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PrecisionLandService
01-07-2004, 04:35 PM
Whats the best way to keep track of your customers? We are starting to build up more and more weekly lawn customers and im not doing as good keeping up with everything... How do u all go about logging in mowing dates and things that customers request so you dont forget what they wanted done? And also so you dont forget to bill them for all the work you have done for the month...

FrankenScagMachines
01-07-2004, 04:43 PM
I wish I could help but I struggle with this too. Looking for ideas :(

geogunn
01-07-2004, 04:51 PM
I dunno the best way but I use an appointment book planner that is organized into monthly and weekly views.

the month at a glance space is a little small but you can plan things looking at weeks ahead.

the weekly pages afford alot of space for appointments and notes.

I have a complete record of everything that goes on.

of course, this method probably wouldn't work for a larger operation.

GEO

dfor
01-07-2004, 04:52 PM
I keep a written log of work performed in a Daytimer planner that I get form Staples or Office Depot. All billing is done on the computer (I use Deluxe Invoices by My Software). As far as when a customer calls to request something, I just jot that down in a notebook. Same with calls on the ans. machine.

satxmow
01-07-2004, 04:52 PM
check out the pda topic on elements of bussiness forum

Del9175
01-07-2004, 04:54 PM
I keep track of customers using index cards. Each customer gets his own card with any other needed info such as price or possibly address. I find it valuable when planning my week. I sort the cards according to which days I will be doing them. I also write the day I mow them on there plus any other additional charges they might owe me for. I find this to be an easy way to deal with the number of mowing customers I have. I only have 39 now days but I used this system with as many as 125 customers before.

sgallaher
01-07-2004, 05:13 PM
Here is a daily log sheet that I came up with that I use to keep track of who was mowed and on what day. I also use it to keep track of mileage and gasoline usage for the trucks and equipment. Hope this help.

excel25
01-07-2004, 05:17 PM
Got a blank sheet with your name on top!!??

sgallaher
01-07-2004, 05:25 PM
It didn't go through? What's your e-mail, I'll try that.

Turfdude
01-07-2004, 05:40 PM
Invest in a software program. The time they save you alone will more than pay for the program cost. They do automatic routing, scheduling, billing, etc...
They also will generate your daily route sheets for you. Do yourself a favor and invest in a program.

PROCUT1
01-07-2004, 05:54 PM
If youre a one truck operation....Keep it simple.......Get a notebook and one name per page or half or quarter page.. Keep it in the truck with you....When you finish the lawn. Put the date in..At the end of the mnonth you have all the dates for your invoices

Firefighter698
01-07-2004, 06:57 PM
I use a grid sheet with the days 1 thru 31 across the top and put the addresses down the side. I gray out the days I can't mow ie. Fire Dept days and Sundays. When I first started I had all my addresses all on one sheet, now I have a separate sheet for each group or area that I mow. I have a "code" that I fill in the square for the services that I complete for that address. I can count squares and project the cutting days for the month. I don't promise any customer a permenant mowing day so it's easy to shift days around to make up cuts when it rains. At the end of the day I enter my business for the day in my invoice program ,when I print invoices, I check my invoice against my run sheet for accuracy. Works real good for me, no one gets skipped and it's simple.

pjslawncare/landscap
01-07-2004, 07:05 PM
I use quickbooks pro for invoicing and Clip for scheduling. Dont care too much for clip though, looking for something different.

Fantasy Lawns
01-07-2004, 07:22 PM
QB for all billing

I use Microsoft Access to create a personal database with custom fields beyond just first-last name, address, day, truck, route order, price, phone, contact person, notes, date started, etc

You can hide fields that you don't want printed ... such as when I print it in "layout format" which would be fore say Monday n give it to a foreman I can "hide" price n phone number & other fields they don't need .... I usually keep the start n end time, address, day, route number ... all laid out in "landscape format"

I can also print out each single customer in a single sheet with all or not all the info

Access has "generic" databases which are fine to start but would make a great "winter" project to create one's own ....n it's not that hard .... as no real "true" programming skills is needed

mtdman
01-07-2004, 07:51 PM
I use Quick Books for billing. Since I am solo and only need to worry about me, I make up a weekly schedule sheet with all my customers on it. Devided by days/neighborhoods. As I go through, I check off the customer and write the date next to the name. I add any extra stuff I do next to the name as well. I pull out the sheets at the end of the month to do billing. I enter the billing info into an actual book, and into QB at the same time.

