Digital tools have three major benefits – they save time, are effective and above all simple. However, only 11% of small and medium size landscaping companies in France use them on a daily basis (1). We list below the basic digital tools landscaping companies should adopt.
Efficient invoicing software
As there is no obligation in most countries such as France or the US to use invoicing software, a simple paper invoice book or an Excel spreadsheet can be sufficient. They are widely used but there are many advantages in taking the first step towards digitalization – dedicated invoicing software!
- Error elimination: obligatory legal texts, correct client addresses and pricing details will always be included. Invoicing software includes everything – and automatically inserts all the relevant data – product denominations, customer details, etc.
- Centralized customer information: from quotes to invoices and payment follow-up, one click gives you all the information you need about each client. No need to open all your filing cabinets to find the quote you made for a pruning job!
- Easy unpaid bill management: some software features automatic reminders – a great time-saver. Invoices feature all obligatory legal texts and centralize all customer information.
In landscaping as in all other professions, invoicing software eliminates boring repetitive tasks – time you can use to focus on your core business. And customers take you more seriously!
Open a website to promote your landscaping services
How do you contact prospects and keep in touch with customers if you’re not online?
Although word of mouth and personal recommendations are still important for landscapers and there is no lack of work in this sector, having a website is essential for several reasons.
- Credibility: today, most customers search the web to check user opinions about your landscaping company and its legitimacy.
- Image: a website explains who you are, what you do and how you see things - an important way to stand out from your competitors.
- Corporate development: by building Credibility and Image, your website will attract more prospects. Then it is up to you to choose between the landscaping projects you find the most interesting!
However, opening a website is not enough to win new customers. Beyond creating a showcase detailing your presentation/services/portfolio/practical information, it is the contents with strong added value that surfers remember the most. However, only 37% of small and medium-size companies use them (1). For example, why not propose an article which explains how to do basic garden maintenance - a subtle incentive to use you for heavy work ;)
To create your website, and depending on your ability, you can choose to create it and place it on your own server or buy an all-in-one solution.
Some tools to test
Back up your digital data
As soon as you go digital, you will need to manage and save your digital data. Do not assume that because your data are dematerialized, they are safe!
On March 9th, 2021 one of France’s biggest Web hosting sites, an OVH building in Strasbourg, burnt down – and many badly prepared companies lost all their data. This would not have happened if these companies had used in-house backups. And disaster can also not only strike to your web site but also all the other vital data like your digitalized invoices.
This is why it is essential to take precautions to protect your digital data.
- Make regular backups.
- Store your digital data on several supports... (external hard drive, USB key, NAS (network-attached storage)…)
- … and store them in several different places (your landscaping company, your home, in the cloud…)
Some tools to test
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for landscaping companies
This kind of tool is a little more sophisticated but quickly becomes essential if you have a lot of customers to manage. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software often integrates invoice and quotation management and is used to facilitate customer follow-up. It is designed to improve your business relationships and ensure your customers remain loyal. Here’s how CRM can keep life simple for landscapers:
- All your data is centralized: no need to look for a phone number lost at the bottom of an e-mail or delve through your posts-its to check on what you said to a customer.
- Improve customer relationships: there is nothing worse for customers than to contact you about a project for their garden and to find out that you cannot give them precise replies without having them repeat everything they’d already told as you hadn’t noted it down in a CRM-type software package.
- Harmonize your in-house communication: with a CRM, your whole landscaping team has the same information on each of your prospects and customers – which eliminates the risk of making the same offer twice to the same person.
Some tools to test
When you are on the ground with your knees in the soil or up a tree pruning, some cell phone applications can be very useful in every landscaper’s toolbox. Do you know them?
(1) France Num: 20 CHIFFRES CLÉS SUR LA PRÉSENCE SUR INTERNET DES TPE PME EN 2018
(2) Salesforce: Qu'est-ce que le CRM ?
© Photo credit: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock