 cuts per year.

anj
09-18-2006, 09:45 PM
I Print Out A Calendar For The Month Off Microsoft Works And Keep It On A Clipboard In The Truck. I Had Kinkos Make Up Some Carbon Copy Invoices For Me So I Leave One Each Time I Do The Lawn. I Write Down On My Calendar What Yard I Did On The Date. I Dont Invoice At The End Of The Month. I Put In Microsoft Money What I Did At The End Of The Day And How Much Money Each Account Owes. It Works Out Good For Me.

Josh.S
09-18-2006, 10:45 PM
I think alot of my customers would quite me if I did a schedule thing like that.. alot of them like the "mow as needed" basis... but it works out well for me because last year I got 29 cuts on some of the lawns.. this year on alot of them I could be mowing ever 2-3 days on a couple of the over fertalized lawns.. and alot of the people want it "well kept" which sometimes could mean every 4-5 days in spring, and every 7-8 days in fall...

mythntr
09-19-2006, 03:12 AM
Im with you alarsh, My wife uses q books and generates daily route sheets for the crews, each sheet has check offs for the work required at each stop, plus and area for notes and extra jobs that occur during the day. The crews fill out who was on what crew, how long they worked, what work completed, and turn them into her at the end of the day. She enters the info right in so that the changes come out on the next crew sheet. Also, you must do routes geographically. Each lawn always done the same day. Customers can almost set their watch by this. This way the sprinklers can be adjusted to your mowing day so the lawn is always dry

lawn_pro
09-19-2006, 07:15 AM
Im with you alarsh, My wife uses q books and generates daily route sheets for the crews, each sheet has check offs for the work required at each stop, plus and area for notes and extra jobs that occur during the day. The crews fill out who was on what crew, how long they worked, what work completed, and turn them into her at the end of the day. She enters the info right in so that the changes come out on the next crew sheet. Also, you must do routes geographically. Each lawn always done the same day. Customers can almost set their watch by this. This way the sprinklers can be adjusted to your mowing day so the lawn is always dry

Exactly how we do it, except I have a small space for extras on the bottom of each route sheet, customers have to be on a weekly schedule-if not it seems to cause numerous problems.

mr.glenn
09-19-2006, 09:37 AM
i have a very simple system, i make a simple mapquest map of each job with owners name, price and any other info for each and every job. then once i cut i write the date on the map. this makes it very easy to plot out your route and when to mow.

Richard Martin
09-20-2006, 06:06 AM
I thought i was the only one that did this:)

No, I did it that way for a long time. Now I use a real simple calender program that lets me repeat the same customer on the same day of the week for as long as I desire, years if I want to. I can also set the interval to anything from 1 day to 365 days. It will print the calender in daily, weekly or monthly views. The only limitation on the monthly view (which I like) is you can only get 7 customers on a day. Due to the size of my customer's lawns I set a limit of 6 jobs per day so I didn't work myself to death so the limitation didn't bother me. The 7 customer limitation doesn't apply to the weekly and daily view.