It’s easier in the early stages of your lawn care business to not have to keep detailed records. Sure you might remember your mowing schedule in your head. Keep a listing of a few phone numbers in your phone and run everything else on post it notes as new calls come in. At some point, not having structure in the way you keep your customer information is going to cause you big problems. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur who created an easy yet useful method to keep track of new incoming phone call information. See if any of these suggestions can help you improve the way you operate.
One lawn care business owner wrote “let me start by saying that while this worked for me in my first mowing season, there may be better ways of doing things. I don’t claim that this is the best method, only that it worked for me when I had no other means of keeping track of my jobs since I didn’t have a computer or lawn care business software to do such things.
I started out with a notebook. That was a bad idea in that I had no uniform way of taking down information from incoming calls, and there was no way to organize information in any useful way. It just didn’t work. I decided that I needed a sheet dedicated to taking down info from incoming calls - some sort of ‘form’ that allowed me to fill in the blanks while talking to the person on the phone. Before doing so, I would sometimes find that I had forgotten to get information and would need to call back to get it.
I had intended these sheets to be used as estimate sheets only, but as it turned out, I found that I could keep track of things through the entire season once a client had signed up.
I recently tweaked my form by adding a few items that I found myself writing in by hand last season. I know that there are a lot of newbies reading that are looking for any help they can get, so I thought I’d share what I put together in hopes that it may help someone. I’ll add a PDF attachment in this post. It’s a two page document, I printed it on both sides.
I always have a clipboard with these sheets in my truck as well as a stack at home near my desk. When a call, or email comes in for an estimate, I fill out the sheet and take it with me on the estimate. I can conveniently take notes on the property, note client requests, etc. These notes are now available any time I need to refer to them throughout the season.
After I get the OK to start the job, I then keep track of the cuts/jobs performed on the lower portion. I note the date, work done (Mow, Hedges, Cleanup, etc), job price, and whether payment was received. Once my schedule is set, I just take the sheet with the customer info and sort it by day they get cut. I have a nice binder with a pocket on the front that I keep today’s jobs in. Inside the binder are pocket dividers for each day of the week where the rest stay.
I’d say a full half of my clients communicate with me by text almost exclusively. I like it because once I know they can accept texts, I don’t feel like I’m intruding if I need to ask something - not like I would if I had to make a call. It also is a record of what was asked/agreed upon.
There are several benefits that I’ve found to using this record keeping process.
- This keeps all the important info in one place.
Prior to using these, I used a notebook, loose sheet of paper, sticky notes… This resulted in lost info, fumbling around trying to remember what I wrote, and where, half the info in my truck while the rest is in the house, and a generally unorganized way of doing things.
- I don’t forget to ask questions.
With incoming calls, I used to forget to ask if the number they gave me was a cell or home number. Now, as I’m writing, I see the spot on the sheet to circle one, or the other, and I never forget to ask.
- It looks more professional.
If I’m standing there speaking to the client while taking down info, it looks a little better than making notes in a yellow notepad.
- All info is at my fingertips.
I can use the same sheet from the time a client first calls for an estimate, all the way through to the end of the season. All my notes on what mower height I used on the lawn, hidden obstacles, their pet’s names, their work hours, time it takes to complete their lawn, and more, are all in one place. Even if I start to implement my laptop, this sheet will still be just as useful to me.”
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