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Uranus
09-16-2006, 04:06 PM
I ran into yet another mowing company that hand writes out invoices. Thats 4 or 5 decent sized business' that do this. So I'm wondering how many others are out there hand writing out bill and dropping them off? I know alot use peachtree, quick books, or quicken. I use quicken but am looking into something else in the spring.

grandview (2006)
09-16-2006, 04:47 PM
I do all invoices by hand once a month.

Uranus
09-16-2006, 05:05 PM
I do all invoices by hand once a month.


Sorry but I would think with a web site like the one you have (very Nice by the way) You would print out your billing.

grandview (2006)
09-16-2006, 05:09 PM
I'm old fashion I don't trust computers even if you can back them up.

DJ Contracting
09-16-2006, 05:28 PM
The ones that I hand write, I transfer the to my computer later on when I do invoices. Some of my customers like the invoice as soon as I'm done.

john_incircuit
09-16-2006, 05:29 PM
Unless you have office help that works for free, I can't imagine why anyone would write the invoices by hand. I guess it depends if you do itemized billing (list when each cut was done) or lump sum, but let's say 50 cuts a week, it got to take at least 10 minutes between writing the monthly invoice by hand, write the envelope, make a copy of the invoice or somehow document that you mailed it out, keep track of the money coming in and so on. 50 customers at 10 minutes, thatís a full days of work.

We use a Pocket PC, click when we start and finish a lawn. This documents what we cut, where we did cut, when we did the cut and how long it took us. We upload this to our accounting system, at the end of the month we push a button and vola, invoices and all labels get printed, takes around 3 minutes for 50 customers. The most time consuming part is to fold the invoices and stuff the envelopes.

Once the money comes in, we balances it against the customer accounts, just takes a couples of clicks with the mouse.

Another advantages of a system like this is that we see how long each cut takes in average, it also allows us to see for example the differences between a spring cut where we mulch and a fall cut where we have to bag.

John

Uranus
09-16-2006, 05:39 PM
Unless you have office help that works for free, I can't imagine why anyone would write the invoices by hand. I guess it depends if you do itemized billing (list when each cut was done) or lump sum, but let's say 50 cuts a week, it got to take at least 10 minutes between writing the monthly invoice by hand, write the envelope, make a copy of the invoice or somehow document that you mailed it out, keep track of the money coming in and so on. 50 customers at 10 minutes, thatís a full days of work.

We use a Pocket PC, click when we start and finish a lawn. This documents what we cut, where we did cut, when we did the cut and how long it took us. We upload this to our accounting system, at the end of the month we push a button and vola, invoices and all labels get printed, takes around 3 minutes for 50 customers. The most time consuming part is to fold the invoices and stuff the envelopes.

Once the money comes in, we balances it against the customer accounts, just takes a couples of clicks with the mouse.

Another advantages of a system like this is that we see how long each cut takes in average, it also allows us to see for example the differences between a spring cut where we mulch and a fall cut where we have to bag.

John


That sound cool but how much did you have to invest to do that. I send bills out to 37 customers a month and it takes me about 2 hours to enter 4 or 5 weeks worth of mowing plus the side work. thats entering, printing, stuffing, licking, stamping and mailing. I thought about entering once a week but then I figure it would take even more time. I guess what works for some doesn't work for all.

HOOLIE
09-16-2006, 05:58 PM
I use Gopher...easy and quick...well worth the money.

john_incircuit
09-16-2006, 06:17 PM
I haven't put a price on the software, I wrote it and it's working pretty well for us. Between a laptop or Pocket PC for the truck, a server for the office, plus a laser printer and all the backup stuff, the hardware alone runs somewhere in the $4 or 5k range.

As business owners, we usually have a pretty good "gut feeling" about on which property we make time or give up money. The advantages of a good workflow / accounting software is that we really can see the days work in a larger picture.

If it allows us to work 10% more efficient, an easily to accomplish goal, a good system will ďmakeĒ easily $10k every year.

newz7151
09-16-2006, 06:25 PM
The most time consuming part is to fold the invoices and stuff the envelopes.


Why not get a http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=127512&Ntt= and help cut down on that time too?

topsites
09-16-2006, 06:53 PM
I do all invoices by hand once a month.

Same here, except I keep the pad in the truck so right about the time I get ready to wrap things up (like when I grab the blower), I write out the bill and fold it and stick it in my back pocket. Then, when I go past their door I stick it in there while the blower idles for a second, then I keep right on getting it.

