How do you organize?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Lawn-Scapes, Feb 7, 2002.

  1. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    I'm trying but I can't seem to stay organized.. I can't figure out a system.

    How do you organize things..

    For instance.. If you receive a call for a one time job.. What do you do with their information (name, addy, phone)? Do you put it in your computer address book? Do you have a database you add them to?

    Same customer accepts your written proposal.. What do you do with the paperwork? Do you create a file for that client? Or do you have a single file for all the one time jobs?

    How 'bout yearly maintenance clients? Do the signed contracts go into a single file or an inividual?

    Any other tips?
  2. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    For instance.. If you receive a call for a one time job.. What do you do with their information (name, addy, phone)? Do you put it in your computer address book?

    I have a Phone Message book. I tear out the top copies each morning when I print route sheets for that day's work. The quote will be done by appointment or where it falls on the route. I indicate these on the route sheet with a pink highlighter on the property closest to the quote.

    If I get to the property and am interested in the work, I copy the info into my organizer on custom info sheets I make myself. It has all the info relevant to the property and jobs to be done. I use worksheets and a calculator to quote residential mowing work, and write prices for these on the back of my business cards in spaces I had printed there. If noone is home, I leave the card on the door. For commercial work, the info goes back to the office, and is included on a formal quote.

    Do you have a database you add them to?

    Yes, but I only do this after I schedule the work. In some cases, I make arrangements to do work over the phone, which means I need to add info to the database after the fact.

    Same customer accepts your written proposal.. What do you do with the paperwork?

    I keep a copy on the hard drive, and a backup copy on the Zip drive. Residential work stays in the organizer.

    Do you create a file for that client? Or do you have a single file for all the one time jobs?

    Single file with copies of invoices, but only for work performed.

    How 'bout yearly maintenance clients? Do the signed contracts go into a single file or an inividual?

    Commercial clients have their own file, others are only in the computer. I try to minimize hard paper copies where I can. Once I get a laptop (and thermal printer), I won't do much writing by hand at all.

    Hope this helps.
  3. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Irrigation installations - get their own folder with address only on the tab. Names change over the years, addresses don't. Filed in alphabetical order by street address (name) in a filing cabinet.

    Landscape installs - same as irrigation

    Fert contracts - filed in alphabetical order by customer name by year. Stored in one big folder for each year.

    Mow/Maintenance contracts - same as fert contracts

    Irrigation work orders (not invoices)- one per customer per visit. Filed alphabetically by customer name in tab divided box. New box each year. Keep for several years in case someone says "you just" or "last year".

    Computer generated customer invoices - in one binder by invoice number. New binder each year.

    Vendor invoices - folder for each month. When we did landscape installs a copy of the vendor invoice went into the customer file so we new exactly what we bought and where for each job. For equipment parts or repairs a copy goes into a folder for the applicable piece of equipment.

    Equipment - folder for each piece containing owner and parts manuals, parts purchases and service records. Manufacturer name followed by item model or name on tab. Filed by manufacturer name and file cabinet kept in the shop. Also keep vehicle titles and bill of sales in these. High value stuff like that is kept in the office filing cabinets. If you maintain equipment well and occasionally sell decent pieces of used equipment, folks are impressed when you pull out all the info to show them and it gets you premium dollar.
  4. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Easy question, but involved answer - sorry if this is a little long. There are so many things that could fall the cracks, it's tough to keep it all straight. But this system seems to work for me.

    For incoming calls, we use a RFB (request for bid sheet - 1/2 page paper in pad form, easy to keep on desk) that is then filed in a Mon through Sat set of folders for appointments once an appointment is schedule with customer. I mark in my calendar the name/address and use a green highlighter over the name so I know it's a new sales call. A yellow highlighter is for current customer appointment. After a prequalification on the phone, We meet with all prospective customers to qualify the job and see if it's something we want to bid on.

    If construction job: they get a folder in my desk drawer. Their jacket or folder moves from one hanging file to the next depending on the stage of completion.
    "Bids in Progress" - Bids that haven't be submitted, but working on
    "Bids Pending" - Bids that are out, but no word on status yet
    "Jobs Pending" - Received contract/deposit, have been scheduled
    "W.I.P" - Work in Progress, job currently being installed
    "Completed Jobs" - those jackets that are completed, invoiced, paid and job costed
    "Rejected Bid" - those bids that people declined.

