Do you use QuickBooks? That can do invoices. Look at one of your current forms, see what you don't use and what you have to write in each time in the notes sections. Add boxes for that. Add a second or third box for labor and added costs. Remove the one for discounts. It always seemed that when someone saw me leave the discount box empty they wanted to know why, when the box wasn't there they didn't ask for one.
How do you replicate an order if you lose the original? I always lost the original and using the computer saved my bacon more than once, especially around XMas!
What do you use your computer for beside the Grumble?
I checked the NEBS site and couldn't find it. The form was actually very good and the dispenser box worked great. You might give them a call and see if they can still offer them. I used the forms for a couple of decades and there was very little that was not covered in their format.
We used the illustrated from from 1978-2000 and it worked well. We had it printed locally in a 3-part NCR paper format so that one copy was given to the customer, one copy went for ordering and the original stayed with the artwork.
The design allowed 1, 2 or 3 items to be included on the same worksheet.
We went to SpecialtySoft POS software in 1999 and completed the conversion and dropped the form completely in 2001. For what it is worth, I would never go back to a hand entry unless my framing business was much simpler, which custom framing is not.
I remember using a paper form. I remember the Roma slide rule and calculating the price. I remember the hassle of adding or subtracting a mat and not adjusting the molding length. I remember starting with a thin molding and swapping to a larger molding and not recalculating the molding length. Then after giving the hand written price having the customer ask if I "could do better". I remember leaving money on the table.
So, added mat adds a foot or two of molding, I gave that away by not recalculating. Thicker molding added 2 or 3 feet of molding. I didn't recalc so I gave that away. Ran a "special" second mat free, so I gave that away. 5 feet of molding and a mat lying around free on the counter and then I am asked for a discount, or lose a customer.
I remember putting an order together, money on the table and the price list 8 months out of date. Oops more money sitting there. Order the job, oops, molding is discontinued or out of stock for 6 months. Use a higher priced backup for the same price. More money on the table. Mat price list out of date, boards up $2 since last quarter. Bainbridge number discontinued but Crescent has a substitute, for $3 more. More money sitting there on the table.
Yeah I remember hand written forms.
I love my POS. No one asks the computer for a discount, and the computer recalcs and adds in the mat. Discontinued mats and molding up dated weekly. Prices updated weekly.... I remember hand written forms. I love my POS and I am not going back! Even if I "could do better" back then!
Does your accountant ask for Quick Books compatible data? Then use Quick Books or Quick Books pro. You can make your own invoices in their editor. And print them out on your printer. Color, Black and white, one copy or in triplicate. Change a number and not have to go out and order new forms. Don't have to dig through boxes to find a customers old order. It is all right there with the click of your mouse. No digging through the 1 year old box only to find out that the order you wanted was 3 years and 6 more boxes ago.
You have a computer, you are using it now. Get a show deal on a POS, ask if they'll waive the initial fees. Ask your reps if they have a deal on the POS or can get you one. $300/$400 a year for the license is about double what you pay for the triplicate forms isn't it? And out of date price lists? Discontinueds? Recalling old orders. Keeping the customer at the design counter happy because they aren't waiting for you to run out back for a different box to find that old order. POS is not a panacea but it does beat the alternative in my book I think the time spent trying to redesign a form is not free either. Then you have to get it proofed, printed, another week. More time, more money. Consider a POS.
SPilco, I fought using a POS. I wanted "complete control" over my prices. My accountant wanted my data in QB format so I used that for him and still wrote paper forms. When entering my forms in monthly I saw that I was leaving at least $5 on the counter with each order, so I started using QB to write and calculate my orders.
But it doesn't update the prices like a POS does so I was still having to call customers to come back in and get back up molding. At $5 a frame 80 frames pays for the POS license. When my vendor got me the deal on the POS I placed more orders with them. 10 years later I still use them as my main vendor, they got paid back for the deal in my book! You've been here longer than me. I want to retire, so a POS will just add value to your shop when a buyer shows interest. Your mailing list. 80 frames and it is paid for. Not 80 more frames, just 80 frames of cash not left on the counter
may I suggest a POS system will save you money in accuracy and time and may easily pay for itself the first year. There are a few 'tech' advancements that I feel should be mandatory: CMC, POS, double mitre saw, underpinner for a short list. I'm sure someone will argue against them
Customers do not give one single hoot about what your order form looks like, IMHO. When I opened my shop in 1982 I spent weeks designing the perfect full size custom order sheet with little boxes to check and all that. Over the years this marvel was refined several times. It came in two pages, carbonless copy. Yadda yadda. When I ran out of these a couple years back I decided to buy some sales order books at the drug store. Since I am the only person here - only I have to be able to read them - I do not itemize prices. I use the 5.56 x 8.43 size for custom orders, and the 4.18 x 7.18 size for refits, repair, etc. If I need my name on the darned things I slap a sticker up top. Bing bang boom..
some day we'll get a POS. I've had them before. it's just me and my wife here, so we just write it up on a blank order form. all the check off boxes seem kinda silly to me. maybe we're setting a new trend, framar?
