Few questions; scheduling, organizing, client lists, etc

So I’ve done some searching but can’t seem to really find specifics for all the questions I have. Before I get my business built to the point where converting techniques will be a ridiculous task, I’d like to get things situated now. So my questions for everyone…

  • How are you keeping track of your schedule?
  • How are you keeping track of your residential clients? Excel spreadsheets?
  • What about timing notifications; let’s say you serviced a home and you’d like to be notified or keep track of when 6 months (or whenever the next scheduling is or should be?
  • How do you keep up on follow ups effectively? Again, this can be categorized with notification techniques.
  • How do you keep track of route work and scheduling?
  • How do you keep track of billing? and again, follow ups?

**EDIT: I wanted to also add, what sort of template do you use for invoices/estimates? Excel spreadsheet the best way of doing this? Converting it to maybe a pdf when emailing invoices?

A lot of questions, but it’s all pertaining to the same basic point, organization and making life a lot easier before getting ahead of yourself to the point where you realize you’ve totally outgrown the technique you’ve used from the get-go? I suppose I should mention that I also have additional notes regarding the size of the home, hour long it took, what type of windows, price, etc etc.

As of right now I basically keep it all in standard text documents, basic but it works… for now. So I’m curious, how do you guys keep track of all of this?

Quickbooks knocks out the billing, and also acts as an exportable client list. Quickbooks online runs $9.95/mo… (ps… you can pay an extra $25 a month for Pro, but I haven’t found it to be worth the extra at all…and now I can’t downgrade.)

I keep track of scheduling in a written calendar first, and then put it all onto my google calendar…which also syncs up on my phone. If you’ve got an Android phone, your contacts also sync to a google account so this acts as a client list of sorts, although it will contain all of your contacts unless you create groups.

I’d actually like to know the answers to the rest of the questions myself. It’s to the point where I can’t do this (followup, schedule, etc) all by memory anymore.

+1 on the Quickbooks - slight learning curve but once you get the basics its fairly easy.
We use written estimates, and keep everyone on file. An approved estimate also serves as a work order. I ocacasionally call back estimates we did not win, or those we never heard back from. As far as scheduling, I just use an online calendar like google or through my email Outlook or Thunderbird. Then I print off the calendar every week, printed out for the month. This way I can write on it in the field…etc. I keep multiple folders on my clipboard - 1) Estimates 2) Jobs to be scheduled 3) Scheduled Jobs. Plus I always keep a stack of marketing crap on me at all times…doorhangers, flyers, biz cards, brochures. Call all customers spring and fall.

+1 on Quickbooks and google calander. The version I use and also pro has the option to customize your invoice and estimate templates which is really cool. I dont do the online version tho.
The google calander is awesome! You can invite whoever you want (employees, customers, whoever) and set up permissions so they can either only view it, or edit, or add stuff to it. You can also hide stuff on it from the people you set up permissions for I believe. Makes it easy for people to see their scheduled visit, just by sending an email link or your guys can just log on and see what the schedule looks like for the week/month/year.

You can put a ton of stuff on that calander, even set reminders for follow up as well and hide it from public view so only you can see the reminder.

When you set up an appointment, it will also ask you if it re-occuring and lets you set it up for WHATEVER the frequency is, daily/weekly/ 2xs a week, monthly, whatever…even every 6 months and you can make it indefinite or set it to only a year.

I dont have a route, and really dont want one so I dont know the anwer to that question- but I imagine you can do the same with that as well.

We use “The Customer Factor” for scheduling, customer relationship management and sales. We use quickbooks online for accounting.