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The Business Of Upholstery => The Business Of Upholstery => Topic started by: Paul on December 08, 2017, 06:19:05 PM

Title: Job Management Software
Post by: Paul on December 08, 2017, 06:19:05 PM
Thank You for the opportunity to be a part of the community. 

I realize many of the upholsters are perhaps older and not so techie but I was looking for ideas on what software if any is being used by shops to manage and schedule jobs.  Of course one could use something like Excel for some things but I was looking for a more comprehensive software that I could upload specs of the job including pictures, add supplies and schedule etc.

If people have software ideas I would appreciate knowing.

BTW, I am now in my 40th year as an upholsterer in Eastern Canada.  This past several months and going into 2018 is the busiest I have ever been.  It puts more demands on me to be organized.

Paul C

Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: MinUph on December 08, 2017, 06:34:46 PM
Hi Paul,
  I feel the same way. I've looked for a piece of software to help with scheduling etc. Have never found anything better than excel and that doesn't make it either.
Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: 65Buick on December 08, 2017, 08:00:06 PM
I don't know if this helps but I use freshbooks. It allows you to generate estimates, and provides details on management in the form of pie charts.
There is a new version out, but the version I use doesn't include photos.

I find it easy to use and easy to see what's coming in/going on.

There is a free version if you want to try it out.
Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: MinUph on December 08, 2017, 09:33:06 PM
Quick Books is probably used more than any other accounting package in small business. I just took a quick look at fresh books, and it is accounting software also. And is online. I would not use anything online myself. QB offers an online version that I have evaluated 2 or 3 times over the years and turned it down. I want my books on my machines only and my backups available to me at a moments notice.
  I dont see an accounting package helping with scheduling only things that are in the works, estimated, and completed.
Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: gene on December 08, 2017, 09:49:37 PM
I do not have software for the purpose of scheduling.

Several years ago I looked at some woodworking software that is used for small shops. I don't remember what they were, but I do remember they were either too complicated for what I was looking for or were not easily adapted to my shop.

I also looked for general type software for scheduling and found only stuff for specific types of businesses.

Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: MinUph on December 09, 2017, 06:21:32 AM
Yes Gene I agree. There is stuff for salons, Dr.s etc. But not Upholstery Shops.
Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: kodydog on December 09, 2017, 09:30:03 AM
I am fortunate that my wife does all of the office work. She learned Excel when working for the Department of Revenue and is proficient at it. But she does not use it in our business. You would think Excel would come handy for a busy schedule that is forever changing but she prefers a simple pencil and calendar. She has done it this way for over 30 years and messed up only a few times. Scheduling does take many hours.

You guys who are one man shops I do not know how you get any work done. Between answering the phone, working up estimates, pickups and deliveries, scheduling, ordering supplies and book work how do you find the time to upholster?
Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: Mojo on December 09, 2017, 10:12:28 AM
I am an old guy and like many guys/gals my age I struggle with technology. Thankfully the owner of both of our companies, my wife, is a techie.

We use a mix of old and new with both companies.

With the awning company we do not keep track of materials per job. We know what our costs are per inch for everything from fabric to thread as well as labor. Size drives our sales quotes. In regards to jobs we have a 2 paper system we use. The first time a customer makes an inquiry for a job we log all of the details on an inquiry form. If that customer calls back and places the order, the info from the initial inquiry is verified and transferred to a work sheet. All of the paperwork including e-mail correspondence, texts and phone messages, etc. is then attached to a clipboard. Years ago we had a member here, Russ, who owned a busy automotive upholstery shop. He used the clipboard method which I adopted. My wife took it a step further and we now use color coded  clipboards. Red means immediate production, blue means one week out and black means several weeks out. All of these clipboards are then arranged on a huge board. It makes it easy to glance at the board and know what has to get done and shipped right away. Once red orders are done, the black ones are moved up.

Our manufacturing and RV supply company uses the same exact system but is much more involved as our product line is large. I wont bore you with too many details. We carry well over 75 SKU's and in 2018 will double that number. All of these SKU's are in quickbooks. We simply click on an item and it enters it onto the estimate. Once the order is placed we simply click one button and it turns it into an invoice. The nice thing about this is that on the backside of Quickbooks all of our items have a cost breakdown so we can track our margins on each item or product sold. I am a stickler about costs so every tiny component is tracked from rivets to adhesives. Just so happens Stainless Steel is a HUGE expense for us.

I come from the corporate world where tracking everything is a necessity. We close our books out at the end of each month and at this time I get into quickbooks and generate reports. QB is a very powerful program but is a royal pain to learn. We have a pretty good grasp on the program now. Once a month I generate a P & L ( profit and loss ) report. I then generate another report which shows which products have sold the best. I generate another report on costs so I can see a breakdown on all items used. I also generate year to date P & L's and separate YTD cost reports.

Everything is tied together from our schedules to our sales and costs. While the color coded clipboards is old fashioned, it has worked great for us. Surprisingly we never drop an order or get behind. We have anywhere from 50 - 75 customers with multiple orders come through both shops every month. Each customer can generate 4 separate products or awnings off one order. The colored clipboards have kept us on track. Quickbooks has been a Godsend despite us not unlocking its full potential yet.

In regards to billing, since the vast majority of our sales are from out of State customers we use Square for all transactions.


Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: Mojo on December 09, 2017, 10:28:26 AM
I forgot to mention the information we have on our customer inquiry and work order forms. I generated all of these by designing them with powerpoint and then we print them off.

These forms are the heartbeat of our production. I would share them with you but they would not make any sense to any of you as they are all RV and awning related. But will say the forms include all customer data as well as the RV type, make, model, year, assembly, etc. Also included is fabric colors, lengths, widths, total yardage, thread color, spline sizes, etc. along with the crucial due dates.

Our customer inquiry forms mirror our production forms with the exception of having more detail.

I have never seen or heard of any software ever that could come close to replacing our paper forms and the reason being is because most work order / scheduling software is generic. The only way I could ever see software like this that would help us is if we had it custom made which would be cost prohibitive. I should add that we do use Excel but strictly for doing initial cost studies on products. Other then that we do not use Excel in our daily business operations.

Title: Re: Job Management Software
Post by: SteveA on December 09, 2017, 11:15:06 AM
I guess since every morning after 20 minutes of stretching then it takes another 15 minutes before I'm walking upright - I'm up there near full SS (kind of old). 
My filing system got easy when Office was released.  It's not involved for me.  I make a file with the customer's name and there I enter estimates, emails, discussions on a note pad file - photos and the billing doc with a check # and date issued when paid.  I use Word + Excel. 
If I had a big work force I'd like to think there is a great software but there won't be one that will be specifically geared and personalized for you.  Forty plus years uh - welcome to the forum young fellow !