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LawnLad
02-18-2002, 09:01 PM
I'm looking for a little help here... brainstorming from those of you who might have a suggestion.

Because tracking customer information can be daunting... we're trying to collect all of it. I hate asking myself, "Was it Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones that likes pink geraniums?" "Were we supposed to put out Mrs. Dithington's patio furniture before May 1st?"

Therefore, we are just about to embark on standardizing our Landscape Maintenance Customer Files in an effort to build a custom data base later in the year. So we're starting with the hard copies now.

We want to make sure we have ALL relevant and available information on our customers. Some of the information we track is obvious... but I'm wondering what all you guys track and how you 'file it' or store it... and access it.

In each hanging file we keep several manilla folders. I mentioned some of this in a previous post. We have a folder for contract and updates, correspondence/survey, budget notes, and service notes.

In the Service Notes Folders we'll have standard pages (8 of them at this point) - one for each of the following topics... unless you guys give some other good suggestions.

Here are the topic areas we'll cover:

Basic Contact Information:
Name, address, phone, fax, email, children, pets, birthdays, etc.

Weekly service visits and site information:
Square footage, identify which mowers are used on what areas of turf, any cutting preferences, areas to watch (scalping, wet, grades), etc.

Seasonal Clean up:
How detailed is the spring clean up? Edge beds? Dormant pruning with clean up? How detailed is fall clean up? How often? Clean out ground cover beds, etc.?

Debris:
Haul Debris? Bag it and leave it? Where to leave the debris? When is garbage day?

Bed Maintenance Schedule & Expectations:
What do we prune? When, how often? Weeding? Perennial/annual care? Watering? Fertilizing?

Annual Flowers:
How many rotations (spring annuals, summer annuals, fall color and spring bulbs)? Color preferences? Flower preferences? Planting map. Pictures of past years plantings.

Turf Applications:
What type of fertilizer? Pesticide restrictions in whole or in part of property? Tolerance for pests (IPM approach)?

Other Services:
Do we clean their gutters?
Clean window wells out?
Firewood?
Holiday Decorating?

Budget Notes:
Break budget down into areas of concern, or list over all yearly budget. Has there been any budget discussion?


ANY suggestions on missing information, or method of keeping information would be helpful. I'd be happy to share with anyone what we come up with once we figure out what information we have to have.

Thanks for your help.

Doug

stslawncare
02-18-2002, 09:20 PM
wow thats great, some good ideas i think some people dont notice is like u said pictures of previous plantings, thats a great idea! also personal information like children pets and birthdays, sending a birthday card sure does make u look good.

HBFOXJr
02-19-2002, 09:08 AM
Is any of this stuff you talk about in the computer for management and scheduling?

LawnLad
02-19-2002, 09:14 AM
I know some programs will track some of these items, particularly the contact information. So in this sense, we're being redundant.

However, I haven't found anything that will allow me to custimize fields. I don't want to have to 'fool' the computer by using headings that don't match up, even though I know what information is supposed to go where. Our foreman need access to this information, so I'd rather develop our own data base if one does not exist already. I'm not looking for one that will do 30% or 60% of what I want. The new data base will also be developed to create work orders, some scheduling/back log, and ultimately, if I get what I want, I'll use it for bidding.

Bob Minney
02-19-2002, 11:01 AM
On site info I check for sprinkler heads that can be hit by equipment and put it on route sheet. Seems to be a big problem around here, so just an extra caution for me.

On customer info, while I'm on site I notice and record hobbies-boats,campers, motocycles, bird feeding, etc.

I also list all potential work that we are not doing. I have stickers that I can put at the bottom of invoices-We also........, a great soft sell approach.
My route sheet is a template in word. If I have odd jobs to fill in all I have to do is number them and it sorts for me. The template includes all pertinent customer info such as sprinkler times, gates, pets, curb bags, etc. This all usally fits on one sheet. Use color to ID customers hot buttons.

LawnLad
02-19-2002, 11:26 AM
Sorry if this becomes a double post... I thought I'd posted this message already. Oh well.

Bob - Looks like you have some good information on your route sheet. We use an excel spread sheet, but the information is static. The route sheet only changes when a customer is added or deleted. Perhaps a weekly route sheet would be more helpful. Would you mind sharing what you use? Would you fax/email a sample to me?

Doug@lawnlad.com
fax: 216.321.1990

Thanks.... Bob. If anyone else cares to share the format you use for a route sheet or customer information - I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Doug