The landscaping business starts with a quotation. That is your selling document and it is very important to be as accurate as possible when listing your various costs in a quotation.
Successful job estimates/quotations hinge on the ability to track the material, labour and machine costs that are utilized in each and every project you undertake. Once you clearly understand these variables, then you will be in a position to track your profit. The key here is to know whether or not you made as much money on any given project as you predicted on your original quote. Without knowing that, you have no basis for improving your quotation system or determining where you can gain more efficiencies. Also, without the proper accounting tools, it is really difficult to determine with absolute accuracy your price estimates versus the actual costs.
Larger companies have a much greater ability to give accurate estimates. They have a bigger staff at their disposal and more sophisticated accounting systems. To combat this possible obstacle to accuracy, smaller companies should investigate the various job-costing capabilities of programs such as QuickBooks and other similar accounting packages. The initial investment will ultimately pay for itself.
So, where do you start? First, you must delegate someone to use and understand the new accounting software. This won’t be difficult since the programs are very user friendly. It is advisable that the individual entrusted to be in charge of providing quotations receive training from the company’s accounting firm or a consultant. Most bookkeepers use QuickBooks or similar programs with varying degrees of sophistications.
If you are looking for a bookkeeper to undertake the company’s estimates, you should ask them what kind of reporting they will be able to generate, and whether or not the have they done job costing in the past. A competent bookkeeper will also be able to integrate your payroll and job-costing programs, providing you with additional efficiency and peace of mind.