Scheduling/Keeping track/Route Organization

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by JeffW0011, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. JeffW0011

    JeffW0011 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 178

    Hey Guys,

    Was hoping some people might be willing to share some insight on their methods of scheduling and keeping track of their application clients and routes.

    Most of us have areas of business we are stronger in and areas we are weaker in. Unfortunately, systems and organization is on my weaker end. I have been using a pretty rudimentary self conceived system to this point which works well enough with a smaller customer base but my business continues to grow and I really need to get some better systems and procedures in place.

    Does anyone use like a route card system (and if so can you describe it a little? Where do you get them? Do you design your own?) or does everyone use software to schedule and track everything?

    Will appreciate all free advise or any info anyone is willing to share.

    I understand that some people have spent a good deal of time and money developing a good system and I would not mind shelling out a few dollars to someone who could really help me get this aspect of business organized.

    Thanks
     
  2. RABBITMAN11

    RABBITMAN11 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,370

    Real green
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  3. SeedPro

    SeedPro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,030

    Yeah and real green costs ten grand.

    I use quickbooks simple start as an accounting program. 40 bucks.

    Then I have a 5 x 8 hardcard I actually have printed with slots for name, address etc etc, and a list of all applications in order. These are blank and need filled in by hand which is a pain but not a ten thousand dollar pain.

    I keep those in a box with dividers for each zone, zip code, area or whatever. When they are done? They go to the back of the box, and at the end of that app, I resort them into their zones taking out any that don't get that round and putting them in the done for now section.

    I mark those cards if they pre pay, and use QB to print my next days sorted route off of those cards to invoices.

    I list the date, time, products applied and any notes on that card at the time of application giving me a permanent record and at the end of the season I save them all into the clients actual file folder.

    I use different color sharpies to fill in the info at beginning of the season or when a new sale is made. Depending on whether it's a lawn app for me, a tree app for me and I even color code applications I do for other land care companies that sub with me.

    I'm not suggesting it is easier than Real Groin.....but it's sure a hell of a lot cheaper.

    Eventually I may need a program to help become more efficient timewise.....but not yet and I manage over 350 customers this way currently.
     
  4. Young Bros

    Young Bros LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 660

    We have over 200 customers. Use quickbooks for billing and pre-pays. We use Microsoft Access for scheduling & notes for my brother and me about the lawn ect.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  5. RABBITMAN11

    RABBITMAN11 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,370

    Where do you get 10 grand, I just got it for 3000
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. lush&green

    lush&green LawnSite Member
    Posts: 184

    We use Clip and quickbooks but separately. We have a card for each customer that has history and billing info as well. Real green is 3k for 500 customers or less w/o mapping plus the time to train you which is what $800 depending where you are....
     
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Since I don't feel I have the number of accounts to justify a 3 to 6 thousand dollar program such as real green, this year, I will be using Garmin. It allows me to do more routes than I will ever need, and add as many stops into each route as needed. Will it automatically divert me to a stop in the shortest order? Not automatically, - it will take a LITTLE bit of homework, but with it's nice software program, it WILL allow me to see a clear map on my computer that will make it easy for me to organize my stops. I will have different "cells" for each working day - meaning different location areas I'll be working. It will a simple task to add any address(es) and put them in to the apprpriate "cell". When one cell gets to the point of being to potentially full, I can move one of the other outer boundary addresses to the other closest appropriate cell. I can have the whole route auto print if I want including directions if desired, and/or I can have the Garmin tell me my route since it will be all programmed in. THIS is my plan for this year.
     
  8. SeedPro

    SeedPro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,030

    I've hear other members ay it's close to ten grand. I dunno....

    Maybe there's different versions.
     
  9. SeedPro

    SeedPro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,030


    I have never understood the need to route with a computer program or GPS deal.

    Tru Green started that back when I worked there and i told them to save the printer paper because I know my route and can route 30 orders in less than 5 minutes by hand and a lot more efficiently routed than some computer program.

    There was always mis directions, and inefficient traveling. Just like when you ask for directions in yahoo. 75% of the time it's the wrong route to your destination.

    In my opinion people should know where they live and work and people make
    way to big a deal out of routing 30 stops. Especially when you have been to the jobsite anywhere from 1 to 40 times or more.

    Maybe it's just something I have a knack for. I dunno.

    I will say routing is key to being efficient.

    That and not stopping at every damned party store buying food and coffee, and texting the wife or girlfriend all day.

    I was always the top producer at mt TGCL branch and in the top ten in the midwest every year. It's not what you do at the stops. It's what you do between stops that slows people down, and makes them inefficient.
     
  10. Greenery

    Greenery LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    Seedpro, yes you are right you probably have a gift for it. From my experience as a head manager for a medium sized company i spent alot of time each year training on all aspects of lawn maintenance and i have found that there are alot of people out there who have a very difficult time getting around. We would even give them a map of the individual city marked with the exact location of the properties and they would still sometimes spend 15 20 even 30 minutes lost. I always told them if your lost for even 5 minutes to call me but they seldom did.

    We ran tracking gps units in all the trucks and it was just unreal looking at all the wasted time.

    Routing was one of the things i was always trying to improve due to the amount of time lost there.I honestly think by implementing the correct plan we could of easily got by with one less truck out maybe even two.
    Unfortunately the owner wasnt to worried about it as the techs were paid on a comission basis.

    So i guess what im getting at is efficient routing is extremely important in my mind.
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