Why is good software so hard to find...

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by 1337david, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. 1337david

    1337david LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    So I just spent $4k on an advertising campaign with postcards / google / facebook / website and more. I figured I should get some software running before it launches to make getting new clients priced and scheduled as quickly as possible since I am a single man op. I am 99% weed & feed. I've been searching for about a week...and I mean SEARCHING. Like 5 hours a day searching. I have done so many free trials and scheduled so many demo's my head is spinning. Speaking of demos....please **** off with requiring that crap. Every free trial I have done has been great, even if it didn't meet my needs and left me feeling good. Every single demo request has come with teeth-grating and eye-rolling annoyance. Me: "Hey I had a couple of questions, does your software do x" Young girl or obvious outsourced call center non English speaker "I am not an expert on this but it seems like we definitely can meet your needs, let me set you up with an appointment at 5 a.m. 4 days from now with Tim, he's the best!". Then I do the tour and it isn't even close. Something I could have figured out myself in about 25 seconds if you just gave me a 24 hour free trial, or had a dummy account to log in to.

    I feel like my essential needs are fairly basic. Correct me if I am delusional.
    • Price tiering / matrix. Sorry I can not use the same $ / sqft on my city yards as I do on my 1-20 acre lots. So many free systems have this included, but the amount of paid services that do not honestly surprised me.
    • Custom scheduling...and I mean CUSTOM scheduling. If I see one more dropdown box with 'daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly...yada yada' on software that is advertised with flexible reoccurring scheduling I will throw my pc out the window. As a 99.9% weed control & fertilization service I do not have a perfectly repeatable service window. During the summer, steps are about 6 weeks apart and there is about a 4 month gap between my fall Pre and first spring Pre the next year. No dropdown box, pre-selected, interval will ever work for a weed & feed, at least where I live.
    • A map measuring tool inside the software that automatically applies the selected area to the property, and uses this measurement in your estimates / invoices / jobs / services / opportunities / visits / works / zippidyzoppity / or whatever your 'totally unique and cool' company decides to call a work order. If the tool is not inside the software and opens a new browser tab, or measures the property but doesn't put it in the 'property size' box...then what's the point. I can already go to findlotsize, draftlogic, and google earth and do this for free.
    • Text + Email notification day before service. Text is essential, most of my customers are old country folk who don't know what an email is. Luckily their children have forced them to learn how to text. Calling them is out of the question. I like talking with people, I really do...but I can't call 20 old ladies every day and listen to how their grandson got onto the fooseball team. I do not have it in me to tell them to can it, so some of my calls are well over 30 minutes long...with about 5 minutes worth of 'service talk'.
    • Does not have the name Service Autopilot. So with all the buzz, especially on this site, I took a look at them. Their pricing structure is scummy. They intentionally refuse to package simple items into programs, but still require you to have a higher plan. I have checked out probably 50 other software solutions so far and not a single one of them do this. If I want a simple map area calculator I have to pay $50 extra a month (LOL!) AND upgrade to a more expensive plan! So having a way to measure a yard, which many many many offer for free, will end up costing me over $80 extra a month. If they do not want the map to be available to the basic plan, fine who cares. Add it to the higher plans and be done with it. If you want to keep it as a stand alone fine, let me buy it. Do not charge me twice for something so simple. The same thing is required for quickbooks sync. Also they charge $20 for a customer portal, which again...most people do it for free or like $5.
    • Line discounts on invoices and quotes. This seems like a no-brainer thing to have, yet nobody has it. I offer many small discounts to customers for simple things to make my life easier. Other than the standard military/senior discounts I give others like; paperless billing, flexible scheduling (no call before service), autopay, and others. I can easily add all of these together and just do a larger, single, discount but I want my customers to SEE the discounts every single time they look at a bill so it can be constantly reinforced that they agreed to do 'x', and are getting paid for it. For instance I have a Sign in Yard discount where they agree to let me place a sign in their yard / flowerbed that is easily visible from the road. I do this because 99.9% of my signs before this were just tossed in the garbage when they did their first cut of the season...or even sooner. So if they keep being reminded about savings they would be more inclined to take care of it and not 'forget' and 'accidentally' threw it away months ago while still receiving the discount.
    _________________________________

