Originally posted by Elaine: Any update on the framing software?? I'm seriously looking at buying a program in sept/october, but would like to try the one mentioned first; maybe I could save some money
You needed it yesterday. I just went through that process and ended up with Frameready. It's balky like a mule, but if you are primarily a custom framer it will help emensely. You can download most of the demos.
I'm banging my head against this particular wall myself right now. My main contenders are:
Lifesaver - I REALLY dislike the pricing scheme I'm forced to use with this software. I'm also not real happy about the high cost of updates and I've read alot of bad comments about it here.
I like the website and the fact that it has a forum... seems very user friendly. However the program causes my computer to freeze so I've never managed to actually use it.
Artisan Frame Plus - I violently dislike the color choices of the work screens and the printouts are far too plain for a visually driven person like me... I wish there were more ways to customize the program visually because this one seems to have alot going on under the hood.
That really goes for all of these... I wish there were more options for creating your own work order and reciept print outs to include high resolution logos and the like... everything here seems to be catering to numbers people and while I can deal with numbers I prefer a job which is also visually easy to read and pleasant to look at.
I like this program for it's simplicity and speed at pricing quotes... it's also very easily visually custimizable but I've not had a chance to use the POS so I'm not sure what types of features it really has -- the webmast is big on salesmanship and low on actually laying out the features, which makes me somewhat leary.
And lastly FS Trio which I've hear a few good things about but I'm very turned off by the lack of screenshots and high price... not to mention the lack of any free demo.
Any more advice in narrowing the list here would be helpfull.
I attended the SpecialtySoft seminar in Atlanta. I had several demo versions of other products on my computer; enough to make my head swim. The only one I hadn't tested was SpecialtySoft and as it turned out I liked it's format and features the best of all. Not to say others aren't good. I bought the full POS package. It is more than I need now but I don't have to worry about adding modules later. I think their seminar approach speaks volumes about their commitment to their product.
I bought SpecialtySoft after going through all of the demos - I found this to be the most user friendly and I liked the customer service I have gotten. I am in the process of setting up things now - I had hoped it would take less time, but we have a lot of consignment inventory, etc. so I am taking it slowly and making sure I define things once!! It has been pretty user friendly so far, and I can't wait to get it completely running at the shop - there are only so many hours in a day!!
I've had SpecialtySoft for three years. Read a tremendous amount about POS systems and played with a lot of demos. Have never regretted the decision. It doesn't hurt that they are based in North Carolina either, which quite honestly, is one of the reasons they edged out the competition.
Frameready was my second choice of POS software, but I wish is was my first. I used ezframer for about three months and while it had some good points (e.g., its user interface, overall speed, and low cost IF you put it on may workstations in a network) it was very immature in its POS functionality, had pitiful reporting, had an overly complex pricing mechanism, and at times had problems properly reporting the correct numbers in its cut report.
Frameready on the other hand is reliable in its cut-report numbers, is a mature and solid POS system, has a good number of key reports ( not as many as Specialty Soft, but then who needs all those reports anyway) . While the User Interface is a bit crowded, you get use to it very quickly and eventually are won over by its completeness. Their technical support is also top rate.
One area for improvement is its speed if you are using it on a network. Regardless, I would recommend FrameReady to anyone.
I've used Specialty Soft for 2 years in my part-time job at a chain store. It's ok, but pretty inflexable, and somewhat hard for newbies to master. We've seen a pretty steep learning curve in that area. As long as you are doing routine framing jobs, it's great, and you can whip out an order in no time. But if a customer wants 2 of these or 3 of those, like extra pieces of glazing back to back or something, it can't be entered that way. It has to be entered as under a misc. code. As for their support, it is wonderful. Our store had a fire in the spring. It didn't get to the framing shop, but we got soot into the computer. It took quite a while for me(I'm the shop's computer person) to convince corp that was the problem. In the mean time, we were crashing all over the place, and every time you turned around. When we finally got the new computer in, Specialty was a dream in aiding us to installing everything. They have some great folks on the support team. Now, though, I'm thinking of buying something here for the home shop. I'm looking at FrameSmart. It seems to have everything that I need, without the cost of Specialty Soft. Any comments on it??
Since you are familiar with SpecialtySoft, ask about SpecialtySoft LITE. It contains the complete frame write-up package and scales back some of the reporting options. It sells for about $500 if I am not mistaken.
Rick, we thought about Specialty Lite, and, in fact,I talked to them about it in Atlanta. However, I use it at work, not because I like it, but because I have to. It's not my first choice of software. I think that it's too inflexible, and does not provide some of the features that "the other half" wants. It's way too cumbersome for a small shop like we are. The reason I've been looking at other software, is that I've not been terribly impressed with Specialty Soft.