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Guide to Picking the Best Landscape Business Software

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Business Advice

The best landscape business software helps companies save time and money by driving efficiency. Use this guide to find the best solution for your business.

What’s the solution for busy landscape businesses juggling everything from budgeting and estimating to crew and customer relationship management to invoicing and payroll? A management tool. This guide covers how to pick the best landscape business software for your growing business.

What Is Landscape Business Software?

Landscape business software is also called landscape business management software. No matter the name, it’s a tool — usually software as a service used through a web browser and/or mobile app — to help you manage one or more aspects of your landscaping and/or snow and ice management business. 

Some tools help you manage one or a few aspects of your business. For example, some help you take your job scheduling process online, so you aren’t managing it by hand or on paper. 

The best tools help you manage your business from end to end — from budgeting and estimating all the way to invoicing and payments. These software solutions turn time-consuming manual processes into quick, repeatable online flows that save hours of time and money. 

What’s Included in the Best Landscape Business Software Tools

The best landscape business software solutions include features that help landscape business owners, and their teams, easily manage and track: 

  • Budgeting
  • Estimating —the very best include built-in real-world industry material pricing
  • Scheduling, time tracking, and route optimization
  • Job costing
  • Invoicing and payments
  • File and photo storage
  • Customer portal and relationship management

While a spot solution for scheduling or a stand-alone CRM solution can help a landscape business grow, having an end-to-end solution in place lets a business grow without switching solutions and retraining, because it has everything needed to grow with the business.

Why Use Software to Manage Your Business?

In a 2022 survey, 75% of landscapers company owners reported a moderate to moderate-to-high stress level overall. That stress often comes from having to do it all and/or the need to know it’s getting done correctly. 

Doing it all, as reported in the 2023 landscaping trends report, means landscape pros divide their days among creating estimates and quotes, doing invoices and bookkeeping, tracking crews and schedules, selling, and field work. That’s a lot of hats for one person to wear.

Empowering owners and staff to do more in less time and with less stress is where a landscape business solution comes in. It lets your company virtually automate administrative tasks and save time and money by working more efficiently — all so you can maximize profits, pay teams more, more easily recruit teams, make customers happier, and so on.

The Benefits of Using a Business Software

Landscape management software is a tool. Think of it like a hardscape grapple and crew for installing a project that includes a retaining wall with multiton boulders compared to doing that with hand shovels, ropes, and a much larger crew.

You can do the job either way. Using the grapple, you can do it with a smaller crew in a lot less time and with a lot less hassle.

Landscape business software is how successful landscape companies do what can be manually and time-intensively (and therefore at a higher cost) more quickly and efficiently. With a management tool, they gain added speed and efficiency and can do more work, make fewer mistakes, waste less material, and make more profit. 

Owners and key staff can also stress less while still having oversight of everything going on.

The best solutions let you do the following online and without a lot of effort — no paper, no pen, no physical calculator, no spreadsheet. Just a few clicks and you’re good. 

Have a Full View of Business Finances

Having a grasp on finances starts with a budget.

A budget is a bit like having a credit card limit and statement. It gives you the threshold of what you have to spend. Go over that threshold and you’re in the red. Your credit card balance statement or your budget lets you track against your limit as you spend or make more money.

The best landscape business software includes a budgeting feature. 

Your budget lets you plan for what you’ll spend on labor, material, and equipment, subcontracting, and overhead against the money you plan to bring in. That way, you can estimate accurately and avoid going in the red. You also get overhead recovery numbers with pinpoint accuracy.

The very best software tools update the estimating component against your budget for you. They apply the right markup, so you’re sure you’re recovering the right number for overhead and still make the profit that you expect and need.

85% of landscapers say they create an annual budget to empower them to increase productivity, cut costs, and set the company up for success. 

Create More Accurate — and Profitable — Estimates 

Estimating jobs can be time-consuming, especially if you’re operating a growing landscaping business at scale and pricing larger and more complex projects. 

The best landscape business management software includes an estimating tool to help make estimating faster and more cost-effective. The tool gives growing landscape companies a repeatable quote and proposal process. And it lets them deliver faster, more accurate estimates for prospective or repeat customers. 

