Diary & Work Organsation

Hello Peeps,

I operate a garden maintenance and landscaping business in York, with around 150 regular customers. 

Lots of my customers are either regular mows (1-4 times a month), or regular maintenance (2-8 hours a week/month)

My problem is that I seem to miss out customers from time to time. You would think is a obvious as just writing the names on a page every 2 weeks say, but some how I miss people out.

I use a A4 paper diary and it gets pretty tedious writing the same name, address, job, price any special requirements over and over. Then I have to write the same information out for the guys who work for me.

My question is how do you keep track of your customers?

Ideally I'm thinking of using a iPad with a app that will replicate the details for me every week/fortnight/month. I can put my appointments and quotes in there and see if there is any space to add new customers. Even better, I could then select from a list of customers and add them to a schedule to be printed out, which i could then hand to an employee or even send it to them on a iPad or mobile phone.  

Sounds relatively simple to me but I cant seem to find anything remotely close.

Do you or do you know anyone with/uses a system like this.

Im happy to pay for it, also I think it would look more professional then just using paper based system.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance 

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  • PRO
    I have a lined note book. Address on a column on the left and the rest is divided into columns for the date visited. Easier to follow than a dairy as once the customer is entered in the column you never miss it. A different page or even book can be done for either areas or regularity of visits. When i visit i write in the date when the customer pays me i put a line through the date to show its paid. A gap in a line of dates shows you have missed them. I like it better on the road than a tablet. It doesnt break, it never runs out of batteries and i can leave it on the dash of tge the van and no one will want to nick it. We have 300 customers managed this way . Long live the luddites
    • Hello Graeme, thanks for the reply. Sounds like a good idea. Is there any way I can see an example of this? Obviously you don't want to send me names, address, prices, etc. I wondering if you have a template or something you as a example. Thanks.
  • PRO

    I use a app called 'get jobber' brilliant bit of kit...

    I have written about this so much - i wrote a review - here

    I'm out and about at the mo, will post a bit more later

    • PRO

      I'm in the 'Robbie' camp as we use a similar product and could not envisage being without it.

      However, there a number of cloud based, low cost US software packages around that provide the basic (but you could not invoice etc from them), but as a means of keeping a customer database, services, diary and basic scheduling they can be used effectively.

      If however, you feel such apps are out of your reach there are simpler solutions such as using Outlook or Google Calendar with Reminders linked to a Smart phone.

  • PRO

    Tried a few online systems, Jobber is too expensive for me, have a look at 10to8, not bad for free, settled with Powered Now, has a diary, quotes and invoices. Not so keen on the invoice templates, the company tell me there will be more next year.

  • PRO

    I just use google calender along with google contacts and keep track of things with my phone. I do all the major adding of contacts, visit days etc on the pc, when I get a new client (just select repeat options to fill the visits in), and then my phone tells me where to go :)

    Easy to reschedule jobs and update client records too. Probably about as good as it gets without buying/subscribing to software.

  • PRO

    Don't discount such applications purely on costs alone.

    Their cost needs to be taken into consideration in relation to you business. Jobber and the like are true scalable "cradle to grave" systems.

    Simple systems are just that - they provide a solution at that moment in time, but what happens when you grow, change, add more services, take on teams, get an Accountant etc? Can you 'export' your data if you leave or want to jump ship ?

    What is the cost to your business if you miss appointments, get the time wrong, invoice incorrectly (money vs image)?

    I'd say there is at least one piece of software that every small business needs from day one - a basic accounts system and/or software that can look after multiple clients/appointments per day, costs etc. Often they go back to back or may even be just one piece of software.

    Read Robbie's blog and posts on his use of Jobber - it made his business life simpler and professional.

  • PRO
    No images but somple an A5 lined notebook from Rymans 1st column it 6cm wide then another 15 columns across the two open pages. Hope that makes sence
  • PRO

    Google calendar for me. The wife and I use it jointly as we have to facilitate child care in amongst. Works for us. Easy to amend or repeat entries etc.

  • PRO
    We use Jobber and put a 3G iPad in each vehicle.

    Works brilliantly for us and so much better than the old days when we used to have to write everything down.

    It's also useful for time management as we can see how operatives are going through the day without phoning them.
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