Buyer's Guideby Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 12, 2018
Landscaping can’t be done from a computer or tablet—you have to get down and dirty (literally) to do the job. However, if you want to streamline your business processes and reach more customers, landscaping software can be a useful tool.
In this guide, we’ll look at different landscaping software options and some of the capabilities they typically offer.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What Is Landscaping Software?
Landscaping software is similar to many software solutions used by small and midsize businesses (SMBs), with capabilities such as billing and invoicing, quoting and estimating and accounting.
However, it may also include features that are uniquely relevant to landscaping, such as landscape design, plant databases and irrigation tracking.
Common Capabilities of Landscaping Software
Some of the most common capabilities offered by landscaping solutions are:
|Scheduling and appointments||Use calendar functions to schedule one-time or recurring appointments. Filter tasks by employee, team or date. Create reminders and alerts. Can include plug-ins for online appointment requests.|
|Billing and invoicing||Create invoices with templates and send batch invoices. Accept electronic payments. Can include integrations with accounting software (such as QuickBooks or Xero).|
|Landscape design||Edit images and create drawings with simple computer-aided design (CAD) tools. Render 3D models. Databases of images and symbols for commonly used shrubs and plants are available.|
|Fleet management||Create tasks and to-do lists for each employee and/or team. Track time per job. Use GPS functionality for team routing, tracking and accountability.|
|Customer relationship management (CRM)||Add clients to your database and log their history. Keep notes about past interactions and customer preferences. Send automated reminders of upcoming service.|
The Vendor Landscape
When choosing the right landscaping software, you’ll find some solutions are made up of an integrated suite of applications that offer a total solution for your business. Other products may be best-of-breed applications, which specialize in one aspect of your business.
Jobber is a full-service integrated suite for landscaping businesses. It is a cloud-based solution, so it can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection—a feature that is useful for field work. Because Jobber can be accessed through any web browser, it can be used on a Mac or PC.
Jobber offers features such as:
- Invoicing, including electronic invoicing and payment collection and the option to sync with QuickBooks.
- Scheduling with a drag-and-drop calendar tool, a job scheduling wizard and route optimization.
- Team management with team member to-do lists and GPS and time tracking capabilities.
- A CRM tool, with a client database, quoting capabilities and more.
PRO Landscape is a best-of-breed software solution for landscape design. It is an on-premise Windows application, but can be used on Mac OS X with third-party program (e.g., Boot Camp or Parallels).
PRO Landscape support will answer inquiries about their landscaping software for Mac or PC users, and they even provide detailed instructions for installation options.
This platform offers:
- A plant database with images
- To-scale site plans
- Imaging tools
- CAD design tools
- A companion app for Android or iOS
Market Trends to Understand
This functionality saves customers time and steps by allowing them to “transact with businesses without ever leaving the site.” Kickserv, an integrated-suite field services platform, offers Yelp integration functionality to clients, giving customers one more way to connect.
Mobile point of sale (POS) payments. Tired of mailing or emailing invoices and then waiting several days, or even weeks, to be paid? Register software vendors such as Square are starting to expand from the retail market into field services, so landscape businesses can get paid at the time of service.
Who Uses Landscaping Software?
Landscape designers. The core job of landscape designers is to create CAD drawings and 3D renderings of projects. However, they must also manage administrative tasks, such as scheduling their crew's daily assignments, following up with customers, collecting payments, delivering invoices and more. A landscaping software solution can help designers accomplish all of these tasks, from the construction of to the maintenance for commercial and residential landscapes. Not only can designers use software to create 3D renderings of a design and send it to clients for approval, they can also use it to store customer details, create invoices and more.
General contractors. General contractors have many responsibilities; they are in charge of acquiring customers, handling project expenses, ensuring safety standards at construction sites and overseeing all the stages of a construction project. Landscaping software helps to simplify contractors’ jobs, helping them track their crew's performance, manage customer communication, automate billing and invoices as well as monitor project deadlines from a single system.
Irrigation companies. One of the biggest challenges for irrigation companies is managing tons of paperwork: customer details, billing records, equipment inventory lists etc. A landscaping solution can help companies stay on top of their tasks with better document management and customer tracking. For instance, they can quickly access customer details, such as their service history, equipment used and the like on a centralized online dashboard. This results in better customer service, as queries can be resolved over the phone rather than having to send a technician every time. Besides this, the solution also helps companies schedule tasks and measure employee performance.
Groundskeeping businesses. For a groundskeeping business, tracking what they do in the field, including taking care of the gardens, porches and lawns of their customers, is an important business requirement. As a result, records management is critical, but often a Herculean task for such businesses, especially when the process involves a lot of paperwork, files, folders and Excel sheets. Landscaping software can help these businesses manage their record keeping more efficiently. For instance, the software automates the sending of emails, bills and invoices to customers. Conversely, customers can make payments and track overdue bills on the same system. Additionally, the solution enables businesses to improve efficiency in areas such as billing management, task tracking, customer communication and equipment maintenance.
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