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bcg
01-31-2009, 09:53 AM
Other than ESC (which looks good but is cost prohibitive right now), what are you guys using for managing your service calls? I'm looking for something that will handle inventory, dispatching, service agreements and invoicing. I have a credit card merchant account already so ideally, I'd also like a company that would be willing to add a module to work with my API provider instead of forcing me to setup another merchant account to use the card processing within the app.

Thanks.

Kiril
01-31-2009, 11:08 AM
How good are your computer skills?

bcg
01-31-2009, 11:14 AM
I used to be in IT. I managed desktop OS rollouts for Exxon and Baker Oil Tools and was the IT director for a tax consulting frim for a few years. At one point, I was an MCSE, MCP+I, CCNA and only lacked 1 test for both the CCNP and the SCSA on Solaris 7. I'm not a programmer, but OS, Server, SQL, Exchange, etc. I know pretty well. I hate doing the work though, so while I don't mind taking the time to set something up, I don't want something I'm going to be constantly fiddling with.

Kiril
01-31-2009, 11:16 AM
Then check out dotproject. Knowledge of PHP would help if you want to write custom code.

http://www.dotproject.net/

There are others as well.

hoskm01
01-31-2009, 11:23 AM
I used to be in IT. I managed desktop OS rollouts for Exxon and Baker Oil Tools and was the IT director for a tax consulting frim for a few years. At one point, I was an MCSE, MCP+I, CCNA and only lacked 1 test for both the CCNP and the SCSA on Solaris 7. I'm not a programmer, but OS, Server, SQL, Exchange, etc. I know pretty well. I hate doing the work though, so while I don't mind taking the time to set something up, I don't want something I'm going to be constantly fiddling with.
I didnt understand a word you just said...


Service CEO. Dont have it yet, but have talked with the guy at 2 shows, years apart, and am impressed with the software.

http://www.insightdirect.com/

Waterit
01-31-2009, 11:46 AM
I used to be in IT. I managed desktop OS rollouts for Exxon and Baker Oil Tools and was the IT director for a tax consulting frim for a few years. At one point, I was an MCSE, MCP+I, CCNA and only lacked 1 test for both the CCNP and the SCSA on Solaris 7. I'm not a programmer, but OS, Server, SQL, Exchange, etc. I know pretty well. I hate doing the work though, so while I don't mind taking the time to set something up, I don't want something I'm going to be constantly fiddling with.

I was once a LJE, but my OCD and ADHD led to an SOS that caused me to MOVE to FLA where I got my DL through a DTP and pretty quickly got a JOB with an LA that gave me enough knowledge to get my QBL and SPL, so I started an S-CORP with W-9's, 1099's, and 941's and started to rake in the DOREMI.

Huh?

Kiril
01-31-2009, 11:49 AM
I was once a LJE, but my OCD and ADHD led to an SOS that caused me to MOVE to FLA where I got my DL through a DTP and pretty quickly got a JOB with an LA that gave me enough knowledge to get my QBL and SPL, so I started an S-CORP with W-9's, 1099's, and 941's and started to rake in the DOREMI.

Huh?

Dude .... IT talk .... where is Dirty Water when you need him. :cry:

hoskm01
01-31-2009, 11:50 AM
I was once a LJE, but my OCD and ADHD led to an SOS that caused me to MOVE to FLA where I got my DL through a DTP and pretty quickly got a JOB with an LA that gave me enough knowledge to get my QBL and SPL, so I started an S-CORP with W-9's, 1099's, and 941's and started to rake in the DOREMI.

Huh?
I wanted to do it, but not the energy yet today.


I like it.

EagleLandscape
01-31-2009, 12:39 PM
We use ESC. We are about to make the move to setting it to server based because we're needing more people to run things that just office mgr.

We are super pleased with it. Each tech has a cell phone with a windows OS and ESC dispatches all service calls via the phone. We can write invoices on phone, and send to blue tooth printer and print invoice in each truck. This also helps keep track of inventory. Eliminates double-triple handling of information, which saves alot of office time.

