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  1. #1
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    Default I make stuff and sell it software

    Hello!

    Most of my career has been very far separated from the customer: Im a floor guy through and through. Ive been blessed to not need to do any retail craziness like making a website. A little inventory management here and there, but otherwise nothing.

    Ive just broken into a market thats polar opposite: good money and easy parts, but Im going to need more than purchase orders. Ill need a website with sales capabilities, work ordering, material and consumable management, the works.

    Whats the go-to for this sort of thing? I was looking into MRPEasy for a while, but its kind of buggy with a big learning curve. Ive played with websites and gotten nowhere fast. So in typical A-hole customer fashion, I want all-inclusive software to do everything under the sun and not pay much money for it.

    What software should I be looking at to manage this?

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    Look at godaddy.

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    If you gave a few more hints as to the product and market you will probably get better advice.

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    IMO, you'd be far ahead to hire somebody who does this to do it. What you've described is way beyond what you can probably learn in any reasonable amount of time and the cost of mistakes in terms of security or customer relations/image might be a lot more than you think. Better to do what you make money doing.

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    As another person advised...hire someone.

    If you intend to sell on the site you will need shopping cart software, the ability to take charge cards or facilitate money transfers, and security software.

    Find a website that you find appealing or mirrors your business model to some extent and if the site developer is shown, contact them.

    Edit to add....Also need to use social media like Facebook, Instagram and other similar sites to promote your business.

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    I am doing a website with a shopping cart right now for some new products I make. Considering your list of wants I also think you need to hire this out

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    Considering how hard it is just to get a shipping calculator to work right for a website I don't see how the mountain of things you listed off could be combined into one with any hope of success.

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    Take a look at AllOrders, an addon for QuickBooks. Ive done two installs, one was five seats initially and 14 seats when I left because everyone uses it. Second install was 2 seats and five when I left, because everyone uses it.
    Cost is like $900 a seat and they are floaters. We had five people using two seats and as our usage grew we added more. Support from the company was very good.

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    I can't say with full confidence, but I don't know of "anything" that can do "everything". At the very least I see need for a website that can shove data into an ERP system. Short answer: focus on product development & manufacturing and hire someone to do the IT stuff (spend time on trying to find a good IT expert rather than doing it yourself). There is absolutely no way you can do "everything" and, if you attempt to do so, will likely get "nothing" done.

    Good luck!
    The Dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by thunderskunk View Post
    Hello!

    What’s the go-to for this sort of thing? I was looking into MRPEasy for a while, but it’s kind of buggy with a big learning curve. I’ve played with websites and gotten nowhere fast. So in typical A-hole customer fashion, I want all-inclusive software to do everything under the sun and not pay much money for it.

    What software should I be looking at to manage this?

    Best bet is to look at business websites that are local to you, pick the ones you like and ask your self why you like them. The go find out who made those sites. Usually they have their "Website designed by..." somewhere on the site at the bottom of the page in the fine print. Or, being local businesses, you could just go ask them. From the web designers view point its contract work, just like you would hire any other contractor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    Take a look at AllOrders, an addon for QuickBooks. Ive done two installs, one was five seats initially and 14 seats when I left because everyone uses it. Second install was 2 seats and five when I left, because everyone uses it.
    Cost is like $900 a seat and they are floaters. We had five people using two seats and as our usage grew we added more. Support from the company was very good.
    Ooh this looks good.

    As for more details: plasma cutting with drill/tap center afterwards. Paint booth, marking machine, then an assembly and packing bench. Some made to order stuff with a bit of room for a common part supermarket. Lite on inspection, but theres enough to keep things reliably in print. Pretty simple stuff.

    I was using Quicken, which was a bit of a flop. Worked well back in the day, but its pretty buggy these days, though support was decent when I got it. I wouldnt mind transitioning back to quickbooks.

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    I'll be the contrarian. Setting up a basic e-commerce site isn't rocket science. I did it the cheap and difficult way all myself because I didn't have much cash on hand at the time. The annoying thing is it takes a whole bunch of different systems, (WordPress, WooCommerce, Stripe, Ship station, etc). But nome are that complicated and they're dirt cheap.

    For inventory management and accounting we're using Zoho, not perfect but it works. The website feeds in orders, deducts stock, and so on.

    If that site evaporated and I did it again and wanted to be lazy, I'd use Shopify. It's almost a one stop shop, but is several multiples more expensive than the DIY route.

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    And I am not a tech guy by any stretch of the imagination. Zero prior experience or training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOTT View Post
    I'll be the contrarian. Setting up a basic e-commerce site isn't rocket science. I did it the cheap and difficult way all myself because I didn't have much cash on hand at the time. The annoying thing is it takes a whole bunch of different systems, (WordPress, WooCommerce, Stripe, Ship station, etc). But nome are that complicated and they're dirt cheap.

