FrameReady gets a big thumbs up from me! I have never had any problems from their program. Unlike most of the POS programs on the market for framers, it is based on Filemaker Pro and is rock solid. The others are based on Microsoft products. Once upon a time, I was a computer nerd. All the places I worked had database problems when using the FoxPro or Access engine.
Mike Labbe has an online chart listing all the software vendors and any info he collected from them. I'm sure he will add a link for you.
First of all, WELCOME TO THE GRUMBLE! You've stumbled upon a tremendous resource, and a dedicated family of framers.
I recommend going through the list, download some of the demos, try them out, and see which ones have the features and workflow YOU feel comfortable with. I tried each of them, in the process of compiling the list, and it's amazing how much they vary.
Some key features to look for might include the ability to update pricing through the internet, network to multiple terminals for future (or current) growth, send cutting instructions to your CMC, misc art/gift sales, handle inventory, commissions, consignments, invoicing, etc. Many will work with optional barcode readers, receipt printers, cash drawers, macs, or even a camera and visualization.
Just about every vendor offers a free demo, and some will even import your existing customer file into their program at no additional charge. (usually just the customers, names, addresses, phone, and account history totals - not the detailed framing records)
Many will offer a "competitive upgrade price", but you'll have to mention this when you inquire.
Most grumblers use SpecialtySoft, LifeSaver, Fullcalc, or FrameReady, and MANY are recent Fullcalc converts. Personally, we couldn't be happier with LifeSaver at our shop, but you need to do some research to see what YOU like. There are almost 30 alternatives out there, and everyone you ask here will likely be proud of the software they have invested so much time and money into. Don't listen to us!
If you run into any questions after trying the demos, and need some help, that's why we're here.
Mike, FYI, I spoke to John Ferrens, and he said call him personally and he'll see that you get a demo to look at.
I also spoke to Marci, [tech support] in Chicago, and she said that writing a macro to journal over the basic needed stuff in customer history from FulCalc to FerrenSoft would "be a real do-able". She used to work for FulCalc, and her neighbor still does, so she knows that stuff.
Then I spoke to John and he said "Glad she said that, because now she gets to write the code". You know, his chuckle has kind of an evil little lilt to it.... I love that about him.
I now return everybody to there "normal" settings.
Good point, that's another great full featured product - from what I've heard. It's one of the 3 I haven't personally tried. (I only tried the ones with the free demos and they wanted $179)
I'll visit John at the next trade show and check it out in person.
Converting the prior orders would be a challenge, because every program uses a different (complex) formula to set their prices. It's doable, but would take someone a lot of billable time. Personally, i'd just bring in the customer list and refer back to the old program if you ever need to look at an old order from several years ago - but thats me