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Hi folks, I work doing domestic and business repairs networking etc. We are a team of about 3 techies, a web guy and our admin lass any suggestion on an out of the box tool to do stock, book jobs in, allow us to monitor time on jobs etc Any tips apreciated. I have obviously found a couple of tools but they don't seem that flash. Any personal experience based advice would be great.

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Last Post by profunctional
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Hi folks, I work doing domestic and business repairs networking etc. We are a team of about 3 techies, a web guy and our admin lass any suggestion on an out of the box tool to do stock, book jobs in, allow us to monitor time on jobs etc Any tips apreciated. I have obviously found a couple of tools but they don't seem that flash. Any personal experience based advice would be great.

Try Kaseya Managed Services software from SMC. You don't have to be a MSP to use this software - it's great for any overworked admin.

The Kaseya software is very expensive to purchase, or you can use the hosted version for a very small monthly fee. Also includes McAfee Total Protection for SMBs.

No charge for admins - volume discounts start at only 50 systems.

http://www.SecureMyCompany.com

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Kaseya is cheap comparatively.

Atiris runs about $7,000 (not to mention the $8,000 for training). Altiris is coming in at about $900 for 125 employees.

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Hi Modcons, I know this is a bit late, but if you have not not found anything suitable yet or aren't satisfied with what you have (or for others looking in future) I recommend AyaNova service management software. It will do everything you need as it's designed exactly for shops such as yours and it's very reasonably priced.
http://www.ayanova.com

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I've used sugarCRM and Vtiger but they didn't have all the features I needed. Now I use Phreebooks: The interface isn't quite as elegant but it has all the features I've needed in my IT business. For specific time tracking and work distrobution I'd suggest ooz (one or zero) helpdesk. You can make it available to customers or just log the tickets yourself and use the time tracking and collaboration features. Ooz does integrate into SugarCRM as well, but I haven't tested it since I use phreebooks now.

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I've used sugarCRM and Vtiger but they didn't have all the features I needed. Now I use Phreebooks: The interface isn't quite as elegant but it has all the features I've needed in my IT business. For specific time tracking and work distrobution I'd suggest ooz (one or zero) helpdesk. You can make it available to customers or just log the tickets yourself and use the time tracking and collaboration features. Ooz does integrate into SugarCRM as well, but I haven't tested it since I use phreebooks now.

Hmmm..had a look at those, however some are very primitive by comparison to AyaNova which has been in development for over a decade and is ideally suited to professional IT service management shops.

Some of those online solutions are so general purpose it would be hard to imagine running a professional service shop with them where you need things like preventive maintenance scheduling, professional printable work orders, customizable reporting, service order templates, customizable work order templates, inventory management, quote report template and management, integration with accounting software like QuickBooks, Peachtree etc.

AyaNova Lite is only $50.00 flat price for for a one person shop there's no comparison cost wise with some of those services for which you need to pay a monthly subscription fee.

That's less than an hour or couple of hours bill out time which would otherwise be wasted attempting to get a bunch of disparate services working together and still wouldn't equal the features.

Edited by JohnSPT: grammar

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I do tend to stand on open-sources soapbox, but Phreebooks does have all those features. And I'd definately suggest a web-based system for anybody doing on-site IT work, just being able to provide professional quality work orders and invoices on site (Before these systems I used an Excel template and then double entered into quick books) is a huge advantage.

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I do tend to stand on open-sources soapbox, but Phreebooks does have all those features. And I'd definately suggest a web-based system for anybody doing on-site IT work, just being able to provide professional quality work orders and invoices on site (Before these systems I used an Excel template and then double entered into quick books) is a huge advantage.

Surely I agree that no particular solution is going to be right for everyone and there are a lot out there. It's such a critical part of a service business it can literally make or break you when you start to get so busy that the service can suffer if it's not tracked very carefully. Good quality dedicated service management software can do just that.

That being said, with respect, Phreebooks is a general purpose application and evidenced by their screenshots and trying it out with their sample logins I don't really see very much of the really important features for a busy repair shop that you see in any of the dedicated service management applications out there.

Ideally you would want a dedicated application that has features like: work orders, graphical scheduling and dispatching, automated preventive maintenance that automatically generates service orders, a quote system that can be used to quickly make quotes and easily convert them to service work orders, searchable knowledgebase so you can benefit long term from any solution you come up with to a problem without having to reinvent the wheel every time, complete reportable service history of customer equipment, features for loaner and rental equipment, automatic notification of events such as service contracts expiring, work orders reaching their service by date based on service agreements etc etc, contracts, banked service, full inventory including purchase orders, receiving, inventory status and linking it to the service work orders and being able to request parts out of stock from within the service workorder, accounting software interface to commonly used accounting packages that your accountant can work with like QuickBooks or Peachtree, customizable user interface with terminology that makes sense for your business, localizable to your language, full reporting module with the ability to create your own customized reports, web interface, pda / cell interface etc etc.

Note that many of the service management apps out there are both desktop and web interface so you have full control over your own data, it's secure and under your own lock and key and also has features way beyond a service person onsite entering work orders via a web browser, also features for the customers of the service company to request service, view their completed work orders etc etc.

As you can see there are a lot of possibilities out there, AyaNova supports all that and I'm biased, but there are many others as well all worth trying and seeing as almost all have a free trial version.

I would hate to see people use some cobbled together system when there are so many purpose built, dedicated service operations software out there some of which are very definitely affordable to even the smallest service or repair shop.

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It certainly sounds like This software is a good solution for them, Phreebooks and Sugar both have most of those features but not all.

Personally I prefer "cobbled" together systems, being in the IT industry I try to avoid reconfigured solutions because implementing a system myself is good "practice".

PS: Just for everybodies information, Pheebooks test accounts and screen shots don't allow you to do everything and there are some features that you have to go looking for. It's certainly not the best solution for everybody but it's been good for my needs and has features that you can't find together in any other CRM I've used.

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It's certainly not the best solution for everybody but it's been good for my needs and has features that you can't find together in any other CRM I've used.

Hey whatever works! :) All that matters in the end is that it does the job you need it to do.

(I think the original poster was talking about managing a service and repair business so I took it that they weren't looking for CRM software specifically which is an entirely different beast and only a small part of service management software in general.)

My only advice to others reading this thread is to take the time to try out everything they can get their hands on and take it through a full business cycle from the original work order all the way to billing.

There is no perfect software just some that are better matches than others for a business.

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