In this video about Lawn Care Software Reviews I name every landscape software provider serving the lawn care industry and give details.
I receive a lot of questions through my ‘Lawn Care Millionaire’ blog about “Who is the best software provider?”, “Who should I use?”, “What software systems exist?”, and so I’d like to answer that for you. A lot of users search Google for Lawn Care Software Reviews trying to figure out who all the lawn care software providers are. In this video I provide a full list.
First, many people don’t realize that I own a software company. I’m a partner in ‘Service Autopilot’, so we are one of these companies. We are a software provider.
Now, knowing that, I’m going to try to do my best to be somewhat unbiased but obviously I think Service Autopilot is the best system out there.
I’m going to be frank.
I’m going to tell you exactly who the lawn care software companies are that we compete with.
I’m going to name every single landscape software company I am aware of, and then I’m going to give you a little bit of detail about each one of those companies.
This is not a blatant plug for Service Autopilot, the feedback I’m giving is from my perspective, of course, after several thousand calls over the last four years. I’ve learned a lot about our lawn software competitors and who they are, and so I’m just simply going to state that.
Now, before I do that, why would I even be willing to do this?
Because obviously, I am trying to sell Service Autopilot. Maybe I should want to hide our software competitor list from you?
Maybe I don’t want you to know who my competitors are or maybe I don’t want you to know what their good points are and their bad points are, actually, I probably want you to know what their bad points are but not their good points.
The reason is, if you look at us, we sell Service Autopilot as a membership, and you have a 30-day money back guarantee, and you can cancel at any time. The way we look at this is, we know what we’re building. We know where we’re going, we know what we have, and we feel that if we’re not the right fit for you, we really don’t want you to sign up today. I’d rather work with you in a year, because then, in a year, I can keep you as a client, whereas if you start today and we’re not the right company, you’re going to think we suck, you’re going to think we’re no good, you’re going to think we don’t know what we’re doing because we’re missing some feature or something that you’ve got to have, and then you’re going to have that impression forever and you’ll never try us again later.
Even worse, you’re going to tell everybody that we’re no good, or you’re going to go on lawn site and you’re going to say, “These are certainly no good. They don’t have the faintest idea of what they’re doing.” My challenge as an owner of a software company and the challenge of everybody I’m about to mention is that this is a big industry. It’s one of the biggest industries. Sometimes, I’ll have somebody in Service Autopilot, they’ll say to me, “How can you not have this feature? How could you possibly not have the report?” in almost in the tone that, “Are you guys completely incompetent and clueless?”
I argue I’m not incompetent. I think I know what’s going on. I’m not just a software guy. I have a clue about the industry. The challenge is that this is a big diverse industry. There’s tree care and irrigation and lawn care and maintenance, and there’s commercial versus residential, there’s a little guy that’s doing 50,000 a year versus a big guy that’s doing $25 million a year.
Everybody has different needs. Everybody has different priorities. It’s different in the northeast versus in the south. It’s different in California versus Florida. Some guys do prepaid letters, other guys think you’re insane to do prepaid letters. Some people give an estimate for everything and renew the estimate and the contract every year, other people think contracts are insanity. Some people auto charge credit cards, some people bill every 30 days. Some people do chemical tracking, some people think it’s a waste of time.
Some people think inventory and irrigation is “You got to have it”. Other people think, “That’s a giant waste of time. All you’ll do is make adjusting entries.” Everybody has an opinion. Everybody runs their business different. It’s my challenge, it’s everybody’s challenge up here.
Know that going into this, you have to look for what is the right solution for you. I’m not the right solution for everybody. Nobody up here is the right solution for everybody. It’s a massive market. We all fill up a need. We all fit into a space. Let me tell you what I’ve learned over the last several years about my competition. I hope that ultimately, I’m your solution down the road. If not, that’s fine. It’s fine.
There’s plenty. That’s the way I look at it. I’m not worried about it. Here’s what I know. Let me first tell you, who is it that you might want to take a look at if you’re going to fully evaluate and do a competitive analysis on everybody? Here we are, Service Autopilot. That’s me. Again, not just me, I have a whole team behind me and I have an incredibly awesome business partner by the name of John, so it’s not just me.
