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Old 12-07-2013, 10:26 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 6,511
I looked into it before, along with several others like it. There were at least 3 dozen services just like this at GIE+ this year.

In the end, we ended up not using any of them. Aside from the huge up front expense (which, I may have paid for, if that was it), there is the exorbitant monthly fee. And with almost every company it's a per-user fee. So that means one day if you grow and have an office manager - now you're paying one fee for them and another for you. If you end up having a service manager for your company too - then you pay 3 service fees. What? Your crews want access to the program so they can check their schedule every day? Doh! There's a fee for every crew who uses it too!

The fees are just ridiculous.

The key benefits seem to usually be:
  • Routing Software
  • Record Keeping / Service Data - per client
  • Automated Invoicing

I like the routing part. That could be a key benefit if your routes aren't fully optimized. And for the last few years, ours definitely were not. But we ended up figuring out a great way to do the routing on our own without a program and now have solved that problem.

The record keeping part is pretty cool. These programs often help the service tech. or the crew who is working there look at the entire history of service for that client. That's sometimes beneficial. Our crews and techs have other ways of doing this that aren't quite as good. But it's not as beneficial as it sounds. Most of the time, our workers can remember what they did there in the past. And when they cannot, they can always call the office for a reminder, as all the customer records are on file. Seems to be an answer to a problem that really isn't that big of a problem.

Automated invoicing doesn't have any appeal to me. Although I do see how this could be nice for some companies who send out invoices for the work they do. We do not. For one-time service calls (irrigation service, repair services, one-time clean-ups, or any other one-time job) we always collect payment from the customer at the time of completion. So there's no need to send an invoice. We're collecting as we go. For maintenance, we bill a flat rate every single month and our clients are on AutoPay. So again, no invoices. So for us, this is no benefit.

I like programs like this. I keep looking at them. And this is one of the better ones. I have a landscaper friend in Omaha who uses this system and last time we talked he really liked it. His wife (bookkeeper), on the other hand, did NOT like it. So it would be interesting to see if he still uses it or not. Haven't talked with him for almost two years. I'll see him again soon. So I'll ask.
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Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


www.lewislandscape.com - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
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