Kiril
01-31-2009, 12:40 PM
Bah, noobs :rolleyes:

TRILAWNCARE
01-31-2009, 12:43 PM
I was once a LJE, but my OCD and ADHD led to an SOS that caused me to MOVE to FLA where I got my DL through a DTP and pretty quickly got a JOB with an LA that gave me enough knowledge to get my QBL and SPL, so I started an S-CORP with W-9's, 1099's, and 941's and started to rake in the DOREMI.

Huh?

Spoken like a true poet.

Wet_Boots
01-31-2009, 01:39 PM
I like cheese

http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/4035/velveetababe1cv3.jpg

mitchgo
01-31-2009, 04:20 PM
I used to be in IT. I managed desktop OS rollouts for Exxon and Baker Oil Tools and was the IT director for a tax consulting frim for a few years. At one point, I was an MCSE, MCP+I, CCNA and only lacked 1 test for both the CCNP and the SCSA on Solaris 7. I'm not a programmer, but OS, Server, SQL, Exchange, etc. I know pretty well. I hate doing the work though, so while I don't mind taking the time to set something up, I don't want something I'm going to be constantly fiddling with.

Nice job man! funny to veer into irrigation

I use to be MCSE

bcg
01-31-2009, 05:09 PM
Nice job man! funny to veer into irrigation

I use to be MCSE

After the dot.com bubble burst, I started consulting for a while because the jobs that were available just didn't pay worth a flip. I made good money at it but the problem was that it was very difficult to duplicate myself so my growth was kind of limited and, instead of owning a business, I owned a job that I was married to. I realized that I hated what I was doing and that if I didn't find something that didn't require me to work in it all the time, I was never going to be happy so 5 years ago, I started cutting grass. My second season, I bought a 2nd truck and hired somebody else to cut grass, then next year, I bought another truck and hired 2 more guys and so on. Last year I got licensed for irrigation and it really isn't that different from computers. The troubleshooting process is the same, you just get wet more often. This year I'll probably hire somebody else to do most of the irrigation work and start building that into a multiple truck division as well.

I've realized thorugh all this that what I enjoy about having my own business is growing it and setting up the processes that allow it to operate with interchangeable employees, not the nuts and bolts of the day to day stuff so the change has been good for me. I like what I do most of the time now, both in and out of the office, and I have the flexibility to pick and choose when and what I want to work on. If I'd stayed in IT, I doubt that would be the case.

The really nice thing is that sometimes, my "office" looks like the picture, instead of an artificially lit data center. I'll never go back.

mitchgo
01-31-2009, 05:46 PM
After the dot.com bubble burst, I started consulting for a while because the jobs that were available just didn't pay worth a flip. I made good money at it but the problem was that it was very difficult to duplicate myself so my growth was kind of limited and, instead of owning a business, I owned a job that I was married to. I realized that I hated what I was doing and that if I didn't find something that didn't require me to work in it all the time, I was never going to be happy so 5 years ago, I started cutting grass. My second season, I bought a 2nd truck and hired somebody else to cut grass, then next year, I bought another truck and hired 2 more guys and so on. Last year I got licensed for irrigation and it really isn't that different from computers. The troubleshooting process is the same, you just get wet more often. This year I'll probably hire somebody else to do most of the irrigation work and start building that into a multiple truck division as well.

I've realized thorugh all this that what I enjoy about having my own business is growing it and setting up the processes that allow it to operate with interchangeable employees, not the nuts and bolts of the day to day stuff so the change has been good for me. I like what I do most of the time now, both in and out of the office, and I have the flexibility to pick and choose when and what I want to work on. If I'd stayed in IT, I doubt that would be the case.

The really nice thing is that sometimes, my "office" looks like the picture, instead of an artificially lit data center. I'll never go back.

I couldn't agree more. I use to just stay up all night working on people's computers. I love the outdoors.

Our company uses MYSQL and MS Access, with laptops on the field. I'm setting up a SBS sometime this year so we can all bring the trucks home out of the office.

