Data bases and customer spend analysis...

Quick one for those more technically minded than me!

I am currently working on 'streamlining' a few systems here and am looking for a program that can do the following:

1. Hold customer data - IE names, addresses, contact details etc.

2. Allow input of customers 'regular visit costs' and any 'uplifts' as separate lines, thus allowing to see the amount expected from each customer per year (cash flow forecast reasons)

3. Allow printing of quotes and invoices

Does such a program exist?

Still using carbonless duplicate books etc but a new accountant has suggested I move with the times and computerize things - even going to the point of suggesting I get involved with Quick Books - a big step more computerization than I am used to!

Thanks in advance.

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  • PRO

    Im currently building my own database for this very purpose based on the now defunct PHPBMS system ive used in the past and my previous life building databases for a living.

    Im working on the following structure;

    1) Database of Customers including all customer specific details and a history log showing changes and edits, including moving house, changing contact details etc. type of customer and how they were acquired.

    2) Events database - IE Every communication or email or notable conversation (IE complaint, compliment, recommendation, request, observation, file note) is entered, these can then be linked in upto 3 ways - to a customer on the customer list - to a specific invoice and to a "float" IE an extra field of either another customer or another invoice, allowing links of referrals etc.

    3 IInvoices and orders
    Database list of every invoice... used to populate templates for printing - Again each record line linked to a customer and can be linked to other invoices of same customer through a history on the customers page, or can be added as stand alone invoices and linked to customer from within.

    So far Im at a functioning Invoice issueing template system and rudimentary log of Cusotmers details which is auto-populated invoices. 

    Problem is timing - I recon theirs another 50 hours work in making my idea a working model.

    IF that sounds like what your after give me a line and Ill see if I can get you a working version to test when I get it "more" usable.

    • PRO
      That sounds way too complicated to try and put together so good luck with it!
  • PRO

    its time consuming but do-able - I my past life I've built databases containing many many more data types and thousands of relationships - but then again I was doing it 9-5 so wasnt something I was cramming into the evenings!

    • PRO
      It's a big move from that to this! I'd be interested to see it working even though unless I take staff on I have no time for anymore work now and my customers are the same every week/fortnight so it's very easy to keep track of everything, it may be somthing for the future.
  • PRO

    Adam, all that is acheivable in most mainstream accounts packages (they all have an element of CRM - Customer Raltionship Management) built in and off-the-shelf or available as an option. There are more specific packages for larger business where data mining and profiling can be acheived.

    Also, there is overlap with with operational packages such as Jobber, Qxpress etc - in fact both of those utilise a single database (the one contained and maintained by QB) thereby reducing data duplication.

    Personally, I would see little need to build a bespoke solution unless I wanted something very specialised, specific AND had lots of time. You'd be better off putting such energy into other business areas (for exampe QB Desktop can be bought for a 1off cost of <£100

    • PRO

      The main reason for me is a) keeping my skill set current after nearly 5-6 years away from stats and also I want something I can access on my mobile on the go and can manage customer requests, invoices and "to do lists" linked into jobs, also perhaps even using gps logging (their are totally free aps for this already which are oipen source) to link in to look at profitability, In a dream world a bespoke app that tells you at the end of the day which jobs were most profitable, over time which ones are not, and even which ones are taking odd amounts of time to get to, without having to sit down and work it out, would be amazing, Especially as I move towards staff and running a team I am not actually present with.

      Also I want and will need something to track Fertilizer use / profitability and log the history of lawn treatments (Im inspired by the software the agri contractor who sprayed my fields was using, which he recons was saving him £1500 a month in ferts, on a lawn care scale we may be looking at more like £25 per operator a week but still stock control going forwards, especially with staff, Is something I want a handle on. This sort of info may seem like tweaking round the edges to some, but I've done it manually over the past 2 years and saved well over £2k by been carefully organized, multiply that by staff And I think it will be a major difference between a profitable business and a very successful one.

      • PRO

        Would sublty suggest QB Online/Xero would do a majority of what you want with Toodledo on a GPS enabled smart phone/tablet.

        As an example, we each have a £79 Hudl1 tablet with Email, Toodledo (GPS enabled) for each Team. In fact for simple schedules, you would need any other software if you also have access to an accounts package.

        • PRO

          Example 'Work Flow' on QB Desktop:

          An example of job reports available on QB Desktop:

          (click to enlarge)

  • PRO

    Come to the conclusion that Quick Books and some intelligent thinking will do everything that I need, plus satisfies what the accountants want from me. 

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