Are you using the right tools to keep your large-scale commercial landscaping and lawn care company operating most efficiently? Beyond the tools and equipment used on your job sites, are you making the most of landscape and lawn care apps to improve your business processes, such as:
- Helping your teams work more efficiently
- Empowering employees to be proactive, independent decision-makers
- Optimizing your organization’s performance
Top apps for lawn care businesses
Today’s mobile apps for landscape and lawn care businesses provide digital tools for working in the field, such as:
- Digital measuring and calculations
- And more
To help landscape professionals save time, manage more jobs, and scale their businesses most effectively, we compiled a list of the top free apps used by lawn care businesses, as well as showcase why Aspire’s comprehensive landscaping business management software is the best landscaping management app to keep in your toolbox.
The best landscaping business management apps
The best landscaping business management apps offer end-to-end features such as:
- Customizable contract templates
- Digital measuring tapes
- Route optimization
- Weather forecasting
- Volume calculators
- 3D mapping
- Email automation
- Video conferencing
With a cloud-based platform, you bring your field and office teams closer together and eliminate manual data entry when building bids for new properties, planning daily routes, and communicating with customers.
Why landscape professionals prefer Aspire
Managing a successful landscape business, especially a commercial operation with a large number of work orders, requires precise job management as well as overcoming challenges of the landscaping industry, such as :
- Labor shortages
- Weather issues
- Supply chain delays
On top of handling the day-to-day details, owners must also find ways to improve business operations, improve profit margins, and grow their market share.
Landscape management business owners rely on software solutions to help run their service businesses, but they often choose single apps to accomplish different tasks, such as:
- Job scheduling
- Customer messaging
- Labor and materials tracking
You expect apps to make operations smoother, but it’s easy to end up with a disconnected process requiring multiple software apps that don’t communicate with each other.
Siloed software solutions create more problems than they solve
Business apps that don’t talk to each other lead to communication gaps, errors, and lost revenue, says Greg Malmberg, a former landscape operations manager and now the senior manager of customer support operations for Aspire.
He advises business owners to ask the right questions before investing in new software, such as:
- What areas of the business does the software or app cover?
- Does it allow the sales team to talk in real time to the operations team?
- Does it relay invoicing information right to the office and provide an invoice that matches what the client was sold?
“Using software apps that overlap different areas of the business, instead of just a specific target area, is always the best option,” says Malmberg.
Aspire is an all-in-one platform for growing landscape contractors
Aspire’s cloud-based landscape business software seamlessly integrates with other software tools you may already use, such as QuickBooks for accounting or Inova Payroll for calculating payroll, enabling you to connect every aspect of your business and gain greater control over your projects and business.
“There are specific apps you may go out and find that you may like better than the way your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system operates for a specific function.
But, if it's not part of the overall solution, and outside of it, then you've got this room for error,” says Aspire Director of Client Success Travis Wills, also a former landscape operations manager.
“Finding ways to operate fully in the system you're committed to, whether it's Aspire or somebody else, will get you better long-term results than going out and finding the next new thing, the next new app that may or may not be around in 24 months,” Wills adds.
With full functionality and customizable features, Aspire’s landscape business software empowers better decision-making while streamlining your business operations, including:
Making an investment in landscape business software is a big deal.
Aspire’s all-in-one platform helps landscaping companies improve the way they run their business, by:
- Saving time through the reduction of manual processes
- Operate more efficiently
- Booking more jobs
- Communicating better with customers
- Accessing real-time data
The tools available with the Aspire platform empower a successful path forward for scalable growth.
As former landscapers with hands-on landscaping job experience, Malmberg and Wills weigh in below on a few other popular tools and apps used by field service technicians.
Best free apps for lawn care businesses
Free apps offer contractors management tools for the following:
Landscaping contract templates
Wills and Malmberg say landscaping contractors often customize their own contract template solutions based on what they see other landscapers and competitors using, but those DIY contract estimating templates may not always be the best fit for their particular business.
→ “How does your landscaping contract template communicate and connect from the sales team to the production team?” Malmberg asks, adding that everything in the customer’s approved estimate needs to follow a streamlined workflow from both touchpoints of customer management.
It should also clearly outline your services, Wills says.
→ “If we're talking about contract maintenance, the biggest thing is a scope of work, and that should show what’s included in your services—and what's not included in your standard scope of work,” Wills says. “That’s really important.”
Automated estimates and contracts
Aspire landscape business software automates the estimating process, to supercharge profitability and growth from the first step of every job:
- Simplify job bidding
- Create consistent landscaping estimates
- Increase company profit margins
Contractors can download Aspire’s free professional landscaping contract template, customize it with their own company information, such as branding and pricing, and then submit it to customers within minutes.
>>Need a free, professional landscaping contract template? Download Aspire’s here.
Digital, cloud-based note-taking
Free note-taking apps, like Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, or even a notes app on a mobile device, such as an Android smartphone or iPhone or iPad (iOS), can capture relevant notifications about your landscaping jobs. But how do you connect those notes to the proper teams or with the correct customer property?
Get immediate access to relevant information about customers, properties, and jobs
Recent app updates even allow users to record short video notes and attach them to jobs, making it even easier to communicate important information quickly.