AI Inc
02-01-2009, 07:40 AM
80% of my customers are IT professionals and I wouldnt know a server if it sat on my face and wiggled. Unless of course it was a cocktail server.
Then ya just slap that azz , right cappy?

hoskm01
02-01-2009, 10:21 AM
80% of my customers are IT professionals and I wouldnt know a server if it sat on my face and wiggled. Unless of course it was a cocktail server.
Then ya just slap that azz , right cappy?
Oh Dear God

:::wipes coffee mist from screen:::

Oh Schitt, good start to my day, right here.

DanaMac
02-02-2009, 10:56 AM
80% of my customers are IT professionals and I wouldnt know a server if it sat on my face and wiggled. Unless of course it was a cocktail server.
Then ya just slap that azz , right cappy?

Nice. Very nice. :clapping:

EBHC
02-03-2009, 12:21 PM
http://www.softwareforirrigationprofessionals.com/

bcg
02-03-2009, 12:32 PM
Wow, they're as proud of that as ESC is of theirs. Right now, I'm seriously considering this one - http://www.pioneerinteractive.com/overview.htm. We have a demo setup today and 4 users will be less than $3500. Anyone else used them? Their interface seems the most intuitive of what I've looked at and the feature set they have seems to be a pretty good fit for at least the way we work.

Kiril
02-03-2009, 12:53 PM
Wow, they're as proud of that as ESC is of theirs. Right now, I'm seriously considering this one - http://www.pioneerinteractive.com/overview.htm. We have a demo setup today and 4 users will be less than $3500. Anyone else used them? Their interface seems the most intuitive of what I've looked at and the feature set they have seems to be a pretty good fit for at least the way we work.

Yow .... you didn't like my open source suggestion? There are others as well. Some provide the base software for free (obviously) and sell add-on features and support.

bcg
02-03-2009, 12:58 PM
Honsetly, I like open source to a point but most of what I looked at was more setup for project management or IT type work. We're almost entirely repair so we need more of a field service type product than project management.

The other side of it is that while I really don't mind taking the time to set something up, I don't plan on being in the day to day operations forever and I really want something that has a tech support number that whoever becomes responsible for the irrigation repairs can call if there's a problem with the app. I really don't enjoy working on computers anymore so I don't mind buying something in order to have support down the road.

That's not to say I don't like any open source, we use a Linux server running Asterisk for our PBX, but there are a lot of people that will take care of that for you for a fee so when the time comes, I'll not have to be involved in that if there's a problem either.

Kiril
02-03-2009, 01:15 PM
This is why I suggested dotproject. You can easily set it up for field access, and on the spot invoicing, inventory tracking, tech documentation, etc...

Granted, it is not for the faint of heart, but once you figure it out, it works great .... and is extensible to boot.

I'm certain you could find someone to provide tech support for the application if it comes down to that ... and certainly far cheaper than $3500 for 4 users. :dizzy:

bcg
02-03-2009, 01:20 PM
I really understand your argument, there was a time I'd have been the one making it. Where I'm at now, though, I want something that works out of the box, doesn't require me to read a bunch of documentation and is well supported. We're about to hit the Spring rush and we're still super busy building fences that were destroyed by Hurricane Ike so in my mind, the time I'm going to save by using a boxed and supported app is worth more to me than $3500. (It's actually going to be closer to $3000)

Two years ago, I'd have probably gone the other way but now, I have more money than time so...

Kiril
02-03-2009, 01:30 PM
Two years ago, I'd have probably gone the other way but now, I have more money than time so...

Yup, know how you feel. I'd offer to setup and support, but I also have little time, and not really interested in being a "support tech" either. ;)

Mike Leary
02-03-2009, 02:21 PM
not really interested in being a "support tech" either. ;)

Oh?...........

Kiril
02-03-2009, 02:31 PM
Oh?...........

