The Benefits of Lawn Care Business Software
By Steve Sutherland
A good lawn business software program is extremely useful when it comes to cutting down the time that is required to organize and run your business.
If you are serious about entering this industry it is worth starting out right and setting up your new lawn care business with software in place right from your first client.
Good software in the lawn care industry has developed naturally over time as business owners have tried generic brands and have found that they weren't fully suited to lawn care. Over time software has been developed that is tailored precisely to the needs of the lawn service business and such packages will be of great value to you as you start out.
Why is Software so Important to your Lawn Business?
Lawn care business owners typically spend a lot of time on the road and little time in the office. Having good software in place to track cash flows and perform other functions is essential if you are to stay organized and in control.
Gopher Lawn Care Software and Lawnpro are two of the more popular packages but there are many other companies offering different versions and variations as well. Both offer packages at around the $100 to $150 price level making them affordable options for even the smallest startup.
Your basic requirements will be a software package that can handle accounting, record cash flows in and out of your business, manage your billing cycles and assist with debt management. You should be able to easily track expenses and be able to generate customized invoices.
Scheduling is another basic element and you need to be able to see schedules for any time frame and adjust them as required. Customization is important here if you want to schedule work for certain days of the week or schedule multiple visits to one property for more than one service for example. Your software should make it easy to print out daily schedules and it may also be able to interact with Google Maps to assist with route planning.
A good software package will also assist you with your branding by automatically printing your lawn care business logo and letterhead on all business communication. Some packages even come with a variety of standard letters for handling anything from bad debts to commercial bids that you can easily customize for your own use.
Software has also been developed to assist with price estimates. You just have to plug in the raw data such as lawn size, adjustments for difficult shape and contour, the hourly rate for labour and your desired profit margin. Then your software crunches the numbers and spits out a suitable estimate for the job.
One more common feature is inventory tracking. If you run a large lawn care operation then you need to keep track of inventory, parts and equipment. A good software package can assist with this.
What Else to Look for When Buying Lawn Care Business Software
When comparing packages you should make sure that the software is suitable for businesses of all sizes to allow you to grow with the system without needing upgrades. Make sure that the software is compatible with the operating system on your computer. Also check that you are able to import or export data to and from other applications that you may be using such as Quickbooks.
Look for a package that is simple to use so that you can pick it up easily and any future employees can too. Ask about doing a free trial as some brands offer a 30 day trial.
It's also a good idea to look for a package that has a help desk offering customer support in case you run into difficulties.
Over the next few years we should start to see more solutions that are hosted in 'the cloud' as opposed to your own server at home. This will make it easier to access all of your data with a mobile device while you are out on the road.
Having proper lawn care business software in place is one way that professional lawn care operators set themselves apart from some guy with a lawn mower and a truck. Running a lawn care business is made easy with the right software package behind you.
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