The landscaping and snow management industries are always "on the go". Salespeople, production teams, and managers are in the field on job sites. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have allowed these people to take their work with them and operate remotely outside the office making them more productive.
Landscape business management software in the form of mobile apps, designed specifically for the industry as well as general productivity, are abundant. We’ve combined some of the most commonly used apps to share what is available and suggest that proliferation of these apps create great opportunity but also can beget problems.
Contractors rely on accurate weather predictions to run their business. Working 4-10’s (four ten-hour work days/week) to monitor overtime is a popular way to schedule work. But, if there’s rain in the forecast, it can make for significant scheduling and routing changes.
Krisjan Berzins, President of Kingstowne Lawn & Landscaping in Washington D.C., says that his weather apps are the most important.
In fact, he also follows a ton of top meteorologists on Twitter to keep up with weather predictions especially in the winter months when snowstorms are on the horizon.
Top Weather Apps:
- RadarScope – “Professional Radar for the Average Joe”
RadarScope gives you the power to view true radial NEXRAD weather radar.
They have 2 tiers of pricing available for download on smartphones, tablets and desktop. Tier 1 $9.99/year. Tier 2 $14.99/month or $99.99/year. In tier 2 pricing you’re able to look back 30-days of data which could be useful in tracking snowstorm trends.
- AccuWeather – “Superior Accuracy Weather Widget”
AccuWeather is a free weather app that offers in app purchases.
It gives you live alerts, forecasts and minute by minute weather updates with award-winning superior accuracy™ wherever you are. The RealFeel Temperature® shows you how it actually feels outside – because sunny doesn’t always mean warm.
- NOAAA Radar Pro – “Weather Alerts and Rain Map”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is arguably the most trusted weather site by lawn and landscape contractors so it’s no surprise that this makes the list.
NOAA Radar Pro is $4.99 and boasts real-time animated weather radar images on a highly interactive map enhanced with severe weather warnings and alerts.
Storing and Sharing Documents
File sharing with teams in and out of the field is key to running a business that’s frequently on the move.
How many times have you wished that the photo your salesperson took of the jobsite was available to your crews? Or what about including a map of the subdivision that you maintain to ensure that you don’t miss a maintenance visit at any of the cul-de-sacs?
When it comes to sharing forms, photos, and documents in an easy to use way, contractors favor these three cloud storage platforms.
Maurice Dowell, owner of Dowco Enterprises Inc. in Chesterfield, MO raves about using Dropbox for his team to ensure that all critical photos are organized in one place.
Ann Laughlin, co-owner of Eco-Chic Gardens in Ivyland, PA says that Google Drive is her #1 app because it allows all of her crews to have access to client folders anywhere.
Jon Stanton, owner of Dream Greener Lawn and Landscape in Pittsburgh, PA chose OneDrive for his team to collaborate because it syncs well with the rest of his Microsoft products.
All three of these options are strong and Cloudwards wrote a great summary if you’re looking for advice on choosing between the three for your team. According to their review these were the winners for each category:
- Storage Cost – OneDrive
- Sync – Dropbox
- File Sharing – Dropbox
- Application Integrations – Google Drive
- Security – Dropbox
These days, there seems to be an app for everything! And it makes sense. Apps provide us with freedom. Freedom to run our business and serve our clients from anywhere at any time. It also helps us as we strive to reduce waste and become a paperless industry.
Here are a few other categories where apps come in handy for landscape contractors:
Time Clock, GPS and Payroll Apps
Tracking your crews’ times and locations can be a chore! Manually “punching the clock” has been virtually eliminated with apps that attach to individual employees allowing them to clock in and out of jobs, change job categories and more.
Yet, the hassle of syncing data from 3 different apps designed to help with tracking time, tracking location, and accurately paying your employees can be cumbersome. If the programs don’t talk to each other you’ll increase administrative time because of the duplicate data entry required to run these apps.
This is the benefit of switching to an all in one software solution where a crew logs into a job using his GPS coordinates and those times are available for processing in house. Say goodbye to TSheets, Paychex or ADP apps with mobile time keeping in Aspire's Crew Mobile app.
Sales, Estimating and CRM Apps
Gone are the days where you have to call your office manager to find out a client’s phone number. CRM (Client Relationship Management) and Sales applications are abundant.
The key component for this to be effective is ensuring that your CRM application also talks to your sales application. Without the ability to look up client call history, previous work orders, square footage, and special notes it’s very hard to create an estimate in the field.
This is when an all-inclusive software solution plays a role in making all of these apps come together in one location. Integrated Sales Management CRM software allows account managers and salespeople the ability to create an estimate on the spot using a tablet to provide quick and accurate quotes for clients.
Reduce App Overwhelm with Integration
Aspire Software has released their latest Crew Mobile app which integrates with many of these apps within the Aspire business management platform, a single dedicated software. This means you get weather, maps, payroll, estimating, CRM, invoicing, time sheets and more in ONE platform, in ONE place - all available on a tablet, smartphone, or desktop.
The proliferation of single purpose apps is helpful in some ways and a nightmare of data management in other ways creating unnecessary administrative work in moving data from one app to another. So if you are really considering taking advantage of mobile then a single platform versus multiple platforms is less expensive and much easier to manage.
To learn more, contact us and set up a personalized introduction. From sales prospect to customer invoice and everything in between, Aspire has you covered.
Available for Aspire clients only, the new mobile app is available free at the iTunes App Store and Google Play!
Quick Glance Features:
- Intuitive and easy to use interface
- Device and browser agnostic
- Multi-function performance
- Front and back end data integration
- Electronic payroll integration
- Real time and customized reporting for services and job cost