How Tech. Savvy is Your Company (Part II)

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, Feb 20, 2011.


Which of the Following Does Your Company Use?

Poll closed Apr 21, 2011.
  1. GPS For Company Vehicles

    22 vote(s)
  2. Cell Phone

    48 vote(s)
  3. Website

    44 vote(s)
  4. Email to Clients, Employees, Suppliers

    46 vote(s)
  5. Mobile Laptop, Printer

    17 vote(s)
  6. Mobile Internet

    30 vote(s)
  7. Text Messaging to Clients, Employees, Suppliers

    39 vote(s)
  8. Online Based Lead Generation Services (Angie's List, Service Magic, etc.)

    11 vote(s)
  9. Custom Typed & Printed Estimates / Quotes / Proposals

    42 vote(s)
  10. Social Networking (Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, etc.)

    38 vote(s)
  11. SEO Tactics

    16 vote(s)
  12. Pay-Per-Click Advertising Online

    12 vote(s)
  13. Other Online Advertising

    16 vote(s)
  14. YouTube / Videos of Your Company or Work

    4 vote(s)
  15. Smart Phone Apps for Business

    21 vote(s)
  16. Online Property Measuring Service

    13 vote(s)
  17. Electronic Bookkeeping (e.g. Quickbooks)

    42 vote(s)
  18. Electronic Calendar for Appointments

    29 vote(s)
  19. Online Newsletters (e.g. Constant Contact) to Your Clients

    7 vote(s)
  20. Blogging or Podcasts

    9 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I posted this poll in the Lawn Care Forum. But I'm kinda thinking contractors who frequent this forum are probably a little more tech. savvy than those in the lawn care forum. So I wanted to post this poll again here and compare the two polls after a while to see if my suspicion is correct.

    I was reading a book lately by Chris Heiler, a green industry marketing guru. In the foreword of the book, they discuss how the industry has changed over the years. From the times 15-20 years ago where landscape companies used answering services and answering machines, provided written estimates, and were just starting to embrace cell phones and fax machines - to modern day where we regularly employ technology into our every day business.

    It got me wondering - how many of today's contractors and landscape companies are really taking advantage of modern technology and have fully employed that technology into making their business run more efficiently. So I figured I'd take a poll to get an idea.

    Please vote in the above poll - answer as many questions as apply to your company.
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    This goes along the lines of talking on cell phones and driving.

    In Md they are trying to make talking while driving a primary offense. In the comments on the papers digital edition people are saying "who is so important that they can't wait to talk on the phone".

    That's not a valid comment in my eyes.

    Before cell phones we had secretaries, pagers, two way radios, and answering machines. Now with cell phones we smaller business owners can answer our own calls when we're out in the field, even when we're on vacation if we choose.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    I dont use a mobil printer. Can you rewrite the survey just for me?

    And isnt blogging kinda sorta along the lines of facebook, etc?
  4. SVA_Concrete

    SVA_Concrete LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    At the prices of laptops i have been contemplating putting one in my truck, the blackberry is great, but i would love to sit and write reports/proposals while waiting on concrete to kick, or wile watching the guys fine grade/spread base, etc..

    do you guys have a mount in the truck for the laptop or just sit it to the side?

    and dog gone i need to hire a web developer.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    Lap top prices are deceiving now-a-days.

    $500 for the lappie......but the software and decent warranty are additional :)

    My lap top started at 500 bucks. By the time it was fitted with business grade Office and a decent warranty it came to $1200 or so.

    I do not have a mount in the truck. I dont need a lappie in the field like a sales rep for a lawn treatment company would. That, and also the gym I go to isn't in the best neighborhood, you gotta be careful what you have visible, and a laptop stand will tell a thief that there may be a laptop hidden under the seat or behind the seat, or under a jacket.

