View Full Version : Shop management software anyone???

Brent Vander Weil
05-18-2006, 2:17 PM
I guess as long as I am asking questions I will throw this one out there too...

Does anyone know of a fairly complete software package geared toward use with a laser cutting/engraving shop?

By complete I mean purchasing, inventory, estimates, billing and things of that nature... I have been browsing the web, but nothing seems to jump out as being specifically for this type of business...

Any tips are greatly appreciated :-) Thanks !

Joe Pelonio
05-18-2006, 3:22 PM
There are such packages for sign shops, but they are geared toward vinyl, digital printing and some of them neon. Unfortuantely they leave out engraving and cutting. For me even if I found one the jobs I get are not going into fit into the "engraving" mold, since I do far more custom cutting and odd materials that wouldn't be listed, very little of the name badge and desk plate work typical of rotary engravers, which is more likely to be
available with so many more rotary than laser users.

tod evans
05-18-2006, 3:27 PM
brent, although not geared specifically toward lazer/cnc work, quickbooks pro will handle inventory/bids and billing and heaven knows what else? i`ve not spent enough time with it to figure out all the functions....02 tod

Brent Vander Weil
05-18-2006, 4:02 PM
Thnaks for the replys guys... I had given QB Pro some consideration... I thought I would check here on the forum to see if anyone had a homebrew or something that may sell a little cheaper :-) but maybe I can score a copy off of E-bay reasonably...

Jim A. Walters
05-18-2006, 11:02 PM
The only trick to QB Pro is payroll. If you use it for payroll, you have to subscribe to their tax services. We have been using it for 10 years in our prior plastic injection molding business, and have just started a new data file for our engraving business.
I have never used the estimation portion, nor the time tracking yet. (My wife usually runs the books <--smart guy huh?!)

Brent Vander Weil
05-19-2006, 11:36 PM
I unfortunatly married into the "financial/accounting challenged" end of the gene pool, so I am afraid I will be on my own to do the books :-)

I had someone off the site mention Filemaker Pro as a possible solution... I know one of the subsidiaries of the company I work for has a printing division and they use Filemaker Pro... Any thoughts or ideas on that package?

Jim A. Walters
05-20-2006, 8:55 AM
Filemaker Pro is a database package. I knew a company that ran it's whole operation using this program. As I recall, it is much simpler than MS Access.
In the early 90's I wrote my quoting program for our former injection molding business in Q&A for DOS. I was still using the same program last year to quote molding work. (BTW, The molding business didn't close due to poor quoting procedures, just the lack of quotes to put into the software.):eek:

QuickBooks Pro will walk you through with many tutorials, but an appointment with a QB literate CPA would be a great investment.

Brent Vander Weil
05-20-2006, 11:55 AM
Thnaks Jim.. I think it looks like QB is the overall winner here... I am more concerned with being able to track inventory/raw materials qty.&cost and then be able to get the finished work out the door and be able to track profit and taxes... I think if I am able to look at what I am spending I can make a fairly good estimate on the projects... Have any good formulas or advice on making the estimate?

Jim A. Walters
05-20-2006, 6:08 PM
I am not very good at quoting yet. I just keep a log of what items I do, and how long it takes. I review these when I need to quote a new job, and hope I do alright. Someday (soon) I am going to focus on pricing and figure out a formula. I'm having too much fun learning what I can do, and dreaming up ways to use combined substrates to make unique items.

Keith Outten
05-20-2006, 7:18 PM
I think if I am able to look at what I am spending I can make a fairly good estimate on the projects... Have any good formulas or advice on making the estimate?


Add your material costs, labor, profit and overhead then double your estimate. You should be close to a fair price :)

Michael McDuffie
05-20-2006, 7:47 PM
If you head over to http://dyetrans.com and look for the marketing link on the left, you'll find find "Sublimation Target Marketing" It's around $70 and chock full of goodies, including an XLS spreadsheet that helps calculate pricing.

There is a lot of other useful stuff. Yes, it is aimed directly at the sublimation market but I thing it applies to engraving, sign shops and other areas of value added personalization.

I use QB Basic, which is being dropped so that they can charge more for the next upgrade. I may switch to Quicken Home and Business since my inventory consists of two cans of Cermark.;)


Brent Vander Weil
05-20-2006, 10:13 PM
Jim - Keith - Michael

Appreciate your input... I am starting this as a part time venture for my wife and I. She is a teacher and is planning on doing work over the summer and we are targeting a few local craft shows to do our market tests... Evertually I am considering assembling a trailer work shop to take on the road and do some custom work on site.

Jim... I think I will be trapped in the experimentation stage with you for awhile too!!! I made the decision not to go in debt to buy a larger machine so I would have less worry about HAVING to turn a profit to pay for it... I bought an Epilog 1218 35W for my first machine to test the market as they say....

Keith... I like that formula... it looks to be a nice simple solution to my startup position and easy to remember after working with computers and network system issues all day!!! LOL

Michael... I am going to take a look at that package too... I am not sure how I am going to do things yet... since I "technically" don't need to turn profits immediately... but I do want to make sure I keep records of everything so as I go forward I can see what I have put in so I know when I get even and moving ahead later on....