Landscape Management Software
Everything You Need to Know
Being a landscape owner means that you are constantly multi-tasking to keep things running; you have to worry about your employees, suppliers, clients, finances, profitability and so much more. If you are still using a traditional paper system, you will spend your days going through papers and making phone calls to make sure you’ve not lost any paperwork en route. Trying to connect the data on your computers with what is on paper will waste your time and leave you feeling stressed.
You deserve a better way to run your business.
You need a one-stop solution that will help you manage all aspects of your business, so you can focus on growing the business while leaving enough time for you to spend with your loved ones. Utilizing Landscape Management Software or LMS can make a huge difference between running your business to the ground and growing your business.
What is the Difference Between a CRM and an LMS?
Different solutions available in the market include a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) with customizable features or an industry-specific Landscape Management Software (LMS). Both solutions offer features you need in your business; however, they differ in their application.
CRMs come with general features limited to issues that affect all businesses; they require extra time and resources if you need to customize them to your various landscaping needs. Additionally, they offer more features than you need, which means you will pay more for things you might never use.
On the flip side, an industry-specific LMS has custom features you need as a landscaper. You will find that you need all or almost all of the available features. Since it is centered on your industry, you will enjoy updates that respond to your evolving needs; every development relies on feedback from people running the same business as you.
2. Software Implementation
Often, your LMS comes ready to use; it uses industry-specific terms you use regularly and the features match easily with your existing system. As you focus on growing your business, this can save you time and resources you would otherwise spend on customizing a general CRM.
The effectiveness of the solution you introduce to your business depends a lot on the support you receive from the software developers. CRM developers have a general approach, and focus on creating solutions that cut across different industries; a custom solution often translates to more time and money on your end.
However, a landscape management software developer invests heavily in understanding your industry, making it easy for you to get quick support. Everyone on the team, including the person on the customer support line, understands the landscaping business; in most cases, they will have landscapers on their advisory team.
CRMs focus on the mass market, thus they can keep their prices low as they are likely to sell more units. Sometimes, they may offer customized and personalized support services such as developing additional industry-specific features, however, it is typically at an additional cost.
An LMS comes with all the features you need in the basic version at a flat rate. Developed by and for landscapers, it has the items you need every day like materials management and online estimates, to keep your sales and grounds crews on the same page.
If you need extra features, they most likely already have it and can offer it to you at a bargain since they are confident they can scale it and sell it to other industry players.
Monday Morning To Do List
- I need to dispatch three crews within 30 minutes and assign one to two locations.
- Mary needs an advance, and I’m not sure how many hours she’s worked this week.
- There is a van at the mechanic and somebody needs to go pick it up.
- Our chemical supplier’s check is not ready.
- I think there is a crew that needs extra material today.
- Follow up on three prospective clients, check in with the weekend clients and send invoices.
- My daughter’s recital is at 4 o’clock.
And the list goes on and on and on….
If this looks familiar, it is time for you to invest in an LMS.
Growth in your business translates to more responsibilities. You need to think about managing your workload; growing your business; keeping clients happy; managing your finances and ensuring employees stay motivated. As the pressure increases, you need to embrace technology-based solutions to smoothly run your business.
Different factors will push you towards investing in an LMS, such as:
If you are dealing with the same people repeatedly, an LMS will save you from having to collect their information, such as name, number, and email, every time you interact or do a job with them. It integrates all the data into the system, thus you only need to enter the changing variables.
Report preparation takes time, thus, you will most likely schedule it once every month. With an LMS, you can access real-time data and generate reports on the go. This speeds up your decision-making process and allows you to track events as they happen, thus reducing your response time when faced with challenges.
Most of the tasks involved in running a landscaping business require you to sit in the office, limiting your movement and ability to oversee different crews at work. An LMS improves your mobility by allowing you to carry your work on the go. You can make orders; send invoices; change schedules; calculate estimates; respond to emails or access client data on the go. Most LMS solutions offer a mobile version you can access on your phone, tablet or iPad from anywhere.
Traditional landscaping solutions may expose your data, putting your business at risk. An accidental flood in the office means that you can lose all your data in a day, bringing your business to its knees.
Once you get an LMS, you save all your data in the cloud and you can control who has access to your system. You can confidently focus on growing your business knowing that everything you have is secure.
Conflict is a natural part of business; however, when you spend all your time trying to resolve conflict, you risk losing your business. An LMS offers work-flow and best landscaping management practices, helping you coordinate your teams better. You can identify bottlenecks quickly and resolve the issue before it escalates. Additionally, you do not have to wait until the end of the month to assess everyone’s input; you have access to real-time data you can use to improve the performance of your team.
Traditional systems require you to hire IT consultants regularly to help you integrate data from different departments, which costs you time and money. With an LMS, the system generates everything you need on demand. In case you experience problems, your LMS’ customer support team will often resolve it at no extra cost.