I've always been cheap so I used to get the least expensive pads from Staples which ran around 2 cents / slip (so a pad of 100 is $2) and then I ordered a self-inking stamp with my name + address for 20 dollars so I can pre-stamp a lot of them at an end cost of about 3 cents / slip, it takes about a minute to stamp 100...

But there is now a place (I think it is Nebs, not sure thou) that will sell you pre-printed pads (like with your name + address on it) for a cost of around 2 cents / slip (so 5,000 would cost around 100 bucks, I THINK). Even then, if it's pre-printed, I'm willing to pay 3-4 cents / ea.

Everything else I've checked out is outrageous, they want like 5-10 and even 15-20 cents / slip, forget that.

scaper27
09-16-2006, 06:57 PM
I don't know how I would keep track of my 130 or so customers if I had to hand write everything. I have the Invoice program with a tracker and know how far people are behind or how much I charged for something up to 5 years ago

grandview (2006)
09-16-2006, 07:41 PM
All my invoices and estimates sheets I had professionally printed with the company name on them.

mojob
09-16-2006, 08:42 PM
You can downoad a free trial of Gopher and/or Groundskeeper Pro. I tried both and went with Groundskeeper Pro. Both offer about the same features. Takes care of routing, scheduling, billing, expenses and just about everything needed to run the business end of your business. Money well spent.

corey1977
09-16-2006, 08:52 PM
I hand write mine with a date of service and what service I did ie mowing then amount and on the bottom line amount for the mouth

TURF DOCTOR
09-16-2006, 09:03 PM
Never a top notch invoice,will get you paid faster i can't imagine going back to hand writing all the work we do.

beck
09-16-2006, 09:34 PM
Why not get a http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=127512&Ntt= and help cut down on that time too?

We bought a folding machine at the end of last year and so far I have been fighting with it. for the ones it folds correctly it leaves an additional crease in the paper and then there are many that it does not fold completely. I just shipped it back to the manufacturer and they are supposed to send me a replacement Hopefully it will work much better.
The other thing I hate is licking and sealing the envelopes. I have been unable to train my dog to keep his tongue out for me so I have been using a pen shaped moistener-(available at most office stores http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=161513&Ntt=moistener&uniqueSearchFlag=true&An=text) you put water in it and i has a sponge at the end and I am able to line up about 6 at a time moisten all of them and then seal them.

But we invoice all customers monthly using Qxpress and Quickbooks.

TURF DOCTOR
09-16-2006, 09:38 PM
Good one i thought i was the only one that bought one.

Uranus
09-16-2006, 11:11 PM
How many invoices do you have to mail out each month to make a folding machine worth the investment. I use quicken for now and it tracks everything you need for taxes and all the delinquent customers.

beck
09-17-2006, 12:20 AM
I send out about 140. it cost $189 i believe but i also have a brochure that I was paying $0.02 a piece for folding. But so far it has not worked out, since the folding machine has not been very reliable

goodgreen
09-17-2006, 02:40 AM
Got a new computer last Christmas - and in the spring, big thunderstorms got through the older surge suppressor I forgot to upgrade and actually melted all the components inside. Insurance took care of it, but I had all my accounts and billings on the hard drive. Since I had not backed them up for a while, they were lost. Now I have handwritten invoices which I use for a backup in case anything happens again. But most clients get a bi-weekly or monthly computerized statement. Some older clients like to come right out with a check when I'm done working which is nice too.

noseha
09-17-2006, 06:35 AM
julee writes all my bill out by hand! she don't help me with maintenance:p

Frosty03
09-17-2006, 09:46 AM
I tried the trial of Groundskeeper and Gopher. I like what they had, but on the other hand, they were useless in the field on special services.

Thiis meant I would have to go home, key in the extra charges and whatnot.

I had two-part invoices printed with sections on what service was done.

It takes less than a minute to write the customer name and address, then the charges. Then it gets put in their door. No envelopes, no stamps and no postal fees or folding. Less time and I work off an appointment book.

When the money comes in, I take my copy of the invoice and stamp it PAID.

I do have one or two customers that sometimes are late, but I know they will pay up, so I have the following on my invoices:

Previous balance:_________

Lawn Service:____________

Yard Clean-Up:___________

Bush/tree Trimming:_______

Mulching:________________

Other:__________________


That's it. My gripe witn Groundskeeper trial was that it only allowed you three accounts to use. Gopher gave you a time frame to use it. If I do feel the need when my business is large enough, I will probably go with Gopher.

