Lawn maintenance has become a big business in the United States and around the world. As more homeowners and companies outsource their lawn mowing, landscaping, mulching, and other tasks, lawn care companies are facing more significant growth opportunities as well as fiercer competition. IBIS World reports that the lawn care industry is still growing.
To remain competitive, lawn care companies must manage each operation efficiently and ensure they maintain a high level of customer satisfaction and lawn care experience. Many companies are turning to lawn maintenance routing software solutions that can help them save time and enhance customer trust.
In this article, we’ll look at the basics of the landscaping industry and landscapers software.
Table of Contents
What are the Services Provided by a Lawn Care Business?
Companies present many opportunities and challenges. In this section, we’ll provide an overview of a lawn care business, the services they provide, and some of the critical operational challenges they face. When we think of lawn care, our thoughts often turn to the dreaded chore of lawn mowing. However, there’s much more involved in lawn care other than cutting grass. Professional lawn care businesses provide industry-leading service to their residential and commercial clients beyond lawn mowing, including
- brush removal
- seasonal yard cleanup
- hedge and tree pruning
- landscape design
- property renovations
Most of them hire lawn care professionals to provide three essential services: lawn mowing, fertilization, and chemical application. These services are the ‘bread and butter’ of any business in lawn care. However, the above list of additional services can become a very profitable revenue stream. Qualified customers seek services such as landscape design, property renovations, and property renovations in higher-income neighborhoods, high-end cottages, and high-end rental units.
A lawn care and landscaping business typically rely on building a base of repeat customers within a particular geographic region. In most areas of the US, lawn care companies have a basic plan for downtime during the winter months and peak demand during the spring and summer months. To supplement revenues in the offseason, some lawn care specialists also offer snow removal services during the winter.
The lawn care industry can be very competitive, in part because the average cost of entry is relatively low. With a relatively small investment in equipment, almost anyone can launch such a business. Start-ups tend to serve between 20 – 30 customer profiles every week, while more extensive landscaping businesses can build a clientele of several hundred per week.
What are the Challenges Facing Lawn Care Businesses?
A lawn care team can encounter myriad challenges from inclement weather to stiff competition to problematic customer service. In this section, we’ll focus on some of the critical operational challenges faced by larger companies and how they can be solved by landscape business management software. These are in-house issues that can be addressed and overcome with proper management. Here is the list of challenges.
Scheduling Technicians – Efficiently managing a crew can be a very challenging and time-consuming job if done manually. The manager or dispatcher needs to take into account several variables including routing density, lawn technicians’ skill level, specific customer requests, and frontloading. Poor scheduling means inefficient job details that can increase an additional cost, and stifle the business’ ability to grow its customer base.
Planning Routes – A significant amount of time and money can be saved or lost depending on how efficiently a business plans its fastest routes. We’ve covered this in previous articles, such as this one about 6 factors to consider when choosing a multiple address mapper. Factors such as geography, route density, traffic conditions, fuel consumption, drive time, etc. must be taken into a record each time a course is planned. Doing this task using a manual process is time-consuming and arduous.
Managing Costs – This challenge ties into the above difficulty of route planning. Fuel and vehicle costs can represent a significant portion of an effective lawn care business expense with poorly planned routes. The more miles the delivery trucks have to travel on their messy routes, the more wear and tear they have.
Maintaining Customer Satisfaction – Building and retaining a repeat customer base can help you form a successful lawn care business. The way to achieve customer satisfaction is by performing the service on time and to a high quality. Happy customers are much more likely to continue retaining their services and, importantly, to spread the word to friends and neighbors.
The list goes on for much longer as it also includes marketing, dispatch, CRM, invoice and estimate management, GPS location tracking, and much more. By now, you can probably surmise that success in the lawn care business operations depends mostly on two elements: customer retention and efficient management of resources, particularly technician time, to reduce cash flow. Customer retention is typically achieved by providing higher efficiency with lawn service. Expenses are reduced by managing variable expenses (e.g., fuel, wear and tear on vehicles) and maximizing your lawn care techs’ working time on lawn care treatment jobs.
Top 5 Software for Running Lawn Care Business
Since you are into the lawn care business, adopting reliable software may help you in multiple ways. The aforementioned challenges could be better handled by this software. So, let’s check them out.
mHelpDesk could be the ideal one for field service contractors to run field service operations. It has an in-built integration option that will help you transfer the data. It is mainly used to schedule jobs for your on-field employees and track their activities. The software also has live chat and customization options.
This software allows contractors for employee scheduling. You can ask for payments from your clients and get paid no matter if you are away from your office area. ServiceTitan has ROI tracking and customization as its key features. The software is widely used for inventory management purposes.
