By: Krrish Thanvi

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model where the product is available via the internet and the provider is responsible for the security, availability and performance of the service.

With cloud-based applications becoming more common, SaaS is also growing in popularity. Rather than traditionally buying a piece of software outright, it is much more common now to simply pay an annual or monthly subscription fee to use the software’s services.

“Software as a Service is similar to any service,” says Bill Dinan, president of Localogy. “I want something, I should be able to use it when I want it and turn it off when I don’t want it. And when I don’t want it, I shouldn’t have to pay for it. So, just about everyone in technology has moved to SaaS.”

Dinan says this shift is in response to venture capitalists wanting to create monthly recurring revenue for their tech companies.

Some examples of popular SaaS are Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, Slack and QuickBooks.

SaaS should not be confused with the other forms of cloud services like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). IaaS is where virtualized computing resources are provided to an organization via the internet, such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

PaaS is where a service provider offers a platform to clients where they can develop, run and manage business applications without having to build the infrastructure. PaaS providers include Microsoft, Google and IBM.

Benefits of using SaaS

As more companies have offered cloud services, it, in turn, has reduced the cost for companies to develop software tools that people like professional landscapers can use.

“You’re adding these things that can provide more time and optimization,” Dinan says. “You can pick them up for $5 a month or $9.99 a month; they’re not big investments anymore.”

Dinan says one of the main benefits of SaaS is the fact that by paying monthly, you can try out a product and if it’s too complicated, doesn’t provide the desired results or isn’t used, you can simply turn it off.

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“If you’re not getting that feeling that the technology company is a partner with you on your business journey, then you should cancel it and look for another one,” Dinan says. “The small business owner should not have to invest hours and hours of time trying to figure something out. They should be able to get it and it should be intuitive.”

The other major benefit of SaaS is it often frees landscapers up, giving them more time to work on their business instead of in it, automating tasks and streamlining administrative duties.

“The little things that you could do with that one hour a day far outweigh the costs of SaaS technology,” Dinan says. “It’s worth the investment to get that hour back a day.”

Choosing useful SaaS for your business

When it comes to choosing the right SaaS technology to invest in, Dinan says landscapers should ask what are the problems they’re dealing with and what can the service solve?

Most SaaS serve as a way to save time. Another thing they can help with is collecting payments, thanks to the ability to embed credit card payment technology.

“So now when you go to send your invoice if you using one of these systems today, you’re sending out your email out, boom, there’s a link, click here, payment done, finished,” Dinan says. “You’re not dropping the envelope at the front door with the invoice in there hoping the guy pays.”

Dinan says the only bad types of SaaS are the ones you are paying for and don’t use.

“If you’re not using it in 30 days, cancel it,” he says. “Because if you can’t make it a habit, if the company is not helping you make it a habit, that’s when you move on.”
As for if you should be looking for an all-in-one service or specialized SaaS, Dinan says that while over 70 percent of local businesses say they would like an all-in-one solution, it’s better to find about three companies that can cover most of what you need.

Typically, most technology companies will specialize in certain aspects of a business but will partner with other services that may handle other elements, such as the marketing side of things, rather than trying to do their own version of it.

Reference: Total Landscape Care.