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View Full Version : Low Tech Organization - Incoming Call Sheet for Estimates/Jobs for Season


Hedgemaster
03-05-2012, 11:42 PM
Let me start by saying that while this worked for me in my first season, there may be better ways of doing things. I don't claim that this is the best method, only that it worked for me when I had no other means of keeping track of my jobs since I didn't have a computer or software to do such things.

I started out with a notebook. That was a bad idea in that I had no uniform way of taking down info from incoming calls, and there was no way to organize info in any useful way. It just didn't work. I decided that I needed a sheet dedicated to taking down info from incoming calls - some sort of "form" that allowed me to fill in the blanks while talking to the person on the phone. Before doing so, I would sometimes find that I had forgotten to get information and would need to call back to get it.

I had intended these sheets to be used as estimate sheets only, but as it turned out, I found that I could keep track of things through the entire season once a client had "signed on".

I recently tweaked my form by adding a few items that I found myself writing in by hand last season. I know that there are a lot of noobs reading that are looking for any help they can get, so I thought I'd share what I put together in hopes that it may help someone. I'll add a PDF attachment below. Its a two page document - I printed it on both sides

I always have a clipboard with these sheets in my truck as well as a stack at home near my desk. When a call, or email comes in for an estimate, I fill out the sheet and take it with me on the estimate. I can conveniently take notes on the property, note client requests, etc. These notes are now available any time I need to refer to them throughout the season.

After I get the "OK" to start the job, I then keep track of the cuts/jobs performed on the lower portion. I note the date, work done (Mow, Hedges, Cleanup, etc), job price, and whether payment was received.
Once my schedule is set, I just take the sheet with the customer info and sort it by day they get cut. I have a nice binder with a pocket on the front that I keep "today's jobs" in. Inside the binder are pocket dividers for each day of the week where the rest stay.

Anyway, that's how I made it through season one. If it helps someone, great, if not, you've just lost a few minutes of your time that you'll never get back. :D


Oh, and I'm sorry, but it's not saved in a format that you can edit. I tried to do it in Word, but I just got that software recently and have never used it before, so I did it in something I was familiar with.

thegroundscrew
03-06-2012, 12:06 AM
Wow that's excellent work you put together. I wish I could just snag that from you. My favorite part is the text ok spot and the spot for additional notes. This is a great way to keep track of everything if you don't have a software. Sometimes it can be even better. Well great job. Are you going to use this for season two? If not what are you going to do instead?

Hedgemaster
03-06-2012, 12:37 AM
Wow that's excellent work you put together. I wish I could just snag that from you. My favorite part is the text ok spot and the spot for additional notes. This is a great way to keep track of everything if you don't have a software. Sometimes it can be even better. Well great job. Are you going to use this for season two? If not what are you going to do instead?

Thanks.
Heh. I'd say a full half of my clients communicate with me by text almost exclusively. I like it because once I know they can accept texts, I don't feel like I'm "intruding" if I need to ask something - not like I would if I had to make a call. It also is a record of what was asked/agreed upon.

Yes, I'll use it the same way this season. I currently have the Gopher software trial and will likely purchase it, but this is a relatively simple system to use - Pull into the jobsite and just jot down the date, anything else I want to note (like start/stop time), amount paid, and that's about it - done.
Even if I use the software, this is an excellent backup. I'm also a creature of habit, so once I have a system, it's hard to change.
I did purchase my first laptop not long ago and plan to use it for "work", but I don't know if I'll carry it with me all day every day or not yet. Time will tell.

Steve
03-06-2012, 04:39 PM
Great post!

Can you tell us, especially the new start up business owners, what the benefit is to using such incoming call sheets vs just writing down an address and go show up for an estimate?

Early on, a lot of times, it seems new business owners won't get it unless the reasons are explained out as to why. And since you have used them for a season now, what's your view on why?

Hedgemaster
03-06-2012, 05:09 PM
Great post!

Can you tell us, especially the new start up business owners, what the benefit is to using such incoming call sheets vs just writing down an address and go show up for an estimate?

Early on, a lot of times, it seems new business owners won't get it unless the reasons are explained out as to why. And since you have used them for a season now, what's your view on why?

There are several benefits that I've found.

(a) This keeps all the important info in one place.
Prior to using these, I used a notebook, loose sheet of paper, sticky notes... This resulted in lost info, fumbling around trying to remember what I wrote, and where, half the info in my truck while the rest is in the house, and a generally unorganized way of doing things.

(b) I don't forget to ask questions.
With incoming calls, I used to forget to ask if the number they gave me was a cell or home number. Now, as I'm writing, I see the spot on the sheet to circle one, or the other, and I never forget to ask.

(c) It looks more professional.
If I'm standing there speaking to the client while taking down info, it looks a little better than making notes in a yellow notepad.

(d) All info is at my fingertips.
I can use the same sheet from the time a client first calls for an estimate, all the way through to the end of the season. All my notes on what mower height I used on the lawn, hidden obstacles, their pet's names, their work hours, time it takes to complete their lawn, and more, are all in one place.
Even if I start to implement my laptop, this sheet will still be just as useful to me.