As far as scheduling goes, I have so far kept it all in my head. But the old noggin seems to be failing the older I get, so I suppose I should get a planner of some sort.

:D

grshppr
01-07-2004, 07:59 PM
I have a piece of grid paper, each customer has a line on that sheet, every job we do gets marked on the sheet with the date on top, and at the end of the month to invoice I just look up the customer name and that line has all the jobs we did that month. Makes it easy to invoice.

emeraldgreen
01-07-2004, 08:11 PM
I use a 3 ring binder with notebook paper to keep track of the daily work. One page is one day. I list my customers for that day and any extra work to be done. It is easy because the routes are consistent week after week. The only changes ever made to the daily routes come from losing or gaining customers.
Then every week or two I transfer that information to my general ledger which is a large 3 ring binder that contains all the information on all of my customers. The sheets in that binder are the Avery/Dennison 3 column analysis pad.

Then at the end of the month I am ready to input to Quick Books Pro and print the invoices.

proenterprises
01-07-2004, 08:14 PM
i would make a master sheet at teh start of the week. a notebook with graph paper is a good idea.

if your route varries-make a new one every week.

if your route is solid-you can use the same one season long.

also-it makes it easuier to pencil in some, cross out other and swap when and where you need to.

J Hisch
01-07-2004, 09:37 PM
Invest in software, but the info still needs to be put in the software. for example, if a customer wants hedge snext week then you have to rememebr to put that info into software. so here the solution. work orders. once they tell you what needs to be done or you see yourself then fill out simple work order to be put into software program, then when you print out daily route sheet if will tell you what needs to be done for that week. Also if you are solo then you may need something more basic. Becasue you will be the one sitting behind the screen in the afternoon. We have the bookkeeper do it.

olderthandirt
01-07-2004, 10:03 PM
Customer let me know. Usually calls b!tching that I was not there or didn't do something. Save a lot of paper work. LOL


Mac

bastalker
01-07-2004, 10:14 PM
Go to walmart..They sell these little boxes with 3 x 5 cards. They even have these tabs that ya can label from a-z.

Put all yer accounts in between all the tabs that were provided for ya, (alphabetical order now). Each time u cut, put the date on the customers card. Works for me......

kppurn
01-07-2004, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by Turfdude
Invest in a software program. The time they save you alone will more than pay for the program cost. They do automatic routing, scheduling, billing, etc...
They also will generate your daily route sheets for you. Do yourself a favor and invest in a program.

I totally agree.

I don't mind doing office work, but doing everything on paper got old real quick. With software, scheduling jobs is easy and billing for work completed is even easier. At the end of the month I simply enter a date range, click invoice, and an invoice is generated for every customer detailing all work completed. The most difficult and time consuming part is folding the invoices and putting a stamp on the envelope.:)

If it doesn't fit in the budget now, plan on it for the future. It will make your life easier.

Roger
01-08-2004, 04:43 PM
After a few years, I have a scheme that works for me -- probably not a scheme that others would use.

I use a three-ring notebook, with alpha tabs, and standard college-ruled notebook paper. Each customer gets a page, name in upper right corner for easy viewing. The relevant info is at the top of the page, name/address/telephone, etc. This notebook goes with me in my briefcase in the pickup every day. Sometimes the journal entries are not used, but many times they provide a quick, easy reference about mower settings, unusual turf condition, and how long did the job take. If the time changes from visit to visit, I want to know why (good or bad).

Also, at the back of the notebook, I've created my own scheduling calender. Each page (landscape mode) has two weeks, each day with seven slots. The calendar has six days per week (never work on Sunday, that's the Lord's Day!). The slots are two part, one for a name, the second one is very small, room for a check mark.

As a job is finished, a journal entry is made on the page for the customer. It includes date, what we found (huge growth, light growth, etc), what mower was used, what height settings, and bag counts for any bagging work. Also, anything unusual is noted. I use a stopwatch for each job, so the time for the job is recorded on the same date. Sometimes, all I need are two lines on the notebook paper, sometimes I may need 10 lines. The pages are filled, front and back and second pages are added for this customer as needed.

