As your company grows and customer base expands, it might be time to consider investing in software for managing the customer base and your employees. Schedules, services, invoicing and account balances can become less time consuming with the use of business software. This LawnSite member wants to know if there is a point where getting software at your business is so crucial that the investment can’t be put off any longer.

GSO LAWNEN4CER: What’s the magic number of customers before needing software? I’m getting to the point where I can’t keep track of who’s been serviced and who’s up next for service. I have some customers who want their lawn cut on certain days. I need some suggestions.

anrwhr1212: If you know what software is and you have to ask that question, I think you can benefit from software now. We are a husband and wife team. My wife runs the office work, and I handle customer relations and stuff in the field. We decided to go with Service Autopilot last year, and we could not run our business without it now. We recommend it to anyone. It was a game changer for us. We only have 42 accounts right now but some are weekly, some biweekly. It helps when anyone asks for extra work with the next service, keeping track of accounts receivable and so much more. It’s awesome. A business friend who owns a multimillion-dollar-a-year lawn care business once told me no matter how big you are, you need software. Now that we have it, I know it’s true, because it’s never too early to start. If you start now, optimize your time, it will give you plenty more time to focus on growing and customer service. You won’t regret it.

JLSLLC: Sounds like you’re ready for software now or some sort of spreadsheet. Either way, keep us updated. I use a large calendar from Staples on my wall in my office. No real complaints if you keep up with it. There are much better ways than mine. Just a suggestion.

Steve5389: I use Yardbook and I have about 25 customers. One thing I like is that you can set jobs as recurring. Set your jobs as complete each day, and when you click on the customer’s name, it will tell you when their last service was.

Service.com: The honest answer is one customer. It is so much harder to transfer everything over to a system when you think you need it than to just start with one.

13Razorbackfan: I use Microsoft Outlook to schedule, keep a separate ledger for jobs done that day along with the amount and if they paid, and then I keep a separate accounting ledger. It’s kind of old fashioned, but works for me. I then invoice out using a Microsoft Publisher invoice template for the people who I invoice monthly. People who pay cash, I write out a receipt from my receipt book. It might sound like a lot but it takes me 10 minutes to do every day when I get home and maybe 30 minutes to send out invoices at the end of the month.

Darryl G: I just use a day planner for scheduling and QuickBooks for invoicing. It works for my solo operation with 25 to 30 mowing customers and 50 or so overall that I work for in any given year. I did a free 30-day trial a few years ago – I forget which software but it was one of the popular ones. My issue with it was that it seemed like I was spending more time and effort adjusting for weather delays and missing accounts missed of running out of time in a day than it was worth. It has no way of knowing everything I consider when shuffling my schedule. I was left with the feeling that it might be good for someone scheduling crews, but for me it seemed cumbersome and made decisions that I just ignored anyway.

BrandonV: It’s easier to start off with software than to try and add it in later.

Mowingman: You don’t ever “need” software. It is just something most people nowadays “want.” I am kind of old school and do not want much of anything to do with computers or software. During my peak years, I had 160 accounts and was running three crews. I did it all with a few scheduling forms I designed and a pencil. The only thing I used the computer for was to run QuickBooks for doing my invoices. I saved a lot of money by not purchasing computer equipment and expensive software programs.