POS Software


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Sep 25, 2000
Weaverville, NC USA
Hello to all,
I was just catching up on my reading and read an article in PFM about POS software. I have seen it, tried it, and do not have "it". What we do have is a spread sheet and data base that my husband and I made on our own in Microsoft Works and have been using for seven years now. The articles seem to imply that it is either POS software or "do it by hand with a calculator". There are other choices.

Has anyone else made there own programs for their business? If so, have you seen any real advantages to the POS software on the market?


Haven't made my own software, but I use the computer (a Mac!) for everything BUT point-of-sale. Word proc. for letters. Database for customer list (entered in batches from the workorder sheets after frames have been picked up). Spreadsheets for keeping track of mouldings and prices, and printing out price lookup sheets for the front counter. (No prices on samples). Graphics program for designing ads, all my business forms, in-store signage, etc. etc.
I admit that the ability to price automatically "on-the-fly" is tempting, and I am currently checking out POS software. So far, though, I haven't seen anything that approaches order write-up the way that we do. Wish I COULD write my own.
;) Rick

Calculating your prices on a spreadsheet in Microsoft Works, is I suppose a "glorified" calculator to some degree.....

The advantages to purchasing and using a "real" POS program are........
<LI>Price updates are instantaneous through website downloads.
<LI>Bar code scanning of corner samples and matboard samples minimizes item identification errors.
<LI>Automatic production of a database for mailing lists.
<LI>The POS system with the hardware becomes your cash register. Some are linked to Quickbooks Pro, so that the details can go automatically to that software.
<LI>No miscalculations on 3 inch wide mouldings requring additional footage for a frame.......POS automatically "knows".
<LI>If you still desire to mark/price your corner samples, Reports can generate and print bar coded labels with or without the price in one shot.

We're just starting to use ours, but these are the perks that I've already discovered. About 7 companies make POS programs for our industry, but I'd recommend one of the major four players: Specialty Soft.com, LifeSaver.com, FullCalc.com or FerenSoft.com.

The other two that people mention, and sometimes exhibit at different shows are: FrameReady by Softouch Solutions and Artisan Storefront.

The time spent making/creating your own software could be used in marketing your shop or taking care of customers. I believe that making this step to purchase a POS program is an important ingredient to making a business more of a business.



The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc.
Appleton, Wisconsin
Over the past 3 years I have been building a POS "program" using Excel. It has evolved into a 16 sheet workbook that does every thing I need. In fact, I am able to do everything that fulcalc can do - except the vendor ordering. It will figure sizes, Prices and helps me remember all the little charges I should make. It will remind me that I should put in the over size board number if the dimensions exceed the standard size mat board. It includes a macro that, with one click of a button, the order is printed with copies for the customer and myself and then saved for future recall. I can print invoices from the data and also a content/condition label to be applied to the dust cover of any Conservation orders.

I have just included information on the location of my corner samples for quick price changes and deletions of discontinued mouldings.

I do not use it to keep my inventory. My shop is not big enough gain any efficiencies.

I feel my program has some very good advantages over the commercial programs. It has only what I need, no extra garbage. It allows me to use MY pricing policies. I can change things when I feel the need and I am not tied to a help desk in a distant city.
Thanks for responses.
We, too, have a very perfected and specialized spreadsheet and database which can do about everything except inventory, which I do not need, and pricing frames, which would be nice but not really worth it. If someone is computer literate, which my husband is very much so,(I just use it after he programs it) you can do almost anything you need yourself, and specialize it to meet your own criteria. If my shop was larger (my husband and I are it, except for a part time high school student to do odds and ends) I could see the need for consistency, but what we have works well for us. I do think we have a lot more than a "fancy calculator".
I say, whatever works for you!
I agree with John, but FrameReady by SoftTouch Solutions should be moved to the top of the list. Their program interfaces with (FramePro+) database and this will allow you to move data from your framing program to other data programs.
FrameReady is great, I've been using it since it was in beta test. Very versatile

Wal-mart...the Ferengi of our times.
The newest issue of Decor (March 2001,) starting on page 157 has a software report comparing all current Software for our industry.
For the record, Carladea, I developed a pricing database with Microsoft Works as well. It was really easy and gives us full pricing capabilities and 8 reports. (Invoice, Invoice/Workorder, Master Sheet, Cut List, Chop List, Poster Order, Daily Sales and Quote). I can also cull a mailing list from it which I update quarterly. I tailored the entire program to my needs, not what someone thinks I need. We've been using it for 8 years now, without a hitch. I also have a Retail and a Commercial version which only vary slightly, but once again they're tailored to suit us. Why did I do all this work? Because no one had anything of any value at the time, besides it wasn't too much work, it took about 75 hours over a two month period. Would I change now that there is software available commercially? Probably not. "Don't fix what ain't broke."

curlyframer, CPF
It's great that some of you have the ability to make up your own computer systems and wonderful that you are pleased with the results.

