It feels like prices are always going up. Housing is getting more expensive, your employees are asking for more money, and that new mower you just bought almost costs double what you paid for the last one. You know you need to start managing your budget better.
So, you browse the internet, and you type in “what’s the best free lawn care software?”
A dozen software companies pop up, all advertising as free software for running your service business. It feels like you’ve struck gold. Only this gold is cursed.
Here are 4 reasons why free service software will cost you money:
Reason 1 – Lack of Necessary Features
Let’s say you own a cleaning company and your client asks you to clean their house after they move out. They’ve got dirty windows, rugs that need to be shampooed and scrubbed, and trash scattered through out the house.
Now, let’s say you the only tools you have are a tooth brush, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and a single baggy. It’s probably not going to work out so great, right?
Most free software is actually just a ‘software-lite’ version. These companies know you’ll have to buy in to their REAL product eventually. The point of ‘free’ software is to get you in the door, so they can sell you more once you’re hooked. It’s smart on their part, but it can also waste a lot of your time.
- Will you be able to send Invoices Automatically, or will you have to spend hours sending each one?
- What if you NEED a QuickBooks Sync and they don’t have it?
- Will you have to use several different systems to cover up missing features?
For a business owner, your software is just as important as your fleet of trucks when you need to get the job done. Think twice before working with an empty toolbox.
Reason 2 – Bad Customer Support
If you’re using free software, you’re not technically a customer. That means you’re not going to get any customer support.
When you have problems with the software, nobody is there to help you. For example, what if all of your invoices for that week go missing? How do you find out how to get them back? Your best bet will be to spend a few hours on the internet, looking up answers. Hopefully, you find what you’re looking for.
With proprietary software like Service Autopilot, you know the Support Team is fully staffed, highly knowledgeable, and ready to help. How much is that worth to you?
Reason 3 – Painfully Slow Software
Usually, to keep free software ‘free’, these companies skimp on servers. Sometimes, servers go down, and they let them stay down for hours (or days!) at a time. Sometimes, the servers get overloaded, and all of the software runs really, really slow.
So when you’re entering in new clients or trying to pull up the mobile app, the servers will take time to register your information. Frequently, it will take a long time. It might even make you hate keeping up with your business. And when even the easiest things like managing jobs for your clients becomes a huge, taxing chore, you know it’s going to cost you.
When you go with proprietary software like Service Autopilot, you can rest assured knowing that we are constantly keeping an eye on our servers. We spend tons of money keeping them online, up-to-date, and speedy. If they ever slow down, even for just one of our Members, we do everything within our power to figure out the problem within minutes.
Reason 4 – Development Happens, Rarely
A HUGE update just came out with your free lawn care app. You download the update, and log on to check out what’s new – only to find that everything is still the same. You still only have limited access to a few features and the user experience hasn’t really improved. To make it all worse, you find out that they’ve finally implemented that one feature you’ve been waiting for – but it’s not free.
You get what you pay for, right?
No matter how you look at it, if you’re serious about growing your service business, you will have to pay for your software. So when that ‘free’ software company does get around to developing the software, don’t expect them to give you the updates for free.
Everything is different for our Members. It is, quite literally, our job at Service Autopilot to keep updating the software, to fix bugs and other issues, and to put out new features on a regular basis. The more our Members ask of us, the more we do for them.
Free Software is Not Evil, But…
I’m not saying you can’t get anywhere with free service software. By all means, try them out! After all, there seems to be no end to free service software, whether you’re in the lawn care industry, or you own a residential cleaning company.
As a business owner, you know it’s probably not the best idea to go cheap when it comes to running your business. For real, long-lasting growth, you know you’ll have to shell out. The important part is finding out which software will give you the most bang for your buck.
Fortunately, there is at least ONE service software that will help you increase your profits, and won’t cost you an absurd amount.
Check out Service Autopilot’s Pricing and see how we are the best software for your service business.
Patrick Hoffman is Marketing Director at Service Autopilot. He specializes in managing marketing campaigns and giving marketing strategies to the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's reading books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction.