How to Build an On-demand Lawn Care Service App like Plowz & Mowz
Whether it is the U.S.A, Europe, Asia, or Australia, snow, lawns, and big yards are prevalent everywhere. Mowing a lawn or plowing the driveway in winters is a back-breaking and time-consuming endeavor. Some owners make an annual service contract for landscaping or the entire winter for snow removal, while some owners only contact these service providers when they require it. However, many times the contractors are unavailable or are too expensive. For example, if you call a snowplow company during heavy snow, there are chances of nobody picking the phone as most of the contractors would be out plowing. On-demand services, revolutionized by Uber, has become an inseparable part of our lives, and have also made doing chores such as keeping the yard clean, landscaping, and snow plowing more manageable.
New York-based start-up Plowz & Mowz revolutionized the yard care business by identifying the consumer and business pain points and creating a solution for a fundamental problem faced by lawn owners and people living in extreme climatic conditions times a year. Founded by Wills Mahoney and Andrew Englander, former Syracuse University roommates, the app offers on-demand, contract-free seasonal services through a fleet of local, professional landscapers and snow removal contractors to spruce up their property with a touch of a button.
The idea to create an Uber-like app for yard care came in winter 2012, after a frantic call made by Wills Mahoney’s mum to him during a massive snowstorm. She wanted help getting snow out of her driveway but could not get any snowplow drivers to answer her call, although multiple snow plow trucks drove right past her home, with no idea that a customer in desperate need of service was right under their nose.
Mahoney and Englander spent some time brainstorming the idea and launched a snowplow service app in December 2013 with about 20 drivers. They eventually introduced the on-demand lawn mowing service. The company was initially self-funded by the founders, but later they had a round of seed funding with L.A.-based Science, Inc., and an undisclosed angel investor.
How the lawn care app works
Once a customer logs on Plowz & Mowz app and adds details about their property, they get a service quote, whether mowing the lawn, raking a yard, or plowing the driveway within 60 seconds. The app sends a request to contractors on the platform, and the job is awarded to the closest provider willing to take the offer. The app updates the customer with an estimated time taken in completing the task.
Plowz & Mowz allows users to schedule lawn & landscaping services as per their convenience and also shares real-time job updates, ETAs, and a photo of the property after completing the job. The payment goes through the app one the consumer rates their job, allowing the app to maintain high-quality control standards.
Services Offered on Plowz and Mowz
- Snow Removal
- Lawn Mowing
- Gutter Clean Up
- Leaf Removal and Yard Clean Up
- Pet Waste Removal
- Aeration & Overseeding
- Mulch Delivery and mulch spreading service
- Power Washing
- Trimming & Pruning
- Driveway Sealing
- Fertilization service
- Firewood Delivery
- Sprinkler Blowout
The pricing model of Plowz and Mowz
Plowz and Mowz eliminate the need for contractors to market their services or search for customers. The app also streamlines the payment process for the customer as well as the businesses. The company’s pricing model works on a 70/30 split. Contractors can list their services on the app for free and make around 70%, while the company charges a 25 to 35% commission on every transaction for the daily operations, technology, marketing, and customer acquisition.
Why Build an On-Demand Landscaping and Snow Mowing App
The landscaping business was valued at more than $100 billion in the U.S. With the rise in climate fluctuations and costly services, people are willing to use landscaping and snow plowing services compared to annual contracts. A landscaping and snow plowing app can provide on-demand services that are affordable and paid only when utilized and reach a larger number of homeowners.
READY TO LAUNCH YOUR APP?
Feature List – Features to be integrated into the lawn care app
An on-demand lawn service app is three apps combined into one, customer, contractor, and the business. The app comes with several high-level functionalities such as in-app payment, real-time sync, real-time tracking, custom animation, rate, review, push notifications, complex backend with a different type of database relationships.
User Registration: Users can create a profile and add multiple properties. This feature becomes handy if you want to request a job for friends, family, or vacation property.
Service Categories: Users can select between different services such as lawn mowing, hedge trimming, yard cleaning, snow removal, etc. available on the app. Users can filter based on specialty, price range, equipment specification, etc. Users should be able to book professionals on an hourly basis or by the services with clearly mentioned prices.
Contractor Profile: This feature allows users to visit the contractor’s profile, check past job photos and reviews, and decide the best match for the required services. They should be able to update addresses, payment options, and can share referral codes to friends or family to avail of special discounts/offers.
Reliability and security in services: The lawn and yard services provided in the app should be from commercially insured and top-rated professionals.
Before and after Image – This is one of the application’s unique feature. The users get before and after photos of the completed work in their lawn, garden, or driveway.
