I got a program that was designed for the snowplow only. It's called Blizzard Buster 3.0. they sent me a demo, and its pretty neat and easy to use. the price is $179. if you can find the site, they send you a free demo. here's the site <a href="http://www.adkad.com/blizzardbuster.htm">click here</a>.
We had a program written for us that canabalizes 'AccPac', which is a sophisticated accounting package. It's all inclusive of materials, quoting (landscape installation, routing, p&l reports, payroll as tied into jobs completed, tracking subs time and pay, as well as customers p&l's). It's rather expensive ($5,000+) and you need someone to monitor and do upgrades (at about $10,000 a year support dollars). However, with the volume we do (up to 70 visits per winter to a good portion of our sites), we need to do billing twice a week (minimum)to stay ahead of it. Our system also allows us to know what our expenses are each morning and what our profit is by noon each day. And, we didn't have to alter it much for the new contract.
We're kind of computer happy here with over a dozen work stations on a large network.
However, I'm told (by alot of plowing contractors) that Quick Books Pro works just fine in most cases.
Well, John, aren't we sitting in the lap of luxury; $5,000 for software, computer networks here, upgrades there. Make us remember that the rest of us are all just little people. Just kidding. Seriously, with all of the advances in technology, your software and computer systems only crash when you need them the most. Go figure.
I'm using QuickBooks 2000. While it's not a dedicated program it does pretty good. With somewhere around 50 stops it takes me about an hour to update billing after every storm. I think you can put in equipment as a sales line item and have it fill in the hourly rate for you, then you just plug in the hours. I'm not real big on dedicated software, unless you are really big it's hard to justify the cost and the upgrade fees.
Unfortunately, once you DO get to a certain size, you can't keep track of it all with a notepad and a pencil anymore. I still remember my roots though.... remember, I said that I started out with a Bronco and a Valk plow doing residentials in my neighborhood....
In fact, I actually started plowing in New Jersey with my father - and I was driving an old Wiley's jeep with one of those plows that you had to get out of the jeep, pull the pin, move the plow and put the pin back in before heading off again.....
I paid my dues....... AND... you're absolutely right about the crashes..... and it's doggone irritating when it DOES happen.
I remember those manual turn plows all too well. I started plowing with my stepdad when I was 14. Guess whose job it was to turn the plow !!!! yep, mine...
He had a 1960 Ford F250, he spent more time fixing it than driving it. I remember one miserable snow storm where the exhaust system fell apart. we patched it with soda and beer cans and baling wire during a storm on the side of the road.
That must be where i learned the right way to maintain a vehicle.
All I can say is Thank God for hydraulics pistons and pumps.