Clip, QXpress, Jobber … Let me do it this way. Boss, Real Green, HindSite, PestPac, EverGreen … I think I have that right. I spelled it wrong. No, I believe. I don’t know. I can’t remember how they spell their name. I don’t see these guys very often. ArborGold, Grounds Keeper, Gopher, LawnPro, LawnAid, DynaSCAPE. I know I forgot somebody. I know there’s somebody else.
I’m going to first tell you after thousands of conversations, and let me tell you that I’ve talked to some massive companies that are too big for us, I mean, the biggest of the biggest. I’ve also talked to some guys that don’t even have a business, they’re about to get started, so I’ve truly had all the conversations. I’ve heard about all the systems. Let me first go down the list and tell you who I think the major players are based on what I’ve learned.
I think we are a major player. There’s no doubt we’re a major player now. Clip is a major player. They’ve been around forever. QXpress is a major player. I get the impression that they were one of the most dominant systems, and I’ll tell you more about them. Jobber is coming, I think. Real Green for sure a major player. ArborGold is the major player from what I can tell in the tree care industry.
Those are probably the big ones. If you’re a pest control, PestPac is a big player. There’s another competing PestPac, I can’t remember. I think it’s Service Pro I think is a big competitor of PestPac. It would be between those two guys in the pest control world in my opinion. I could be wrong on that.
I preface … I’m not going to say it again. I hope this preface everything. Everything is my opinion. This is what I think is the case from what I’ve learned over the last several years. In HindSite, I see them quite a bit too, but I named the major players. The companies we hear about the most are Clip and QXpress for sure, and then when we’re dealing with tree companies, it’s ArborGold. Those are the big ones.
If you’re a little bitty company getting started, we hear about Grounds Keeper and Gopher. Those are the two that most of the small guys come from, these two systems or have used or asked questions about. Gopher is a system that from the best I can tell hasn’t been updated in six or seven years, and there’s virtually no support around the system, but a lot of guys start there because it’s super cheap, and so we see a lot of guys on Gopher.
This is basically the competition. Let me go through a few things that I think are key points and then differentiate a few of these companies. DynaSCAPE is going to be the strong player for landscape. That’s really where they fit in my opinion in the landscape market. LawnAid is a little bitty online software program. LawnPro is a little bitty online software program. Gopher is very old desktop program. Grounds Keeper is an old desktop program. ArborGold is a really old tree software program in Microsoft Access. I think they might be trying to do …
I think they might be doing some new things on the web. EverGreen and PestPac are related. They’re both owned by a company named ‘Marathon Data’. QXpress is owned by the same company that owns these guys, ‘Marathon Data’. Marathon Data has at one point was … I may get my facts wrong, held under another company and that was recently sold off. This Marathon Data Company is owned by a different group now.
QXpress, PestPac and EverGreen are all related. If you’ve ever heard of ServiceCEO, it just does not fit in this industry. Those four systems are all related together. QXpress in my opinion was the system for the maintenance guys. I’m sure that Clip would disagree with me because Clip has a lot of clients, but QXpress from my perspective was the one that I saw a lot for maintenance, and Clip has a ton of clients from what I understand or has in the past. I don’t know where anybody stands today.
QXpress was sold I believe in 2010 to this company, ‘Marathon Data’, and the owner of that company has since moved on to start another software company. QXpress, I’ve been pretty fond of. The QXpress and Service Autopilot I believe have by far the best sync when it comes to QuickBooks. No question about it. I don’t think anybody else is in the realm of either of Service Autopilot or QXpress when it comes to sync.
QXpress just historically has been known, [inaudible 00:08:58] a one way sync, but they’ve been historically known as a solid one way sync, and they do a great job. I mean, they really do a very good job. They were desktop software, started I believe as a college project maybe by the owner, and they did a great job. Great product in my opinion.
HindSite was irrigation software that I believe they’re serving the whole industry. Real Green, I pigeonholed them into the guys doing fertilization and weed control. They tend to attract bigger companies because they’re an expensive product, and they sell you forms and marketing. They’re really … I feel their essence is they’re a marketing company, they sell you the forms, and they’re not cheap. They’re not cheap and they cater to you lawn care, fertilization and weed control guys. Again, they don’t generally have startups from my perspective, they have bigger companies.
Boss? Don’t know a lot about Boss, but Boss is a company from my understanding with few clients but very, very, very big clients and they’re very expensive. I envision them as very custom. We don’t see Boss very often. Again, very small number of clients but very, very big clients. I perceive … right or wrong, I perceive they tend to attract commercial maintenance companies.
