In this video about Lawn Care Software Reviews I name every landscape software provider serving the lawn care industry and give details.
I receive a lot of questions through my ‘Lawn Care Millionaire’ blog about who the best software provider is, who they should use and what software systems exist. So, I’d like to answer that for you. A lot of users search Google for Lawn Care Software Reviews trying to figure out who all the lawn care software providers are. In this video I provide a full list.
First, many people don’t realize that I own a software company. I’m a partner in ‘Service Autopilot’, so we are one of these companies. We are a software provider.
Now, knowing that, I’m going to try to do my best to be somewhat unbiased. But, obviously I think ServiceAutopilot is the best system out there.
I’m going to be frank and I’m going to tell you exactly who the lawn care software companies are that we compete with. I’m going to name every single landscape software company I am aware of, and then I’m going to give you a little bit of detail about each one of those companies. This is not a blatant plug for ServiceAutopilot. The feedback I’m giving is from my perspective, of course, after several thousand calls over the last four years. I’ve learned a lot about our lawn software competitors and who they are. So, I’m just simply going to state that.
Now, before I do that, why would I even be willing to do this? Because obviously, I am trying to sell ServiceAutopilot. Maybe I should want to hide our software competitor list from you? Maybe I don’t want you to know who my competitors are or maybe I don’t want you to know what their good points are.
The reason is, if you look at us, we sell ServiceAutopilot as a membership and you have a 30-day money back guarantee. You can cancel at any time. The way we look at this is, we know what we’re building, where we’re going, what we have, and we feel that if we’re not the right fit for you, we really don’t want you to sign up today. I’d rather work with you in a year, because then, in a year, I can keep you as a client. If you start today and we’re not the right company for you right now, you’re going to have a negative impression of us because we’re missing some feature or something that you’ve got to have. That impression will last and you may never try us again.
Even worse, you may tell everybody that we’re no good, or you may go on lawn sites and give your negative impressions of us. My challenge as an owner of a software company, and the challenge of everybody I’m about to mention, is that this is a big industry. It’s one of the biggest industries. Sometimes, I’ll have somebody in ServiceAutopilot ask me why we don’t have a feature or have a certain report. And they’ll ask in the tone of, “Are you guys completely incompetent and clueless?”
I argue that I’m not incompetent. I think I know what’s going on. I’m not just a software guy. I have a clue about the industry. The challenge is that this is a big diverse industry. There’s tree care, irrigation, lawn care and maintenance. There’s commercial versus residential. There’s a little guy that’s doing $50,000 a year versus a big guy that’s doing $25 million a year.
Everybody has different needs. Everybody has different priorities. It’s different in the northeast versus in the south. It’s different in California versus Florida. Some guys do prepaid letters, while other guys think you’re insane to do prepaid letters. Some people give an estimate for everything and renew the estimate and the contract every year. Other people think contracts are insane. Some people auto charge credit cards and some people bill every 30 days. Some people do chemical tracking and some people think it’s a waste of time. Some people think inventory and irrigation is a must have. Other people think it’s a giant waste of time because you’re always making adjusting entries.
Everybody has an opinion. Everybody runs their business differently. That is the challenge.
Know that going into this. You have to look at what the right solution is for you. I’m not the right solution for everybody. Nobody up here is the right solution for everybody. It’s a massive market. We all fill a need. We all fit into a space.
Let me tell you what I’ve learned over the last several years about my competition. I hope that ultimately, I’m your solution down the road. If not, that’s fine. I’m not worried about it.
Here’s what I know and please excuse any spelling mistakes.
Here we are, Service Autopilot. That’s me. Again, not just me, I have a whole team behind me and I have an incredibly awesome business partner by the name of John.
Clip, QXpress, Jobber, Boss, Real Green, HindSite, PestPac, EverGreen, ArborGold, Grounds Keeper, Gopher, LawnPro, LawnAid, DynaSCAPE. I know I forgot somebody. I know there’s somebody else.
I’m going to first tell you after thousands of conversations, and let me tell you that I’ve talked to some massive companies that are too big for us, I mean, the biggest of the biggest. I’ve also talked to some guys that don’t even have a business, they’re about to get started. So, I’ve truly had all the conversations. I’ve heard about all the systems. Let me first go down the list and tell you who I think the major players are based on what I’ve learned.
I think we are a major player. There’s no doubt we’re a major player now. Clip is a major player. They’ve been around forever. QXpress is a major player. I get the impression that they were one of the most dominant systems, and I’ll tell you more about them. Jobber is coming, I think. Real Green for sure is a major player. And, we see HindSite quite a bit too.
