Whether you are a small one-man (or woman) lawn care operation or a large multi-crew lawn care company, you already know the importance of setting a schedule and staying to that schedule. Ordinarily, a lawn care company verified their schedule by keeping a day planner and checking off their lawn care customers as the service was completed.
In 2005, we began advocating the use of GPS technology. Quite simply, the tracks from a GPS serve as proof that you were at a client’s property. The track data from a GPS also tells you the time period you were at each property. By analyzing the track data you can make your lawn care company run more efficiently. You can also make some interesting discoveries such as customers that warrant a price increases based on the time it takes to finish.
I am still a believer in tracking your progress through your work day with the use of GPS technology. However, in recent weeks the use of GPS enabled phones has taken a HUGE leap forward. There is a new service called Foursquare.com. Foursquare is an app that you download to your GPS enabled phone. They have apps for Iphone, Droid, Blackberry, and a host of other mobile devices. Though I have just signed up for their service a few days ago, I am so excited about this new GPS-related service that I am going to tell you about it before I’ve even had a chance to review it fully.
Foursquare allows users to “Check In” when they have reached a destination. The user checks in on his phone using the app. Once the user checks in, a notification is sent to the user’s Facebook account or Twitter feed.
Here’s how I envision Foursquare working for lawn care companies. Let’s say you have 10 yards to do on Monday. When leaving first think in the morning you can send a message saying “leaving.” Later, when you arrive at your first client’s yard, you can check in and type in “arrived at Mrs. Smiths.” When your through with Mrs. Smith’s yard you can type in “leaving Smith’s.” When you arrive at your second yard, type in “arrived at Mr. Lewis (wants gutters cleaned, also).”
Now, there are two great things about this service.
1) When you get home, you have a visual reference of your timeline through out the day. You know when you arrived at each clients house and how long it their work took you to perform.
2) If you run lawn care crews, you can check your crews Twitter feed and know exactly where they are in their scheduling. If Ms. Smith calls and wants to know what time your crew will be at her house, you can tell her that she is next on the list and the crew started the last yard 15 minutes ago and should be at her house within the next 30 minutes.
The possibilities are tremendous for this technology.
As good as Foursquare is, they are not proclaiming to be a business application. They have a gaming scheme built into their app where you can win points visiting resturaunts. Irrespective of their initial motives, I belive the business community will quickly latch onto this app.
I’ve not put this into practical application yet so I am sure you need to read the disclaimers from the Foursquare company regarding such things as privacy issues and other concerns. Also, I know Foursquare has some competitors.
If you have tried Foursquare or any of their competitors, please tell me what your experience has been. Do you find it cumbersome to use? Does it post correctly to your Twitter feed? Is privacy a concern (keeping your Twitter feed private and not keeping your schedule and your clients private and not available to the Foursquare audience)?
As always, if you are interested in growing your lawn care business and using technology in the lawn care business to make money mowing grass and doing landscaping, we have developed a great business package that will help you Start (or Expand) your lawn care business this year.
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