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Hiring first company salesmen: need advice

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Steve Pikes Tree Care, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Steve Pikes Tree Care

    Steve Pikes Tree Care ArboristSite Lurker

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    Awesome! Yep, You nailed it. We are currently using a paper/computer hybrid but it doesn't seem scalable enough for what we have in mind . I wonder how Davey does it, they probably have proprietary software, but it's got to be based off of something in the open market. After all, fertilawn and even a lot of the larger landscape contractors operator whole businesses based on multiple and different residual spray programs.
     
  2. Steve Pikes Tree Care

    Steve Pikes Tree Care ArboristSite Lurker

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    BTW, my wife got her sausages. And, I mean that quite literally, I'm too old for that to have some kind of subliminal sexual meaning.
     
    Jed1124 likes this.
  3. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    Actually, most contact management software would have no problem with that kind of scheduling.

    I have been using an ancient software for about 27 years now, and it schedules all kinds of different work. A more modern equivalent of Telemagic is ACT!, but I have not yet made the transition. My ancient network software has 99 user licenses, and I can put as many computer terminals on a shared database as I wish. Not so with any of the newer stuff.

    Set up a filter for "x" type of treatment, and you can quickly reschedule all work that fits almost any kind of parameter. I can print summary reports or work orders by type of work, which crew might be assigned or whatever field I might choose. I could sort the work by zip code, city, or any other kind of information I might choose to invent, including routes or "zones" that I might draw up on a map. The flexibility with these programs is enormous, although it does take some time to learn how to use the software. Once you figure it out, you can even automate processes for the folks that don't know how to run the software. Most of the proprietary software to any kind of business is just generic contact management software that has been specialized for a certain kind of business and then re-sold at a higher price. There are businesses out there that will sell you ACT!, then automate you operations and set things up for you. Updates and modifications will end up like spraying fungicide on spruce trees, however. It will never quit until the host dies. This, of course, is why I am using my ancient software: there are no upgrades, and it does everything I want.

    I too, use a combination of computer & paper floders. Once I have selected a schedule and printed work orders, I just get a monthly folder/planner (open link below), and slide the sheets of paper into that folder according to the date scheduled. It is only moments to find any day's work, and move it as needed for rain delays, production problems, etc.

    https://www.amazon.com/Staples-Ever...&qid=1494866856&sr=1-3&keywords=everyday+file

    You can keep a folder for each kind of work/crew/schedule you wish to track.
     
  4. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    I politely disagree, and offer this opinion:
    I have a "spray type" field that could contain any number of different kinds of application. Each treatment has it's own date field that can be updated each time it is performed, or automatically in batches if delayed for weather. My primary use right now is lawn applications & mowing schedule. These are repeated treatments that need to be regularly scheduled. Mowed today? Enter the "last mowed" field, and the next mowing is automatically scheduled according to the "mowing frequency" field. I could batch print everything, but generally do them one at a time as the individual services are performed.

    Stuff like tree trimming sales calls can be scheduled for 5 years later, if desired, with a sales call report available to the sales department. Telephone calls can be logged, service records are recorded, and even payments or conversations with the customers can be kept.

    I got a call last Friday from a gentleman that wanted regular mowing. While talking to him, I searched his name and determined that we had done some tree work for him in 2007 at the same address, although he had different numbers. I even described the large cottonwood we had bid removal on 10 years ago (never done). He laughed and told me it fell down about 2 years ago. We sold him regular service, he offered a mowing price higher than I would have even asked for. I have the confidence that he is a stable homeowner, and that I don't need to worry too much about getting paid.

    I routinely catch deadbeats from many years prior and I still sell them work, a bit more cautiously than the first time we worked for them. Sometimes I know to never go back again. We are mowing a lady this spring who didn't remember us mowing her about 10 years ago, nor the fact that she was not good at paying the bill. I have since complimented her about her excellent money management skills and she admits her problems in the past were part of why she likes to pay the bills in advance now. I routinely find addresses now owned by a previous customer, or old customers at a new address.
    All this from one program!