    My nonessentials, but would cool

    • Software that doesn't look and act like it was designed for windows 95. Opening some of these programs for the first time was like going in a time machine. Chances are if your software looks like this, then so will your customers pay online page.
    • Mobile use
    • Quickbooks sync
    • Pricing that reflects a single man operation or caps the amount of clients you can add. Too many times all the good options are locked behind the 'enterprise' tier that is $900 a month with a startup fee(why?) of $2,000 that includes; UNLIMITED USERS! FLEET MANAGEMENT! YOUR AGENT WILL TUCK YOU IN TO BED AT NIGHT! AUTOMATIONS! .....and a bunch of other crap I, and many others, have absolutely zero need for.
    ____________________________

    I am currently on the list to see another demo of Servsuit by service pro, but they require a 12 month hard locked contract with no way to test drive it. So I am a bit hesitant. Also there is apparently zero people using it, I cant find discussions about it anywhere and the only reviews I see are on those App comparison websites, which are sketchy.
     
    hort101 and Mark Oomkes like this.
  2. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 861

    I bought arborgold this season. It does the discount thing you were talking about.

    Kinda frustrating though cuz to get the few functions i need, i had to buy the "ultimate " service.

    Not too expensive at around 200 a month, and it does a lot. But the workflow is different than what we are used to, so it's taking time to get up to speed.

    Meanwhile my son, who's a web developer with Cisco, said he'd look into developing software that will do just what we need, and no more.

    Who knows? Maybe he can do it, it would solve a lot of problems. If not, I'm giving arborgold a go this season. We've had it a couple of months now, and i think it will get the job done.
     
    Tara Ann likes this.
  3. Oxmow

    Oxmow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    Seems like all you have described, you CAN get from SAP, you just don’t want to pay for it. SAP does have a variable scheduling. I believe you can specify a “date range” to get a service done. I have figured in the cost of having a subscription based software to run my business. I don’t have their “gold” standard service, but what I have works for me. You think it’s expensive, go grab you some RealGreen.

    I’m sure you’ve obviously researched these, but...
    Look at this
    https://www.landscapeleadership.com...re-review-jobber-service-autopilot-real-green

    You also need to look at what is growing with the industry. Things like Clip seem to have gone to ground.
     
    tdoeizreal likes this.
  4. JFGLN

    JFGLN LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,447

    Sounds like you want it all but not pay for it. Maybe you should develop your own software.
     
    Tara Ann likes this.
  5. OP
    OP
    1337david

    1337david LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Yeah I actually have a demo scheduled with them, lets see how it goes!
     
  6. Arvydas

    Arvydas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    I am extremely happy with Service Autopilot. They have full time support staff and developers working constantly, I expect them to get paid decently for it just like I expect my clients to pay me well for a quality product.

    Do you charge extra for your weed control program on top of fertilization?

    Most software options suck because they don't have the support and development staff. The good ones are more expensive, like Service Autopilot, Real Green or Dynascape. Kind of like contractors, huh? ;)
     
    Tara Ann and hort101 like this.
  7. OP
    OP
    1337david

    1337david LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Or not? That is the issue, I only listed 5 things I need and one of those is 'mapping' I can do for free on google I really only need 4 things. But every software provider only has a random mix of 1-3 of those options. The few that do have it are locked behind the galactic space fleet programs for 2,500 a month that include about 1500 things that are completely worthless to me. I do not think asking for flexibility on pricing and the ability to pick the dates I do service is outlandish for about $100 a month. I am not asking for some crazy GPS tracking, 200 user, rout optimization, personal accountant, or add services.

    ...I mean it's like going to pick up a new set of blades but they won't let you have them unless you buy a new lawnmower.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    1337david

    1337david LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I did a demo with realgreen. It's not that bad. Their monthly prices have come down, lower than tier 2 SAP with maps, books, and portal. It's just their startup fee, the number is pretty crazy.

    And I do want to pay for it my budget I set for myself was 100-150 and it fits, I just don't like pricing systems like that. If a customer asks you to trim a branch do you say, sure but you have to sign up for the premium arborist year-round service for 18,000 a year. Then after you sign up for that I can send you an estimate for the branch.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    1337david

    1337david LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Sure, but I do not tell them that if they want weed control that it is also comes with a mandatory year long pest and grub contract for an additional 2,000. I let my customers choose the options they want and develop services around their needs and I'm sure every single person on this website does the exact same thing..including you.
     
    hort101 likes this.
  10. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 861

    Btw the arborgold support has been a1. We have been getting instant response by phone, or chat within the software.
     

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