FieldAware is popular software for small size landscaping companies to carry out small lawn care operations. The cloud-based solution offers accounting services like service cost calculations and invoicing from the web app. Besides, it also seamlessly integrates with other third-party apps so that you can manage your timesheet more easily.
Business owners handling large-size delivery teams can benefit from Jobber. The cloud-based field service solution offers essential features like scheduling, dispatching, client hub, and accounting tools like estimating and invoicing. It gives you updates about your tradesmen and helps you in inventory management.
It is the most popular and handy lawn service software for landscape contractors to get detailed insights into their ongoing lawn care projects. The software mainly focuses on reducing tons of paperwork and boosting the efficiency level. Also, it assists you to execute urgent administrative tasks with the help of its work automation process.
What are the Benefits of Lawn Care Software?
Before we talk about lawn scheduling software or software for lawn care benefits, let’s look at the core concept. Route planning is integral to any business operations that deploy field service workers/office staff or offers delivery services. At its core, route planning involves determining how to optimize routes best to save time and money. This process may sound simple enough, but when you start to consider all the variables involved – from traffic congestion to fuel consumption, technicians’ skill levels, etc. – it quickly becomes apparent that route planning is a time-consuming, arduous task. On top of that, when done manually, it’s impossible to optimize suitable routes as crucial information (e.g., traffic congestion) is not easily accessible or not available in real-time.
Business software is critical when you consider all these factors. Affordable lawn care software is required in large part because poor route planning can result in high price to the business (e.g., field service history, time of service, fuel consumption, wear & tear on the vehicle). Companies in many industries are turning to field service management software to assist them with this essential operational process.
The software for landscaping providers offers basic field service features. These are three of the key benefits of lawn care service software:
- Time savings – You can reduce the amount of time spent assigning jobs to your field service workers by letting the software schedule lawn care jobs. Hence, you will save more time instead of frequent callups.
- Work automation – Your human resources are one of your most expensive (and valuable) assets. Bearing that in mind, the less time they’re driving from job to job, the more time they’re able to service clients. Field service automation helps your field service technicians spend less time on the road and more time providing lawn care services.
- Reduced operations costs – Route optimization algorithms take into account various factors. Still, ultimately they are designed to find the most efficient routes, and those tend to be the shortest routes as well. Even a mile or two saved per route can add up over time, resulting in savings on fuel and reducing wear and tear on your fleet of vehicles.
- Integration functionality – Business software will improve the accessibility of information for all employees and users within the lawn care company. For instance, the program can give access to Android or iOS mobile devices. The order of the feature set and the interface is flexible to the users’ needs.
These are just a few of the many benefits you can realize by using lawn care management routing software. Most lawn care software solutions offer key features that can enhance your business’s efficiency and customer support team, such as: estimating and invoicing, online chat, field service management, customer management for accurate customer records; integration with accounting software, etc.
Let Upper Help You Plan Best Routes
Lawn care business owners can eliminate route planning and optimization challenges using advanced software like Upper. It reduces your workload by generating optimized routes in a matter of seconds. With pre-planned best routes, it makes sure your technicians reach the job site locations in a minimum time.
Unlike other navigation apps, Upper helps you add up to 500 stops for your route plan and keeps you posted. It pulls down the operational costs and improves your efficiency level. A delivery route planner has an in-built sophisticated algorithm that instantly churns out cost-effective routes for your on-field workers.
Plan & Optimize Unlimited Routes on Upper
Let Upper deal with your route optimization challenges and help you accelerate lawn care operations. Plan routes including stops up to 500 and optimize them with a single click.Create a Route Plan
The best way is to use the right software that can help with customer relationship management. The software helps your lawn maintenance business to produce estimates, digital invoices, custom quotes, and thus increasing profits for your field service business.
The best lawn maintenance scheduling software for a business depends on the company size and complexity of day-to-day operations. Below is the list of them
The Bottom Line
The business management of lawn care companies is a complicated affair. So, you may need a landscaping software solution to improve operations. A company needs the tools to manage its users, and often this is better done with a mobile app, or another comprehensive platform.
The required activities and functions depend on the size of your comprehensive lawn care business. The material costs you are willing to pay will be a function of the increased productivity and functionality when dispatching, billing, reporting, and deploying the fleet. We did not cover the software landscape (yes, we did that!) for a specific lawn care business app or landscape management software.
However, we still hope this article helps to give a few ideas on software elements to choose from that will lead to more sales and more profit down the road. As with all articles, please contact us if there’s anything else you’d like for us to cover!