This is the fifth, in a five post series written to help landscape contractors buy landscape business management software. You can see part one here , part two here , part three here and part four here.
The Importance Of Software Product Development
When making a Landscape Business Management Software purchase, like Aspire, for your landscape company, you are making a bet on the long-term viability of the software vendor. Specifically about the probability that the software company’s product and people can support you as you grow.
Key Purchase Question: Will Your Landscape Company Outgrow The Software?
You don’t want to be in the unenviable position of having to buy software to manage your landscape business again in a few years because you outgrew the product. This is why a higher price tag in the present is justified because you are buying insurance that you WON’T have to go through the process all over again.
That’s why I say you can spend too little. This one facet of the purchase process is often overlooked, but in my estimation, it may be the most important element in the entire purchase process.
Does The Software Vendor's Price Allow Them (and motivate them) To Continuously Improve The Product?
It takes a lot more money to maintain and upgrade a software product that it ever took to “write” the very first version. You should understand the vendor’s financial condition and their vision and plan for upgrades and potential changes in technology.
Understand that a financially strapped Software as a Service vendor with poor profit margins will cut back on product improvement first. They'll "circle the wagons" to focus on keeping the current product version working, because they don't have the resources to improve it. This lowers the value of the software and stalls new customer sales, which continues the downward cycle.
On the other hand, a SaaS vendor with a healthy profit margin is motivated to continuously improve the product. This attracts new customers and provides even more resources to improve the software.
Product Development Questions you should ask during your selection process.
- Will the software grow as we grow or will I be stuck with old technology?
- Is the product built on a mobile cloud-based platform?
- Can the software function remotely across multiple branches and regions?
- How is my data managed and secured?
- Do I own my data?
- What is the risk of data loss and the recovery process?
- How do I get updates? How often? What's the process and the cost?
- Who are the people behind the software? Are they landscape industry people?
- Are the owners committed to the landscape industry long-term?
- Is the company financially stable? Is their pricing model sustainable?
- What does the organization chart look like (Remember it takes lots of people to support software)?
- What additional costs will we incur as we grow? How many customers use the software to run their landscape business? Are they happy?
- Can I speak to them before I make a decision?
Again, think of buying landscaping management software, like purchasing a car. You want the car you buy today to run as good or better ten years from now… That can only happen if the product was great initially and the service and maintenance schedule is backed up by a plan and money.