Jobber guys, they’re really catering to the smaller client, the smaller guy, the smaller business, so not a bigger company but the smaller guy. Clips, they’ve just flat out been around forever. They have from my understanding a very diverse client base of maintenance of landscape, irrigation, lawn care … They have really served the industry for a very, very long time and serve a lot of clients, and a lot of clients in all different segments of the industry.
From what I’ve heard, my perception just going into details here, I’ve heard the ArborGold folks are super nice people. I have the perception that they are. HindSite, I get the impression these are good people over at HindSite, and I’ve met the Jobber guys. I know the Jobber guys are good people. I’m the guy that used QXpress years ago. I was actually a QXpress client years ago before Service Autopilot existed or I even thought there would ever be a Service Autopilot.
Service Autopilot came out of the fact that I looked at all these solutions and used QXpress for a while and thought, “I just could never get my company to the level I need. I need one system that can do everything,” and I just didn’t have it. I looked at NetSuite, I looked at [Salesforce 00:11:33], I looked at all these high dollar systems outside of the industry and said, “There’s no way they’ll work from a scheduling standpoint.”
I looked at the guys that own PestPac, EverGreen and QXpress. I looked at ServiceCEO … There just wasn’t any chance I could make them work for my business and the industry. That’s how Service Autopilot spark happened is we didn’t see anything. If QXpress had been built into something really awesome, which it was a good product, Service Autopilot would not exist today.
If Real Green had been a full business system not just for lawn care, then Service Autopilot would not exist today. That was a spark that created Service Autopilot just to be completely upfront. I think of Real Green and QXpress as being really good systems. I think the Jobber guys are doing some nice stuff but they’re catering to the really small business and they’re good guys.
That’s my basic take on most of these. If you want a web-based solution, you’ve got to look at Service Autopilot, Jobber … I got to preface, if LawnAid and LawnPro are online systems but they’re tiny little systems. They’re not Jobber and they’re not Service Autopilot. Again, I’m sure I’m offending some people here, but that’s my perspective after thousands of conversations, and I would argue that I’m pretty clued-in on what’s going on.
Pretty much everybody else is an older desktop-based system, older technology. The guys that strike me as that I’ve just been around forever are the Real Green, the Clip, the ArborGolds, Gopher and Grounds Keeper. I think of those as the five systems that have just been around forever. To reiterate, if you’re looking for online software, Service Autopilot, Jobber and then after that, if you’re a little little bitty, LawnPro and LawnAid would be considerations.
Honestly, if you’re not going to consider Service Autopilot, if we’re just not a fit, and we are a fit for smaller companies, but if you’re not going to consider Service Autopilot and you’re looking for a little bitty system to get you started, go with Jobber over these two. If you’re looking for pure landscape, Dyna-Mist is a solid job costing, costing-base system that tends to be different than all these other guys.
Like I said, everybody have their thing when they got started. DynaSCAPE fits into the landscape mode. ArborGold is really a tree software. They’re hard to fit outside of tree software. Real Green is lawn care, spraying, fertilization and weed control software. HindSite was, if I understand correctly irrigation software, but I think they make a little bit more of a crossover than some of the other systems do other things. That was kind of their thing.
By the way, our perception is that Boss is commercial maintenance. Service Autopilot by the way was started with the vision that we were going to serve all aspects of the industry, and we were going to be that system that wasn’t so much so pigeonholed. I will tell you that over the years, we’ve been weak in areas where other systems have been strong.
For example, Real Green has continued to be stronger than us in the past years for fertilization and weed control chemical tracking type things. It took us time to build that kind of stuff where we’re still a little weak. This is March of 2014, the very beginning of March, 2014. We’re about to solve this problem when we release some new functionality that we’ve been working on a long time called ‘Project Management’.
The DynaSCAPE has historically been stronger than us at project management and the landscape industry because we haven’t had a project management base system, and they focus just on the landscape aspect. As you’re doing your research, what I can recommend that you do is you figure out what is it that’s most important to you. What do you do? What services do you sell?, and then that helps you figure out who you identify with the most.