GPS tracking: Live tracking helps customers know the services professionals’ exact whereabouts and estimate their time to complete the tasks.
Booking or scheduling: This particular feature gives the customer liberty to book the service according to their convenience; users can add additional service requirements, change payment options.
Weather forecast: This feature can be handy in assisting your team for upcoming weather hazards. It can also notify the customers to help them to be prepared and take preventive measures accordingly.
Audio notes: This feature helps professionals record useful information while driving and looking at the situation or working on a hail project, explaining some difficulties with task & equipment handling.
Cost calculator: Let the users calculate each service’s cost by manually typing numbers in the calculator.
In-app communication: This feature helps users or professionals communicate directly if they have any queries related to address, job specification, or any special instructions.
Payment options: The app should use a secure third-party billing service to manage sensitive information confidentiality. The user can make payment through multiple options such as net banking, credit cards, debit card, etc.
Bird’s view and zone management: View all bookings & trips in real-time on a map across cities or zones to help organize the business. The feature allows creating service zones by drawing a polyline on the map and charge according to the area.
Live Lawn Care Professional Finder: The live lawn care finder view lets users view available lawn/yard care professionals near their locations.
Real-Time Booking Status: The app lets users view the status of their active bookings and receive notifications on each status change.
Invoice: Once the lawn care, yard work, or snow removal service is completed, users can review the detailed invoice of the service provided.
Review and Rating: Once the task is complete, the user can share the feedback and rate the contractor based on their experience and make payment to maintain high-quality standards.
Service Provider’s App
Profile Management: Registration is done on the mobile app through phone number and email address, and they can be directly onboarded to start taking orders.
Availability: This function lets contractors specify the time when they would be available for work.
GPS navigations: GPS navigator helps in optimum route planning. It provides drivers with the shortest routes that help in faster & quicker servicing.
Order Management: Contractors can check the order status (completed or under process), the total amount collected on each order, and take actions accordingly.
Track Payments – Contractors can add account details, view successful and pending payment settlements in one place.
Order Reports – Contractors get real-time information about their business performance so they can take action accordingly.
Accept/Reject Delivery Requests: This feature enables the contractor to accept or decline a particular order for a specific reason.
Work History: The details such as total work done, distance traveled, etc. are shared with the contractor so that they are aware of their performance metrics on any given day.
Earning & Reports: The contractors’ invoice and earning details should be readily available inside the application.
This is a centralized system where the admin handles the entire backend operation. The admin can track job requests received from the customers through the panel, manage contractor updates, and other business activities.
Bird’s View: The admin should be able to overview all the ongoing jobs, available & unavailable lawn care professionals, etc.
Order Management: The option allows managers to assign orders once they receive a request from the customer. The admin can monitor the order status, total amount earned per order and make relevant business decisions.
Individual Job View: View the status of each lawn service booking & their respective lawn care job status
Manage Profile: The app allows the admin to manage various lawn care providers. Accept or reject different professionals registering on the app.
Set prices: The admin can set up and modify prices for various services based on location, service type, or hourly rates. The admin can also add a surcharge in terms of high demand, such as a snowstorm.
Promotions and Referral: Setup and manage promotion codes and referral campaigns on the app.
Track Booking: View all landscaping and snow plow service bookings in real-time.
Payroll: The feature allows the admin to manage earnings for contractors and direct payment to their respective bank accounts.
Manage Categories: Manage various lawn & yard care service categories present on the app.
Review and reports: Keep a tab on review provided to different service providers and take adequate measures to maintain high-quality standards.
Commission: Setup various app commission rates based on zone, service type, fares, etc.
Manage Customers: The Admin can add or remove users or change their active status and view complete information linked to users such as their contact details, address.
Payment Management: This function enables the admin to view and manage all the transactions that have taken place in the app, including refunds.
Contractor Management: This feature enables the admin to observe all necessary information related to contractors such as their contact information, work details, commission earned, availability, login time.
Modify Elements of the App: The Admin should be able to manage the entire process – start from the users and product information to changing the design of the application.
Reset Passwords: The app maintains the customer and service provider database, and the admin should be able to reset the passwords on user request.
Campaign Management: To attract and sustain customers, the app should have a facility to plan and run SMS, email, and Social Media marketing campaigns.
Plan Discounts & Promotions: This app feature allows admin to add or run promotional offers or discounts on the app.
Feedback Management – This feature enables the admin to view customers’ ratings and reviews and check their feedback.
Manage Payments & Commission – Admin can track all the accepted online payments and set the commission rates with every Store partner.
Push Notifications – Admin can get notifications for tasks completed, service providers accepting the request.