However, the invoices are about $.05 each and have my company name and address on the top, two part, write it out and leave a copy on the door and I am gone.

However, the best part is if the neighbor or someone asks to do a one-time or if I get a special request, I have invoices ready on-the-spot and are done in less than a minute.

YardPro
09-17-2006, 01:17 PM
Unless you have office help that works for free, I can't imagine why anyone would write the invoices by hand. I guess it depends if you do itemized billing (list when each cut was done) or lump sum, but let's say 50 cuts a week, it got to take at least 10 minutes between writing the monthly invoice by hand, write the envelope, make a copy of the invoice or somehow document that you mailed it out, keep track of the money coming in and so on. 50 customers at 10 minutes, thatís a full days of work.

We use a Pocket PC, click when we start and finish a lawn. This documents what we cut, where we did cut, when we did the cut and how long it took us. We upload this to our accounting system, at the end of the month we push a button and vola, invoices and all labels get printed, takes around 3 minutes for 50 customers. The most time consuming part is to fold the invoices and stuff the envelopes.

Once the money comes in, we balances it against the customer accounts, just takes a couples of clicks with the mouse.

Another advantages of a system like this is that we see how long each cut takes in average, it also allows us to see for example the differences between a spring cut where we mulch and a fall cut where we have to bag.

John

what software are you using for the pocket pc?

BillStephenson
09-17-2006, 01:32 PM
Hi All,

I'd like to suggest www.ezInvoice.com as a simple, inexpensive solution. [Disclaimer: I am the owner/creator of www.ezInvoice.com]

I know that there are many Lawn Care and Landscaping businesses that use this software although it is not made specifically for that purpose. It's made to be flexible enough for most small businesses to use.

It's "Web Based Software" that runs in your web browser. You don't need to download or install anything to use it. All your data is retained on our web server and backed up nightly to three separate, offsite locations so you never have to worry about losing your data. (You can save your invoices on your local computer too)

You can create Invoice, Receipts, Estimates, Proposals, and monthly Billing Statements. You can track payments, and create several types of income reports.

It also keeps a list of your customers so you can pre-fill their info on your invoices. Printed invoices are pre-addressed to fit in a standard "No. 9 double window envelope" to make mailing a snap, and you can choose to email your customers their invoices.

There are many other features, but instead of listing them all here, I'd like to invite you to try out the "Demo" where you can test it out throughly. The only restrictions on the demo are on emailing invoices and changing the "Preferences". You can create, edit, and even print, invoices for free.

Also, if there are any suggestions for features you might have to make this work better for your business I'll work hard to add them to the software.


Kindest Regards,

Bill

corey1977
09-17-2006, 04:00 PM
I think next year im going to email all my bills and save on postage and transfer than off my hand writen tickets

CoupesCuts
09-24-2006, 08:55 PM
Same here, except I keep the pad in the truck so right about the time I get ready to wrap things up (like when I grab the blower), I write out the bill and fold it and stick it in my back pocket. Then, when I go past their door I stick it in there while the blower idles for a second, then I keep right on getting it.

I've always been cheap so I used to get the least expensive pads from Staples which ran around 2 cents / slip (so a pad of 100 is $2) and then I ordered a self-inking stamp with my name + address for 20 dollars so I can pre-stamp a lot of them at an end cost of about 3 cents / slip, it takes about a minute to stamp 100...

But there is now a place (I think it is Nebs, not sure thou) that will sell you pre-printed pads (like with your name + address on it) for a cost of around 2 cents / slip (so 5,000 would cost around 100 bucks, I THINK). Even then, if it's pre-printed, I'm willing to pay 3-4 cents / ea.

Everything else I've checked out is outrageous, they want like 5-10 and even 15-20 cents / slip, forget that.

This is exactly what I do too. I just keep a running balance on the bottom of my invoices. Also, I keep track of this madness in Quickbooks. I find it works well if you keep at it once a week. I think next year I am going to keep track on a simple pad of paper, enter into Quickbooks then print out the invoices monthly.

grapeford
09-24-2006, 10:17 PM
I set up a simple invoice system with Excel years ago. We handle over 90 accounts a week, and could'nt imagine doing without it.