I took the plunge some months ago and spent quite some time researching the available programs.

As a new POS user, here are a few additional features that sold me in addition to the things John mentioned:

Computer records of work orders for easy reference -- you know "I need it to match what you did last year." (I also have some business clients that do repeat designs.)

Typed work orders.

Minimal math errors.

FAST order entry at the counter.

Though I chose a program where I can change the price various ways to "wing it" as I feel necessary or want to at the counter -- the consistancy of pricing feels really good as well as knowing my pricing is based on up to date costs of goods (Including the multitude of prices for mats).

Only 1 of a few hundred customers has said -- ooh computer --now it will cost more. Most don't even seem to notice a change or are happy that we've upgraded. AND, I've noticed the "bartering" and price complaining has reduced as many have stated before.

When first looking into POS I'll admit that it was the catalog price updating that got me researching the available programs. Manually updating frame samples was a chore that too frequently was left undone. As I researched I found features -- I MUST have, really wanted, thought would be nice, or weren't really necessary.

Now, a few months later, I'm not using all the features, but have the system set up to handle all types of work orders to my satisfaction very quickly.

TL - Studio Frame
Just the idea that I never again have to change all the prices on the backs of all my corner samples manually again makes the the POS packages worth the price to me. We currently use FullCalc. I was laughing with a co-worker one day when she was bemoaning the sluggishness of the printer. I reminded her how long it used to take to find all the prices and do all the math required on our old hand written tickets.

If you (or someone who works for you) can take the time to correct prices and update the customer information in your own worksheets that's great. I know that those are things that I would let pile up and potentially lose money over, so I will shell out for the software. Besides, if I made my own program (and that's a mighty big IF) who would I call when it didn't do what I wanted it to?
Absolutely agree with all touting the benefits of some kind of program. John listed some major players and agree with all but FullCalc. We've had it for years, and for some reason(Ihave my own opinions) their service has gone south. There are many better options now, and unfortunately, we are exploring them because we will be converting soon. Hate to do anything twice, but ain't gonna stay with FullCalc. We, by necessity, have created several programs on Works to handle a lot of the things important to us. But wouldn't be without any of them
I am a new member here - I found out about this from the PPFA Exchange. The tone here is fun AND informative.

I have been in the framing business for a few years. I worked in a shop that used FullCalc and thought it was good, but inflexible and too difficult to tailor to your own needs. When I opened my own shop I used a program I developed using FileMaker on my MAC. Now I am working on a new one using FileMaker Developer so that I can make stand alone applications. I love reading the different reasons we all have for using our particular brand of software. For all those reasons and more, I am convinced that putting as much of the paperwork on computer as you can, is beneficial for the business. :cool:
Tried FulCalc four years back. Much too cumbersome for my feeble brain. It may have changed since then. We wrote our own POS program in excel. Does price lookups, does all the math for mat cutting and for filets, etc, does exactly what we need it to do. Prints four copies of the invoice. (A very nice looking invoice, I might add). One for the accountant, one for ordering, one that travels with the art, and one for the customer. Saved $1000 plus. Don't think of my business as less of a business because I did something myself instead of paying someone else to do it.
I do agree that POS software is the way to go - whether it is homegrown or purchased. On another note, people used to question hand written invoices. Virtually no one questions the computer.
Used LifeSaver at my last place, and Mike and I currently use it for our shop. We checked out FrameReady prior to opening, and I found that it was a little difficult to follow. I am quite used to LifeSaver, and I like it's features. I also like that I can update fairly quickly via the web, so I am always current. I have used FulCalc, a long time ago, and unless they changed it over the last few years, I don;t like it. I found it entirely too basic, and the workorders were lacking.

Am curious if anyone else uses LS, and if so, your thoughts...