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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-25-2008, 06:39 PM
I am in need of some time management software for billing purposes. I want to be able to track and bill by the minute and date for different projects. Also keep track of expenses on a project.

Can you recommend some software for this application? I envision something like that which a lawyer or PR consultant would use.

I have googled it of course and the world is seemingly filled with this type of thing, I am looking for a recommendation based on experience.

Thanks.

Mike M
08-25-2008, 08:37 PM
I bought quick books my first year landscaping, and my customers were really impressed with my paperwork. The next year I examined the amount of time it took me to sit in front of the computer to use it, and decided to toss it. Now I am completely unorganized and not sure who owes me what.

I know this didn't help, but I thought it would be funny to mention it.

Why not ask a CPA? They track by minutes, and it's built into their software they use to do their work. Or, they may have good suggestions.

I'm in the middle of two good books about dealing with chaos. I am trying to organize paperwork, supplies, garage space, sock drawers, you name it. I'm thinking about turning my truck dashboard into a desk, maybe using velcro stickers and crap. I already have a suction cup/window notepad I use to remind myself what I'm supposed to be doing.

I track minutes for each landscape account, at least once, to see if I'm getting my rate, which is broken right down to the minute.

If you are looking into service industry software, check out the landscaping programs (here on lawnsite, I think) which specialize in tracking minutes and routes and stuff, and employee tracking.

Mike M
08-25-2008, 08:40 PM
btw, I just totally didn't help at all, sorry.

JeffY
08-25-2008, 08:55 PM
We go through a swipeclock system to help track jobs and hours. It is also what we use regarding payroll as it trackes employees labor. www.swipeclock.com We have a wall-mount keypad that you can press to clock in/out of jobs. Or can call in to the system as well as use internet to clock in and out. At the end of the payperiod, or day, you can pull up reports via job and track how many hours were spent at the job.

Pro-Scapes
08-26-2008, 09:00 AM
check out CLIP or groundskeeper. Groundskeeper will also allow you to schedual maint intervals.

If you use quickbooks there is a version of clip called Qclip

I had a bunch of demos for them but I found a note pad during the day listing what I did then a few moments at quick books that night easier.

ChadTheNomad
08-31-2008, 10:50 PM
I own an IT business, and the topic of project management (time, expenses, etc.) is something that comes up all the time.

I've been through literally dozens of different packages, and I find the best are those that are most accessible; for me, this means an online time-tracking system. Is this something feasible for you, or do you need something that can run offline?

I would check out Basecamp (http://www.basecamphq.com/). It's a lightweight project management tool that could be useful for you guys. We used it for years, but have decided to move on to some other packages that probably aren't of interest to those outside of IT. It will also let you track tasks, time, etc. to help keep your action items in order.

There are literally tons of these types of systems, but Basecamp is probably the most widely used. Another reasonable product is TSheets (http://www.tsheets.com/) that can help. A little Googling will produce a lot more, but I'd stick with the mainstream on this one.

Feel free to PM me if you need any more recommendations.

Chris J
09-01-2008, 12:32 AM
Wow! An IT guy browsing the lighting fourm? Sounds like a solicitor to me, but I'll take all the advice I can get. Share some more love Chad!

ChadTheNomad
09-01-2008, 12:46 AM
Wow! An IT guy browsing the lighting fourm? Sounds like a solicitor to me, but I'll take all the advice I can get. Share some more love Chad!

Haha, no, not a solicitor though I sometimes hesitate to recommend anything because I know it comes off like that.

I'm merely a landscape enthusiast who found this site when looking for more information about my projects, and as a business man I'm always happy to share information that is beneficial to my company and the industry. Personally, I think the landscaping industry would greatly benefit from some well-placed project management solutions, but that's an outsider's perspective.

The landscapers I've known seem to manage their projects very loosely, with requirements either being handwritten or loosely captured in some document somewhere. When a customer requests changes, they're handled ad-hoc without reference to the total project. I think a lot of the threads on this site show consumer dissatisfaction with this to some respects, not to mention the loss of time and money on behalf of the landscaper. As a consumer, I too have had frustrations in these projects because of loose management.

Sorry, this topic is close to my interest since I deal with it on a daily basis.

I'll throw out a few more recommendations if anyone is curious.

GetHarvest (http://www.getharvest.com/): Well known, well liked and available online. You can view it with your mobile (has a specific iPhone interface), export to QuickBooks, etc. Might be a little overkill for most landscape folks though.

QuickBooks online. A lot of you probably already use QuickBooks, so you could consider the online version. It has time tracking, expense management, etc. You can do just about everything you'd do with QuickBooks desktop.

1Time (http://1timetracking.com): I've never actually used this, but this is an example of what you can generally find. Sometimes it's even free.

Long post everyone, sorry! Feel free to ask if I can be of help. I get help from you all on landscape, so happy to offer some IT advice.

Chris J
09-01-2008, 09:13 AM
Thanks again for the links and advice Chad!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-01-2008, 05:43 PM
Thank you Chad... I will look into these products and hopefully find one that suits my needs.

Have a great day.

gardenkeeper88
09-01-2008, 05:56 PM
I use Qxpress with quickbooks. If it was just me and my crew I would use the Mobile windows that would be with me all the time on my mobile phone but my crews just have a print out and we enter the time in the main computer at the office.