Stagnation in your landscaping business begins when you start focusing all your efforts on administrative issues instead of investing in a growth strategy. Business growth requires time and effort; an LMS saves you both so you have more time to identify new business opportunities.
Initially, most of the pricing in your landscaping business will depend on guesses and comparisons with competitors. Often, you will have to wait for your annual report to measure your profitability. However, with an LMS, you have data to help you generate accurate quotes and measure your profitability as you progress. You can estimate your profitability against your goals and only focus on the jobs that help you stay on track.
Everyone expects to receive their payment on time; balancing between suppliers, employees and your landlord can cost you time, and create unnecessary pressure. With an LMS, you can automate the process and dispatch all your payments on time. Landscape management software developers can help you integrate your system with your bank to make the process easier. Additionally, everybody logs into the system, ensuring you compensate everyone fairly for the hours the put in.
Features Landscape Owners Need in an LMS
As stated, most LMS solutions will offer a basic version with all the features you need to run your landscape business efficiently. Some of the features you will need include:
A Simple Dashboard
The dashboard allows you to oversee everything in your business from a single page; you have control over the outlook and layout of your dashboard. All the information you need to run a landscaping business successfully is available at the click of a button.
Often, you will come across customizable options where different departments can adapt the dashboard to their needs.
The landscaping industry is resource intensive and you need a solution that allows you outsource, allocate, and distribute resources from a central point. You can set reminders to help you contact your suppliers on time, track delivery in real time and dispatch payments.
Over time, you collect data that helps you identify wastage and optimize your resources. Additionally, you can use the data to negotiate for discounts with suppliers.
Landscape Business Reporting
An LMS simplifies business reporting by integrating all aspects of your business into a single document you can access on demand. You can refer to reports on a daily basis for day-to-day decision-making. Real-time reports improve your approach to labor management, resource allocation, and time management. You can estimate your profitability and focus your resources on the jobs with the best ROI.
Every wasted second costs you money; over time, this can create losses worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. Your LMS gives you access to important data such as time spent on a job, transit time, or even time wasted in traffic.
Through this, you can start creating realistic timelines for different jobs, planning your routes more efficiently and coordinating your drivers to ensure no time is wasted.
The LMS integrates smoothly with other software in the market to strengthen your marketing efforts. Once you collect client data, you can start targeted marketing for new and repeat clients.
You can offer incentives, create email-marketing campaigns or even keep your customers engaged with blogs and vlogs delivered on their mobile devices.
Landscape management covers all aspects of the job including design. Your customers need to access their designs on demand, make suggestions and receive edited versions quickly.
With an LMS, you can give your customers access to the design page where they can access any changes you make to the plan real time and give their feedback.
Labor management takes up a lot of time in landscape management; you need an LMS that allows you to allocate work, consolidate working hours, optimize labor allocation, and manage payrolls.
Over time, your LMS will help you identify the best labor management practices to improve efficiency.
Movement from one location to another takes up a lot of time in the landscaping business. You need a management software with a routing feature that helps you identify the shortest routes and alerts you when there is traffic.
It can provide updates on road closure for proper planning and helps you monitor your fleet.
A mobile app
Landscape Management Software offers the solutions you need to run your business efficiently; however, you need to ask your developer to provide you with a mobile app you can use on the go.
Everyone on your team can download the app and access information relevant to their work. For example, you can send work schedules on a daily basis, which employees can access on their mobile devices.
Questions to Ask Your LMS Provider
Once you decide to invest in an LMS, you need to make sure you get the right provider for your business. There are several developers in the market. You need to choose one that will go beyond the LMS and help you find the tech-based solutions you need to grow. Some common questions to help you find the right provider include:
Why Do I Need an LMS?
Understanding your problems and the role the LMS will play in your landscaping business is important. Your provider should take time to understand your pains, and present the software as a solution to existing problems. An honest conversation with your landscape management software developers will help them identify the features you need, so you only pay for what your business will use. If you find yourself with a provider who is pushing features down your throat without offering any value proposition, walk away.
What Support Will I Get?
Find an LMS provider who is willing to stand by their product and ensure it integrates smoothly into your landscaping business. In the research phase, make sure you understand the kind of support available; what is free and when you need to pay for help; their weekend and holiday support policy, and their working hours. If you operate a 24-hour business, this will help you find the right partner. Additionally, consider additional support costs, and how they might affect your overall spending on the landscape management software.
Is the LMS Easy to Use?
Make sure you ask for a live demo of the LMS to assess its usability. Once you narrow down to the developers you are willing to work with, ask for a free trial version of each and test it with different members of your team. Developers will often offer a free trial of up to 30 days, giving you enough time to check its application to different aspects of your business.
Can I get a Reference List?