I use frameready but l prefer life saver. invest in a computer and install life saver. it will literally save your life.
you can program all of your moldings and mats and add your desired mark up.
it calculates the price for you based on the size and keeps track of your inventory as well.
frame ready couldn't keep up with lifesaver imo because the lifesaver interface is so much easier to use.
also I have been using computers to write my order forms since 1997 so my customer data base is huge. something writing them by hand will not do for you is store every single order for you. so when people come in and they tell me they want the same frame they got 10 years ago it is very simple for me to look it up and do just that.
I don't know how some of you even operate with out some sort of POS honestly I dont know what I would be doing with out mine.
invest in a computer? They are here, on-line, usually using a computer to do so!
I took a long time to get a POS. I used Quick Books at first and a pricing chart, that was a half way decent start, better than doing it all by hand. But the leap to a POS has more than paid for itself. If the person debating the move is fdoing 20 frames a month then it is a no brainer, but less than that it could be questionable. Go the QB route so that you have an easier way to find old orders.
Besides when a computer screen tells your customer the price they don't haggle as much as they do when it is written in pencil by hand in front of them. The words "can you do better" are not a daily occurrence any more. Maybe once a month, maybe more most likely less but not 10 time a day like it used to be pre computer generated work orders!
Oh, BTW, typos. Easy enough to fix in QB and a POS. I would hate to print out the example worksheet shown here by a fellow grumbler then have to have a printer reprint because of the typo... I like the examples that were shown here and would have used them in my pre computer days, but typos do drive me crazy!
In case anyone else uses the 615 order form like we do, I wanted to let you know there's a much less expensive option than ordering through Deluxe.
Deluxe likes to bombard you with reorder notices, which is annoying. Also, I've noticed over the years that their prices have steadily risen.
I went to reorder using one of their 25% off codes last week and the price for 2500 forms was $536. That seemed ridiculous to me, so I looked around on Google a bit and found a couple of companies offering the same forms at substantially lower prices. I settled on 5forms which is located near us. I called to confirm their price and that they would match what we were already using. The lady I spoke with said they are actually just a wholesale reseller of the NEBS forms, which is owned by Deluxe, so the forms are exactly the same. The great thing is that I can get 2000 forms for $212 or 4000 forms for $353.
So just take a look at that absurd markup Deluxe is putting on their forms. Maybe it's paying for the mailers they send out once a week, more likely it's paying for some do nothing executive's ridiculous salary.
In Canada, a simple two-part sales receipt was 60 cents per unit. NEBS. I switched to a similar form from Staples at 6 cents for a two-part, and rubber-stamp them. NEBS, or Deluxe, have priced themselves out of the market.
I use my own design for work orders, and these little guys as a sales receipt. The customer gets a copy of the work order and the original of the sales receipt.
I have fun with the fine print on the work order: after several customers casually dropped in to pick up their work, before they were called, I inserted "We will call you when your artwork is finished and ready for pickup" three times.
They still drop in before that phone call. Nobody reads the fine print.
Some of those forms cost a LOT more than a professional POS customized for this industry. 60 cents per customer is a LOT, imo. POS systems are about $1.00-$1.25 per day (less than coffee), and a couple cents per laser printed page. It'll track your customer order history, accounts receivable, let you know when frames or mats are discontinued so you wont accidentally sell one that is, it'll price at today's price automatically as the prices go up, maintain a mailing list of customers, keep item/part #s off the customer copy so they dont go to a big box with it, does the math, provides a pick/shopping list of materials you sold/need, legible writing, easy to train any future employees, reduce haggling, and is generally much easier and quicker at the design counter (especially if they want to price multiple options). Worthy of consideration, in any case. There are several good ones for this industry.
Ducking and hiding Seriously, it's not a terrible thing. Just throwing it out there.
Mike, resident computer geek
Also, you can actually go paperless. Any further notes go straight into the computer for future cloning of a job. Not written down to be lost.
We email the sales docket to the customer, and then use the online job sheet, cutting list, purchase order, email/sms notification etc etc. No paper needed. Saving the planet one sheet of a at a time