For example, landscape, you’re going to need to look at DynaSCAPE. Clip I think does some landscape stuff. You want to look us. I mean, there’s others that will work but these guys are going to tend to be the strong one. If you want to look at fertilization and weed control, you’re going to look at Real Green. You’re going to look at Service Autopilot.
QXpress had some functionality in there around for it, so there’s a bunch of … actually, there’s a bunch of fertilization and weed control guys on QXpress. I think Clip has some stuff, but I hear about QXpress and Real Green as being the bigger ones for fertilization and weed control. If you’re going to look at irrigation, you got to look at HindSite. You look at us.
Again, a lot of guys on irrigation with QXpress. They were a good general system. Something else you might want to consider is “Are they a full business system?”, “Do they do really deep to do scheduling?”, and “Do they do email blasting?”, and “Do they do marketing and CRM and all of that stuff?” That’s stuff to consider. That immediately rules out the vast majority of all these companies.
This is a very biased part what I’m about to say, but I believe there’s absolutely no question that the future is cloud-based, web-based software. It think it’s flat out proven. There is no question about it. That’s something to consider when you’re buying software, “Which of these vendors is going to be the one that is going to work for you two years, five years, ten years from now?”, “Which of these companies are going to have to rebuild their entire systems from scratch?”
I’ll tell you, there is no reuse of the programming code when you decide to become web-based. You start over. You start over like Service Autopilot in 2009 starts … I mean, you start over. In fact, half the time your programmers that you have can’t make the jump. You’ve got to get new developers.
For a lot of the companies to make the switch, that’s a big challenge because they’ve got to get new development teams or over the years, they’ve lost a lot of their internal knowledge because guys have left to go on to web-based software because some of these systems are still desktop-based software. Think about that. That’s a very biased opinion.
We made a very conscious decision to go web-based. Back when we did it, it was not the obvious answer just yet. We thought it was close but it was not the obvious answer. Today, there’s no doubt. If nobody is investing and giving money to [inaudible 00:17:49] but web-based software.
If you look at VC and angel investing, they only invest in web-based software. Nobody is building desktop software anymore. Any company that’s desktop software is going to have to start over if they ever want to be the true cloud-based web-based system which is totally the future. Think about that. Think about how big of a system you want.
If you just want a $200 cheap solution, kind of a throwaway solution to get you by for a year, you could look at things like Gopher. Now, I would not recommend that. Again, totally a biased scenario or biased answer. If you’re not going to consider us, there’s a couple of others I’d recommend. I pointed out Jobber. Think about this stuff as you’re working on your business.
One more thing. Totally biased again, and it’s because I have experienced in the industry, I have experienced in technology, you could today start with something a little bit cheaper than a Service Autopilot or a little bit cheaper than a Real Green or a little bit cheaper than some of the other systems on here, actually, even cheaper than Jobber. Jobber is a really low priced point, that’s their price point is going up but they’re low. You could start with some cheaper stuff, but what’s going to happen if that system is not growing into a bigger system?
What if that system wasn’t designed to cater to the little guys getting started and to the big guys? You need a growth path, because if you don’t have the growth path, you start with a small system and then you start over some day. You relearn it, you reimplement it, you redo everything from ground up. You have to redo it when you’re at the exact worst time when you’re trying to grow and you have all these things in your business breaking.
It’s really important to choose from the beginning who is the company that’s moving in the direction you want to move, so you should look at your company goal. If your company goal is, “I never want to be more than me in a truck,” I think we still work, but there’s other solutions that work for you. If your goal is, “One day, I want to have three cruise or five cruise”, or “One day, I want to be a million or two or three million dollars,” you should really look at the system that could get you started on that path today so you never have to make a change.
Also, the system that could run a five-million dollar company, gives you incredible advantages today in functionality today that the five-million dollar guys have. Whereas if you go with the smaller solution that doesn’t have that functionality, you don’t have the advantages of your competitors which makes it harder to become one of the big guys. Think about where you want to go and as best you can buy the software that’s going to take you where you want to go.
Those are a few pointers. I hope they’re helpful. I’m happy to answer more. You know I’m biased. I hope you’ll try us at some point, but these are the other guys you want to look at. These are the guys you want to consider and you want to go with who’s best for you.
If I could leave you with one last idea, don’t … This is the biggest risk we all make. We all make decisions on price, and that is exactly the wrong way to make price or make a decision. We look and we say, “You know what? This is going to cost me $200 a month. This is going to cost me 8,000 bucks.” By the way, Service Autopilot does not cost you 8,000 bucks, but let’s just say it’s going to cost me 8,000 bucks.
