When it comes to tree business software, there is no perfect one-size-fits-all solution. Every tree care company has different requirements for the programs they need, and every software package has different trade-offs. Some companies might even need multiple solutions from different software providers in order to meet their needs. It’s hard to know what you need sometimes, but also when you DO know what you need, it can be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. It would be really great if someone could just read your mind and design a program specific to your wishes.
But until you can just think things into existence, you will need to do some research and shop around for the software best suited to you. So how do you even start to shop for the software that will be the most beneficial for your criteria? The following steps will help make this process easier for you.
First, Ask Yourself Some Questions
- Are you looking to grow your operation? Streamline it? What limitations do you need to address?
- Who will be evaluating the software? Office personnel? Field crews? Make sure the end users all have input.
- Is this software simple and accessible enough for my business management and office personnel? For my field and operations personnel? For my customers? Consider the time required for training as well as the learning curve of working with new software.
- Does the software integrate my chosen driver and other productivity tools (analysis, Quickbooks, storage)?
- What is your budget? If you’re going the inexpensive route you are likely paying for software intended to broadly serve many different types of industries, and will likely not provide what you are looking for.
- How is the customer service/tech support? Is there a community of resources to use when I get stuck?
- How does the vendor handle software updates?
- What are the warranties?
There are probably many more questions you’ll want to ask, but this list will hopefully reduce the overwhelm and allow you to focus.
Once You’ve Asked All the Questions, Take Some Action
- Talk to other professionals in your field to find out what software packages they’re using.
- Prioritize your business needs and determine which features you would like to have and features you absolutely must have.
- Rank the priorities of these specific features in terms of what is really required, like warranties and support.
- Create a Software Vendor Short List – Send them your requirements and ask for a demonstration. Ask for references of customers who have had similar requirements.
- Ask the software vendors to directly address to your list of requirements and compare products with each other. Without a detailed list of function requirements, salespeople will sell you only what their product does best. No software vendor can have the perfect solution for your needs without knowing what those needs are.
- Commit the time required to fully evaluate all the nuances of the products you’re considering.
Functions to consider when selecting software for your tree care business.
New software can be the key to unlocking your potential. Take the time to get it right and it will soon pay off in expanded capabilities and higher productivity. Your business software is every bit as important as PPE, bucket trucks, safety plans, etc. It’s part of your business!
Need help finding the right software for your business? Check out TCIA’s Supplier Directory, an online listing of all TCIA corporate members, including those who are software providers!