Click To Hear My Answer
Summary of my Answer below (and a bit more info)…
I’m often asked what software we use at my lawn care maintenance company and how we handle payroll.
Likewise, I’ve been asked a number of times if lawn care companies should use QuickBooks.
The audio above is from late 2010 but it answers a number of the questions I’m asked over and over again.
In a future post I will talk more about QuickBooks.
Here are some quick notes about the software setup we currently use at our lawn care company…
1) Service Autopilot runs the company
2) QuickBooks for accounting sync’d with Service Autopilot
3) We do not manage our own payroll or use QuickBooks for Payroll. We track hours, salary and bonuses in Service Autopilot and call payroll into McBee weekly on Mondays before 12 noon. The payroll checks are overnighted to our office. They are stamped with my signature and we hand them out on Wednesday.
4) Some team members use Mailtrust.com for email but most use Gmail. (Gmail checks non Gmail email accounts so Gmail essentially replaces Outlook) I do not like Outlook because it is slow and not accessable from anywhere – so this is my preferred approach.
5) We use MS Word and MS Excel. As Google Docs continues to improve I anticipate we will eventually move all of our documents to the cloud and off individual computers.
6) We backup our internal data (docs, images, etc.) to Mozy.
7) We do not have to back up any of our primary business data as it is all stored within Service Autopilot. SA automatically encrypts our data and handles all the internal and external backups.
8) We still run the desktop version of QuickBooks so we back it up to Mozy. Long term, we plan to move to QuickBooks online. However, the online version of QuickBooks hasn’t been as reliable as it needs to be for us to make the move and it’s feature set is lacking. I’m hopeful the online version of QuickBooks will be an option in 2012.
For new lawn care or landscape businesses or young lawn care businesses I do not recommend QuickBooks. I think something like Service Autopilot is sufficient.
We’ve been running a ‘work from anywhere’ business since the beginning of 2005 when the company was officially launched.
Back then we didn’t have Service Autopilot so I wrote a web based program to track calls, schedules, customers and to do’s. We’ve always been web based and it’s the only way I would run the business.
The only other significant software that I can think of — that we use daily — is the software that comes with Fleet Matrics which is our GPS system we have in 25 of our trucks.
In the audio file above I mention moving away from iPhones and moving to Sprint. We did not make that change. We use AT&T for our phones and Sprint for the air cards in the laptops in our trucks (not all the trucks have laptops).
Other than flowers and mulch we generally stay away from landscape work or hardscape work — so we do not use landscape design software. We do irrigation installs and sprinkler repair but we run all of that through Service Autopilot. At this point our irrigation install jobs are not so large that we need design software.