    The newer software also can include & incorporate bookkeeping software (Peachtree accounting: extra $), and can export all your income & expenses to a wide variety of government forms, inclusive of anything you need to send to the federal gov or any state. I don't doubt that they have other modules for just about any country, also.
     
  5. Jed1124

    Jed1124 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I think we are talking apples and oranges. With mowing and lawn applications, yes, a system built on a calendar works very well.
    My season has begun as early as the 3rd week in March to as late as the 3rd week in April. My applications are timed by bud swell, bud break, and leaf development to get optimum results. Growing degree days tell me when and what applications I will be doing. Temperature, precipitation, insect and disease pressure are the determining factors of applications.
     
  6. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    Jed I'm with with you. I have to route based on plant stage, last application, geography, etc.
    Throw in days where wind and weather wont cooperate...back to soil injections and other rain crap day work. It takes active HUMAN scheduling
     
  7. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    @pdqdl your system sounds great but just not for my line of work in most circumstances. Could be fine for scheduled pruning, air spade work, or fertilizations and other tjings where the timing isnt critical.
     
  8. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    Since you guys are not familiar with how it works, you may think that a scheduling program wouldn't be of assistance.

    Consider that you have an application that needs to be done...say Chlorothalonil on all the spruce trees. If I run a report on spray treatments due, I might be reminded to schedule them, but I decide that it is two weeks too soon. So I tell the computer to reset all the dates for that treatment with "x" date + 14, and it updates every treatment in very short order. 5 treatments? It wouldn't be worth it. If you have 500 treatments, you would be foolish to have any "manual method" of scheduling work. In about 1 minute or less I can print a report with all the spruce treatment: when they were last done, when they are due again, and most importanty, who didn't get done or who comes first. Furthermore, that same report will probably reveal which office worker is making mistakes and which application technician isn't keeping up wiith their production rate.

    I can go down that same list, review each customer, and then print each work order individually, if I choose. About 3-10 seconds per customer; each work order with price of application, direction to address, sales tax calculated by city, etc.

    Once you set up a system, they save you a lot of time. If you like your manual system and it works for you, that's ok.

    I saw a customer work order from TruGreen today, they make my work orders look primitive. Everything was individually detailed for that customer, high quality print, lots & lots of computer generated "advice" from their technician that reports 5-place accuracy on the number of gallons/pounds of every product they used. The fact that they reported treating a yard with enough chemical for 2400 sq.ft. when it was actually a 9650 sq.ft. yard only means that like everybody else, they are still hiring idiots. Their "smart guys" have engineered a customer report that really sells and also enables their applicator to do a good job quickly if they are actually qualified to do the work.

    For any system, whether computer or pen & ink, implementation is just as important as capability.
     
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  9. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    I have never set my system to use growing degree days; but it would be easy-peasy to run a report. If you tell the computer how many growing degree days you have, it could spit out all your treatments (in whatever flavors you preferred) that had come due, which ones were coming up, and which treatments were overdue.

    I don't know of any program that will automatically calculate or load up the correct growing degree days. Yes, my system would still need you to figure that out the old fashioned way.

    ...on the other hand...if you created a daily record, faithfully recording all the necessary information, it could generate a report that would tell your cumulative degree days, with subototals by month or almost any other numerical figure you wished to include. I would probably do that with a spreadsheet rather than my database, if I were inclined to calculate my own degree-days. It isn't that complicated to figure out, and it doesn't really require much analysis. A database would be overkill.

    None of my computer stuff does anything you cannot do with pencil & paper. It just does it much faster and more reliably. It creates a protocol for entering the data, and it has the report generators that allow quite a bit of information collection & organization. Databases are wonderful things to have, but only if you can learn to use them and have enough data to benefit from the effort of using them.
     
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  10. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    Yeah and I saw TruGreen spraying in the rain...Ive also seen some of their work orders using products below the labeled rate so...they have a nice work scheduling system but...
     

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