    For inventory management and accounting we're using Zoho, not perfect but it works. The website feeds in orders, deducts stock, and so on.

    If that site evaporated and I did it again and wanted to be lazy, I'd use Shopify. It's almost a one stop shop, but is several multiples more expensive than the DIY route.
    Thats even better. $30 a month? I mean consumable management sounds cool and all, but it sounds like website sale setup is the hard part.

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    +1 for hiring a firm to do it for you.

    Thats basically my next door neighbours business.

    He picks up quite a few clients who have found DIY has gotten to be too much trouble. Often folk who have been doing it "OK (ish)" for years. Basically its all gotten too complicated for a part time / after shop hours gig.

    He says that its no great issue to spend a couple or three hours sorting something for one customer because he will know what to do next time. There always is a next time!

    Different for DIY. Overhead time charges at twice shop rate 'cos when you are pounding the keyboard you aren't making parts / money so that makes you a very expensive computer wonk. Its not your proper business so you will be slower than a pro too. Loose-loose proposition.

    My neighbour grew up with the changes as the whole internet thing got going so it wasn't stupidly difficult to keep up. But he has said that if he had to start from cold right now he'd look to do something else!

    Gotta be folk in your neck of the woods who do such things at reasonable rates.

    Clive

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    JobBOSS is around $130/mo. without their finance module with cloud hosting. No idea on cost for that since I'm using Quickbooks export.

    Find a web developer and you will pay anywhere from about $5k-20k for a website with e-commerce functionality, depending on how good they are. A big part of that is if they are using template websites versus their own proprietary system to drive traffic to your site.

    Then you'll need a custom API to get information from the e-commerce platform to the ERP system. That is a one-time cost, usually hourly from the ERP software company.

    Hope that helps.

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    Being a software consultant I think I can add some value here. As many others have said, if you have the budget for it, hire it out to a firm. I would personally recommend you either find a local developer, or software agency who doesn't outsource their work to manage the project for you. They'll walk through your expectations and needs and should be able to handle everything from the initial design of the website to the integrations and complete setup / hosting. With your project, you'll be looking at some form of ERP integrated with a purchasing system, such as WooCommerce. If you don't have the budget, I do think you would likely be able to figure out how to set it up at least somewhat, but you'll need to take into consideration the cost of you doing it yourself. Every hour you are working on it is an hour you don't have parts running, and being as your not super technically inclined, it will likely take you 10 times, if not more, hours than a developer, so in the end it really is cheaper to hire this level of project out. Through us, you would likely be looking at $10k+ for this type of project and depending on exact functionality and features, could work up to $50k or more. At the very least I would recommend having a software agency do what's called a "discovery phase" where they can do the research to determine the best way to go about this for your needs specifically, and then go from there, whether you follow the plan yourself, or hire someone to do it.

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    check out Shopify? The fact that they make a cut of every sale (they're the payment processor) I think makes them more prone to make the front end eally easy and give lots of support.

    I do it all myself and learned Work Press. It makes it as easy as possible but there is most definitely a learning curve that will eat up a lot of time. I can now whip up a site in hours (not including content generation). My rational for learning was I had several sites I wanted to do and maybe more importantly wanted to be able to constantly change and add. But if you're not inclined toward that sort of thing, and have all the work you need, you would be far better to bill out your time doing what know how to do and pay someone else to build the site.

    If you want to go for cheap, get a student who'll work for $18/h or something....if you get a good one they'll knock it out of the park for small dollars. Still, you will have to put the time into content and specifying what you want (including the look, photography, pages, text etc)}

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    How much do you expect to sell? My current guess is you're making something like suspension linkages for ATV's, something along those lines. Doesn't matter what exactly, but it's probably a unique design and has some advantage over other similar products.

    The point is, the OP's customers aren't buying because of the website font, or color theme, or unique layout. If you're going to hire out anything, get good product photos.

    Regarding the best use of time- for a basic eCommerce site I bet you can set it up yourself faster than you can find, vet, and explain what you need to a developer. And then keep the $5K-$10K. There are people talking about have a site online, ready to take orders, in thirty minutes. Maybe the OP is slow and it takes two hours- he still saves $2,500 an hour. The plasma table can sit.

    Some things need a pro, I don't think this is it. Have good pictures, don't look like you'll steal their credit card, and launch the site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOTT View Post
    Some things need a pro, I don't think this is it. Have good pictures, don't look like you'll steal their credit card, and launch the site.
    Couldnt have said it better myself.


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