Landscape & Irrigation

November/December 2017

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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Page 8 of 35 Landscape and Irrigation November/December 2017 9 warehouse, garage, marketing, cell phones, continuing education, office supplies, business licenses, etc. Once you have this framework, it makes no difference whether your chosen software interfaces with accounting software or your field service software contains accounting functions within. Field service software is designed to increase office productivity and help you deliver better and more efficient customer service. It can also speed up cash flow and estimating. How does it do this? Repeat tasks such as mow ing or seasonal tasks such as mulching, irrigation maintenance or lawn applications can be quickly moved and assigned to days and crews. Invoices can be preprinted to go out with the job, or created automatically when the crew or office staff mark them complete. Credit card information can be securely stored and the cards processed in batch or automatically when the invoice is created with low or no labor input. Client account management portal links can be embedded in your website or printed on the invoice for clients to self pay with a card. As a result, cash flow speeds up, making life for you more profitable and less stressful. My first credit card experiences were non-integrated, where all payments were entered manually on a machine and entered a second time in accounting. I brought on Quick Books and set up to process cards through the application manually one at a time from stored information. I followed that with a link on an invoice for a customer to process their own payment online and the office workload dropped. Real progress was made when I adopted field service software with a client account access portal and automatic integrated credit card processing. My credit card payments increased nearly six-fold over using a Quick Books link on an invoice or having clients call to pay by phone. Nothing brightens your day like waking up to an e-mail from your credit card processor that deposited money in your bank account overnight while you were sleeping, and knowing no one in your office touched a keyboard or a phone to make that happen. Rather than object to accepting credit cards because of the discount fee taking a bite from your revenue, build that fee cost into your overhead and recover it through a slightly higher labor rate. Adding profit to your increased cost means you are making more money for providing the convenience. Credit card acceptance does not cost, it pays in lower receivables, faster cash flow, more sales because you are convenient, and a little bit of profit markup you add to the cost. The most productive software allows you to create and e-mail estimates, and allows the client to accept them online. These can activate the service in some cases or, at most, a couple keystrokes to assign to a crew, day, group you want, is all that is required. Acknowledgement e-mails can be automatically generated for the sold work. E-mails and texts can quickly be sent to one or a group of customers for any needed reason. Renewal contracts can be generated and sent out faster, easier and earlier than before. Simply, office hours go way down, and customer service and profits go up. There is no "I can't afford it." You can't afford not to, for your own welfare. Your competitor is adopting the software and will out-compete you. Harold Fox was a lawn care and irrigation contractor servicing residential and commercial clients in southern New Jersey for 43 years. He is a past president of the Irrigation Association of New Jersey. Fox sold his company and retired in 2015. For help with software evaluation and setup, call 850-972-9301, or e-mail BEACON 800.867.2108 www. PHOTO PROVIDED BY HINDSITE SOFTWARE

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