Chemical Service Scheduling

Mike75

LawnSite Member
Location
Texas
Not sure where to start exactly, but would be most appreciative if you could provide any insight at all to my situation. I need all the help I can get.

Recently took over chemical management for a company that is totally overhauling their custom made software (I am starting from total scratch). Before I came into the picture, a list was generated of the customers that received certain services for that month. The manager then arranged that list by service type and attempted to get it all done that month. Chaotic, not efficient at all, and extremely tedious and redundant to do month after month, year after year.

Facts about the situation
1. 200 commercial accounts and 300 residential acccounts
2. 80 different services (from lawn spraying to deep root feeding to perimeter treatments to overseeding)
3. daily work orders that may consist of unique fungicide treatments for 30+ properties
4. Nearly all of our clients receive at least 8 different services, so Im not sure how many times we actually need to go to their house per month (I found that last year they went to some residences over 30 times)
5. 3 chemical applicators

If there is any more information I could provide that would enable you to better help me setup a scheduling system, I would be more than happy to add. How are you guys doing it? How do big companies like True Green do it?

Once again, any insight into this would be welcomed.

Thank you very much
 
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Lefet

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Jackson, NJ
Interesting dilemma. I'm subscribing to see the possible solutions, I may find one or two along the way I could use.

On a different note, you're not saying you visited a clients house 30 times in a month are you? What type of rigs do you use? Can your applicators do multiple apps while they're there? How are the applicators broken up? Do they all do the same thing or does one handle lawns, the other ornamentals, etc?
I'm just asking questions I'm curious of and hope that may help trigger some answers.
 
OP
M

Mike75

LawnSite Member
Location
Texas
30 or more times per year (which I am guessing is WAY too many times)

I would like to do every application for the month at each house in one stop, but I dont know if that is the best way?

Each applicator has a truck with (2) 300 gal tanks, 3 back packs, 3 spreaders (belly/ride on/push)

At this moment, the applicators are not broken up at all, but my idea was to break them up into regions because we pretty much are focused in 3 specific geographical areas.

My idea was that they would have a specific route for each day of the month, in order to have a little ownership of the properties they service, more pride, more accountability, and possibly a relationship with the customer. I am seeking some consistency.

I would like for the applicator to know his schedule for the month so that he can understand his pace and know where he stands as far as finishing on time and taking care of the customer.

I would love to change software, but at this point, that is simply not possible.

I would love to know how your chemical operations work. How do you handle rain days or too windy? We mow all of these properties as well, so we try to apply the day after mowing, but even that becomes quite the obstacle, especially if you get even one day off due to the elements.

Any help is MOST appreciated. Thank you
 

Lefet

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Jackson, NJ
I don't know if doing all the apps at one stop is the right way to go either. As far as wind or rain, we just postpone until conditions permit. We're also not at 5 gazillion properties either, so scheduliing and or postponing doesn't become too much of an issue frequently. We generally only mow Tuesday thru Friday and keep days for make-up/postponements. This is also for any installations and what not too, which was the original reason for scheduling that way.

I'm sure there are others with much more suitable suggestions, RigglePC or rcreech, (to name just a few off the top of my head) come to mind.

And as far as the software, I think even if I had to do double work for a short period, I would probably try to begin integrating SOME sort of software, alongside what I was already doing.
 

Turfdoctor1

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Springdale, AR
Wow, that is a lot of info to digest.

Not sure where to start or how to advise.

First and foremost, daily workorders is a really bad idea, IMO. Of course, things come up, but if you know you are going to have fungicide applications to do, you need to be able to plan that within your normal route.

Anything that comes is as "daily workorders" is something that I take care of myself. Or, if I was larger, would have a manager for that type stuff. You cannot afford to take your technicians off their routes to do daily things that come in.

With 3 technicians and 500 accounts, I would have 2 regular service guys, and a tree and shrub, perimeter, miscelaneous guy. Plan out your calendar so that you know which accounts are getting each and every service. Your 2 regular techs should be able to manage all your weed control, fertilization, fungicide, lawn insecticide, etc., out of 1 truck a piece. I would have no desire to have a whole month laid out in advance. That would be impossible with rain days, etc. However, we try to stick on 6 week cycles, nearly to the day.

If your typical customer receives 8 services, and a couple of those overlap, scheduling those standard services should be easy as long as you are routed correctly and you don't take your guys off the routes to do "daily workorders" Use that other guy to take care of all the miscelaneous.

I'm rambling, best of luck.
 

ted putnam

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Arkansas
Wow, that is a lot of info to digest.

Not sure where to start or how to advise.

First and foremost, daily workorders is a really bad idea, IMO. Of course, things come up, but if you know you are going to have fungicide applications to do, you need to be able to plan that within your normal route.

Anything that comes is as "daily workorders" is something that I take care of myself. Or, if I was larger, would have a manager for that type stuff. You cannot afford to take your technicians off their routes to do daily things that come in.

With 3 technicians and 500 accounts, I would have 2 regular service guys, and a tree and shrub, perimeter, miscelaneous guy. Plan out your calendar so that you know which accounts are getting each and every service. Your 2 regular techs should be able to manage all your weed control, fertilization, fungicide, lawn insecticide, etc., out of 1 truck a piece. I would have no desire to have a whole month laid out in advance. That would be impossible with rain days, etc. However, we try to stick on 6 week cycles, nearly to the day.

If your typical customer receives 8 services, and a couple of those overlap, scheduling those standard services should be easy as long as you are routed correctly and you don't take your guys off the routes to do "daily workorders" Use that other guy to take care of all the miscelaneous.

I'm rambling, best of luck.

Excellent advice! That's how we work it here. I run a few on route but I handle all sales/service except for the occasional truck sale the guys get in the spring. They take care of the routes for the most part. Plan for the day ahead so they have the materials and equipment to do multiple apps if possible. (sometimes its not). For instance, I'm the only one with the equipment to spray 40 ft in a tree but they can do bed weed control and even minor tree shrub apps as well as regular lawn apps. My advice is break it down, see what you have, make sure it is routed tightly and delegate it out to who you see fit.
 

Lefet

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Jackson, NJ
Ted, you were one of the people I was thinking in regards to software. How would the software you use fit his needs?
 

ted putnam

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Arkansas
There is a "job code" for each service rendered. Each customer has whatever services they are to receive along with specific prices for each for the year under their account info in "standard charges". You can enter a single job code or multiple job codes in the printing instructions when printing invoices. It will print only job codes that are assigned to that particular customer so....say your printing a whole days route worth of invoices. All of them get Round 1, 4 of them get bed weed control and 2 of them get Dormant oil. You have to enter the job codes for those services. It will print only the services that each of those accounts have job codes for in their standard charge section of their account info. If they aren't set up for it, it will not show up on their invoice.
The only thing I have to really watch is the fact that neither of my guys will be able to spray 20 ft up in a Leland Cypress or something similar so those accounts will occasionally be done out of route or I myself might take that route that day.
 

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