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Yah, it's very nice to be able to just whip up a customized proposal on the spot, print it out with a battery operated, wireless bluetooth printer, and hand it to the customer in 15-25 minutes. It impresses the hell out of them too! I can't do that with every proposal. But I am able to do it with 75% of them. Some are just too much work and I have to do it at home. But 75% are pretty easy. Most of them are cut-and-paste anyway. For instance, someone is looking for a 500 sq. ft. paver patio with Venetian pavers by Pavestone. I've probably done 10 similar proposals in the last year, if not more. So I do a quick search for "Excel Venetian" in the windows search bar, and instantly every proposal that I've written in Excel using Venetian pavers pops up. I open one of them, change the name and address, change a few of the numbers, change the labor a little, save the file under the new customer's name, and hit print! It's freakin' fast!

    I do have laptop stands in my manager's trucks. But my truck has this handy little center console thing that also folds up into a seat back. But when it's down, it provides the perfect desk to hold a laptop. I just put one of these sticky dash mats down on that console and that prevents the laptop from sliding off as I go around corners. It's also handy because I never have to use the GPS anymore and hear that annoying voice say, "Turn Left... Turn Right..." I just pull up the address on Google Maps and the laptop screen is there to my right whenever I need to take another look at the address as I am driving.

    My I do recommend the truck laptop mounts for most people.

    There are two other nice benefit of typing out proposals on the spot. 1) I have a really nice 100 page hardcover photo book we created of all our best jobs. So while I'm in the truck working up their bid, the client is inside looking over the book, falling in love with our work. 2) A lot of times in the spring, people are really wanting to act fast. Once they see some photos of our work, see the price, see our list of references, they are often ready to go right then and there. So I have this happen probably 10-20 times a year in the spring / early summer where as soon as I get back up to their door and give them the proposal they say, "So you guys could get started in 4 weeks, you say?..... You know what, let's just go ahead and do it. You want me to write you a check for how much now?" And then I go back to the truck for 10 minutes, write up the contract, print it out, and go back and collect a check and book a job right there on the spot. Saves me from having to come back to their house again.

    And yah, you need a good website. It's a must in this day and age, IMO.
  7. SVA_Concrete

    SVA_Concrete LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    any word on when the proposal genie 2011 will be available, i will definitely purchase :)

    I have been writing proposals all night and crunching numbers all night. :dizzy:
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580


    Is it Possible you can shoot a photograph of the printer and post it here (after you resize the pic for those of us that are on dial up)??

    I agree with giving a nice proposal on the spot. Although most of my jobs must be designed which im not going to do curbside. But for the smaller jobs this is a good way to drive awAy with a check in hand.

    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Dude, if you are still using dial up I'm gonna travel over to MD and kick you in the nuts my damn self.

    Here is the printer I have here in my truck. HP 470 WBT. There are pretty much only two wireless, battery operated inkjet printers on the market. This one and another made by Canon. The Canon is crap. This is the only one you'd ever want. And you have to be sure you get the WBT model. That stands for Wireless BlueTooth. If you don't get that model, you'll be running wires.

    These things are freakin' sweet. You can easily print 150 pages on one battery charge. I bet I print even 200 on one charge sometimes. I charge the battery every week or TWO, depending on how much I've been printing. No wires. No cord to plug in. Just bring it inside on weekends and charge it for 2-3 hours. And the printing quality is just as nice and just as fast as your home desktop printer. You'd be amazed at how quickly it prints high quality pages.

    Here are some photos of the unit as well as a few from my truck from 30 seconds ago.....




  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    One word of warning to anyone who would buy that printer. I learned this the hard way. It does not like a) cold temperatures. If it's freezing outside, bring it in for the night b) to be tilted more than 10 degrees. Keep it mostly level at all times or it tends to start messing up. I think it drains the cartridges or something when you tilt it too much. Even when it's not in use you need to keep this printer fairly level at all times. Other than that, I've used these things for years and never had any problems. I've replaced it once because I dropped it too many times. But I've had this one for a year and a half now and 3 of my managers have them in their trucks as well. We use them daily. All working great still!

Share This Page