Yes, IT support sucks ..... nuff said. :waving:

Mike Leary
02-03-2009, 02:38 PM
Yes, IT support sucks ..... nuff said. :waving:

Excuse me, I thought it was Lawn Site tech support you were talking about.

bcg
02-03-2009, 02:45 PM
Yes, IT support sucks ..... nuff said. :waving:


Couldn't agree more!

djt22
02-05-2009, 10:57 PM
Check out www.hindsitesoftware.com it works with more than quickbooks. You can use with a laptop or touchscreen windows based cell phone. Designed by a former irrigation contractor. Take the time to watch the video I believe you can also use a few of the different promo points certain manufactures offer.(hunter etc.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. The Office Software:
Drag 'n' Drop Scheduling/Dispatching
Display "Arrive" and "Dispatched" Onscreen
Routing
Contact Management (w/ custom fields)
Job Tracking
Customer History
Vehicle Maintenance
Materials Maintenance
Multiple Calendars Views
Custom Reports
Timesheets
Interoffice Messaging
Office Reminders
Estimate Maintenance
Run Mutiple Departments
QuickBooks Interface

2. The Field Software:
Designed Specifically for the Service Field Technician
Time Tracking
Material Usage
Job Notes & History
Customer Maps
Estimates
Custom Assessments (office-created reports)
Prewritten Remarks
Create Work Orders in the Field
Automatically Calculate Totals
WebSync
Office Controls

3. QuickBooks Interface:
Invoicing
Estimates
Timesheets/Payroll
Update Inventory Items
Send Sales/Commission Data
Update Contact Info
Display Customer Balance
Multiple QB Companies

BSME
02-10-2009, 05:53 PM
If you could start from scratch or take a little bit from each software that does something well what would you make sure it could do?

-Scheduling is a big one for us. We haven't found a system that schedules the way we want to schedule.
-Also would like a system to pushes a completed invoice to our website so the customer can log on and pay it directly/look at their account

Kiril
02-11-2009, 12:41 AM
If you could start from scratch or take a little bit from each software that does something well what would you make sure it could do?

-Scheduling is a big one for us. We haven't found a system that schedules the way we want to schedule.
-Also would like a system to pushes a completed invoice to our website so the customer can log on and pay it directly/look at their account

Then you need to look at the open source alternatives. These are the applications that can provide the most scalability (assuming modular design) without taking out a second mortgage. They can have a rather steep learning curve though.

The beauty of open source is ... if you don't like what it provides, change the code. :)

BSME
02-11-2009, 12:46 AM
I'll take out the second mortgage

Kiril
02-11-2009, 12:50 AM
I'll take out the second mortgage

Or you could hire someone to set it up and customize it to your liking. Even that would probably be cheaper than the proprietary route ... and you would have a product customized to your needs. Food for thought.

BSME
02-11-2009, 12:53 AM
Or you could hire someone to set it up and customize it to your liking. Even that would probably be cheaper than the proprietary route ... and you would have a product customized to your needs. Food for thought.

yea i was kidding. it'd be a sibling working on a computer science phd who has some interest in doing it. oh course if we got it right he could sell it

sprinklerchris
03-02-2009, 07:44 AM
Other than ESC (which looks good but is cost prohibitive right now), what are you guys using for managing your service calls? I'm looking for something that will handle inventory, dispatching, service agreements and invoicing. I have a credit card merchant account already so ideally, I'd also like a company that would be willing to add a module to work with my API provider instead of forcing me to setup another merchant account to use the card processing within the app.

Thanks.


Hindsite Software.

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-02-2009, 08:28 AM
After all I've seen I'm going back to a paper calendar. I'm limiting my research to IPhone apps. I think I can put it all together for considerably less. Apps like Followup, and an invoicing one that I can't remember off hand plus CONTACTS. I'm also going paperless invoicing and will just email the invoice. "A Green Thing". What irrigation I do up here will be I hope strictly limited to sub work for contractors. Set up their controllers and water management protocol and be experienced brains when they need them. I don't want 2,000 homeowners again.

Wet_Boots
03-02-2009, 09:32 AM
But the homeowners want you! Free bread recipe with every upgrade. :)

commirr
03-10-2009, 09:10 PM
I looked into.. Its not to bad. It was a toss up between the hindsite and this one. The boss struck a good deal with the hindsite so we went with it. But either one if your looking to simplify things. But the cost is a little on the high side and that's a factor that would need to be considered.