Fast proposals can make a huge difference when you’re competing with multiple other landscapers. A good estimating tool can shorten your sales process and reduce time spent estimating by as much as 75%. 

The best include reusable templates and your standard terms and conditions. They let the owner step away from having to be hands-on with sales and estimates. Owners can step back and know that other team members can use the estimating feature to accurately bid and price work.

Planting bed preparation template
Pre built template

The best landscape business software includes pre-built templates you can use or modify to instantly populate estimates.

Enhance Your Customers’ Experience

Unless you’re super-organized naturally, keeping track of your customers, remembering who you’ve responded to or haven’t, and finding contact information is not a manually friendly process. Paper is okay, organizers are okay, contact apps are okay, but they’re all manual. A system — with search capability — is so much better. 

Even better is a system that lets you instantly communicate with customers directly from the tool itself. 

The best landscape business software helps you quickly and easily manage inbound phone calls, contacts, emails, appointments, and such. It also includes a field app that crews in the field can use to access job details. 

It includes the ability to store job site documents and photos for future reference and customer updates. And it stores your customer information, which lets you and your customer have two-way interactions. 

A great landscape business software lets you store job site documents and focus for easy access and reference.

Save Time and Be More Efficient

The best business software includes a variety of ways to help landscape companies save time and create efficiencies. When companies do that, they keep more of their money and can do more work to make even more money. 

A good business software lets owners or accounting teams instantly pull job and payroll reports based on accurate timesheet data. That timesheet data comes straight from an app crews in the field use to clock in and out for each job. That eliminates paper timesheet management for everyone as well as best-guess time tracking. 

The very best software solutions let you accurately track time using GPS-stamped time and locations that show where a team member has clocked in and out. They also let you export time records in seconds and easily import them into most payroll platforms — saving you manual, administrative work.

A solid landscape business management software can take hours off of the daily process of tracking time.

Measure Progress to Improve Profit

Business management software helps you track important numbers and information and identify problems and make corrections — before problems happen. The best solutions include reporting abilities that let you quickly see and analyze:

  • Sales-to-date to see your company sales targets vs actuals. You can even separate upsells into its own category to see more significant results.
  • Productivity rates to see total sales dollars per payroll hour, so you know whether they’re increasing or decreasing?
  • Labor ratio reports to discover your percent of sales spent on labor costs. Using this number, you can implement a payroll system that pays employees based on a percentage of their productivity and incentivize your best performers.

Make Sure Every Job Delivers a Profit

The best software also includes job costing to let you ensure that every job is profitable. And it lets you watch a job’s progress against your estimate in real-time. A job costing capability gives you insights on estimated labor costs, material costs (it even lets you add vendor bills), and overhead against actuals — real actuals captured and logged in the field on the jobsite. 

With a job costing feature, you get real-time visibility into your profit vs actual costs for each job and across all jobs, so you can adjust pricing, training, and processes — even on jobs in flight as needed. And because you see estimated profit versus actual, you can adapt future estimates with ease. 

Reduce Costs and Increase Return on Investment (ROI)

The right landscape management solution helps you help your team get each job done faster but just as efficiently (if not more so). You gain or improve processes and  have better communication and more organized job plans and materials. 

That time savings, multiplied by each crew, leads to higher revenue for your firm. Add in the ability to deliver better estimates faster and automate invoicing, and everything else the best solutions offer, and before you know it, you recover the cost of your software subscription.

Reduce Liability to Protect Your Company

Protecting your company protects your profit and very existence. Sometimes difficult customers balk at final invoices and the work delivered or claim property damage once the work is done.

A landscape business software that includes time and GPS-stamped proof of work and lets you save site photos, job notes, and clock-in and out times, is an ideal way to easily track information if needed for later. 

You can reduce liability claims and answer complaints with documentation stored in a software that offers these features. You save your business time and money by helping avoid replacement or repair costs, rework, or hours spent arguing over unsubstantiated claims with the customer or in court.

How Business Software Benefits Your Entire Company

Whether you’re an owner-operator, administrator, in-office or in-field supervisor, or a landscaping technician or apprentice, landscaping business management software helps you with your role. And the improvement in profitability, efficiency, visibility, and communication benefits the entire company. 

