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Round organisation.

Alright.I am looking for a system app or programme to make my life much easier.I have a reasonable round of mostly grass cutting some hedges and weeding etc.I have evolved a kind of tick list for which customer is due a cut when they have been cut and if they have paid.It seems to take an age to organise and let them know im coming. I beleive there are some good thimgs for window cleaners but we only really need this for 6 months a year.I am also very interested in the group message fearures could this be done another way?What do you all use? as I spend an age working on this.There must be something easier and more up to date.

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        • PRO

          I never suggested you kept your customers in an excel sheet or you charge by the hour ?  By the way, is there an issue with keeping customers in an excel sheet ?

          • PRO

            Nothing wrong with that at all Gary. Or with cutting a hedge with scissors. I just believe in using the right tool for the right job and excel is not really meant for that purpose. 

            I'm being a little flippant today so please forgive me

            • PRO

              Strange. A lot of customer database packages are built upon Excel. & Access. Absolutely, 100% fit for purpose for a small(er) operation. You can run searches, mail merges, export in and out of other packages - the list goes on.

              Quote: "Customer Data

              The inclination to make ad-hoc lists with Excel often translates into creating a full-fledged customer database. The Advanced Excel Business Center explains that databases do not have to be planned out in full when you use Excel to gather and track data. This makes Excel a popular choice for storing customer information that grows in detail over time, because you can add fields as they're needed without causing any problems with the existing data."

              What do you use for your customer database?

  • PRO

    I'd suggest there are a couple of software approaches;

    1 - Utilise any existing packages you may have 'access' to (...see what I did there ;) ?

    2 - Utilise Google Calendar or similar that can integrate down to a smart phone etc

    3 - Look on App stores for simple customer management solutions for a smart phone / tablet

    4 - Investigate low cost (or even free) US lawncare apps (while not generally 100% in terms of invoicing etc if you're VAT registered, many provide good, often free scheduling capabilities)

    5 - Investigate specific industry-led solutions (like Robbie, above etc) including Accounting packages.

    It's a subject that comes up now and then on LJN and there's a fair amount of commentary about solutions on here, but look to reduce/eliminate duplicity and if dealing with an accountant ensure you can easily extract/export information

  • Thanks for all the suggestions. I am going to try some out andnget back with the results.

  • I use pen and paper and as has been said if they want you to call them before you arrive every fortnight or lock thier gates, they will have to find another gardener
    • PRO

      wow you have an interesting approach to customer service Graeme. Hope that continues to work out OK for you. Is that level of service reflected in your hourly rate?

      • I run a regular round and have done for nearly seven years. I have as many customers who are happy with my system that I can do.
        But those who want a call every time are just not MY kind of customer. They are not bad customers and I am not rude to them in fact I pass them to a couple of other gardeners who work that way.
        The thing with a business is it has to work for you and your customer. If either are not happy it won't work in the long term. I have about 95% retention because both parties are happy.
        • I'm exactly the same as you Graeme and not sure why that seems so unreasonable to others and why that would mean we charge a low rate?!?! I actually do have 3 customers who I text each time but that is because I know them personally and don't mind doing it for them. My round is such that 95% of the time I arrive on the same day and the customers know I need access. Also, I too only use Excel and the work diary that I take out each day. Has worked fine for the best part of a decade for me, I have lost less than 5 customers in all those years (other than them moving etc) and do not charge cheap rates. If there is software available that helps people with their rounds then that is great, we all do things differently and whatever works for each of us is fine and should not really draw the condescending attitude in some of these posts. All the best to all.

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