ArborGold is the major player from what I can tell in the tree care industry. Those are probably the big ones. If you’re a pest control, PestPac is a big player. There’s another competing PestPac, I think it’s Service Pro. It would be between those two guys in the pest control world in my opinion. I could be wrong on that.
This is my opinion. This is what I think is the case from what I’ve learned over the last several years.
If you’re a little bitty company getting started, we hear about Grounds Keeper and Gopher. Those are the two that most of the small guys come from or have used or asked questions about. Gopher is a system, that from the best I can tell, hasn’t been updated in six or seven years and there’s virtually no support around the system. But, a lot of guys start there because it’s super cheap, and so we see a lot of guys on Gopher.
Let me go through a few things that I think are key points and then differentiate a few of these companies. DynaSCAPE is going to be the strong player for landscape. That’s really where they fit in my opinion. LawnAid and LawnPro are little bitty online software programs. Gopher and Grounds Keeper are very old desktop programs. ArborGold is a really old tree software program in Microsoft Access. I think they might be doing some new things on the web. EverGreen and PestPac are related. They’re both owned by a company named ‘Marathon Data’. QXpress is owned by the same company that owns these guys. Marathon Data was at one point, I may get my facts wrong, held under another company and that was recently sold off. This Marathon Data Company is owned by a different group now.
QXpress, PestPac and EverGreen, and if you’ve ever heard of ServiceCEO. Those four systems are all related together. QXpress in my opinion was the system for the maintenance guys. I’m sure that Clip would disagree with me because Clip has a lot of clients, but QXpress from my perspective was the one that I saw a lot for maintenance. Clip has a ton of clients from what I understand or has in the past. I don’t know where anybody stands today.
QXpress was sold I believe in 2010 to this company, ‘Marathon Data’. The owner of that company has since moved on to start another software company. QXpress, I’ve been pretty fond of. QXpress and ServiceAutopilot, I believe, have by far the best sync when it comes to QuickBooks. No question about it. I don’t think anybody else is in the realm of either of ServiceAutopilot or QXpress when it comes to sync.
QXpress historically has been known for a solid one way sync and they do a great job. I mean, they really do a very good job. They were desktop software and started, I believe, as a college project maybe by the owner, and they did a great job. Great product in my opinion.
HindSite was irrigation software that I believe served the whole industry. Real Green, I pigeonholed them into the guys doing fertilization and weed control. They tend to attract bigger companies because they’re an expensive product, and they sell you forms and marketing. I feel their essence is that they’re a marketing company, and they’re not cheap. Again, they don’t generally have startups from my perspective, they have bigger companies.
Boss? Don’t know a lot about Boss. Boss is a company, from my understanding, with few clients but very, very, very big clients and they’re very expensive. I envision them as very custom. We don’t see Boss very often. Again, very small number of clients but very, very big clients. I perceive they tend to attract commercial maintenance companies.
Jobber guys are really catering to the smaller client and the smaller business. Clips, they’ve just flat out been around forever. They have, from my understanding, a very diverse client base of maintenance, landscape, irrigation, and lawn care. They have really served the industry for a very, very long time and serve a lot of clients in all different segments of the industry.
From what I’ve heard, the ArborGold and HindSite folks are super nice people. I’ve met the Jobber guys and I know they are good people. I’m the guy that used QXpress years ago. I was actually a QXpress client years ago before ServiceAutopilot existed.
ServiceAutopilot came out of the fact that I looked at all these solutions and used QXpress for a while and just could never get my company to the level I wanted. I needed one system that could do everything. I just didn’t have it. I looked at NetSuite and I looked and Salesforce. I looked at all these high dollar systems outside of the industry and determined that they wouldn’t work for me from a scheduling standpoint.
I looked at the guys that own PestPac, EverGreen and QXpress. I looked at ServiceCEO. There just wasn’t any chance I could make them work for my business and the industry. That’s how the ServiceAutopilot spark happened. If QXpress had been built into something really awesome, which it was a good product, ServiceAutopilot would not exist today. If Real Green had been a full business system, not just for lawn care, then ServiceAutopilot would not exist today.
That was the spark that created ServiceAutopilot just to be completely upfront. I think of Real Green and QXpress as being really good systems.
I think the Jobber guys are doing some nice stuff but they’re catering to the really small businesses.
That’s my basic take on most of these. If you want a web-based solution, you’ve got to look at ServiceAutopilot and Jobber. LawnAid and LawnPro are online systems but they’re tiny little systems. Again, I’m sure I’m offending some people here, but that’s my perspective after thousands of conversations, and I would argue that I’m pretty clued-in on what’s going on.
