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Landscaping and lawn care companies start making money after they deliver an accurate project estimate and get a signed agreement. They don’t make money on the time spent measuring property and calculating material and time costs. If these calculations are flawed, the business’s bottom line suffers. On the one hand, you might underestimate costs and lose money when the bill is paid. On the other hand, you could overestimate time or materials and lose the job to a competitor.
Knowing how much seed or sod you’ll need or how large a property is or how irrigation pipe a project will take is vital. So is knowing how many hours a crew will need for each service or project. Smart owners use lawncare measurement and estimation software to provide for a company’s growth and ensure profitability. Some of the many software choices simply help calculate property dimensions using aerial and satellite imagery. In contrast, others help you accurately project costs on more complex landscaping projects and provide complete company management support. Here are eight tools you should consider using to make your quotes faster and more accurate.
SatQuote has software for landscapers, lawn maintenance companies, hardscape designers, and irrigation contractors. It also has applications for other outside contractors like pool and fence installers. All programs are easy to use and improve the quality and accuracy of project bids. As in any service industry, better bids mean more contracts and profit.
SatQuote is a full management application that helps with everything from lead generation and management to creating top-quality proposals and quotes. It certainly provides accurate property measurements through google or high-resolution images, but it also helps create landscape or hardscape designs you can present in your beautiful, full-color proposal.
Plans can include geo-tagged photos and notes about work to be done and changes you propose. The system helps estimate labor and material costs for any project. SatQuote works with tablets and iPhones so that you can work from the field.
2. Deep Lawn
Deep Lawn, an artificial intelligence company, has a lawn estimation tool that accurately measures any lawn. The software uses machine learning and geospatial information to map out the areas to be serviced. You can produce a service estimate, generate invoices, and process customer payments from the data it develops. This one only provides for lawn maintenance pricing and payment processing, but the time it saves helps keep businesses moving forward.
3. Go iLawn
GIS Dynamics offers Go iLawn, a web-based property measurement tool that uses high-resolution satellite and aerial images to establish a property’s measurements and boundaries. From the information the software provides, an estimator knows how much lawn will need cutting and trimming and can calculate how much of the required materials will be needed to complete a project.
Go iLawn also helps make future project bids easier. For example, when a landscaper creates a project on Go iLawn, the system automatically adds some descriptive tags for things like city, state, zip code, and estimator’s name to make searching for past jobs easier. You can also change or add your own tags to incorporate things like development names or project types. You might want to find other projects in a subdivision or a similar hardscape project to help you with new estimates.
4. GIS Instant Estimator
GIS Dynamics also offers InstantEstimator, which, combined with their Go iLawn product, allows the landscaper to generate fast and accurate price estimates for various landscape and hardscape services. The software employs three smart tools, SmartGroups, SmartFactors, and SmartTurning, to quickly create smart, reliable estimates for a company.
SmartGroups can combine multiple landscaping and lawn services with a set of measurements for an accurate and complete price estimate for everything a client wants. For example, you can add new flower beds or a walkway to the mix and still get exact figures.
SmartFactors adds known industry standards and information derived from work time studies so that work time projections for different aspects of a plan are as accurate as possible.
SmartTuning allows landscapers to fine-tune an estimate even further by incorporating information about their team’s abilities and the complexity or unusual challenges of a particular service or project. For example, you might adjust for some inexperienced summer help or extremely hot or wet weather.
Like other landscaping management software, STACK estimating and takeoff software accurately measures areas to help determine how much seed, sod, or mulch you might need for landscaping and how much gravel, pavers, or tiles you need for hardscapes. It also has an auto-count function that will count shrubs, trees, sprinkler heads, boulders, and other features. You then instantly know, for example, how many trees need trimming or shrubs need digging up and replacing. You will learn how many sprinkler heads need servicing in spring and fall.
This automated counting feature also helps accurately calculate costs for supplies and materials. Finally, it makes templates of the items used in a current project to create similar future projects easier to plan, which saves time on takeoffs.
As a landscaping takeoff software, it also provides document organization. You create project folders, use auto-naming tools, and employ drag-and-drop features to keep everything you need organized and handy. Invoicing and bill paying also become easier with this tool.
STACK also keeps everyone involved in a project connected and up to date on changes. STACK is cloud-based, and employees and external partners, who might handle irrigation or hardscaping, for example, have access to schedules and any documents you decide should be available to them. You control who sees what documents and information.
One of the best things about this software is new customers can create an account for free and try the programs, including the training systems, before committing to a purchase.
6. Real Green Systems
Real Green provides a complete landscaping business management solution. It has a quick estimate feature that helps business owners create price quotes quickly to turn leads into customers. Customers who call to ask for prices won’t wait days for an estimate, and often, a company providing a quote quickly will get the job.
It also handles everything from scheduling to invoicing. Real Green’s Service Assistant feature helps schedule service calls and show them on a color-coded calendar where everyone can see travel distances and routes as well as dates and times. You also get human resource management tools to track things like PTO and time clock punches.
Real Green offers neighborhood marketing help, customer history, and call logs. The entire system is mobile-friendly so that owners can manage their businesses from the field. Contact RealGreen to book a demo and get a specific quote.
7. SMC Landscaping Estimator
SMC’s Landscaping Estimator starts with a lawn care estimator program that uses simple square foot and linear foot measurements to create accurate estimates for basic lawn care and maintenance. Service estimates can include fertilization, aeration, thatching, tree trimming, spraying as well as lawn cutting. Landscaping Estimator also delivers cost estimations for landscape and hardscape projects.
The program enables bidders to simplify quotes by streamlining what they charge for individual services and creating packages of services typically ordered together. Landscaping Estimator provides crew job sheets with your pre-loaded work rates. It also allows for a customized inventory list of materials a particular landscaper typically uses.
To help businesses succeed, the system provides real-time cost analysis. Materials and work hours are broken down, and an accounting page shows real expenses and actual profit margins. Knowing when jobs are profitable and, more importantly, when they aren’t, helps owners steer their businesses intelligently.
8. Plan Swift
ConstructionConnect has the Plan Swift product, a software for landscapers and lawn maintenance companies that helps estimate dimensions, including when spaces contain curved lines. Using satellite images, Plan Swift delivers accurate property dimensions and borders and fast price quotes for services when a potential customer calls.
This comprehensive lawn care management system allows owners and staff to spend more time on the job sites and less time behind a desk. The point-and-click and drag-and-drop systems enable you to collect all necessary data for material estimates and financial reports. It’s even compatible with Excel, so it’s easy to incorporate existing reports. The online support included in a Plan Swift purchase can help you learn and navigate the software.
Choosing Your Estimate and Quote Management Software
Like in other service industries today, landscaping and lawn maintenance companies must use the latest, smartest technology available to beat the competition and build successful businesses. Creating proposals and delivering estimates is part of the work, but every minute spent researching and creating price quotes costs money rather than making it. Accuracy matters, too. An estimate that’s too high might cost a company that contract. If an estimator bids too low, the company might lose money.
Getting new prospects costs money and can be challenging, so once they allow you to provide a bid, you want to take advantage of that opportunity. Delivering a well-thought-out, attractive, and accurate proposal and price quote can help you get more signed contracts. Therefore, finding the perfect management and estimating software package for your business that will help you deliver winning proposals is worth some time and effort.