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HOODPRO

Scheduling Program

Question

I have been trying and trying to get a scheduling program. Thought I had found it in Taskmasterkec. After getting some basic info found it to be too cumbersome. Too much information to key in. It was like going into a diner, ordering a hamburger and the cook coming out with a cow and trying to shove it down your throat.
Anyway, what I have been looking for is a scheduling program. Simple, set up by Month, Zone, City, Customer, special needs. A program where changing the customer info has to be done only once. Right now I have to do it every cleaning. A click and drag type of program where keying in info is kept to a minimum. Simple reports are offered and if used the customer info will be automatically transferred to the report. Nothinggggg.
Thought Lawn Pro might have been the one but again too much information. I just want to get the scheduling done with as little repetitive keying as possible. Looking online it has become obvious that these programs are built by people that take keying info as second nature. I AM A HOOD CLEANER. Not a keyboardist. I don't have enough time to spend entering info over and over and over and over. (Crap,flashbacks of PeeWee Herman.) I contacted several people regarding this and found that they have changed their focus from software to creating phone apps. One computer guy is resistantly working on developing the program I want. 01/21/2014. If he can yaaaah hooooo. If you guys can think of anything that mighty be helpful to simplify hood cleaning scheduling, please let me know a/s/a/p so I can try to use it. Hoodpro@yahoo.com

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Real question is what amount of money are you wiling to invest into software and what KPI's are you trying to accomplish- might be a new post but this needs to be addressed as there are a few major players out there but each has its direction the software is going and you need to know what is most important.  They range from 5k to 25k for basic setups.  

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That's crazy for scheduling no offense. I mean really ,scheduling is simple why make it so hard. I have used outlook for years and it works and is cheap .heck there are free ones too like google .yahoo and so on.

Word of advice keep adding bs to your business and your bs trickles to your customers. Then your raising prices and of course next you'll be complaining the market is slow. Remember just because you have chicken crap don't mean you can make chicken salad.

The new age is just wasteful always spending to make things easy when in turn your making it harder. Keep it simple don't waste on garbage.

Marko

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You need to be more specific other that just saying outlook. Look at this. You clean a customer in Jan, April, July, October. He moves January to Feb. I have customer stuff set up for January in Excel. I have to have to change Jan to Feb, April , to March and so on. To freaking much info , keying.  Then I have to key in on the calendar provided by , whatever calendar program I am using. More Keying.  I have been doing this for over 25 years. Finding that I want to reduce or eliminate duplicate repetitive work. You know, simplify it. KISS. Scheduling programs are too much stuff. Google , Apple etc calendars require repetitive keying. Would like to have the customer log come up next to the Month calendar. Just click and drag the customer into the day they approve. Customer info that changes all frequencies when you change one month.  How hard can that be. I think its too easy and they cant get enough $$$$$ so they don't do anything.

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If quickbooks would add 2 features to thier reccuring appointment feature they could corner the market but they do not.

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I'm a bit new here but, I've been looking at software. I've looked at Taskmaster_KEC, Outlook, LawnPro and to be honest. Out of those, Taskmaster is probably the best one. To get the software that Hood Pro's is looking for, The closest is probably ServiceCEO. I'm waiting for a trial and to speak with a customer rep. now. Thet have a video on their website that explains the whole program in detail.

 

 

( i know i didn't introduce myself or fill out my profile properly and so. I promise I'll get to that. ASAP just got excited because I thought I was helping out a fellow hood cleaner)

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So far after emailing, speaking, running Outlook, Lawnpro, Taskmaster, Service CEO hiring computer people, nothing. Its like ordering a hamburger and they are trying to shove the entire cow down your throat. Then they tell you , sorry its all or nothing. The people that I need are writing apps for phones. The programs that look to possibly do what I want offer far to much. Report, invoicing, all kinds of data, mostly repetitious because of the accounting program I am running. QB. 

One more time. A simple program that can take specific customer information and transfer it to a calendar. It should be a list for the month that can be set in a specific day, time. Not the exact day as last cleaning but last corresponding month. Customers are set up by zone and frequency. Contact info and also a place for notes that indicate the customers preferences if necessary. 

How hard can this be in the computer age. Apparently too difficult  for the current group of techs. Gawd, this is frustrating. 

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Found a real good one with plenty of live help that is good help. CUSTOMERFACTOR.COM  Does everything QB does except payroll. Plus a drag and drop scheduling program, invoicing, customer info that you only have to change in one area. omg Omg OMG. If you people only knew how long I have been looking for this program. Finally.

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How is the program running?  Are you still geeked about it?  I have been looking for a scheduling program for a couple of years now and just gave up.  Almost bought Act, but it didn't do everything that I wanted.  I contact  software guys to build me a program, seems so easy....... Please let me know.  Thanks.

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Well so far the real obstacle is exporting the customers. Still at it. Steve at Customer Factor is very helpful but for a former window washer he surly overthinks things. I think I ask a simple question and he comes back with more questions. I just have to learn to be more patient and realize that the way I have been doing things for 20 years is not always going to be the best way. Hard to change.

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Well it looks like Customer factor isn't going to work out. It has a multitude of features many of which I will never use. Scheduling is my priority.

