User Review( votes)
My family owns a fireplace business, and my parents are wanting to retire. As such I am buying them out and will finally be able to fully migrate our "system" to something … better. The fireplace industry is about as oldschool as it gets, and it is also small enough that there do not seem to be many (any) ready-made solutions specifically designed for it.
I have been searching for a solution on and off for years, and put a lot of time into it in the last few months and it is actually amazingly difficult. I'm currently using Servicem8 which is not a good fit, I also tried service fusion which I do not like. A lot of the features are there but the interface is just… not intuitive. I'm not sure what it is, but it's a no.
We have about 10 employees total including technicians & office staff. I should mentioned I have a computer science background, though I haven't coded much in the last 10 years. I am perfectly happy with a solution which requires a bit of technical know-how, but the payoff needs to be that it is simpler for my staff as the industry as a whole is very very behind the times from customers to employees to technicians. Computer savy is not the norm.
One odd issue is I am in Canada, BC where we have 2 taxes. This means I need the ability to apply 1, 2, or 0 taxes on any given item, sometimes 1 on some items and 2 on others on the same invoice. Applicable taxes can vary depending on the context of the sale, not just the item itself.
Our work flow for installations is as follows Lead/contact ->schedule estimate/quote ->approved quote becomes a work order (Deposit taken), schedule work order, finished work order becomes invoice -> invoice is paid. This is how it must work, as this is how people buy fireplaces.
Service is just Work order, dispatch, take payment on site in most cases, or in tenant situations invoice the owner.
C&C is someone walks in the door, says I'll buy that, invoice is made, they pay, box is loaded into their vehicle and away they go.
Some functionality that allows me to generate a PO from a work order / sales order would also be great.
So our business model includes retail POS cash and carry from showroom, B2C, B2B, Service/maintenance, warranty work, and functionality to be able to do inspection reports on multiple appliances in one work order with dynamic unique identifiers would also help for the Strata corporations where we service all the fireplaces in for example a 50 unit condo under one invoice. We need each report saved under the apartment number so if for example a tennant / owner calls asking about the service we can actually find the corresponding report. Currently I use some custom forms in fast field forms for the inspection reports.
I've probably trialed 50 different programs and the closest match I found was actually a cell phone repair program called RepairShopR. The mobile dispatch / tickets on it were a little strange and a few other glitches that would make it hard to adapt, but actually had all the features needed. Zoho also seemed almost workable, but free trials trying to integrate various custom modules and their FSM it seems isn't out yet and has been delayed several times
I found another program called "LOU" by evosus which had potential judging by the demo videos I could find, but no trial and huge upfront costs and with no trial it's pretty hard to find info.
Sales force and freshdesk the like, I couldn't get a good feel as I couldn't even enable the B2C option in trial mode, and couldn't enable any of the apps / modules which defeats the point of the trial. It doesn't even have native invoicing by default. I don't even ….
Anyway I've spent hundreds of hours in trials, literally running out of programs to test so I figured I'd see if a bit of advice could maybe help me in my search.
Oh I should also mention I am wanting to change our accounting to quickbooks or Sage or something, but currently it's done on an excel sheet I made 10 years ago so I have the freedom to entertain options.