Also, when the journal entry is made, their name is given a "check mark" on the calender, and an entry made for the next mowing (one week, 10 days, 14 days, or ???). Therefore, the schedule is "rolling" always being developed as work is completed.

When I get home, I record the day's work into Quicken. An entry is made for each customer, and every work entry is put into a "split" entry for that customer. I use a report generator to create a report for all the season's work, and then execute a software program that will summarize all the day's work. This provides a mental checklist, "...did I get all today's entries made properly?" I then execute another software that creates a list of "days since last mowing," an entry for every active customer. This too provides a check for me. It is sorted, so that I know that irregular customers don't slip through. And, I have quick check on tomorrow's list.

At the end of the month, I use the same Quicken report to use for input to a software program that generates invoices. They are generated, I fold them, put them in a window envelope.

Bear in mind that I formerly worked in software programming, so I am always looking for programs to write. Therefore, I welcome to write programs to synthesize the data, create reports, etc.

I have made copies of the journal entries for a couple of complaining customers who doubted that I made visits when my invoice arrived. When they see the journal, the check always has arrived shortly thereafter.

I just wish getting people to pay was as easy as keeping records.

DFW Area Landscaper
01-08-2004, 04:57 PM
I'm with Fantasy Lawns. Quickbooks Pro for billing.

As for scheduling, I use Excel as opposed to Access. I keep my Tuesday mowing route on one tab, Wednesday mowing route on the next. Then I have a tab for customers who use my Fert/Herbicide program. Then I have another tab for customers who are signed up for annual bed mulch. Another for those who take seasonal color. Another for customers who have signed up for fire ant control. Another tab for customers who are signed up for shrub trimming. Basically, a tab for each product outside of mowing.

Pretty simple, really.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

greensummer
01-08-2004, 05:13 PM
www.lawnmonkey.com

TreffertLawnWrx
01-08-2004, 06:34 PM
I use Invoices and Estimates Pro. Bought it at Office Depot and I love it. Does all the billing, customer maitenance, Prints envelopes and just about everything else. I paid about 50.00

As for the rest I was given Palm Pilot for Christmas for that exact reason. No more note pads in the truck or forgetting something. its compatible with my home computer via USB and works awesome. I can keep all my customers info, numbers prices, previos work in it.

Scott

Once again I stress: GO PACKERS!!!

paponte
01-08-2004, 08:59 PM
Quick books contractor edition. :cool:

GrassBustersLawn
01-08-2004, 09:58 PM
QuickBooks Pro for billing. Bought qClip for scheduling but still (after 1.5 years) figured it out.

Anyone in Indianapolis area what to show me how to use it? qClip that is.

QuickBooks Pro is great. You can print out by DATE. You can printo out last MONDAY's jobs so you know they are all ready to be mowed this Monday. (NOTE: Always enter work done that day as soon as you get back to office. If you don't you will be screwed trying to remember the next day as they all run together!) This works GREAT until you get to JULY & AUGUST and have to start skipping. That is when the qClip scheduling would be handy.

Mike

thfireman
01-09-2004, 01:04 AM
Originally posted by dfor
I keep a written log of work performed in a Daytimer planner that I get form Staples or Office Depot. All billing is done on the computer (I use Deluxe Invoices by My Software). As far as when a customer calls to request something, I just jot that down in a notebook. Same with calls on the ans. machine.

I use Deluxe Invoices also. I have it on my laptop so I carry it with me and enter the work directly in when I am done. I also have a printer so if I need to I can fill out a quote or a statment right on the spot or confirm to a customer that I received their payment or show where they still owe me the mula!:D

LAWNPROzII
01-09-2004, 01:17 AM
We use work orders and a master billing sheet. Go thru the work orders from every day and put customers on master billing sheet.
at the end of the month add up master billing sheet for each customer and send invoices. I'm not that computer savvy so this is the easiest way for me. But you must find out what is comfortable with you.

