Landscaping
Profitability
Reporting
Monthly Budgets for Annual Landscape Maintenance Contracts
By
Justin Silva
Published at 15.36 on 05.08.2024
Monthly Budgets for Annual Landscape Maintenance Contracts

There’s a lot that goes into creating budgets for annual maintenance contracts. It’s not easy.

 

And that’s exactly why we created the Monthly Budgets feature. We’ve worked with hundreds [maybe thousands] of landscaping leaders over the past year so that we could build something that’s needed. Software should make landscaper’s day-to-day easier. A LOT easier. Not more complicated.

 

With Monthly Budgets you can rip through a 12-month budget in less time than it takes to read this sentence…Maybe even less, depending on the size and scope of the job.

 

But before we dive straight into the new Monthly Budgets feature [how it works, why we built it, who is it best for, etc…], let’s dig into what goes into a typical annual maintenance budget for landscapers.

Software should make landscaper’s day-to-day easier. A LOT easier. Not more complicated. 
What’s typically included in a monthly budget for annual landscape maintenance contract?
There’s A LOT that can go into a monthly budget for a commercial maintenance landscaping contract. See below for the most common inclusions.

At a high-level, you need to “know your numbers” in order to create an accurate budget. All of the variables below can determine your budget. And since no two properties or clients are the same, budgeting is a skill that you absolutely need to master to maximize your profitability.

 

If you under budget, then you’ll be working for razor thin margins, or worse. If you over budget, you might price yourself out of competition to win the work.

 

Cost factors included in most [if not all] commercial landscape monthly budgets for annual maintenance contracts:

 

  • Labor costs  – The cost of labor to a landscape business isn’t just the employee’s hourly wage. It’s the fully burdened cost to the business, which includes benefits paid, tax and any additional overhead costs. PS – Momentum tracks labor costs (drive time and on-job) automatically with the CrewID

 

  • Production Rates – For specific services and/or equipment used. For example, a 48″ walk-behind has a different production rate than a 60″ stand-on or, obviously, a push mower. You’ve probably estimated your productions rates hundreds, thousands or even more times over the years. Ever wonder if your production rate estimates differ from your ACTUAL production rates? That’s one of the reasons we created the Toolie. It tracks light equipment usage on the job, so you can see exactly how long each piece of equipment was in use compared to the total time spent on the job.

 

  • Other Costs / Materials & Products – There’s a bunch of common “other” costs, like weed control chemicals, specticle, fertilizers, pest control, turf, mulch, trees, flowers, other plants, color applications, etc.

 

  • Measurements – Area of turf, shrub beds, number of trees and others.

 

  • Core Services – Mowing, blowing, edging, pruning, fertilizing, laying mulch, irrigation, litter removal, weed control and abatement, leaf removal and others.

 

  • Seasonal Services – If your business operates in an area with seasonality, you most likely have different service offerings depending on the time of the year.
What are the most commonly used software tools for budgeting?
  1. 1. Microsoft Excel
  2. 2. Budget features on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions
  3. 3. QuickBooks

 

 

There’s a lot of budgeting tools out there. Most of the popular landscape CRMs (like Aspire, LMN and others) have budgeting features. All of those are basically excel files within the software – and that’s okay. Because tons of landscapers still rely on good ol’ Microsoft Excel to create monthly budgets for annual maintenance contracts. A big percentage on landscapers rely on QuickBooks also.

 

With Excel, in particular, there’s a big “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” factor. Meaning, that for most, using Excel with formulas that haven’t been updated in months, or years, is “just the way we’ve always done it.”

 

Does it work? Sure, to a degree. Can it be better? Absolutely.

 

One of the biggest pains with all of these tools is that they all require a lot of manual data entry (and guessing). They also run off of formulas that need to be updated regularly. If one formula is incorrect, or isn’t updated – the budget can be inaccurate. Budgeting for new projects, or repeat business is a lot of work. And it’s time consuming.