Employees can clock in and out from any smartphone or tablet using the mobile app, enabling accurate time-tracking of every worker’s hours and streamlining the review and approval of timesheets.
Improve property measurement using digital measuring tapes
There are plenty of measuring tools available as apps:
- Apple’s Measure app uses artificial intelligence to measure height and distance for your lawn mowing jobs through your device’s camera lens
- Google Earth provides satellite imagery
- Google Earth Pro can take more precise land measurements
But these options come with notable limitations, as property views are often limited or obscured by foliage on trees and transferring data manually is time-consuming and prone to error.
Use PropertyIntel integration for in-platform property measurements
Aspire provides the capacity to seamlessly collect and visualize accurate property, customer, and company data all from the office. Eliminate time-consuming property takeoffs while collecting more accurate data for your bids.
Aspire’s estimating templates combine the accurate measurement data from PropertyIntel with production-rate kits that combine multiple costs–labor, materials, supplies–into single line items for recurring or one-time services such as:
- Mulch installation
- Spring and fall cleanups
- Weekly turf maintenance
- Enhancement projects for current customers
- And more
Route optimization to minimize windshield time
While Google Maps and other online tools can help you map out the best route and shortest drive time to service the most customers, Wills says that’s not always the most important factor for commercial landscapers.
→ Commercial crews often vary by size and equipment used for specific properties on particular days, so rescheduling them quickly is not always an easy task.
Build schedules routes that consider the nuances of the landscaping industry.
Aspire’s integrated landscape management software automates scheduling for commercial or home services companies.
The platform's bulk actions and drag-and-drop scheduling make multiple processes effortless, such as:
- Job management
- Time tracking
- Route optimization
- Creating recurring and per-service jobs
It also offers a digital job board with bulk scheduling features. Contractors can also use the free GasBuddy app to find the cheapest gas prices for their vehicles.
Plant identification for training, troubleshooting, and customer support
Most experienced landscapers don’t need a plant identification app to perform their jobs, Wills and Malmberg say.
Using these apps can come in handy when diagnosing unhealthy plants, training a new manager with little field experience, or suggesting resources for customers who want to be more involved in their landscaping choices.
Two free online apps are:
Stay ahead of the weather with forecasting apps
Free weather forecasts abound, either from your local TV stations or the Weather Channel app.
If you’re considering providing snow removal in addition to landscaping services, it may be worth it to purchase detailed weather forecasts and reports specific to your area and industry through paid apps, such as True Weather or Weather Works.
Create detailed takeoffs using volume calculators
Free online tools, like the Area Volume Calculator app, can be used to measure the area and volume of lawns and flower beds, as well as the amount of materials needed for mulching, grass-seeding, or planting flowers.
“The vast majority of Aspire clients have those production factors calculated into their [pre-built] estimate templates,” Wills says, with the ability to tweak or adjust standard volume calculations within the software.
3D mapping for design mockups and visuals
While some free options for 3D mapping can be found online (Google Maps, 3D Mapper, etc.), they’re most often used by landscape design companies to create mockups or visuals for new client installations. Aspire does not currently offer this feature.
Improve customer communication with email and SMS notifications
Free services that provide email and SMS customer notifications as well as automation for those communications can help landscapers market their companies but may offer only limited functionality and require a lot of manual entry and sorting.
The in-platform email capabilities of Aspire ensure that any in-office role–not just the account owner–can see previous communications with a customer or property in the robust CRM. Use the list functionality and bulk actions to reconnect with inactive accounts or drive new marketing strategies.
While most customers still prefer emails or direct mail when it comes to marketing, Malmberg and Wills say more customers today prefer text notifications to inform them about scheduled upcoming services or when recurring services have been completed.
“Which, I think, really has to be integrated into your system as opposed to going outside the app to drive those,” Wills says, and Aspire software powers that functionality with good results.
Eliminate scheduling blockers with video conferencing
Many landscapers turned to video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic to communicate with customers about their landscaping jobs, conduct virtual tours of new landscaping proposals, or even walk through a nursery yard to help clients pick the proper plants and flowers.
Now that the shutdowns are over, the Aspire experts say most landscapers prefer meeting face-to-face with customers.
“I worked in landscaping for 20 years without ever doing a virtual call with a client, but I do think it was very helpful and timely with COVID,” Wills says. “The vast majority of salespeople would rather be sitting in front of somebody going over the plan, but it's an effective way to make a meeting happen that may not be able to happen any other way.”
Tips for selecting the best apps for your landscape and lawn care business
The most important takeaway when selecting the best landscaping apps is to determine how seamlessly the software app connects to the other core functions of your business.
“I always go back to the idea of, what areas of the business does it cover?" Malmberg suggests. "And can we live in one application as opposed to multiple?”
With Aspire, you get a comprehensive, all-in-one software solution that connects everything from presale to invoicing, according to Wills.
“I believe it's life-changing because it gives you your freedom back,” Wills says. “You're not pulled in different directions. You've got the power to make the best decisions at the right time with the right permission.”
>> Ready to see what Aspire landscape business management software can do for your business? Book a free demo today.