Imagine that a stressed and desperate lawn care operator says, “I have multiple clients that owe me over $10,000 each.” His work ethic was not the issue because he was servicing 70 maintenance clients in addition to his full-time job as a law enforcement officer.
Rather, the culprit was the leather binder he carried into the meeting. Yes, the one bulging with papers that he used to keep track of his schedule, who owes what and information for potential clients. The root of all of his issues was disorganization.
The grind of a small lawn care business is real. Hundreds of other owner-operators from all over the United States and Canada can attest to this. Yet we all want the same thing: to maximize profit and have a business we are proud of. We also have common enemies.
The difficulty of the administrative demand will increase as lawn care operators gain more clients. Without the right processes in place, there will come a time when the administrative demand exceeds their capacity to keep up. That’s when they’re at risk of forgetting jobs, falling behind on invoicing and getting overwhelmed.
So, how do we reach our goal? Whether lawn care operators want to build a side hustle, a full-time job or scale up to multiple crews, all of these obstacles can be addressed with the right business management software.
Business management software, commonly called a customer relationship management (CRM) software, brings the administrative demand down so that you have a buffer to continue working on the business as it grows rather than constantly trying to catch up.
These are the three headaches most operators deal with that can all be eliminated or at least reduced with the right software.
The most consistent issue operators face is disorganization, which is the root of most other issues. In business, there is a lot of data to manually record or worse ones that you keep in your head. What jobs are coming up? What quotes need to go out? When did that property get serviced? Has that client paid?
A good CRM will not only keep all of this information in one place, but it will also automate parts of your admin for you.
Here’s a common example:
Without a CRM, business owners have to:
- Service the property
- Manually record how much the client owes
- Manually create and send an invoice
- Collect payment and deposit the cash or check at a bank
- Manually update the client’s balance in your records
- Schedule the next service
With a CRM, business owners only have to:
- Service a property
- Mark the job as complete
- Include a way to pay electronically and deposit funds directly into your account
- Record payment and update the client’s balance
- Have the next job on your schedule
The CRM automatically:
- Creates and sends an invoice
- Updates the client’s balance
In this situation, the software offers a few major benefits:
- Organization: Less information to remember or manually record, which improves organization and reduces stress.
- Cash flow: Automation to help get invoices sent and paid faster improves cash flow.
- Peace of mind: Adding recurring jobs allows lawn care operators to not worry about forgetting clients and always know what’s coming up.
Now that we’re using a CRM and getting organized, the last two headaches are already on their way out.
The beautiful thing about the right CRM is that as you give it the right inputs, it makes you look like a top-notch operation with little effort. This happens as the CRM provides clear and consistent communication from you to your clients in the form of well-formatted invoices, quotes and even automated notifications.
Without the right CRM, we are left to do these tasks manually if we truly want to look professional. Even if we’re willing to work hard, it becomes a lot to handle over time which inevitably leads to a mistake.
After all, most clients want two things: for their property to be serviced well and on time and for business owners to communicate clearly with them.
With advancements in technology hitting them from all angles, they expect more from us than they did 10 years ago when it comes to professionalism. Why not share the burden with software?
Needing more clients
When you’re having a hard time being organized and professional with your existing clients, it becomes very difficult to grow. Maybe you lose a client for every new one you gain. Maybe your clients aren’t likely to refer you to their friends. Maybe you feel overwhelmed with your existing clients.
As we get more organized and become more professional by using a CRM, we create the buffer we need to spend time growing and improving our businesses. This is the meaning of the phrase “work on your business, not in your business.”
Most operators simply need this buffer in order to grow for two reasons. First, this buffer allows people to respond more quickly to incoming leads, which will help them win more business. Second, there are a lot of great resources and content available with proven ways to grow your business. You just need the time and energy in your schedules to execute on a few of them.
Implementing the right business management software will be a game-changer. So here’s a simple challenge:
- If you’re using pen and paper or even Google Docs, research software solutions that will fit your size of business and address your specific needs.
- If you’re already using a CRM, take a step back and assess how well it fits your business. Don’t be afraid to change if it will save your business time and money in the long run.
Keep this industry moving forward and use software to build better businesses and healthier personal lives.