Ramairfreak98ss
09-24-2006, 11:45 PM
lol by hand? wtf? I bill, contract, invoice, etc everything formally and professionally. My envelopes are printed out for the business with my name, info, logo and picture on the front, the letter head matches and everything is in detail for contracts and invoices. I even have a MS access database that has a report/invoice printout to do them quick if i dont want to type up my word documents that look nicer. Hand written, blah, ive never done that.

noseha
09-25-2006, 07:06 AM
all of you guys seem to spend alot of your money to get money! we don't do that hard of work. why make it so many steps , just write your jobs out on one job sheet at the end of the day or after the job. i just list all that i do on one sheet with space at bottom of sheet to write down something not on my list. i would show you but i don't know how to scan and post here! at the end of your billing time go through and add up all of the job sheets. per cus. and bill out! i do send e-bills. we only spend 4 hr per. 100 cus. and we can spend time watching a moive or something while julee makes out bills, most of the time is making out envelopes! i did get a free address maker thing for my comp. so now should take abut 2hrs. :p

Ramairfreak98ss
09-25-2006, 11:06 AM
all of you guys seem to spend alot of your money to get money! we don't do that hard of work. why make it so many steps , just write your jobs out on one job sheet at the end of the day or after the job. i just list all that i do on one sheet with space at bottom of sheet to write down something not on my list. i would show you but i don't know how to scan and post here! at the end of your billing time go through and add up all of the job sheets. per cus. and bill out! i do send e-bills. we only spend 4 hr per. 100 cus. and we can spend time watching a moive or something while julee makes out bills, most of the time is making out envelopes! i did get a free address maker thing for my comp. so now should take abut 2hrs. :p
lol, well whatever works for your companies. I too try not to spend SO much time on them, but still do. I also HATE trying to backtrack or find past info that i lost or misplaced, so all customer information goes into documents and a database i can search for quickly. I have spreadsheets with lawn cuts, cut dates, what im doing, changes to yards, landscape planners etc. all that and still i miss things.

noseha
09-25-2006, 03:00 PM
theirs no way if you landscape to just write it down and throw it in a folder. no that won't work. the post was about lawn guy's :p

beck
09-26-2006, 10:01 AM
all of you guys seem to spend alot of your money to get money! we don't do that hard of work. why make it so many steps , just write your jobs out on one job sheet at the end of the day or after the job. i just list all that i do on one sheet with space at bottom of sheet to write down something not on my list. i would show you but i don't know how to scan and post here! at the end of your billing time go through and add up all of the job sheets. per cus. and bill out! i do send e-bills. we only spend 4 hr per. 100 cus. and we can spend time watching a moive or something while julee makes out bills, most of the time is making out envelopes! i did get a free address maker thing for my comp. so now should take abut 2hrs. :p

you should look into window envelopes-that way when you make out the invoice their address shows through the window so all you have to do is fold stuff and stamp- I think I spend about $50 /1000 envelopes with my return address printed on them at office depot.

noseha
09-26-2006, 12:00 PM
you should look into window envelopes-that way when you make out the invoice their address shows through the window so all you have to do is fold stuff and stamp- I think I spend about $50 /1000 envelopes with my return address printed on them at office depot.

SEE RIGHT THERE, $50 FOR 1000 ENVELOPES. ONE BIC PEN AND BIG THING OF ENVELOPES AT SAM CLUB!. IF YOU HAVE KID'S TECH THEM HOW TO WRITE OR MAKE THE BADYSITTER DO IT AS PART OF HER JOB! UNLESS THE DOG NEEDS A BATH! :)

Prestige-Lawncare
09-28-2006, 11:27 PM
Keep it simple, and professional ---- Gopher!

grandview (2006)
10-01-2006, 10:42 PM
This is what I use.

joubenlawnservices
10-02-2006, 08:19 PM
Has anyone else ever heard of or used LawnPro software? It's still developing but what they have works for me and you can't beat the price. Makes professional looking invoices, proposals, letters, etc. Also, keeps track of who was serviced when and includes scheduling. I still have a preprinted checklist for on the actual jobs. It's a little extra work but I can open a customer's file and see exactly what was done and how long it took.

mdvaden
10-02-2006, 11:05 PM
I'll either use the computer or do it by hand.

Either way is fine by me.

My tendency is to do more stuff on the computer if I can, but I don't dislike hand produced documents.

J&R Landscaping
10-03-2006, 12:32 PM
I usually do all my invoices by hand but I also keep a rolling log on a spreadsheet saved on the computer. Each customer gets a folder and at the end of the year, I total up what each customer spent that season and what they sent it on (landscapes, mowing, hardscapes, pruning etc)

I figure I will hold onto a customers info for a few years and then shred it to make room for the new and comming paperwork!