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So, I decided to write my own billing and scheduling software

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LandscapePenguin, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. LandscapePenguin

    LandscapePenguin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    I haven't gotten as many calls for lawncare this year as I was hoping for, so I've had a fair bit of time to sit around and play with my computer. Probably about 95% of my business is mowing, so I figured that this might be interesting to others who primarily do the same thing.

    I’ve been using commercial software pretty much since I started my landscaping/lawn mowing business back in 2007. Recently, I started to notice a few idiosyncrasies that I just didn’t like to deal with. For the past month or so, I had been keeping track of my customers and jobs in a spreadsheet as well as the dedicated software as a way of cross-checking my numbers. Needless to say, this became rather tedious, so, a couple of weeks back I decided to start writing my own dedicated software for this purpose.

    From the beginning, there were a couple key features that I wanted to incorporate:

    • I wanted the ability to access my software from any internet browser, including the one on my smartphone.
    • I wanted to be able to instantly see how much money I collected in any given year, and how much sales tax I owed.

    With these two goals in mind, I went to work writing a new system. Roughly 3,000+ lines of PHP-code later, this is what I have come up with. I present to you the Briardale Management System. :rolleyes:


    Once you open the main page in a web browser, you have, among others, options to view the current day’s jobs, a calendar of jobs, list of customers, list of customers with outstanding balances, and a list of payments. Going to these pages presents you with links to other associated tasks. I found a great customizable calendar function online and edited it so that it color-codes jobs by their completion status and whether or not they are past due.


    Clicking on the job calendar shows a calendar of the current month, as well as which days have scheduled or past-due jobs. From there, you can click on a day to add a new job to that day, or view a list of jobs scheduled for that day.


    Once you have the list of jobs for a given day up, you are presented with options to edit or delete those jobs. However, the really neat feature of this page is that it allows you to timestamp the job as either started or completed by simply clicking on a link. This becomes particularly useful when you remember that, because this is a web-based application, I am able to access it from my smartphone.


    Using this feature, I can get an accurate accounting down to the minute of when I begin a job, and when that job is completed. The job list page is instantly updated with the timestamps so that I can see at a glance which jobs are still open, and which jobs are already completed.

    Once a job is marked as completed in the database, it will show up when you request a customer statement be generated.


    A particularly neat feature of the generated statements is the “QR Code” shown on the bottom left. I found a great php script online for generating these on the fly. The customer is requested to return the bottom portion of the statement with their payment. Once received, using a free barcode scanner app on the phone, I am able to instantly pull up the customer page for this particular customer and enter the payment details without ever needing to login to my computer.


    At the end of the year, by simply clicking the link to see a list of my payments from the main page, I can instantly see the gross amount of payments, the sales tax due, and the net amount after sales tax has been taken out.


    What do you guys think? Kinda neat? Complete waste of time? A little of both?;)
  2. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,327

    How much are you selling for?

    That is amazing that you could write the script for all of this, SUPER neat!

    The barcode idea is amazing and I'm sure it's really handy.

    Having the program automatically put the service on the invoice for you is a HUGE plus for me!

    You should seriously consider selling this, $50x10 people=500 dollars $100x10 people=1000 dollars, it could really pay off.


    I'm not sure how you'd sell the program though since it is more webpage based, maybe you could find a way to make a separate page for each company or a different login.
  3. LandscapePenguin

    LandscapePenguin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    Hey, thanks for the kind words, it's really encouraging. I really figured that it could go either way, either people would think it was cool, or I would be laughed off the site for wasting my time!

    I have a couple of features that I want to add to version 2.0, LOL. Most notably, I think it should have a built-in way to backup the database to a local file. This isn't a real concern for me as I have it running on an old computer in my laundry room and I can do manual backups whenever, but I think it would be handy, especially if I had it hosted at a remote datacenter, to have a way to back it up easily and remotely.

    The other cool feature that I thought of was to have it customize the job list based on the username that you use to login to it. This would allow multiple crews to each login with their own username and only have access to their individual jobs, while for instance, only those in management would have access to payment info and invoices.

    To think, I started mowing yards to escape the computer industry, and now I'm using it as an excuse to keep doing it in my spare time. :dizzy:
  4. lilweeds

    lilweeds LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 595

    Now make it sync with quickbooks and I'll buy it!
  5. LandscapePenguin

    LandscapePenguin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    LOL, I'm afraid that I have just about zero experience with quickbooks. To tell the truth, I thought that quickbooks already did most of the same things? Again, I know pretty much nothing about it. *trucewhiteflag*
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Actually you can do that with a spreadsheet as well then fit the file onto a thumb drive,
    however I am amazed someone out there knows how to code and now it's not
    dependent on someone else's program to function (like a spreadsheet is).

    So, assuming...
    ASSUMING the code is standardized according to w3c specifications :laughing:
    I guess that assumes a bit much.

    Nice job nonetheless.
  7. dedwisper

    dedwisper LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Posts: 2

    droid does! el33t stuff, man. very ingenious.
  8. kludgemonkey

    kludgemonkey LawnSite Member
    from LA
    Posts: 61

    And your doing landscaping why? BTW, I used to do networking/security engineering for about 14 years. Good to see another NIX head around.
  9. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    I like and would be willing to test it out for ya, assuming you are wanting to sell it, im also a member of the state L&L association, with alot of guys who need help with there scheduling and billing, alot still use 3x5 cards or worse hand billing........send a pm if ya wanna talk cheses, very interested, i like the simplicity of it, yet the fact it does it all.....very nice. Currently use clip....very expensive.
  10. MadeintheShadeGardening

    MadeintheShadeGardening LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I also have been looking for a program like that. I would love to try it out as QB is kind of a pain in the @ss and being able to use my droid for work purposes would make my wife get off my back about buying a $300 phone. (i think shes jealous but who knows.)

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