Pretty much everybody else is an older desktop-based system with older technology. The guys that strike me as being around forever are Real Green, Clip, ArborGold, Gopher and Grounds Keeper. I think of those as the five systems that have just been around forever. To reiterate, if you’re looking for online software, ServiceAutopilot, then Jobber, and then after that if you’re a little bitty, LawnPro and LawnAid would be considerations.
Honestly, if you’re not going to consider ServiceAutopilot, if we’re just not a fit, and we are a fit for smaller companies, but if you’re not going to consider ServiceAutopilot and you’re looking for a little bitty system to get you started, go with Jobber over these two. If you’re looking for pure landscape, Dyna-Mist is a solid job costing, costing-base system that tends to be different than all these other guys.
Like I said, everybody has their thing when they got started. DynaSCAPE fits into the landscape mode. ArborGold is really a tree software. They’re hard to fit outside of tree software. Real Green is lawn care, spraying, fertilization and weed control software. HindSite was, if I understand correctly, irrigation software. But, I think they make a little bit more of a crossover than some of the other systems. That was kind of their thing. Our perception is that Boss is commercial maintenance.
ServiceAutopilot, by the way, was started with the vision that we were going to serve all aspects of the industry. We wanted to be that system that wasn’t so pigeonholed. I will tell you that over the years, we’ve been weak in areas where other systems have been strong.
For example, Real Green has continued to be stronger than us in the past years for fertilization and weed control and chemical tracking type of things. It took us time to build that kind of stuff where we’re still a little weak. This is March of 2014, the very beginning of March, 2014. We’re about to solve this problem when we release some new functionality that we’ve been working on for a long time. It’s called ‘Project Management’.
DynaSCAPE has historically been stronger than us at project management and the landscape industry because we haven’t had a project management based system. They focus just on the landscape aspect. As you’re doing your research, what I can recommend you do is figure out what it is that’s most important to you. What do you do? What services do you sell? Then, that helps you figure out who you identify with the most.
For example, landscape, you’re going to need to look at DynaSCAPE. Clip I think does some landscape stuff. You want to look us. I mean, there’s others that will work, but these guys are going to tend to be the strong ones.
If you want to look at fertilization and weed control, you’re going to look at Real Green. You’re going to look at ServiceAutopilot. QXpress had some functionality in there for it. Actually, there’s a bunch of fertilization and weed control guys on QXpress. I think Clip has some stuff, but I hear about QXpress and Real Green as being the bigger ones for fertilization and weed control.
If you’re going to look at irrigation, you have to look at HindSite. And, you look at us. Again, a lot of guys in irrigation are with QXpress. They were a good general system.
Some other things you might want to consider… Are they a full business system? Do they go really deep to do scheduling? Do they do email blasting? Do they do marketing and CRM and all of that stuff? Those are things to consider. That immediately rules out the vast majority of all these companies.
This is a very biased part, what I’m about to say. But, I believe there’s absolutely no question that the future is cloud-based, web-based software. It think it’s flat out proven. There is no question about it. That’s something to consider when you’re buying software. Which of these vendors is going to be the one that is going to work for you two years, five years, ten years from now? Which of these companies is going to have to rebuild their entire system from scratch?
I’ll tell you, there is no reuse of the programming code when you decide to become web-based. You start over. You start over like ServiceAutopilot in 2009 started. I mean, you start over. In fact, half the time your programmers that you have can’t make the jump. You’ve got to get new developers.
For a lot of the companies to make the switch, that’s a big challenge because they’ve got to get new development teams. Or, over the years, they’ve lost a lot of their internal knowledge because guys have left to go on to web-based software because some of these systems are still desktop-based software. Think about that.
We made a very conscious decision to go web-based. Back when we did it, it was not the obvious answer just yet. We thought it was close but it was not the obvious answer. Today, there’s no doubt.
If you look at VC and angel investing, they only invest in web-based software. Nobody is building desktop software anymore. Any company that’s desktop software is going to have to start over if they ever want to be the true cloud-based, web-based system which is totally the future. Think about that. Think about how big of a system you want.
If you just want a $200 cheap solution, kind of a throwaway solution to get you by for a year, you could look at things like Gopher. Now, I would not recommend that. Again, totally a biased answer.
If you’re not going to consider us, there’s a couple of others I’d recommend. I pointed out Jobber. Think about this stuff as you’re working on your business.
One more thing. Totally biased again, and it’s because I have experience in the industry and I have experience in technology. You could today start with something a little bit cheaper than ServiceAutopilot, or Real Green, or some of the other systems on here. Actually, even cheaper than Jobber. Jobber has a really low price point. You could start with some cheaper stuff, but what’s going to happen if that system is not growing into a bigger system?
