How much time does it take?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Jason Rose, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    Once again I find myself "trying" to find some good invoicing software to save myself TIME and the pain each month in getting invoices out. Once again, like last winter, Iv'e downloaded the free trial of Gopher software and loaded about 20 customers into it. What I'm finding though, is that it's taking a LOT of time to get all of each customers information entered in. There's so many layers of information that must be entered it's insane. Then it wants a start and end date set in stone for every individual customer... How the heck do I know at this point WHEN that will be? It won't schedule them weekly without a start date. Also, what happens if I SKIP a week of mowing? I see that I can postpone service for some time, but what if I want to skip it all together? And I already know I'll NEVER be sitting down every day, 6 days a week and entering in every lawn that was done. The schedueling thing would be going nuts alarming me that I missed things!

    I just want something that will spit out completed invoices at the end of each month without me having to spend hours sitting here beating my brain trying to enter everything all at once. Iv'e tried several invoicing software programs, they all make me want to drink more, lol. I may look into lawnpro software a little more closely, too bad they don't do free trial versions...

    I suppose this is why I do things the "hard way". I use excell and some preprogrammed invoices I found and modified to work with me, but I hate the task of punching everything in. At least everything is on ONE page though, each customer has their own file with their name on it, ect. But there is NO history of invoices saved doing it this way. All I can do is print 2 copies, one for them, one for me. I can easily type anything I want to on the invoice, but it does not total anything up for the total line at the bottom. Still have to drag out the calculator for that, and that's room for errors. Anyone know how to work Excell? I'm sure there is a function to make it total colums of numbers automatically...

    All these programs are just too complicated for me... I don't get along with the click here, enter this, click here enter that, click here to see this, click here to click this so you can click that to change this number... :hammerhead: It seriously leaves me in a fog...
     
  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I am the least qualified guy to be answering a computer or accounting questions. But I wont let that detour me from trying to help someone. Just accept the free advice for what its worth.

    It seems all accounting programs are time consuming to set up. The benefit comes when sending out the bills. I have seen it with Peachtree, Quickbooks and CLP.

    Our billing gets pretty detailed, some are hourly and our hourly rates vary. Some are fixed monthly rate. We sell several different types of fertilizer, about a dozen different light bulbs and a bunch of other items. My wife can do about 2 invoices a minute.

    We use Quickbooks I have never heard of needing to know when a service begins or ends. It may just be that its not something they ever complained about. I am always there when things are getting set up to answer industry questions for the descriptions. So when she types in an item on the bill it pulls up a description and the price.
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I tried several software packages, all of them left me pretty frustrated and ended up consuming more time than not using any (which is what I've been doing for the past 4-5 years).

    The first part that blows is that whatever I do in the field, first I have to keep track of it on site...
    I can not simply go about my day and decide to enter it all at night, just in case I should forget something...
    So now it creates more work as I have to transfer all the day's info into my pc every evening.
    This might not be too bad, if...

    What frustrates the most is every last piece of software is someone else's idea of how I should keep books. None of it can be customized or the functions altered or even the calculations made to fit my company and my needs, instead it is the programmer (or their boss) who already has decided which way I am to do things.
    It gets really bad when the software has certain safety features that react to mistakes, specifically what comes to mind are the ones that react when something that could be construed as dishonest is attempted (or if, say, I wanted to make a debit for $0, and it won't let me). THAT really blew my top, that a software company should decide to educate me on what I can and can not do, as if I were their child in need of some discipline.

    And the few pieces of truly expensive software that DO claim to do what I just complained about, they're just fancily dressed up versions of the cheaper crap... Still, no way to completely bypass certain sections (such as if I don't need it), or when that's possible, it doesn't allow me to use it as something else. Or it assumes I keep an inventory (and won't let me go without), and when it doesn't do that, it's always something.
    In other words it's always their way, or no way.

    For this reason, it became painfully obvious the only way would be to either create or have someone create software specifically tailored to me and my company...
    And that is an expense I can not justify.

    Pen and paper for me.
     
  4. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    QuickBooks Pro may not be made specifically for the lawn & landscape industry but from what I hear about other programs its one of the best out there if not the best from an accounting perspective. I have been using QuickBook Pro since 98 and have over 100 mowing customers and many more that I keep track of in QuickBooks Pro and does everything I need and more.
     
  5. jeffscap

    jeffscap LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    Try out clip software,its a little pricey but in the long run I think it is easier to run. You still have to enter all the info for your accounts,but that is only done once.Then when you mow an account you just marked it mowed,then during your billing process you just select your customer you mowed then hit print. It adds it up and prints the bill out for 1 account or 3,000 accounts.
     
  6. BillStephenson

    BillStephenson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    You might give ezInvoice.com a try. It's cheap, simple, and will probably do most of what you want to accomplish.

    Bill Stephenson
     
  7. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,733

    Then go with Excell and create your own. Very easy to uses and you can do anything with it that can be done with any accounting program and you can have it set up the way you want it, the reports the way you want it, the information you want and the way you want it.
     
  8. GreenN'Clean

    GreenN'Clean LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,512

    You need to try our Lawn Pro Software its way easy to use and it has everything you need to run your business
     
  9. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,853

    I've been using Goundskeeper for the past few seasons. It took some time playing around with it before I really got the hang of it (I almost gave up on it at first) , but I know it really well now. You can get a free trial, so I'd recommend trying it out.
     

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