What Is The Best Software For My Consignment Shop?

The best software delivers all necessary features and support at the lowest cost.

There are basically 2 groups of software:

  • Pay once.
  • Pay forever.

Pay Once Software

A software program for one payment that will last a lifetime and meet your needs is ideal:

“We paid $595 once for our software in 2004 and have been using it ever since at no additional cost.” Sheila Roy, Boston Consignment

This can be your experience with a little home work so here are questions to ask to unearth those post-purchase fees:

  1. Are there any fees after purchase?
  2. If there are ‘optional fees’ what are the consequences of not paying them?
  3. Do you have a history of increasing the amounts of your fees?
  4. What is the cost of adding stations at the same store?
  5. What is the cost of the software for opening another store?
  6. How much do upgrades cost? (‘Upgrades’ are changes in the program that add or enhance program features and functions.)
  7. What is your hourly rate for support?

Here’s a list of things software vendors come at us with in their attempts to disguise the ongoing never-ending cost of using their software:

  1. Two vendors in Florida claim that their ‘annual support fee’ is “optional” in pre-sales efforts without disclosing the consequences of not paying the annual fee:
    • Calls for help after purchase will be greeted with the question, “Have you paid your annual support fee?”. If not, you’ll be charged a lot more for service or you will be denied service until you do.
    • Software updates for any program are essential if for no other reason than to remain compatible with changes in other software, like Windows. Knowing this, such vendors deny software updates and craftily state the ruse by heralding “Fee software updates with paid annual support”.
  2. Choosing any software program that has a ‘support plan’ subjects one to future increases in the support fee. It also leaves the door open for the vendor to segregate some segment of service and begin charging extra.
  3. Purveyors of web-based software have their own strategies for attempting to soften the blow of high ongoing software costs.
    • One such vendor charging a minimum of $100/month (ok, $99) exclaims, “Free support included!”. (Are we really so gullible?)
    • The ‘trick’ is to bait new users with lower starting prices and switch to higher costs as businesses grow (adding more users, more stations, more locations). One vendor charging $99/month (ok, $100) charges $200 per month for adding just one more store location.
    • As with fee-based support programs, users of web-based software might be subject to future rate increases.

Pay Once Software Ownership

Typically even though you may own the software, your copy of the software cannot be sold, transferred, lent or otherwise made available to another. There may be exceptions but this is a minor detail when compared to other more important considerations like support longevity and surprise fees after purchase.

Pay Forever Software

Might sound ‘silly’ but “How long do you intend to be in business?”. Endless software payments cost a fortune over time. Good for the software provider. Not so good for business profits.

As the name implies there is no end to payment for most consignment-resale-buy-outright-antique-auction-secondhand programs on the market today.

Back in the day all software was ‘pay once’ and was ours to use for a lifetime, for as long it would continue to work on every-changing computers.

Now, Photoshop, Outlook, anti-virus and yes, even consignment software have become some cockamamie ‘software as a service’ which is nothing more than a twist to wring more money out of end users of software.

Yes, software developers have an ongoing cost to maintaining software, but for those charging $1,000 and more up front, shouldn’t some of that cost be factored in already?

Bottom line: All pay-as-you-go software will cost way more than pay-once apps over time.

Software Vendors’ Hidden Secret

Software vendors watch every day as new users of their programs struggle to become familiar with program features and procedures.

It’s an arduous task for most store owners and employees – one which they will be reluctant to repeat any time soon.

Vendors are very keenly aware, which is why they make every effort to minimize the pre-sale negatives. Once you’re in, you’re likely to stay no matter how offended you might feel about having been deceived about pricing, support dependability and vendor reliability.

Imagine in your initial phone conversation with the software salesperson you hear, “Hey, my ‘software company’ is comprised of me and some telephone help. I wrote the program and when I’m gone, so will be support for this software. You’ll be taking a big risk of losing the $1,300 I’m asking for my software if I’m no longer around to fix it when it breaks, and it will break.”

Nearly every program for consignment, resale, etc. has been written by an individual and can only be supported (repaired) by that person. “Who stands behind the software?” is a very important question to ask. Would you knowingly choose to make your business completely dependent upon a person of whom you know nothing about?

Guarantees

Software vendors make concerted efforts to work the word ‘free’ into the sales advertising – for a product that clearly is not free: “Free software demo!” “Free support for 30 days!” “Free software updates with paid support!” (which is another way of saying ‘There will be no software updates if annual support fees aren’t paid.’)

‘Guarantee’ is the 2nd most popular word salespersons try to work into their pre-sale representations. Aside from a money-back guarantee which they can’t avert, any other guarantees are hollow promises. Who’s making the guarantee? Is there money and company assets backing the guarantee or is it just lip service? Are they guaranteeing things over which they have no control (like “100% up time!” or “Guaranteed data backup!”)? When your data disappears or you can no longer access that web-based program hosted on some computer that you know nothing about, what’s your recourse? Law suit? Extremely unlikely and vendors know that, so they can be somewhat unabashed in tossing this word around carelessly. “When my business loses money because of your software, are you going to compensate me for my losses?” Not.

The Future Is The Past

In the past those pushing software have found ways to maintain endless streams of income from their program users and because 1) they have gotten away with it and 2) they are confident no one will call them on the carpet, we can expect the shell game to continue.

