Want input on software idea for tracking, routing, etc...

Discussion in 'Lawn Care Business Management' started by smallstripesnc, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Hello everyone,

    I once owned a lawn treatment service and was once in the maintenance side as well and since I've gotten into development and I remember how hard it was to find a software solution that would help with keeping up with customers, employees, routing, inventory tracking, etc...It was limited to Real Green and a few others like service autopilot. I know there's a few solutions out there but I'm really looking to create a simpler and more affordable option and want input. It will be web based but be super responsive for mobile/tablets so it can be used in the field.

    I will probably go with the monthly/annual fee model with this.

    Key Features by portal:
    *Admin portal:
    -Track customers
    -Inventory tracking
    -Add/customize programs
    -Possibly offer some sort of revenue tracking / invoice features.

    *Customer portal:
    -Keep track of whats been done on their property and their amount due/pay statements
    -Bill pay for customers
    -See progress pictures that tech/management takes

    *Sales portal:
    -Ability to send invoices to customers via email or text at the time of estimate
    -Track sales and potential leads

    *Tech portal:
    -Ability to see route and mark stops as completed and add which products were applied
    -Take progress pictures which will talk to the customer and admin portal.
    -A 'go to stop' button which will either load directions on the page or would grab the default maps on the device to give directions.
    -Ability to make and track sales in the field by sending estimates on the spot by email or text to customers.

    Any other features that you would like to see or wouldn't like to see? Keep in mind the above is just a start and all of these features may not be rolled out at once.

    I would appreciate any input!
  2. lawnMaster5000

    lawnMaster5000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 591

    We started using SAP this spring and are not convinced to stay with the service. We invested about 300 hours into data import and configuration to find out that some of what we were instructed was wrong. It is going to take an estimated 100 hours to fix. This is for 300 clients.

    We averaged 9-10 minutes per client to enter & schedule the regular maintenance services including mow, fert, leaves, mulch irrigation. This was with all client contact info already imported into SAP from QB.

    Routing service is sub par. Routes 23 properties per route OR LESS (not near enough). Starts at the shop and routes out. The last stop is always the furthest away. I want crews to work back toward the shop so if something is left it is easy to pick up the next day. I can manually re-order but I may as well just do it myself in the first place. If I move stop #5 from today it makes it stop 5 tomorrow. That is ok when it is one stop. But when you move 15 and you want the crew to do yesterdays stuff then today's it sucks. You have to go back in and manually re-order your route because it will do 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5... Not a tremendously big deal if you could route more than 23 stops.

    Estimates have little flexibility is style but very easy to edit text content.

    SAP says they have a lot of invoice templates, in reality they have a few but multiple colors of each for your color printers

    The SAP servers are SLOW. It takes on average 1 second per stop (literally) to update a route. You have 40 fert stops - it takes 40 seconds every time you want to save. When I route our crews for the week I am spending 20-30 minutes just waiting for it to save updates to the routes.

    There is no good way to get time clock data from SAP. Most users have a different time clock used for payroll. The data captured in the APP will have multiple clock in times or multiple out times and just is not usable.

    Reports are terrible. I was told we can assess each crew members production rates but it is not really there. There is a lot of information captured but no way to get it back out. SAP suggests a lot of manual calculations. Our office was doing that before without spending the money on SAP.

    SAP does not handle anything to do with materials. There is no way to see a list of how much mulch is on sold or on schedule this week. No way to see what clients accepted Black Mulch v Brown Mulch. They say you are supposed to add a tag to the client for all the different materials but that is easy to make mistakes and the data is in the estimate - it should be available in a report.

    SAP requires you to schedule accepted work from an estimate. Sounds good - no big deal. EXCEPT - There is no way to create a list of work that was never scheduled. The database was written in a way it simply is not possible. If you office fails to schedule something you wont know until your client calls. SAP support suggested we regularly compare the list of scheduled and completed work for a client against all estimates for that client. - Not an acceptable solution.

    SAP support is very nice, usually available and fairly knowledgeable of the systems.

    The mobile app is slow. Our crews complain regularly about the app taking too long to update the status of a job. They click to start a job and the icon doesnt change for a second. They press it again and again then finally it updates. On the office side it now shows the crew is signed in three times and accounts for the crews time on the job three times. This is a really big deal on hourly services.

    We are curious what Boss or RealGreen would offer. Looking for better estimate customization, material tracking and report customization.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
    ErikR likes this.
  3. lawnMaster5000

    lawnMaster5000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 591

    SAP has a closed Facebook group for users. I would add you but have no clue how to do that. RealGreen may have something similar. I would check out the forums where the active users are talking about the Software. It is a great learning resource for me but would also have been enlightening as someone shopping the packages.
  4. KLC Lawns

    KLC Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I signed up with SAP first of the year and most of the things you talk about are relevant to me as well and I'm only a solo crew with one employee. I definitely don't like it as well as I thought by how much they brag up 'put your business on Autopilot' It has helped me handle leads and new work without falling thru the cracks. Nothing on it is intuitive, software seems really old and dated, seems expensive for all the above reasons. Too much hand figuring that could be done on the software. I could almost write the code for some of it. (Well not really)
  5. ErikR

    ErikR LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I've been using Arborgold for a year. Very similar experience as you have described with SAP. I have used many software packages...Clip, Qxpress, Jobber etc. All had potential (except Jobber) but were never reliable.

    I'd be interested in whatever else you discover out there. I've heard good things about Hind Sight and looked into it but with their prices, I had a hard time justifying that expense.
  6. PropMaintSolutions

    PropMaintSolutions LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    I am looking for an affordable route planning software or web app. I already have my invoicing set and don't want the other stuff yet. Just the route planning. Any suggestions?.

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