I’m sure that every lawn mowing business owner starts thinking about this at some stage.
Most people start off keeping an old-fashioned written diary or even job cards. The major problem with old analogue systems is that it becomes hard to pull up information when you need it.
Back when I began mowing lawns there were no computers so we didn’t have much of a choice. Over the years I tried many methods.
Some of my ideas were a bit crazy.
Like the time I decided to keep track of all my lawns using fridge magnet material and a colour steel calendar. This worked well until the dog had a happy moment and destroyed it with his tail.
Then I started using portable databases in the early 90s. This worked alright until the day my Casio databank died. I dropped it from my top pocket straight into a rubbish compactor at the dump.
Then came the palm pilot phase. I won’t bore you with that one. Although the stylus and handwriting recognition was a pretty cool feature.
When Excel arrived I was in heaven. I wrote my own management system. This ran well, gave me all the information I needed and at one point managed over 450 lawns.
I can get a day sheet printed out with all my start and finish times at the push of a button.
The only real issue is that I cant share it with anyone. It is so large, clunky and complicated that you need to know Excel inside out to get anywhere. If someone tried to use it, it would break and they would not know how to fix it.
I am working on an interface for that software but that is not going to help anyone right now.
Meanwhile, I have tested a lot of software over the years. Nothing has worked well enough for me to recommend.
I have had a software company (who will remain nameless) offer me a nice lump sum for every customer I send their way. But after trailing their software for a month. I found it unreliable and unstable for a lawn mowing business so you are not going to hear about that one.
Yet, I have had some success with Google calendar. It is fantastic free software for scheduling and the phone app works well. One of the things I love is how simple it is to track our quotes.
It does have the occasional glitch but nothing major in the three months I have been using it.
If you paired it up with some free invoicing software like Zoho invoice then you could have good results. However, It is not going to keep track of who owes what. You would still need a spreadsheet for that. Google sheets can fill this gap.
Until I find some software that will perform these three things in one package. I guess that this is as good as it gets right now.
Happy lawnmowing people.