How Landscape Business Owner-Operators Benefit

Business software gives owners time back in their day. It also reduces the stress of feeling like they need to be everywhere and are running solo.

The software lets them know what’s happening where and when without having to be there themselves. That’s quite a load off. 

The best landscape business software solutions help business owners work less and stress less and not feel like they’re running things alone.

Business software also empowers owners with increased financial awareness, smoother sales processes, better (sometimes more professional) customer experiences, and improved cash flow. 

It even improves operations with better communication, more effective schedules, better job planning, and better material and equipment management. 

Administrators

Administrators benefit from landscape business management software because it gives them centralized tools to do payroll, time tracking, material and supply management, invoicing, customer to-dos, and scheduling. 

It increases transparency to make sure everyone is on the same page. And it can make the difference between jobs going over or under budget.

Field Supervisors/Crew Leads 

Some landscape business software solutions create an easy-to-use job plan based on estimated work, which is then pushed directly to a scheduling app in the field. 

Better visibility and communication empower a crew to think and act like owners and take more accountability for each job. For example, they can see whether the job is on time and within budget versus estimated hours and actuals. This lets them pivot to make adjustments on the fly whether it’s hiring subcontracts or adding crew, readjusting crews, or better managing material deliveries.

Landscape Technicians 

Team members are motivated to do great work and produce better results when they know their efforts directly impact the success of a job and the company. Providing job site goals and metrics to field workers can lead to increased crew effort when they have baseline numbers to measure against.

How to Find the Best Landscape Business Software for Your Business

Not all solutions are equal, and every landscaping company’s needs are unique. To find the right software for you, look at both your immediate and long-term needs. 

Put thought into your long-term needs. You may not need a scheduling system now, but will your business benefit from digital scheduling in the future? Maybe it’s time to digitize your customer contacts list? Would it help to consider moving away from a written list or putting an end to cycling through the endless contacts list on your phone? 

If you’re trying to grow your business, make sure the software you choose includes features like budgeting, estimating, job and payroll reporting, and sales reports. If you’re looking to hire multiple crews now or one day, make sure you have a way to easily manage time tracking and job progress from the field so you don’t have to be everywhere at once. 

Carefully compare the features of each solution you look at. Look at both feature compatibility with your business needs, but also the support and training the software developer offers. 

Dig deep into costs. Some companies claim to have solutions that are more affordable, but actually charge you a percentage of your profits, which can add up as your company grows.

Questions to Ask When Looking for Your Best Landscape Business Software Solution

  1. Can the software solve the frustrations and problems that you’re dealing with each day, week, month, or year?
  2. Is the software too complex for anyone else within your company to learn?
  3. Does the software provider have top-notch resources and training to help your team learn to use the software and train other team members?
  4. Can the software grow with your company and it needs over time or will you have to start over with a new solution down the road?
  5. Do you need mobile-friendly capabilities or is a desktop-based solution enough?
  6. Is the software user-friendly and customizable if you have specific needs?
  7. Will it reduce your costs and/or increase your efficiency and profit?
  8. Will this help improve your customers’ experience and the quality of your work?
  9. Can it help reduce your liability with job documents and photo storage?
  10. Are there hidden costs for using the software, such as a percent of profits?
  11. Who develops the software — do they truly understand the unique needs of the landscape and snow industries, and if not, what do you give up as a result?

Why LMN Is Your Best Pick for a Landscape Business Management Software

LMN is the most popular landscape business software in North America. More than 245,000 people at landscape and snow companies use LMN every day. Why? Because LMN was designed by landscape pros for landscape pros to include everything a growing landscape or snow business needs to reduce stress, save time, drive efficiency, and increase profits. 

LMN gives companies the control they need to price jobs easily and take jobs from estimate to execution, so the owner doesn’t have to do it all or do it by hand, but still knows it’s getting done right. LMN is also the only landscape management tool available that includes budgeting capabilities.

Try LMN Landscape Business Software for Free

You can start using LMN for free and upgrade anytime. Schedule your free account setup now. Or book a time with an LMN in-house expert to talk about your business needs and how LMN can help.

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