    Maintenance Bid - I print out a contract, file one page hard copy to the RFB sheet, and file in a hanging folder that has simpler system than construction. Because there is not design or research on these bids, I turn them around within 24 hours of getting them.
    "MTC Bids Pending" - Those jobs bid, but waiting to hear back from customer
    "Holding - No decision" - Those customers that I've followed up with a week after sending bid, but have made no decision.
    "Rejected Bids" - obvious what happens here
    "Call When Time Allows" - those customers that we're too busy to do now, but agree that we can call when we're slow

    If customer returns their maintenance contract (Res or Com) for long term maintenance, they get a hanging file folder which goes into our customer drawer. Foreman have access to this information so they know what customer wants, etc. The following folders are in the customer hanging folder:

    "Contract" - current contract and updates to the contract.
    "Correspondence" - any letters to or from customer and survey responses
    "Budget" - not all customers get this folder, only our A and B customers that we meet to discuss budget and have to track carefully. During the year we put an updated summary of sales from the customer in this folder for foreman to look at.
    "Profile Notes" - this folder has all the detail for how the customer likes to have the work done. We have special sheets that help us to organize the info in this folder.

    As the requests for bids come in, I have several colored folders that remain on my desk. I handle my phone calls this way:

    Blue Folder "To Call" - phone messages, and phone tag people go in here until I know what I'm doing with their request. Once I've contacted them, if the lead goes cold, the RFB slip goes into the "Rejected Bids" folder so we can track the call later from the referral source and send them mail in the future. If I get an appointment, I place their slip in my Mon - Sat folders for appointment.

    Orange Folder "To Bid ASAP" - these are maintenance or small project bids that I try to turn around in 24 to 48 hours. Completed bid goes into the 'Pending' file.

    Yellow Folder "To Schedule" - those jobs that are small requests that have our "Work Order" slips filled out - give these assignments to foreman as fill in work on their routes.

    Those one time customers get manilla folder in the customer drawer - but they're all grouped together. Some customers only have us do a fall clean up or a planting, but we do something for them each year. So their folder stays in the customer drawer. We file in it the original call slip, the work order, any notes, copy of the invoice/statement. We staple each job together. So a customer may have one or ten stapled packets in his folder depending on what type of work we've done for them and for how long.

    If it's a regular customer, it'll get invoiced and the information is trapped in QB and the summary will appear in their budget folder later on for reference if needed.

    Once a customer relationship is discontinued, we put their hanging folder in a "Past Customers" Box in storage. We can always go back and pull it if they come back to us or if we get the new homeowner in the house.

    If we complete a construction job for a maintenance customer, the job folder gets labeled with the project and date, and placed in the customers hanging folder. They may have several past project type folders. This way a foreman can access the plant material list, etc. or handle warranty work if needed.

    If the contstruction job is completed for a non maintenance customer, we file it in a separate "Past Projects" box in storage.

    Gee... since I"m in the process of working on our office Standard Operating Procedures... I think I'll cut and past this since I've never documented this before. Should be pretty easy to flow chart. Thanks for the thread. Helps me to think through things.
  5. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    Thanks for the replies... That's quite a system Lawnlad

    Some good info that I can try to put to good use!

    I have only one question right now.. Why do you file a paper copy of an invoice? Is it not at your fingertips in the computer?
  6. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Yes, it is in the computer. But, because the foreman needs to have access to the customer information, it is easier/safer to print a summary of their account by service type/month than to allow them access to computer records. Other information in the computer is not for their eyes.

    Also, a paper copy could be used in a customer meeting or you can make notes on it for others to see.
  7. ColorScapesLouisiana

    ColorScapesLouisiana LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    This has been a very helpful thread! Thanks LawnLad for all of that info!

    I have a secondary question: What types of information do you include in your customer profiles? Is it necessary or helpful to include things the customer likes/dislikes, favorite colors, home colors, etc...things that in the long-term might help when choosing things for their landscape when you aren't on-site (pressed for time with other appointments, or customer cuts the meeting short, etc)...I am literally starting from the bottom up, and I am trying to be creative AND thorough in everything I do on the business end.

    Thanks in advance!

    PS- I also just realized this post is 13 years old, haha! I might not even get a reply on this, lol!
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  8. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,878

    I began reading this thinking how great of a thread it is and a couple of the documents I created (customer lead tracking & customer meeting report) to go along with my business start-up guide fit the exact description of what these guys needed, and then I realized all the posts except yours were from 2002! :laugh:

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