Team Gopher
01-09-2004, 09:11 AM
Hi PrecisionLandService,

You can download our free fully functional trial software and use it for 30 days.
Let us know if you have any questions and we will be glad to help you out.

Premo Services
01-09-2004, 10:09 AM
I use QXpress for scheduling, with a palm piolot for in the feild, and quickbooks for the invoicing, accounting part. This is a great combo!!!:cool2: :cool2:

walker-talker
01-09-2004, 10:14 AM
For 2003 I used Lawn Monkey and loved it. I recently purchased Quickbooks and upgraded my Lawn Monkey to Qxpress (both products of Alocet) to coinside with Quickbooks.

NCL
01-09-2004, 11:00 AM
I make a master sheet for each cutting day, then I photocopy it and write the date on it bring the sheet with me for the that piticular day and write any notes on it next to the customers name like wants shrub trimming. Bring the sheet to the office write customers name and job on a dry erase board and then file the sheet in a folder with the rest of the sheets for that day for that month. end of the month comes pull out your sheets for each day total cuts plus extra work that was done and you have your total. After you do the extra work log it on one of the sheets with that customers name on it and erase it from your board.

TotalCareSolutions
01-09-2004, 11:04 AM
TGopher is always very helpful on this forum. But, since we are on the subject: Are there some folks out there using his product and how is it? I to use a notebook & journal type of approach, but would like to invest in some software. Simple software for my simple mind!!

Acute Cut
01-09-2004, 11:13 AM
i am curious as well. I have quickbooks guys coming out next week to do a demo for us, but i am going to mention TG as well to my other assosicates attending with me as well. How does TG compare to clip?

Your one vote for TeamGopher has been counted TeamGopher. lol

joeboy4
01-09-2004, 01:18 PM
I have a master list of my customers (60), I use a hi-liter to mark the yards I do blue on Mon. Yellow on Tue. Etc. I hi-liter the entire name and address if the customer pays, only their name if they are not home or I bill them. I use a list for each week at the end of the month I staple together and fill out my invoices to be mailed.

ProMo
01-09-2004, 03:50 PM
I use a pda to track what ive done I had it on paper and wasnt able to analyze it well now I can compare different customers with same pricing etc. If im using a stopwatch I will record time each task took or just put an x in the box to show what was done. each sheet has the entire year on it for one customer.

Expert Lawns
01-09-2004, 05:29 PM
Excel

newmanfan
01-09-2004, 08:28 PM
Visit clip.com. They are also a sponsor of this site. They a variety of software applications.

GTLC
01-09-2004, 08:42 PM
Palm Pilot, that is what I use. It works great!

bayfish
01-09-2004, 08:43 PM
Microsoft works task launcher has spreadsheets you can customize to fit your needs, if you have windows XP. I created a separate spreadsheet for each customer containing headings relative to that account. Also a daily work log that I print each day with the schedule of activities. When the day is finished, I log in the information to each individual account. Also made spreadsheets for business expenses that I log in daily. They calculate automatically to save you time in tax season. I don't know how many accunts you have, but unless you have 150 or more, don't lay out money for expensive softwear. Take your time and find the right one when you think you need it.

pcnservices
01-09-2004, 08:58 PM
Originally posted by PrecisionLandService
Whats the best way to keep track of your customers? We are starting to build up more and more weekly lawn customers and im not doing as good keeping up with everything... How do u all go about logging in mowing dates and things that customers request so you dont forget what they wanted done? And also so you dont forget to bill them for all the work you have done for the month...

The best investment you can make in your business is Gopher Billing and Scheduling (http://www.gophersoftware.com) software.

Click on the link for more info.

Good Luck
PC

LawnMower
01-26-2004, 07:14 PM
I use a portfolio size day timer. Each page is a day of the week. On each page such as Monday, I enter all the yards I did last Monday. Then I enter all the yards I didn't get to yesterday. All the yards I couldn't finish today, I spill over to tomorrow. Iv been doing it this way for years.

I just wished I could find a palm Pilate that can do this same task. The day timer is kind of big and bulky. However I also have all my extra jobs in the front. It also has pockets to keep stuff in.

At the end of each day I enter all the work done into quick books. At the end of each month I send off a statement for the month. I don't send invoice's.