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4 Signs You Need New Landscape Business Management Software at Your Landscaping Company

Posted On Aug 20, 2019 7:00:00 AM By Nanette Seven, Vice President

New solutions phrase on cogwheelsAs the CEO, it is your responsibility to oversee your landscaping company as a whole and make sure that it’s running as best that it possibly can. In order to ensure that, you’ve likely implemented various tools over the years, including potential software solutions. But how do you know when the tools you’ve implemented are no longer enough?

How do you know when it’s time for new landscape business management software?

Chances are, there will be signs that start to point you in the direction of implementing something new. 

But the onus is on you to pay attention to them. 

It can be easy to get caught up in the “big picture” tasks that you’re focused on and you may fail to see some of the day-to-day struggles that your team may be having. The fact is, even if they don’t realize it, there may be a better solution for them.

To help you put an ear to the ground and get a better sense of whether new software would improve your business, we’ve rounded up some signs to watch for. If any of these 4 situations are occurring, it just may be time to make a change.

1. You Keep Needing More Software in Order to Do Business 

We often hear from landscape business owners who thought they had a complete solution but in order to meet all of their team members’ needs, they seem to have to keep adding more and more solutions to their daily routine. 

In the most common scenario, most people start out with QuickBooks—and that truly can meet their needs for a while. But in time, as the company grows, most landscape business owners find it’s not enough.

As a result, they might find themselves adding additional tools to try to make up for the areas where QuickBooks falls short. 

They might need a scheduling program for their routing and an estimating program to create better proposals. Suddenly, they have multiple stand-alone systems and more often than not, these individual programs cannot be linked. But even if they can, it’s likely not as seamless as you may think. Oftentimes this also leads to repeated data entry.

The more systems you add, the more convoluted your processes become. 

This is a sign that it might be time to switch to one comprehensive solution that does it all. As a result, you’ll be able to streamline your processes so that information can flow seamlessly. Instead of having all of your departments operating in their individual “silos,” everything will be connected. That’s a benefit to everyone.

2. You’re Paying an Accountant to “Fix Problems”

Account at computer for landscaping companyIf you’re utilizing QuickBooks or some other stand-alone accounting software program and you’re also paying for an accountant to fix problems, this is a telltale sign you need to switch to a more comprehensive landscape business management software program.

The trouble is, many of these stand-alone accounting programs are prone to errors. They also leave room for security trouble. That’s because there are some ways in which the audit trail is broken in QuickBooks (it doesn’t even have this feature). In fact, this can leave the possibility for fraud on the table.

For example, once QuickBooks invoices are created and bills are paid, you can go into QuickBooks and change information after it has been processed. This allows employees to print a check then change the payee after the fact. Your financials might look okay, but if the same person who is paying the bills is also reconciling the bank account, this can open the company up to theft. You want to be able to lock down entries and make sure that nobody can go back and change accounting records.

If you’re spending time worrying about how secure your financials are or feel that you need an accountant to constantly be overlooking data and fixing errors, then it simply may be time to make the switch to something better.

3. You’re Always Playing Catch-Up

One of the biggest benefits of business software for landscaping is the data that you receive about your business. 

However, if you’re not receiving data in real-time, then you likely often feel like you’re playing catch-up rather than making decisions when they matter most.

Calculating data “after the fact” just isn’t nearly as helpful because it doesn’t allow you to make real-time changes. 

For instance, it would be difficult for you to determine if you were over the budgeted hours for a job in enough time to make an actual change. Instead, with a software system like QuickBooks, you’re typically reviewing the data after the job is completed and trying to make changes to the next job. In that way, it’s more of a historical analysis of your jobs than a real-time solution.

Processing data in real-time can also reduce mistakes.

As your landscaping company grows, so does the amount of data that you need to process. That can make running reports and processing information increasingly challenging. 

If you’re working with paper reports or spreadsheets to try and keep up with an ever-growing business, chances are, mistakes are being made. These could be anything from billing blunders to sales errors to even field mistakes, all of which could have been prevented if you were working with more up-to-date information and continually processing data in real-time.

4. You’re Struggling to Plan for the Future

Landscaping company meetingIn addition to being able to make real-time changes, you also want to be able to plan ahead. CEOs and leaders want frequent snapshots of where their landscaping company stands in terms of sales in order to know what’s coming down the pipeline. 

In other words, they want to know if they will have enough coming in to sustain business and ultimately be profitable—or if they have to make changes to get to that point. Lots of companies rely on asking sales teams what they have in the pipeline, pushing them with big goals, and hoping it just all goes well. But a lot of this is guesswork and not based on hard numbers (or data). It's not uncommon to get to the end of a busy spring only to realize you're way behind or conversely, to assume you're good and find out later that you are in big trouble. 

But with solid landscape business management software, you’re not guessing. You know exactly where things stand and you can plan better for the future as a result. 

You have the benefit of all of the following:

  • Knowing the status of sales opportunities at any time
  • Looking at each salesperson’s lead-to-sale closing ratio
  • Understanding differences in closing percentages for specific department’s services
  • Always knowing what the current production workload is as well as forecasting the potential is to take on additional work should it be sold
  • Knowing precisely when a job moves from the estimating phase to the stage where production takes over
  • Having a strong idea of what’s in the pipeline to predict what will get sold 

As the CEO, this information will absolutely allow you to lead your company in the right direction.

Taking the Leap for Landscape Business Management Software

We understand that making a switch in software solutions can feel like a daunting task—maybe even one that you want to put off. But if you’re feeling as though your employees are getting bogged down by data entry, making mistakes, or struggling with a lack of data, then there may be a solution out there that would better serve them. 

Landscape Software Buyer's GuideAs CEO, if you feel like you’re starting to struggle to keep up with your company’s growth, then now is the time to make a change and implement landscape business management software.

Ultimately, it comes down to an honest look at your business. When you’re busy and working on the business at a higher level, it can be easy to overlook areas where you could improve. But the truth is, the signs are there. 

If an honest evaluation of your growing business reveals that you could use some support to push forward, then you shouldn’t be afraid to take that leap. Down the road, your future self will thank you for having the courage to get those systems in place when you did.

If you’re ready to see how landscape business management software can make your business (and your team) stronger, let’s explore and see what our products can do for you.

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Image sources: T.Lake Environmental Design

Topics: Production & Operations, Sales & Estimating, Accounting & Financial Reporting

Nanette Seven, Vice President

Written by Nanette Seven, Vice President

As a child, I was tasked with summer chores like weeding the rose garden, and helping to plant and harvest the vegetable garden. These childhood “chores” evolved into something I enjoyed. I have a passion for being outside, whether it is getting my hands dirty gardening, coaching and watching sports, or being on the Chesapeake Bay. Outdoors is where I would prefer to be. So, when the opportunity to work for a high-end residential design/build company presented itself, it seemed a good fit. I never imagined that almost 25 years later I would still be working in the landscape industry. I feel fortunate to have worked for Include for the past 20+ years. I wake up every day and do something that I truly enjoy, and with people I honestly like being around. I travel quite extensively to industry events to stay current on the changing needs of the landscape industry. Learning from our clients, consultants, and peers is also a focus of mine; I want to know what they need to help their businesses grow and thrive. This valuable information is used to help build and improve the software and services Include provides. I personally get great satisfaction knowing that what Include Software does as a team is unmatched in our industry. We provide leading edge software with top-notch customer service, and make a positive impact on people and their businesses every single day.