There’s an app for everything these days—including plenty that could be used to help run your landscaping company.
The work your crews do in the field accounts for a sizable chunk of your business activity and costs. In order to operate effectively, it’s important to have the ability to communicate with crew leaders and track their progress throughout the day, and apps offer an excellent opportunity to do just that.
Technology has come a long way in what it’s able to offer companies like yours. There are lots of software solutions and mobile apps available to assist with scheduling, payroll, communication, and more. While each of these has value on its own, the best solution for any business is a system that allows you to manage everything within a single platform.
If you use a business management solution that offers end-to-end functionality, it likely already has a mobile app component. If you’re not ready to take the plunge yet, though, you can always try out an individual app. But how do you convince your crews to actually use it?
How can I make sure crews will use the app?
You’re likely to meet at least some resistance to using a new process. After all, you’re asking crew leaders to make significant changes to how they’re used to working.
This can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help the implementation process go as smoothly as possible, resulting in a new approach that makes things easier for you and your crews.
Do your research
Once you’ve identified the problem an app could help solve for your business, it’s time to decide which one is the best fit.
First, determine the right keywords to help find what you’re looking for (e.g., crew management, time tracking, scheduling, etc.). Then, begin your search! Google is a great place to start as you familiarize yourself with what’s out there. You can also look in the app stores for Apple and Google, as you will want to choose a solution that works on both types of devices.
Download the apps you’re interested in and try them out. As you demo them, ask yourself:
- How easy is this app to use?
- What size is the text? Is it easy to read?
- How large are the buttons?
- Is it easy to find what I’m looking for?
- Would this app be simple to use in the field, when you’re juggling a lot of equipment and have limited time?
Spend time setting it up
You’ve done your research and decided on an app—congratulations! Now comes the hard part.
In order to get the most out of the solution you chose, you’ll need to dedicate time to setting it up. Take every opportunity you can to make the solution fit your specific business needs.
If the app is flexible enough to allow customization, the time you spend setting it up will make an enormous difference in the quality of information you’re able to collect and share.
It may be tempting to launch the app right away, but you must resist the urge to jump in too quickly. One of the unintended consequences of moving too fast is that it offloads the burden of bug testing to your crews. Instead, take the time to set up and test your new system thoroughly, so by the time it’s rolled out to crews, all of the kinks have been worked out—and you’ll be starting off on the right foot.
Provide appropriate levels of training
Ideally, crew leaders should be able to open your app and use it without any training. Depending on the solution you choose, though, some level of training might be necessary.
At minimum, consider recording a brief video that explains how to use the app correctly. This can be shared with crew members to watch as many times as needed, and to reference if they forget something later.
If you decide to do an in-person training, keep it short and make it participatory. Put crew members in groups to practice a certain task, have volunteers race to find something in the app, or solicit written questions beforehand and address them during the training. And always encourage people to ask questions. (If you have a big group, it can be helpful to “plant” some questions in the audience to help break the ice.)
What if I want a system that includes more features?
Not convinced an app will meet all your needs? Consider looking into business management software that includes modules for estimating, scheduling, job costing, reporting, and more all in one place.
Using a system that offers end-to-end functionality like this is easier than managing multiple, disconnected apps or manual processes since you only have to go through set up once. Selecting a solution that integrates with your payroll service also makes enforcing adoption much easier. After all, what better incentive is there than getting paid?
The main benefit of using an app that’s already part of a more comprehensive system is pretty simple—you can’t not use it.
If you're interested in landscape business management software but aren't sure where to start, download our free buyer's guide for additional resources and advice!