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View Full Version : HELP with Upgrading Business???


georgialawncare
03-14-2011, 03:20 PM
I need some input on how to get our book keeping organized, simple, and well processed. My husband has owned and operated our business for 13 years and he doesn't work a computer very well, but before I invest time, effort and money into trying to get him on the right track, I need to learn and have the best tools avaliable for a lawn care company. What we are doing right now that is EXTREMELY time consuming and aggravating, but it is the way we have been doing it for 13 years and it has actually worked. We have constantly grown over the past 5 or so years (we are extremely blessed- with the conditions of the economy), and now we are to a point where the time spent doing excess bookwork needs to be spent elsewhere.

Everything my husband does is by hand and on paper: schedules, work orders, daily work logs, notes, job costs, customer lists, all customer info, employee time, etc. I honestly do not know how he does it, but it is working for him. And plus on top of this- he is basically the only person that can read his handwritting, which leads to billing mistakes, confusion, and other mistakes ALL THE TIME!

Advertising: we are currently doing a very very small amount of advertising and we need to do more. What is the best way to advertise?? Newspaper, radio, flyers, yellow pages, etc??

Book keeping software: we have been using quickbooks since 2002, it wasn't set up properly in the beginning so I have had troubles trying to get it on the right track. We only use QB for sending out statements and invoices. We do not use it bills, time, employees, etc. I would like to change to a more simplified software specified for lawn care, but I want a really good program- I don't want to purchase it and then need to purchase more add ons after. I would like it to be able to auto-generate schedules, contracts, etc., batch invoicing,and keep track of time, employees, bills, etc. I downloaded the free lawnpro program to test it out, but most features are disabled until upgrading- Does anyone use lawnpro and how well do you like it? Any more suggestions for software??

Tablet PC's: I'm looking into tablets that would be able to sync with new software and main computer. Should I wait a couple of more years until better ones come out? I would like for my husband to be able to use it on the road, instead of lugging around his huge paper-filled notebook, but I don't want to buy one this year and then next year get aggravated because the newer ones are wayyy better than the one I have. Has anyone started using these with their lawn business yet?

Thanks in advance for any advice, and any other suggestions are welcome!!

bohiaa
03-15-2011, 01:46 AM
it sounds like a basket case.........

I would hire a CPA and let then have it, you would be amazed at how much it will free everyone up

willretire@40
03-16-2011, 10:17 PM
Second the cpa. Look into service autopilot for everything else.
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SLMGT
03-18-2011, 11:19 PM
galawncare,

Looks like you're doing a lot of things right. Find yourselves a good CPA in the Statesboro area, they should be able to offer a tremendous amount of advice and simplify your life.:usflag:

Az Gardener
03-19-2011, 01:54 AM
I would get a current quick books program and go to the classes if needed but get it set up right from the beginning. I have tried a few of the more popular lawn specific programs and it took 2-3 times longer to set a schedule than I can do manually. If your husband wants to access some info in the lawn program he has to be at the screen.

We made up our own customized worksheets that the crew fills out at the job sites they are in triplicate so the crew keeps one, office gets one for billing, and client gets one if they like. They are much cheaper than software and updates. It also takes much less time for the crew to fill out a worksheet than enter everything into a pda. PDA's are also not cheap.

Everyones business is different as are the people who run them. This is what works for us it may or may not work for you. Good luck.

GreenI.A.
03-19-2011, 02:10 PM
Deffinetly agree with everyone on the CPA. It seems like a big cost at first but when you realise how much time (time=$$$) you will save and not having to worry about if you are doing things right, it is deffinetly worth it. As far as a tablet goes, no matter how long you wait there will always be a new, better, more advanced one coming out soon after.

XLS
03-19-2011, 03:54 PM
we use Adcad grounds keeper Pro and Paper to do it all the fastest way we have is a work print out we made and it has the jobs each person completed their time and all the other major time treacking and it has a set man hours rate and the crew can complete the job in 3-5 minutes have the bill calculated , and invoiced and we simply track our recipts and invoices ,and bank statements and its done for 2200 customers it takes about 8 office hours a wek plus the 4 minuts a job to input everything. GKP we use to figure our job pricing and for contract printing and as a back up of all of our IRS info.

octopusapp
03-20-2011, 04:20 PM
It sounds like our software is exactly what you're looking for. It handles scheduling, work flow management, batch invoicing, and time tracking like you've requested, and also a whole lot more.

Tablet's are great to have in the field. Once you've experienced the convenience of unlimited access to all of your customer information in a single well organized place you'll wonder how you ever did without it.

Our software is built as a web application, meaning you access it over the internet. The great thing about that is that there's nothing to ever install or upgrade, and you can use the system from any web connected device, including any computer, and web enabled tablets and smart phones. Also, because the application is online, you and your husband can both access the system at the same time, updating customer and job information in real time for the other person to see right away, without having to sync anything.

We have a 30 day free trial if you'd like to check it out. Our website is http://www.octopusapp.com. I've also provided a discount code for LawnSite users; when you sign up enter 496LAWNSITE15 into the 'Discount Code' box.

I hope this has been helpful - don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Sam
sam@octopusapp.com / www.octopusapp.com

Green Feet Lawn
03-20-2011, 08:39 PM
We have a 30 day free trial if you'd like to check it out. Our website is http://www.octopusapp.com. I've also provided a discount code for LawnSite users; when you sign up enter 496LAWNSITE15 into the 'Discount Code' box.

I hope this has been helpful - don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Sam
sam@octopusapp.com / www.octopusapp.com

Sam,
What is the discount? It looks like a great tool.

octopusapp
03-20-2011, 10:09 PM
Oh, sorry about that, I guess I should have mentioned what the discount was actually for. The 496LAWNSITE15 discount code will get you 15% off your first three months with us after the 30 day free trial is over. This discount is only being offered through the LawnSite.com forum.

Thanks for the positive comment — if you have any questions don't hesitate to get in touch with my personally, or through this thread. I'm sure if you have a question about Octopus someone else is curious too.

Sam
sam@octopusapp.com | www.octopusapp.com

georgialawncare
03-21-2011, 09:25 PM
Thanks everyone for the great feedback!! It will definitely help us out! We are currently using a CPA for our other bookwork, and we used to use it for billing our customers, but we switched to doing that at home so he could have more flexibility with his time (i.e., doing work at midnight instead of between 9-5). We may have to look back into giving this part back to the CPA in a more organized fashion!! :) Again- thanks everyone!!!