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Paperwork Nightmare

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by MudslinginFX4, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,170

    As I continue to grow, it seems that one of the biggest nightmares of my business is the amount of paperwork, and the scheduling that is required with this business. We no longer offer bi-weekly or one time cuts, everyone is on a set schedule, but I'm still having problems.

    See if you can help me out or offer tips to make some of this easier for me. Maybe I am thinking way to hard for an easier way to do this, and making things worse and worse.

    Lets say my company has 150 weekly accounts, both commercial and residential ranging from 3000 sq feet to over 18 acres. Now lets say that each and every customers is different, requesting different services up front (in contract) and then adding other services they see fit as we continue throughout the season (such as getting rid of current fertilizing company and going with us 4 months into the season). All of my customers we mow for, but some want the beds weed free, others don't. Some want fertilizing, others don't. Some want shrub pruning, others don't. Some want irrigation start up and shut down, others don't. YOU get the point, everyone is different.

    How do you go about scheduling these services out for the whole year, knowing exactly what dates each services will be done on. If a customer wan't their beds weed free do you have your guys check this each week, or do you go through the beds once a month and to spray and pull weeds? The same with everything else, one year the shrubs might need pruned in March, the next year we might have a longer winter and they might need pruned in April, how do you schedule services like this?

    BTW.. I am currently using GroundsKeepr Pro, but will consider switching programs if there is one out there that is easier and will help me with the huge problems I am having.

    Thanks for all input! :dancing:

  2. ArizPestWeed

    ArizPestWeed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,457

    If I were I'd commit suicide , or hire some one to to it .

    I only do pest & weed control
    I have 375 accounts .
    I'm just now getting them all on auto credit cards payments .
    You might consider that for the regulars
  3. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    I have a simular situation. I don't use a scheduleing program because to me its more time consuming to keep changing the schedule every day when things don't go as planed. Instead, I have a list set up for each service that I provide and add customers to the lists as needed for the services that each customer requires. You have to adjust your labor force to coincide with your work load to compleat all the jobs in a timely fashion. I have tried using a mowing crew and a landscape crew, some times I combine the two crews for big jobs to compleat it faster. A lot depends on your manpower. I have had to hire two "extra" guys in the past just to have a full crew each day. That sucks.. Also, I don't promise any one that certain work will be done on any certain day of the week. I work off a route list every day that is set up and controled by the weather and jobs that need to be done for that time frame with the manpower that I have for that day.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I look at it this way... I am a tiny small business, smaller than the smallest and for that reason I don't got time to fiddlefart around and play the horse and pony show for everybody. Although some customization appears inevitable, the busier I get the more standard my services become so then Everybody gets the same thing, so sorry so busy right now, ok yes yes ok thank you ! :waving:

    So, weed treatment is standard and included in the service. You don't want it ok but it is included, it's that thing about someone wants me not to use the backpack blower if it's 2 dollars cheaper then the next one wants extra cheese when I pick up their 12-pack of soda, I just can't keep up with all that extra stuff... Again, I do bend a little and then a little more when things slow down, but when I'm busy it's all for one and one for all.

    If I were the owner of a Mom and Pop burger shop, when things get busy the only things we would sell would be hamburgers and cheeseburgers (bear with me for argument's sake). Someone wants to know what comes on them, be glad to tell you but that's how it is, hamburger or cheeseburger, which one you want? No we can not hold the pickles and not extra onions so sorry so busy ok yes yes ok thank you hamburger or cheeseburger? next ! :waving:
    All for one and one for all, same thing over and over and I don't have to try and remember all this bs.

    oh I am so the communist lol, but seriously, try it by either eliminating some of the extra bs or standardizing a few things (standard meaning everybody gets it, if they don't want it ok no problem but same price because it's included in the service)... On that note, think about things most folks won't argue about being included (weed control tends to be one I find little to no argument on, as an example).

    About the only thing that I truly customize at all times is the per-yard schedule, meaning each yard gets cut on its own schedule, this I find a necessary evil but I tolerate it easily because for the most part, I actually do care.
  5. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    Find someone to do it.
  6. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,281

    That is exactly how i feel about things now, I don't mind fert, mulch , and shrub trimming, that part of what we offer. What I hate is when a good customer asks for us to plant 6 annuals, and make a little bed, or cut out this bush or tree. That is not what we offer, and when we are busy it only gets worse.
  7. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    I get some real random things. Like, can you clean the leaves off my steps. Stuff like that.
  8. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    I think some people think you can drop everything and take care of little tasks for them. Some of mine I think look at me as just the local lawn boy, even when it takes me a half hour to get there.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Sounds like you could use an office assistant...the scheduling and paperwork is important, but mundane work that you could easily train someone to do. Free your time up for more important stuff like finding new business.
  10. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,847

    sounds like you need new software if you cant set up an annual schedule that, best of all, renews itself anually.

    When you bid/price a job, you should know how many man hours that job requires... when you put together your schedule (in your slow winter time) you should get each guy a 40 hour week and leave it at that. You will get to the shrubs when your schedule puts you there and you will get to the bed maint when your schedule dictates... it will still all be there when you get to it.

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