Momentum makes monthly budgets quick, easy & accurate.
What makes Momentum Monthly Budgets different?
Momentum monthly budgets calculates everything for you, automatically.

Data input, inaccurate formulas, miscalculations – all of these issues can make or break your budget. Momentum fixes these budgeting issues, plus it automatically tracks actual costs too.

 

Everything that you need is included in monthly budgets. Here’s what Momentum calculates – and updates automatically – based on your actual activity on the job.

 

 

  1. 1. Number of visits: the amount of visits you’ll make to the jobsite in a month. If you budget weekly visits, your Number of Visits per month will be 4, for example. The number of visits is calculating A LOT behind the scenes, including your total fleet costs.

 

What’s being calculated? The number of visits field calculates your total fleet costs. Total Fleet Costs = (Maintenance cost per mile + Asset depreciation per mile + Fuel cost per mile) x Estimated jobsite travel distance in miles x Number of visits) 

 

  1. 2. Employee visits: the total number of visits for all crew members per month. For example, if you plan to visit the jobsite twice each month, and you have 2 employees per truck, your employee visits will be 4.

 

  1. 3. On-job labor hours: the total number of labor hours you budget for your crews to be on-site. This number is usually based on known production rates or your take-off information.

 

What’s being calculated? Total travel labor costs = Total labor burden per hour of all employees assigned to the job x (estimated jobsite travel time in minutes / 60).

Total on job labor costs = Total labor burden per hour of all employees assigned to the job x On job labor hours)

 

4. Other cost(s): you might have other costs, like subcontractors or materials. Add them here.

 

5. Job Cost: your job costs are calculated automatically. All known costs (number of visits, employee visits, on-job labor hours and other costs) are added together to give you your total job cost.

 

6. Budgeted Revenue: the budgeted revenue is what you’re charging your customer. Whatever the agreed upon contracted amount for the work, simply enter it here.

 

7. Profit: your profit amount is automatically calculated. Your profit is your budgeted revenue – your job costs.

Don’t let data entry issues break your profitability. Use Momentum Monthly Budgets.
Monthly landscaping budgets for annual maintenance contracts
Creating accurate monthly budgets is fast and easy in Momentum. And you’ll be able to see your actual costs compared to your budgeted costs for the life of the contract.
I created my monthlty budget. How do I see my actual job costs?
Once you’ve created a monthly budget, you can easily see your actual costs compared to your budgeted costs.

Momentum tracks everything for you, automatically, using GPS technology on vehicles, equipment and crews. But Momentum GPS is different. It’s not just location and activity tracking. Momentum collects financial and operational data so you can easily see your budgeted costs vs your actual costs.

Momentum tracks all job costs in real-time, automatically using devices connected to vehicles, equipment and crews.
See all your actual job costs in real time for every job
Creating a monthly budget for an annual maintenance contract only takes a few minutes. Tracking the your operational and financial performance is automatic. Below is how your data is presented in Momentum.
All job costs are calculated automatically
You can easily see a comparison between your budgeted vs your actual costs. Momentum devices capture and collect all data automatically. Our software calculates your costs in real-time.
Connect Momentum devices to your assets and crews. Get operational and financial reporting automatically.
A big benefit of using Momentum is ZERO data entry. Once you connect Momentum GPS devices to your vehicles, equipment and crews, everything works “hands-free.”
Who should use Monthly Budgets?
Monthly budgets is best suited for landscaping companies with annual contracts that bill their customers on a monthly basis.

We’ve worked with hundreds of landscaping business leaders to create Monthly Budgets. If your landscaping business works on commercial contracts. And you have recurring work at the same properties. And you invoice your customers monthly, then Momentum is an ideal fit for you.

 

Don’t fit the criteria above? No worries. You can book a demo. Monthly Budgets will still provide your business tremendous value. And our operational and financial reporting will help you be more profitable on every job. Use the form at the bottom of this post to book a demo.

Momentum tracks all job costs in real-time, automatically using devices connected to vehicles, equipment and crews.
Book a Demo. See Monthly Budgets in Action.