Although I have only tried the Demo version as well, I am not very impressed with the quality of the product. To me it is not worth the money. It doesn't seem very user friendly and doesn't seem to have a very smooth process flow for entering or retrieving data. I'll keep my info in an Access database and excel spreadsheet like I do now and use the $200 trying to get new customers. If someone comes up with a better product, then maybe I will bite, but for now I'm content with saving the money.
I struggled with the full version, "Groundskeeper", last winter and this past summer. Struggled is actually too mild a term. Now that summer billing is all over I'll be going back to Quickbooks for all my billing.
Among the snags I ran into;
While it does make billing for routine work easier it adds a whole new dimension of frustration to billing for one of a kind work or any extras.
The routing function works fairly well, but it takes forever to print the route sheets. If you always run the same driver on the same route it's fine. But, as an example, last year we had one storm where I decied to sit it out and let the other two drivers plow. Seemed like a perfect opportunity set up routes. Seemed like a fine idea, other than it took TWO HOURS to print six pags of route information. Might not matter as long as you did it all in advance but if you lost a truck and had to change routes you would be in for a long wait to get the information in a usable form.
You cannot apply payments to a specific invoice. Multiple jobs can be set up, but all work on the same company information. You cannot bill any particular "job" seperately, nor can you apply a payment that is specific to one job only to that job, it is deducted from the overall company balance.
Invoices take forever to print. I'm thinking along the lines of tying up a printer for 8 hours if you had 100 invoices to get out.
There is no way to review invoices onscreen before printing. If you want to verify that you haven't double billed a service before printing it is a several step process that requires opening and closing several windows. Windows cannot be overlapped and shuffled, only one can be opened at a time.
Unless you bill every account on the same day it is very easy to double bill for services.
There is no compatibility with other software. In my case I need to enter payments in BB and then as a sale in Quickbooks when I make a deposit. Granted, I could lump sum all payments received in Quickbooks, but in the event of a bounced check it's easier to find it in my deposit if it is recorded seperately.
For a storm that I plow multiple times in a day I add the time on the invoice line. With QB that means typing in date and time. In BB that involves setting up a "one time charge" for every such entry, and requires multiple steps.
The program will not allow a four line address, nor will it allow correct punctuation for some cases of three line addresses. For example, my address is 101 W. Milton Rd., Unit #171. BB will not allow me to enter a comma in an address like that, nor will it allow me to put a room or suite number on a second address line.
When you modify data the cursor returns to the earliest entry in that particular list. Not the one nearest where you just made a change so if the list is very long you have to wait (and it's slow here too) while it scrolls down to where you need it.
If they made some changes in how it works it would be a great program. It would cost more but be worth it. As it is, it's clunky and slow and (in my opinion) NOT very well executed. I'm going to end up kissing the money I spent on it good bye. I may run off some various routes ahead of time, I DO like the way it puts together routes and directions and information for each site. But the routing function is not enough to justify paying into this otherwise poorly executed software.
alan has some valid points, the invoices do take a bit to print i do a shade over 100 every month and it takes 5 hours..some of this can be alleviated with a better printer
you can send out invoices for a single particular job they corrected that a cuople of updates ago
ome of what is said is true but remember we are talking about a 200 dollar program with FREE updates , not a thousand dollar program that must be paid to update
it is an excellent program for small business and it seems that that is what they advertise
the support is above average also...when i rarely have a problem it all fixed no charge and quickly!
I have to say, for $200, or whatever they are charging for it now, it is probably the best "simple" - (meaning without a lot of bells and whistles) program out there. I do not use BB actually ... I use GK Pro 2000, which is basically everything BB is with a few more of the bells and whistles and is what I use for my Maintenance and Fert. accounts the rest of the year. You could also just run two copies of the program, one for the Lawn and one for the Snow.
If you set up your list of services to include most of the different rates you provide, you can then customize it for each individual customer ... eg.
Plowing 1"- 4"
Plowing 5"- 8"
These could be listed as services and the prices could be set for each customer based on their property and needs, you can have up to 21 individual services (from a drop down list) before you consider the option to add a "special" charged service and the program handles up to 10,000 customers.
They give FREE technical support during regular business hours and some eve's. They have been great with me and have helped solve any issues I have had either right on the phone or within 24 hours if it a data issue and you have to email them your data for them to look and see what is wrong ... which by the way, most of the time, in my experience, has been a user input error.
Speed of printing is probably more a printer or user issue as opposed to the program.
If you encounter any problems or have suggestions for ease of use or convenience, they do take everyone suggestions and try and include them in future updates. At least this is the case with GK Pro 2000.
As OBRIANMAINT said, it is not a $1000 program, although I believe that future updates will cost about $20, due to some changes on the programmer level and incorporating some anit-piracy features, but that would be about $40 a year if they continue with their bi-annual updates ... not much for everything else that it offers for such a small initial investment.