Professional landscaping has come a very long way. According to IBIS World November 2018 Landscaping Services Industry Report, the landscape service industry has annual revenues of $93 billion. On top of that, it represents over a million people and over 513,000 businesses. What’s powering the industry today is still the same quality designers and hardworking men and women in the field. But landscape software is helping these people do their jobs more efficiently than ever before, and that is helping to drive revenue growth year over year.
So, the obvious question is, how do you choose the right landscape software? Firstly, you need to decide where your business is, and who you are as the owner. Are you taking the reins of the family business and looking to innovate with new technology? Or are you a start-up who wants to set the foundation of your business with a software solution? Maybe you’ve been in business for years and it’s just time to move away from the manual tasks that are taking up a lot of your time.
Whatever the answer may be, most people looking to buy landscape software are choosing ones that tick off many boxes:
- Better design solutions
- Integrated quoting functions
- Project management
- Maintenance scheduling
- Billing and invoicing integrations
All of these elements require plenty of labor if you aren’t using some form of software to either automate or reduce the work/time needed to complete the tasks. Let’s look at some of the questions landscape business owners are asking when choosing the right landscape software for their business.
What Services Does Your Landscape Business Offer?
Depending on the type of service you provide, your choice of landscape software will range. According to Lawn and Landscape’s 2018 State of the Industry Report, 85% of respondents to a survey said they perform landscape maintenance. Another 85% said they provide lawn care and chemical applications, while 73% said they provide landscape design and construction. Some companies may provide only one service, while others will have crossover and provide numerous services. While each one has their own unique needs, they can all benefit from landscape software.
For those who only provide lawn maintenance, managing your crews, their schedules and their invoices can be labor-intensive. To build in more scheduled calls and keep your crews on top of their contracts with customers, a scheduling tool would definitely increase their efficiency. Manage all of your crews and individual workers from one maintenance scheduler and use a routing tool to create the best route possible, limiting the amount of time spent driving between jobs. It’s a simple way to add more calls into your day, keep your crews busy and optimize their schedules.
If you provide design services, or construction and install services as well, then having the ability to control your entire business from one landscape software is key. Know how your project-based work is affecting your bottom line and what percentage of your business is made up of lawn maintenance. Where are your sales coming from? How are you scheduling all of your people for all of these different jobs? The more you offer, the more a landscape software is going to open up visibility into your business that you need to succeed and grow in the future.
What Do You Want to Get Better At?
When you want to go with a landscape software solution, you generally want to get better at something; that means reducing the time it takes to complete a task or to elevate your game in certain areas. For landscape designers, that means ditching the hand drawings in favor of computer-assisted design. That’s a large step for some designers who believe in their hand-drawing ability, and are afraid to put down the pencil, but from a business perspective, there are many benefits of going with a landscape design software.
For starters, designs can take weeks to produce, and if changes come in, designers often have to start again or break out the eraser. That’s plenty of wasted time doing a drawing again when it was already completed once. Instead, with landscape-specific CAD software, changes can be made instantly, and designs can be updated without needing to start over. It can be a few short hours to apply changes to a design, rather than days of hand-drawing.
Furthermore, having that design software connected to your cost book in your management software speeds up the bidding process. Owners don’t have to look at a design and count each tree planted, or the square feet of paver stones they will need. Instead, the design elements can be exported into a quoting system tied to a cost book that automatically produces the cost of each element of the design. That is done in a fraction of the time it would take to produce it by hand, using Excel spreadsheets for cost books and estimating. Speed equals time saved, and time is money. The faster you finish, the more money you are saving on these tasks. All the while, you’re getting a quality design and proposal in front of your customers quickly.
Which Solutions Do You Need?
When choosing the right landscape software, it all comes down to which solutions you need. What exactly do you need/want landscape software to do for you? Many landscape businesses are looking at management tools to gain more visibility into their business than they’ve had before. That includes more insight into their budgets, crew performance, sales pipeline and how their business is doing overall. Landscape businesses today are a lot more than just the amount of revenue you brought in last year. With landscape software, you can start to dive deep into your business’s performance, and see the areas you need to improve on.
For those looking at landscape software, it’s best to choose one that can handle it all. Remember those services you provide? What if you wanted to grow or add more services? Do you really want to start adding additional software for those, or would you rather have one that handles it all? An all-in-one landscape software that can manage your business and provide stunning design outputs that integrate seamlessly is the answer. So gear up with a landscape software solution that tackles your problems today, and any future ones you might have tomorrow.