For Real Green, let’s use Real Green. They’re an expensive system. They’re going to cost you a big financial outlay upfront. You should not make your decision on Real Green based on the fact that they’re going to cost you eight grand upfront and in some amount of money each month. You should make your decision on, “How much money will Real Green make me?” “How much money will I make because I bought Real Green?”
Yes, I spend 8,000 upfront, and yes, I spend a couple of hundred dollars a month or whatever their number is, but as a result, I take my $300,000 business in the next couple of years to a million, or as a result, I don’t need an extra person on my payroll, or as a result, the marketing I was never doing is finally happening. Eight thousand dollars is a ‘Who cares?’ number when it takes you from 300 to a million. The same is true with Service Autopilot, the same is true with some of these other systems. You need to make the decision based on which one gives you the best return on investment, not what the cost is.
The cost is insignificant. Yes, you’ve got to be able to write that check, but the cost is really insignificant. The only decision, the only way you make a decision I believe across the board buying equipment, software or whatever is “Will this thing that I’m spending money on bring a whole lot more money to me, so if I’m going to send a hundred dollars out to the vendor, how much more money comes back to me?” It’s simple investing.
I invest a hundred … I better get more than a hundred dollars back. If I invest a hundred dollars in Service Autopilot, and all Service Autopilot does is give me a hundred dollars in value, Service Autopilot is not really the solution for you. If you invest a hundred dollars in Service Autopilot, it should save you payroll, it should help you be a better company, it should help you market, it should do all these things for you. That’s true for every system.
Consider your time. Your time is not free. For example, if Service Autopilot or Gopher can save you … and I’ll argue Service Autopilot is going to save you a lot more time, but if one of the systems can save you 20 hours of your time, how much is that worth? It’s not just worth the amount of money you pay yourself, it’s the 20 hours that you can reposition and now spend on something to growth the company. What’s the real value of 20 hours?
Think in terms of return on investment as you evaluate all of your options out here, “Which one is going to as you spend money on it bring the most money back to you?” “Which one is going to get you to your big goal the fastest?” “Which one is going to be the best?” Of course, you’ve got to consider customer service. I can tell you from what I’ve heard, that’s going to be us and HindSite and Jobber. That’s what I’ve heard about customer service. That could be completely wrong, but that’s what I’ve heard.
Over and over again, I heard great things about us. Of course we’ve had our missteps, but I’ve heard the Jobber guys are doing a good job. They’re a small company. You still got to deal with the owners, still got to talk to those guys, and so now, as they get bigger, that might be a challenge. We’ve had to go already go through those scaling issues to keep great customer service as we’ve become bigger, and then Jobber has a reputation from what I’ve heard as being nice guys.
Some points to consider. Pick the one that’s the best for you, the one that’s going to give you the greatest return on investment. Also this is kind of crazy, you might … I don’t get along with it, but let me say something. I said that in the very beginning, that I’ve heard nice things about ArborGold, nice things about HindSite, nice things about Jobber and of course us.
Why did I say that? I guess it’s because I think about that kind of stuff a lot. I want to work with people I like. I want to work with people that are going down the road that I want to go down. I want to work with people that in five years, I’m still going to like. I call some companies that I work with and I’m done with them. I want to switch vendors because I just don’t even enjoy them, I ask their team to do something and there’s no response, they’re not even friendly, I just feel like I’m talking to somebody in some other country or I feel like I’m talking to somebody here that’s just punching the clock and doesn’t care.
I think it’s important to go with somebody you like. You’re going to be working with this technology provider for a very long time, so you need to make sure you connect with them and you like them. Of course the technology is most important, but if it comes down to two providers both with great technology, go with the one in my opinion that has the best roadmap and that you believe will really execute it and has the technical ability, and the business know how. They have to know this industry, and then the ones you just flat out like because you’re going to be working with these guys closely for years and years to come.
That’s why I pointed out a couple of people that I’ve head nice things about. I hope this is helpful. I hope that gives you some ideas of who the competition is. Again, for the fourth time, I’m biased, but my opinion is based on a tremendous amount of feedback from talking with clients and prospective clients and many that didn’t even go with us over the years. Good luck making your decision.