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Frame Shop Software and Alternatives

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by JC79, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. JC79

    JC79 Grumbler in Training

    Hi, my wife and I are finally opening our shop and we wanted to ask the community for input on framing software. Specificly, alternatives and complimentary software.

    Back in the day (10yrs ago) we used FullCalc on the front end and QuickBooks on the back end, but software has come a long way and I'm hoping the community might have some positive experience with less expensive alternatives. I'm hoping that theres a nice "all in one" out there that will facilitate sizing, ordering, point of sale, and back end book keeping.

    I did have a look at a nice comparison here <http://www.getthepictureframing.com/gfaq/software.htm>, but I'd like to know what you use and stand by.

    Thanks in advance,
    American Picture Frame Academy 1-888-840-9605

    The American Picture Framing Academy Learn Picture Framing Now
  2. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Check into LifeSaver. That's what I use and I really like it. There are many other programs out there that you should look at too.
  3. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Everyone will advise to go with the one they use. In my case, it's FrameReady. Once I got it set up and running, it has made my framing life so much easier. I think the main features are very intuitive to use, and the tech support people (Carol, Bert, and Kelly) couldn't be more friendly and helpful.
    :cool: Rick
    FramerInTraining and JFeig like this.
  4. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Congratulations, Joe

    Framing software and pricing are a huge and important tool in any business, IMO. There are some 'complimentary' ones out there, but you'll get what you pay for. The ones with maintenance fees will deal with all of the moulding, mat, and fabric vendors for you daily - to adjust the prices and offerings automatically. Don't underestimate the value of that feature :) If you only update your prices every year or two, you're leaving a lot of money on the table. (a lot more per year than the software costs, IMO) There are changes every week, and prices go up regularly. A good system will notify you if something has been discontinued, so you dont sell it and have to call the customer back in to pick something else. It will give you an order history, a mailing list, and clear legible paperwork that doesnt list item #s and measurements on customer copies of invoices or quotes. (just on the workorder printed just for the framers eyes)

    What Rick said is true. Folks will simply recommend what they use/are familiar with, so I'm not even going to say what we use. I think it requires some research to see what feels best for you. Most of us use a framing POS in conjunction with a quicken/quickbooks type program for printing checks on the back end. (POS for accounts receivable and details)

    You found the vendor list, but here is another. We ran a survey for 12 years, asking framers several questions about technology. (CMC used, POS system used, Websites, etc for the US and Canadian markets) It ended just a year ago, and here are the results from 2004-2014: http://custompictureframing.com/poll_results.htm Most of us use the top 3 products listed there, and I suggest downloading all 3 demos to give them a test drive - to see which of them feels best for your use. Test drive their tech support, too, and find a reason to call with a question. They will all be at the big trade show in Vegas in January, too. I don't think you'll be disappointed with any of them.

    Best regards and good luck!
    FramerInTraining likes this.
  5. FramerInTraining

    FramerInTraining MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Congratulation Joe. A POS is a must, that's for sure. They are all nice. Personally, I like FrameReady. Wonderful software and they won't harvest and share your data with others.
  6. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I thought you might like to see the email I got from FrameReady this morning.
    :cool: Rick

    Twas the Night before Closing
    (with apologies to author Clement C. Moore)

    Twas the night before closing, when all through the shop,
    Not a framer was framing, not one Mom or Pop;

    The paintings weren't hung by the cashier with care,
    'Cause a POS system still was not there;

    We wished we were nestled all snug in our beds,
    With visions of dollar bills stacked in our heads;

    The framer in apron, and I in my cap,
    Still dreamed about going, back home for a nap.

    When out of the blue, there arose such a clatter,
    We sprang from the back, to see what was the matter.

    Away to the window, we flew like a flash,
    Tore open the door and stepped over the sash.

    The moon, on the breast of the new fallen snow,
    Gave a glow to the package that came with a bow;

    Now, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    But a laptop, an iPad, and software so dear,

    With a mighty hard drive that was lively and steady,
    I knew in a moment it must be FrameReady.

    More rapid than eagles it's gigabytes came,
    It whistled, and whirred, and called out it's aim:

    "Now pricing! Now barcodes! Now customer tracking!
    On labels! On emails! On invoice for packing-

    To the back of the shop, to the top of the wall!
    Now, price away, price away, price away all!"

    As empty frames before a CMC fly,
    when they meet with an obstacle, dry mount? two ply?

    So up to the iPad, we framers all flew,
    With arms full of orders, we still had to do.

    And then in a twinkling we saw on the screen,
    The POS software I knew was our dream.

    As I opened FrameReady and plugged in the printer,
    I knew we would finish with nary a splinter.

    It came priced with vendors from east coast and west,
    With this season's profits, so far, our best!

    The powerful software was ready to go,
    FrameReady was bundled with FileMaker Pro!

    The screen, how it twinkled! with products we carry,
    Showed mark-ups and pricing to make owners merry!

    Dimensions were entered with ease and no error,
    For client and framer, it couldn't be fairer.

    Orders were sent to the computerized cutter,
    With speed and precision which made our hearts flutter.

    The moulding was in and the cut list created,
    The invoice marked "PAID" and we all were elated,

    "We can do it with help from 'FrameReady' the elf,"
    And I laughed when I thought it and cheered up myself.

    "With software like this we'll be out of the red,"
    Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

    We spoke not a word, but went straight to our work,
    And filled all our orders, even one for our clerk.

    And laying our tools, aside on the board,
    We each gave a nod, and knew we had scored.

    We sprang to our cars and all gave a cheer,
    Away we all drove for eggnog and beer.

    And I heard a voice say, as we drove out of sight,
    "You couldn't have done without FrameReady tonight!"
  7. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    As good with a verse as he is with a vice. Very nice, Rick. Merry Christmas to you and all your elves.
  8. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    That was great!!! :)
  9. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I do like to write odd and goofy things, but I can't take credit for that one, Paul. Someone at FrameReady wrote it as a Christmas message to their customers. (I think I can get Carol to tell me who the author was at WCAF.)
    :rolleyes: Rick
  10. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    I suspect Carol was probably the author :)
  11. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Part of my mission at WCAF is to compare the various software to see which I would recommend to APFA students.
  12. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Joe,

    That last statement regarding the expense concerns me, not that we all don't like a good deal, but that I wouldn't want any new business to cut corners in this area. As Mike identified most successful retail framing businesses rely upon both a good POS for the front counter and a financial software for the office (Quickbooks or Peachtree) for communicating with your accounting firm. If you have a good accounting firm lined up it would be a good idea to check and see what accounting software they prefer to work with.

    Indeed the subtle nuances between each framing business will dictate which POS system is a better fit.

    Mike is correct that going with ANY of the top 3 is a better move than not having a POS system... and getting comfortable with that system will make you stronger. Be sure to allow time in Las Vega if you go to test drive them all....be sure to visit each vendor at least twice. :)

    That should be interesting Paul. Even though I am partial to one of the big three for our retail business, I would be hard pressed to say one shoe fits all framers. Each of the big three POS vendors have some great people behind them and that is why they are where they are, but after that, they do vary in features and focus...

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  13. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think the OP was asking if FullCalc/QB in today's market is a Bentley or a Ford.
    FramerInTraining likes this.
  14. FramerInTraining

    FramerInTraining MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I wish framing POS system implement seamless integration with QB. The API is there and the implementation is simple.
  15. Aiden

    Aiden CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I am trying to find the right POS for my business. Do you run the the standard version or the lite? Thanks in advance.
  16. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    :cool: Rick
American Picture Frame Academy 1-888-840-9605

The American Picture Framing Academy Learn Picture Framing Now

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