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High Performance: Landscape software wars

January 26, 2015 -  By
Harwood-blog_scroll Photo: iStock.com/33310498

Photo: iStock.com/33310498

There is a landscape software war going on—and, for the most part, it’s a good thing.

As the number of landscape software programs continues to increase, contractors are faced with more options than ever before. While competition is a good thing, my heart goes out to the person trying to wade through the myriad of solutions available. Even for the sharpest person, selecting the right solution is a daunting challenge because of the complexities involved, not to mention the time commitment of research, making inquiries, attending demos, fact-checking, speaking with users, etc.

In my previous company, we held off as long as we could before investing in a software program other than QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel. It was around the $5 million mark when we made the investment. Looking back on this, we probably waited too long. At the same time, our Excel wizardry was well above average and we were hesitant to invest in a software solution until we were convinced we had found the right solution for us. Since we were adding more than $1 million of revenue annually, every year that ticked by created larger spreadsheets, which eventually become a bit unwieldy. At some point, business management software is essential. However, selecting the right solution is even more important.

In my consulting, I have seen plenty of examples of complete meltdowns wreaking havoc on the organization, and some lawsuits, unfortunately. Not all solutions are right for every company. The process of selecting a software package should be done slowly, methodically and carefully, with an enormous amount of due diligence. Once the right solution is found, the timing of implementation is key. Implementation always takes longer than anticipated, so give yourself plenty of time. Full implementation may take up to two years, depending on the software.

There is a landscape software war going on. Are you ready for battle?

Now go forth.

 

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at Phil@GrowTheBench.com. He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

4 Comments on "High Performance: Landscape software wars"

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  1. paul swinton says:

    Mr Harwood tells us what HE did, but tells us nothing about the software! I need/want information that I can use right now. I already know that there’s a slew of programs out there. While his “heart goes out” to anyone trying to wade through the software options, he offers absolutely no indication as to what he recommends, has used, or has tried.
    OK, I get the picture now: I know there are tons of new software. but I still have to do all the dirty work. Thanks. I already knew that. When I’m done, I’ll consider writing a short article on what I learned, and my ultimate choices. Maybe that would help someone else. This article didn’t.

  2. Robbie says:

    Software is always changing. There are always new versions with new features. Software vendors today and creating more niche software to help landscapers. You need to figure out what works for your particular situation and budget.

    I don’t think there is one set of software solutions that will meet everones expections.

  3. I think it’s important to evaluate software based on
    1) What are your current and future needs?
    2) Can it grow with you?
    3) How easy is it to deploy?
    4) What type of business are you- D/B, Maint, or L/C?
    5) What problems are you trying to solve the most- job costing, routing and scheduling, CRM?
    6) What system will fit into how you are doing business vs. needing to change and adapt your business to the software?