Reporting and Analytics – By leveraging real-time Analytics, the admin can obtain actionable insights to effectively manage the business. The data assists the admin to plan strategies to boost sales and user experience.
Multi-Language Support: It should be possible to deploy the app in any language preference, whether Hindi, French, Chinese, or Arabic.
Security: The app should be not only robust & scalable but also extremely secure by using services such as Keychain, SSL-powered APIs, JWT, reverse proxy setup, etc.
The cost of developing an on-demand lawn service app, apart from the must-have features, is dependent on a multitude of factors:
Technical Documentation encompasses all written documents related to the app development, outlining the app architecture, business requirements, underlying processes, key features, user personas, analysis and scoping, techniques used in developing the mobile app, timeframes, budget.
UI/UX design cost:
UI/UX design considers usability, user interaction, desirability, and user experience.
App complexity is defined by the number of different functionalities contained in the app. Higher the number of features, the greater the cost of development.
The app needs to communicate with third-party apps (API) such as payment getaway to offer seamless services
QA & Testing:
Quality Assurance testing involves testing non-functional requirements such as performance, security, automation, usability, integration, and acceptance testing.
The technology stack used to create an on-demand lawn services app varies from business to business. It depends on the skill-set and the budget fixed for the cost of mobile app development.
- Programming – GWT
- SMS, Voice, and Phone Verification -Nexmo, Twilio
- Mandrill -for everything related to emails.
- Push Notifications -Google Cloud Messaging Service, Twilio, Push.io
- Payments -Braintree & PayPal, Stripe, EWallets
- Streaming Media System -Helix Universal Server, Wowza Streaming Engine, Nimble Streamer
- Debian -the Universal Operating System
- Real-time Analytics -Hadoop, Spark, BigData, Apache Flink, Cisco, IBM
- Database – Mailchimp Integration., MongoDB, HBase, Cassandra, Postgress
- Cloud environment – AWS, Google, Azure
- Payment methods – eWallets, PayPal, Stripe, Braintree
- Phone verification, Voice, SMS – Nexmo, Twilio
Cost to build a lawn care app
The total cost estimate depends on various aspects. Such as
Location of App Development
The cost of app development is heavily dependent on the location of the development team. Development costs are charged on a per hour basis and change progressively from Asia to Europe and finally the highest in North America.
|India||$10 to $40 per hour|
|Eastern Europe||$30 to $100 per hour|
|US||$70 to $150 per hour|
|Development stage||Hours to Develop|
|App Discovery||60 – 80|
|Visual prototyping||60 – 80|
|UI/UX design||120 – 150|
|Admin panel development||60|
|Testing & Quality Check||60 – 120|
|Total||1700 – 2200 hours|
Developing an on-demand lawn service app would take approximately 1900 to 2200 hours. This number can be multiplied by the development rate to get a fair idea about the development cost.
Other Factors Impacting the Cost
Since there are several competitors in the yard care business, you need to put a marketing budget to promote the app, from getting reviewed by publications, creating compelling ads, etc.
The cost of building an app does not get completed once the app goes live. The app requires periodic updates with innovative features to keep customers engaged as well as draw new customers. Maintenance becomes an ongoing expense with the changing market trends and new device & OS versions to ensure lag-free operations on the app. App Maintenance cost for a year can be assumed as 1/5th of the total app development cost.
Cost is a critical factor in developing an on-demand landscaping app with highly sophisticated features, and the tech stack will cost more than $40000-$50000.
TaskRabbit allows for a variety of daily chores such as cleaning, moving, delivery, and handyman work, etc., through the app. Plows and Mows, on the other hand, focuses on landscaping (mowing lawns, mulching gardens), Plowing driveways on a snowy day, and similar tasks, as the name suggests. You can call it an Uber for Lawn Maintenance, an on-demand landscaping service.
You can create an app like Plowz and Mowz by contacting an app development agency or independent developers (if you know any) and outlining your idea. You should, however, do your due market research and ask around to see if people want such a service. Thorough research and preparation will help you in coming up with a unique value proposition like Plowz and Mowz.
Building an app like Plows and Mowz is not that different from any other on-demand app, except for a few things. Features like selecting various chores, Choice of schedule, Push notifications and real-time updates, Live- chat, Various payment options, choice of language, reviewing system, etc., make an app appealing to most users.
Yes, you can contact the app development companies that you’re interested in and figure for an estimate beforehand. Depending on your budget, you can adjust the app structure and other elements of development to get the overall cost under budget.
Mobile app marketing is an integral part of the whole process and is very useful in reaching out to your target audience. Mobile app advertising can cost you anywhere from $30-50,000 (or more), depending on the scale at which you’re launching the app.