How do you schedule your service contracts?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by nikidala, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. nikidala

    nikidala LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 1


    I just started with a new Landscaping Services company and am also very "green" ;) when it comes to the industry. I am our company's Office Manager, and when I started the company had only been in business for less than a month. Due to that fact, they had not settled on a scheduling software program, and I set out to find one... Well, several month's down the road, I am still looking. Although I have just registered, during my search I found the advice and information given by the members here to be quite helpful and was hoping that I could seek a little more help.

    As I stated, I have been looking for a scheduling software... Per the great advice of the members here (not to me, but to others seeking the same answers), I believe that I had tried every major Lawn Care software available (QXpress, Groundskeeper, CLIP, etc.). I fathom the way to go about scheduling of the one time services, but on the service contracts I am at an absolute loss... I am not quite even sure where to start, so I am absolutely clueless as to which software I would find most beneficial for my workflow. I understand that software is pretty subjective when it comes to which is better. It depends on if the person wants more clicks here or more there, or pretty pictures here or down and dirty there, which I am sure is why some people swear by QXpress, others by Groundskeeper, and yet others CLIP. So, instead of asking which scheduling software I should use, I would like to know how you actually schedule your service contracts in your preferred software, what you like and dislike about it, and now that you have been using it for a while, how good it works for you in a real-life working environment. I am not asking for click here click there type of thing, as that would be too specific, but more a of general idea.

    Lawn care maintenance contracts (if I mess up the example don't shoot me, I am just the paper pusher ;) not the brains) typically have mowing, trimming, edging, etc. weekly in the summer, yet bi-weekly or even monthly in the winter months (or I am sure for you northerners not at all). Then say you have a few fertilizations in there one this month and that month. Then once a month or twice a month you trim/prune the trees and shrubs. I am sure that everyone has a few more things on there lists, but that covers the basics for how wild and crazy a contract could be right?

    So, here you go to schedule... Do you schedule a full year when the client signed a contract? Do you schedule say a month or a few months at a time? If you schedule upon contract creation, monthly or quarterly, how do you handle when you get a new contract that should fit in between this and that one? Does that software handle that or do you reschedule the ones that need moved?

    For the people that schedule all at one time, how does your software handle the services that are weekly in summer months and say bi-weekly or monthly on the winter? Do you create a reocurring schedule for the weekly ones and a separate reoccuring schedule for the bi-weekly / monthly ones?

    So those question would cover the basic mowing, trimming, edging, etc... How about the tree and shrub pruning / trimming in the example? Do you not schedule those and count on your worker to remember, or do you schedule them? If you schedule them, how does your software handle it? Do you create a separate reoccuring schedule for those to add to the schedule say once a month, or can your software handle adding a service into already say weekly scheduled set only once a month?

    Same for the fertilizations.... Do you schedule them separately, or what?

    I know that it may look like I haven't thoroughly tried out the softwares, but I have, I promise. I just found the many ways of scheduling the services so confusing that I was at a loss as to were to start... It seemed like every way I tried I would get lost in the process, and needed a basic starting point of what I should be doing. It was hard for me to determine the greatness of the programs when I couldn't tell if I was being unrealistic, doing it wrong, or what...

    From my trials I have determined that it seems to be unrealistic to try and input say a contract has this and this this many times a month, and that and that once a month here and every few months there and have the program just magically make a schedule... That, or I really missed it in my trials.

    Thanks for the time in reading my post, and hopefully responding... :)

  2. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Hi Nikki,

    You can schedule your jobs for the season, what ever their intervals. As it gets to the end of the season, you can simply delete the jobs you feel you don't want to do. Or you can change their service interval.
    If you have further questions feel free to send us a message or visit our tech support forum located below. :)
  3. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 952

    Nikidala, I can understand your stress. with all the different softwares out there it is hard to figure it out. But this is what we do. First, your foreman/owner needs to have eyes on each and every property that you provide the additional services for. Reason being, every tree/shrub will grow at different rates. same as the grasses, they will need fert. applied at different times. weed control needs to be done everytime you spot weeds. we carry those products with us at all times for spot treating. there is no exact time per say that you will be able to knock out all shrub trimming, some will have shoots on them weeks after they have been trimmed. The key is to notice the needs then report those needs so they can be orangized week by week. Fert are going to be easiest to work in. other Item will take more planning. If you are the office manager/ job organizer you have your hands full. then once you have tasks organized you can put them into your software to print out on daily/weekly task sheet.

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