What if that system wasn’t designed to cater to the little guys getting started and to the big guys? You need a growth path, because if you don’t have the growth path, you start with a small system and then you start over some day. You relearn it, you reimplement it, you redo everything from ground up. You have to redo it when it’s the exact worst time when you’re trying to grow and you have all these things in your business breaking.
It’s really important to choose from the beginning who the company is that’s moving in the direction you want to move. So, you should look at your company goal. If your company goal is to never want to be more than you and a truck, we still work, but there are other solutions that work for you. If your goal is to one day, have three crews or five crews, or one day, to be a million or two or three million dollars, you should really look at the system that could get you started on that path today so you never have to make a change.
Also, the system that could run a five-million dollar company, gives you incredible advantages in functionality today that the five-million dollar guys have. Whereas, if you go with the smaller solution that doesn’t have that functionality, you don’t have the advantages of your competitors which makes it harder to become one of the big guys. Think about where you want to go, and as best you can, buy the software that’s going to take you where you want to go.
Those are a few pointers. I hope they’re helpful. I’m happy to answer more. You know I’m biased. I hope you’ll try us at some point, but these are the other guys you want to look at. These are the guys you want to consider and you want to go with who’s best for you.
If I could leave you with one last idea, don’t make decisions on price.
Let’s use Real Green. They’re an expensive system. They’re going to cost you a big financial outlay upfront. You should not make your decision on Real Green based on the fact that they’re going to cost you so much money upfront and some amount of money each month. You should make your decision based on how much money Real Green will make you and how much money you will make because you bought Real Green.
Yes, you spent $8,000 upfront, and yes, you spent a couple of hundred dollars a month or whatever their number is. But as a result, you took your $300,000 business in the next couple of years to a million. Or, as a result, you didn’t need an extra person on your payroll. Or, as a result, the marketing you were never doing is finally happening. Eight thousand dollars? Who cares? When it takes you from 300 to a million? The same is true with ServiceAutopilot. The same is true with some of these other systems. You need to make the decision based on which one gives you the best return on investment, not what the cost is.
The cost is insignificant. Yes, you’ve got to be able to write that check, but the cost is really insignificant. The only way you make a decision, I believe across the board, whether buying equipment, software, or whatever is to consider, will this thing that I’m spending money on bring a whole lot more money to me? If I’m going to spend a hundred dollars, how much more money comes back to me? It’s simple investing.
If you invest a hundred dollars in ServiceAutopilot, and all ServiceAutopilot does is give you a hundred dollars in value, ServiceAutopilot is not really the solution for you. If you invest a hundred dollars in ServiceAutopilot, it should save you in payroll, it should help you be a better company, it should help you market, and it should do all these things for you. That’s true for every system.
Consider your time. Your time is not free. For example, if ServiceAutopilot or Gopher can save you 20 hours of your time, how much is that worth? It’s not just worth the amount of money you pay yourself. It’s the 20 hours that you can reposition and now spend on something to grow the company. What’s the real value of 20 hours?
Think in terms of return on investment as you evaluate all of your options out here. Which one is going to get you to your goal the fastest? Which one is going to be the best?
Of course, you’ve got to consider customer service. I can tell you from what I’ve heard, that’s going to be us, HindSite, and Jobber. That’s what I’ve heard about customer service. That could be completely wrong, but that’s what I’ve heard.
Over and over again, I heard great things about us. Of course we’ve had our missteps, but I’ve heard the Jobber guys are doing a good job. They’re a small company. You still get to deal with the owners. As they get bigger, that might be a challenge. We’ve already had to go through those scaling issues to keep great customer service as we’ve become bigger. Then, Jobber has a reputation from what I’ve heard as being nice guys.
Pick the one that’s the best for you, the one that’s going to give you the greatest return on investment.
I want to work with people I like. I want to work with people that are going down the road that I want to go down. I want to work with people that in five years, I’m still going to like. I call some companies that I work with and I’m done with them. I want to switch vendors because I just don’t even enjoy them. I ask their team to do something and there’s no response and they’re not even friendly. I feel like I’m talking to somebody there that’s just punching the clock and doesn’t care.
I think it’s important to go with somebody you like. You’re going to be working with this technology provider for a very long time, so you need to make sure you connect with them and you like them. Of course the technology is most important. But, if it comes down to two providers, both with great technology, go with the one, in my opinion, that has the best road map and that you believe will really execute it and has the technical ability, and the business know how. They have to know this industry. Then, pick the ones you just flat out like because you’re going to be working with these guys closely for years and years to come.
That’s why I pointed out a couple of people that I’ve heard nice things about. I hope this is helpful. I hope that gives you some ideas of who the competition is. Again, for the fourth time, I’m biased, but my opinion is based on a tremendous amount of feedback from talking with clients and prospective clients and many that didn’t even go with us over the years. Good luck making your decision.