I need to enter customer information on a page and have selected monthly info come up on a spread sheet. Then I take the spread sheet and fill in a monthly calendar based on that info. Anybody? Hello? 

Keep this in mind. 500 plus customers being done multiple times during the year each with its own specific time frames. Index cards are not an option. Currently I use one spread sheet in Excel for each month. When any info changes, time, schedule, contact person I have to make sure I change each month they are listed in and then change it in my billing program. Way too much repetitive work. 

There should be a program out there that does that. But after more than a year, nope.

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Okay, So I'm coming back here. I just wanted to share. We use a program called Reflect Customer Database, It's free and we use Express Invoice, also free and by the same company. ( NCH software) We've been using it for almost 2 years and so far no glitches. We use it on our windows machine but, We also use it on our Linux Mint machines as well. 

We use Google calendar for our scheduling and the benefit there is, It's pairs with my phone so when an appointment is made, I know about it immediately and if I'm out in the field and make an appointment, The office knows about it. 

The three together work really good. It does take time to figure out though. 

Other things we use to our benefit is Weebly.com for our website. It's free and easy to edit as long as you keep .weebly in your name. I.E. APBHoodCleaning.weebly.com 

We use things like the free version of Yelp and we made a facebook page. We also set up a YouTube Channel. ( My 13 year old daughter runs that. She is disabled and in my opinion does a great job.)  We didn't want to pay our bank $35.00 a month to process credit cards so, We now use PayPal PayHere. We contacted them and got extra readers sent to us. Sure they charge 2.5 % to process credit cards but, we charge that to our customers. We no longer accept checks. It's either Cash or Credit. We have a cash or credit price. If a customer says that they can't afford to have their hoods cleaned, No Problem!! They can apply for credit through PayPal. They pay us and make payments to PayPal and if paid off within 6 months there's no interest. Plus, They enjoy buyers protection. If we don't do the job correctly, PayPal has their resolution center that contacts who they bought their product or service from and will set it up to correct the issue. If for some reason the contractor doesn't fix the issue, The money is returned to the person making the purchase. We've never had to use the resolution center. Also, We're notified if payment went through when we email their receipt to them. ( Usually within a minute of swiping the card)

I hope this helps others out there and if they need or want help, They can send me a message.

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I just had one of our employees tell me about a program called YardBook. I took a quick look at it and it does exactly what all the software I mentioned above does. It's completely free. Sure it's geared for the landscaper but, It does look kind of nice. I think I'm going to try it out to see how it goes. I did notice that it also has an app at the Android Playstore that you can use along side of it. So, In a way, Someone could be in the office and setup everything, It goes to the phone. It's really neat in the way they just work together. I thought I'd mention those because out here in the real world, unless you want to spend more money for stuff you really don't need or want, You can't get what you need. Honestly I didn't even realize that it was geared toward landscaping until I saw the name. 

The draw back was I had to setup the account with them just to see what it was about. Honestly, I kept thinking " Oh My God!! Here's another computer that's going to be toast. I even pulled out a hard drive and put it on my desk to get ready. I got out my Linux C.D.'s ( I use Zorin on 4, and Mint on the other 1 a hobby of mine is to get old machines, clean them out, Reprogram them and give them to kids at my daughters school) Anyway, I signed up and it's pretty nice. Basic but Nice.

I liked the fact it had a built in CRM, It kept track of the jobs, It has a calendar that can be used for scheduling, It saves estimates, There's an estimate section and produces invoices. It keeps track of our equipment ( Maintenance is in there), It has an expense column, A mileage log, it keeps track of payments and it'll tell you if someone is late paying. There's a dispatch section, It can do auto invoice, and keeps track of notes on customers. It has a Profit and Loss section BUT, My most favorite is The Time Clock. ( from my understanding we can clock in or out from our Android and since we take everyone, We don't clock you in until we get to the site but, Tell me what other company is going to come get you, take you to work, Feed you and then take you home.)

I'm sorry, I got carried away but, that's what I do when I see something I like. Maybe this will help people who are looking for something that get them up and running as for me, I have to wait for My Boss ( The Wife) to actually sit down and take a look at it. If she gives me the go ahead then, We'll do a full swap.. 

Here's a link to their site...  I hope it okay... Just trying to help out.  https://www.yardbook.com/

logo-02e7b94ff9859c5ae64d303a5283b7d6.png

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Well, So here's the follow up on Yardbook.... 

I was given the green light to go ahead and give it a try. Sure, It's geared for the landscaper but, Is there really any that's geared specifically for Hood Cleaners without having to spend a fortune? We ran it along side our other software before moving completely over. It keeps track of our customers and schedules plus, we can set our customers to every 3 months or whatever we want. It keeps track of employees and will calculate routing. There's just tons more than we ever thought. We're still discovering new features and Yardbook just adds more. We're Happy with it and will continue to use it. 

I like the fact that I can easily see who's due next month and start working on that schedule ahead of time. I just print out the calendar and make the calls. Our customers like us calling a couple three weeks ahead to setup the next schedule. 

Don't know how else to say AWESOME!!

 

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