Speaking to former or current clients is the best way for you to assess your developer’s credibility. You can ask about the quality of service they offer; the application of the LMS; the time they take to resolve issues and the software’s ability to deliver on the promises they make.
What is the Cost of the LMS?
While considering the price of the LMS, look beyond the initial investment; consider maintenance fees, training, the cost of additional features and annual/monthly renewal fees. You are not paying for the software; you are paying for the long-term value you will get. Your LMS provider needs to be a strategic partner who adds value to your business.
Is the Software Browser-Based or Native App?
A native app runs on your devices operating system and must be adapted to different devices. Native apps are very user-friendly, run faster than web-based apps and integrate seamlessly with your device’s camera and GPS. A browser-based or web app downloads from the web each time it is opened. It is more accessible on different devices and you can distribute it freely in your team. Discuss the two options with your provider, and find one that suits you.
How Intelligent is the LMS?
Find out the software’s ability to run efficiently with features such as graphics to simplify reporting, predictive analysis, and inventory management. Does it respond to requests in real time? Does is offer simple features to save you time such as scheduling, dispatching, invoicing or even alerts when you need more inventory? You need an intelligent LMS to handle your landscaping business.
Not All Landscape Management Software is Created Equal
The landscape management software you choose will become an integral part of your business; in a growing business, it serves all departments allowing you to focus on customer acquisition. You need to assess all options available to you before choosing a landscape management system; this investment will affect your business for a year or more before you can switch systems.
While some landscape business owners have software that offers some solutions specific to the landscaping industry, you need something that is relevant to your unique business needs. You must have specific objectives before approaching providers to avoid getting lost in the excitement of new possibilities.
Since every provider offers a unique set of solutions, here are some tips to help you identify the best software partner for your business:
If you are looking for an LMS that will serve different departments, make sure you have someone from every department to help you choose the best features. Every representative should have a list of minimum specifications the provider can meet; with this, you can find a provider who offers different solutions. This way, you don’t waste time on exciting features you don’t need. At bare minimum, have someone from your grounds crew, human resources, and sales at the table with you.
Obviously, those people can hold more than one position, however, ask them to think about it from the needs of those specific aspects of your business when you’re evaluating so you can find the best landscape management software for your landscape business.
Is your landscape business exactly like someone else’s?
Then why would you want an out of the box solution for your landscape business?
Most LMS providers offer a general system that applies to a variety of landscaping businesses. You need to find someone who is willing to customizing this basic version to your micro needs.
Fortunately, the best landscape management software solutions package their deals around customization to ensure you get the LMS version best suited to your business, which also ensures you only pay for what you use. Your landscape management software provider should get to know your business and tailor the software to meet the unique needs of your business.
Once you choose the features you need; your provider should offer add-ons to help streamline your operations. The add-ons on offer help you differentiate between good and quality systems. Often, most of the add-ons you need are free or available at a discount.
Find out about additional features your landscape management software provider may offer and how you can either add or stagger them into your software once you start using your LMS.
Any LMS you bring must integrate seamlessly with any existing systems in your landscaping business. This makes it easy for you to link the LMS with other management software so you can access everything you need from one point. Your provider should help you with the integration process.
After integration, you will have easy access to customer data where you can keep track of everyone who comes to your business. You have an easier time identifying clients you need to retain or leads you need to impress.
Billing and Accounting
Ultimately, the success of your business relies on your bottom line. Instead of relying on manual systems, your LMS will help you access your data from a single source accurately. You can access customer payment details at the click of a button, and follow up on payments.
As a business owner, you will want to spend more time meeting clients or outdoors overseeing different teams at work, while still keeping in touch with the back end side of the business. A quality LMS gives you an app you can access on your phone, with additional access to cloud-based services where you can log into your account from anywhere.
When meeting clients, you need to respond to their needs without creating conflicts in your schedule. Instead of recording meetings in a notebook, you can schedule them into your system, and even allocate crews to the client’s site immediately you close. This presents you as an efficient and professional business owner or manager.
The ProfitLion Difference
Once you understand the difference between good and quality LMS providers, you will want the best for your business.
ProfitLion leads the landscape management software market by providing you with a quality landscape management software you can customize to your micro-needs. At ProfitLion, developers spend time with landscapers on the field and in their offices trying to identify challenges they can resolve with technology.
ProfitLion is the partner you need to help you run your business efficiently so you can focus on growth. Our partnership with you goes beyond development, we are available 24/7 to support you and resolve issues as they come up.
Save time and increase your profitability with ProfitLion. Contact us today to find out how ProfitLion can grow your landscape business.
Schedule a Demo of the ProfitLion System
Provide us with your contact information so we can schedule a time convenient for you. We will host an interactive demo specific to the individual needs of your business and examine which areas of the platform are interesting to you and your business.