Management software for HA business


Hi, can anyone recommend a software to manage a HA company?
It would be great to have just one software (even better it open source) to manage your projects, accounting, customers, partners, invoice, etc.

I've found some but I was wondering if someone has experienced with a software in particular.

Any ideas?

MsOffice Pro is about all I use. :eek:

Expect to spend some serious time in it though, since you are an automation shop nothing shows you have skills like a functional fully automated custom business software.

Access for data entry and storage.
Excel for manipulation and graphing.
Word and Powerpoint to display the info.

You might find some use from the templates MS provides but quickly you'll get off on your own. You can do whatever you want, simple or highly complex.

Search for suppliers that will give you inventory via *.csv or *.xls so you can keep your products internally up to date. You could further use that for an online shopping cart.

You can also try OpenOffice but I don't think they have a good DB interaction. Basically you would need to know MySQL pretty well for the backend.

I'm sure you will get alot of the normal Quicken and Peachtree replies but a decent developer and a copy of Access and Excel can totally 0wn them.
I had a chance to play with D-Tools a few years ago, and it was very nice. It was also very expensive. If I was at the point that I was rolling 3-4 trucks a day, I would consider it. Until then make so with Word, Excel, and Visio.
Quickbooks Pro won't give you project management or diagraming like D-Tools, but for a couple hundreds bucks and a couple hours setup time it will give you excellent managment of customers, vendors, inventory, AP & AR, payroll, etc. Much of this can be done with the MS Office Suite, but I expect it would take days to weeks of time to reproduce even a portion of the functionality QuickBooks has?

Some other things that QuickBooks will do that you'd have a difficult time creating with Office apps is Merchant Services for accepting credit cards, Sales & Use Tax and a whole slew of business and financial reporting available with only a few clicks.

After working with large ERP/MRP apps like Oralce in the past, I was amazed at what a $200 piece of software can do!

Some other nice features are special tax export and reporting tools for tax time and also the fact that when you grow large enough to need some help with your books, it seems like almost every accounting type person has current or past experience with QuickBooks and knows how to use it. I've got someone coming in for a few hours each week to help out with this and it works really well. This would be difficult to do if you "home grow" your own system.

I know a number of companies with revenues in the millions that still run on QuickBooks. There is a point where you outgrow it, but if you supliment it with some of the MS Office apps for project managment (Project, Visio, PowerPoint, Excel), I think it will handle the financial side of the business for quite some time.

Thanks a lot for your suggestions :eek:
I started my business few months ago and I just wanted to keep things organized and simple.

Thanks again.

HOLLY COW! I just looked at d-tools. SUPER expensive and not for the small shop at amost $5000!

I have used quickbooks (contractor for last two) for years and years. couldnt live without it from an accounting perspective. cant imagine having a biz without it. a simple MUST have, IMO.

sure would like to find something for HA biz but cant find anything reasonable. on-q and others have visio stencils which REALLY help with presentations.

anyone found good software for ha biz?

ps. looks like good opportunity for a start up company to come out with an under $500 software package for installers. i think there is a market for it. build, sell the company, then retire
Ditto on Quickbooks. A multi-million dollar company (maybe $5MM next year?) I know uses it and it works very well for all basic and maybe even more than basic business functions. As with any company, use adjunct software for the other custom stuff - CADD or Visio for design and layout, for example.
Another vote for Quickbooks Contractor Edition. Going on 2 years now.

Fairly inexpensive, easy to set-up and will handle most of your daily activity. I use it for Inventory, Customer Database (Linked to Outlook w/ an extra Quickbooks Plug-in), Payroll (1 employee) and Credit Card Processing. I do use Visio and Word for most of the proposal work.

There are a few HA Business software apps that will also integrate with Quickbooks but I haven't used any of them and can't remember their names off hand.
opie, so true! i also used easy estimate from quickbooks. the only drawback i have wiht qbq contractors edition (all of them actuall) is the estimating. there is NO place to put notes for EACH line item on a bid and that is CRAZY SILLY! you can only put the COST with ZERO reference how you arrived at that cost. it would be a simply fix for qb to add a drop down menu to place notes that only shows up on screen and not on custoemrs invoice. another thing i would like to see QB do is be able to tell QB what cost is associated with EACH line from the estimate. Example: you have a 10 line bid/estimate. you get a po. as cost for that job come in its only tagged to THAT job and you cant tag a cost to a particular line on the estimate. you can use "classes" but thats a pain in the but.

I have been on the last to beta test and they have never responded to those request. but you do get a real copy for free. lol
huggy., true, but its a pain to have to search another program. i really want everything RIGHT THERE on that one estimate. would be better if QB would just listen to the feed back on the betas like cinemar does.

such a simple fix.
...Example: you have a 10 line bid/estimate. you get a po. as cost for that job come in its only tagged to THAT job and you cant tag a cost to a particular line on the estimate. you can use "classes" but thats a pain in the but.

I do use classes to accomplish this but I agree it's not the easiest way to do it.

There is a guy over at IP forums that teaches classes on how to use QB for Integrators; maybe he has found some better workarounds. I was planning on taking that class at CEDIA but ended up having to work and missed most of the show (darn customers). Maybe EHX in the spring...