You can protect yourself:

  • Get promises, offers, statements, guarantees, quotes and all representations in writing. These days an email from a person (not an ambiguous ‘company’) including a statement that all possible fees and adverse policies have been disclosed – should do.
  • Pay by credit card, then, when a fraud is discovered, send it to Visa for a full refund.

Shouldn’t choosing a software program for your business be a simple task? It can be, if you avoid all the hoopla and go with an honest vendor that discloses everything up front.

What is Consignment?

Consignment is the placing of tangible valuables in another’s custody for distribution or sale.

The consignor consigns possessions to the consignee and retains ownership of the consignments. The consignee takes custody of the consigned merchandise and delivers or sells it.

With delivery the consignor might be paid when consignments are placed with the consignee or upon delivery.

For sales the consignor is usually only paid if and when consignments sell.

A Consignment Agreement is a written document which contains identification and contact information of the parties involved, the date the relationship was established, the duration of the holding period, the items consigned and the provisions for custody and responsibility.

A consignor of common personal effects like clothing and furniture might agree to hold the consignee harmless in the event of loss due to theft, damage and acts of God.

The responsibility of safekeeping of valuable assets might fall to the consignee who would be charged with custody and who would be liable for loss, making insurance necessary.

Agreements have provision for both party’s signature and once signed become legally binding and enforceable. Here again small consignment shops may not even have an agreement or might have an agreement with very general and ‘loose’ terms.

Terms often include the disposition of merchandise that isn’t delivered or sold. The common disposal method is to return items to the owners but with smaller items, unsold inventory can be donated (to a charitable organization), destroyed or transferred to shop ownership.

Consignment software is a computer program designed specifically for entities in the business of consignment. The program records information about consignors and their possessions. Basic software prints agreements, price labels and tags, receipts, checks and reports. Advanced features might include buyer and employee management, connecting multiple computers (networking), thermal labels and tags…

There are two very different pricing structures for software: pay forever and pay once.

Payment for Best Consignment Shop Software is once for lifetime use.

Payment for other programs in one form or another is ongoing. If a vendor has an ‘optional support plan’ ask of the consequences if the annual fees aren’t paid.

Cost-Saving Budget Plans for Consignment & Resale Shops

On average this article will save $2,000 yearly in unnecessary expenses.

Long before opening day successful resale shop owners have a budget in place to control expenses. “A penny saved…” couldn’t be more apropos when entering into long-term relationships at business startup – location, lease, software – those things you get locked into and can’t get out of (cheaply).

Mystifyingly this basic tenant of good business management seems vulnerable to fancy websites, grandiose claims and sales schmoozing. In your defense there’s an absolute ton of it so let’s get ‘centsical’.

First, ask the obvious question: “Is any software application worth $1,000?”. How about $6,000? $10,000? There probably has never been a store owner who said “Yes!” when asked if he or she wished to spend that kind of money on a computer program, yet many apparently have fallen for “$99 to start” (and other such entrapments) employed by those hoping to garner $6,000 for software over time. Save your money. Read on!

Not looking to spend that kind of money? Well good! Your fledgling business has a greater chance of success than all before who are today doing ‘something else’ after they watched dreams turn into nightmares with that final lock of the front door – still asking, “Where did I go wrong?”.

How does one go from ‘Grand Opening!” to ‘Going-Out-of-Business Sale’ in 12 short months?

Surely, in hindsight, most would list ‘unforeseen expenses’ as a main contributing factor.

For budgeting purposes, here are some pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Long-Term Agreements
    • Fortunate entrepreneurs find themselves in need of additional space while others discover that a better location is needed. Keep lease terms short.
    • Shy away from credit-card services that require a multi-year contract. What’s the purpose? To lock you in, of course.
    • Know that once you’ve spent the time and money to acquire and learn a software program, you’ll be loathed to go through it again. To minimize surprises after the sale, get all possible fees and rate hikes in writing before purchase so you can push back when those additional fees pop up. As you grow (and you will!) what’s the cost of adding stations, users, other locations?

  2. Endless Payments for Software
  3. Of the primary providers of software for consignment, resale, thrift and malls, Best Consignment Shop Software is the only program with no strings attached for recurring payments.

  • Of late software vendors with ‘annual support plans’ have started claiming that their ‘support plans’ are “optional” so presale they can make questionable assertion that they may never be needed for assistance or software updates (patches). Get real. Everyone using computers, Windows, hardware and software needs help from time to time and when you call the vendor who promoted ‘optional support plans’ the first question will be, ‘Are you enrolled in the annual support plan? No? You must enroll before we continue.’ Others might provide service but charge 50% or more extra because you weren’t enrolled.

  • Getting lassoed into a ‘support plan’ puts the noose around the necks of those who forged ahead unaware that software vendors with support plans have increased fees substantially in the past and quietly reserve the right to continue to do so in the future.

  • Even more recently web-based software vendors have gotten the bright idea of ‘software as a service (SaaS)’ – claiming that software is not a product to be sold for one price (like Best Consignment Shop Software) but an ongoing service which requires a (huge) ongoing monthly expense. Yes, it’s good software but at what price?

  • As you grow so will your requirements for additional a) copies of the software or b) additional users or c) additional locations. You will pay mightily ‘later’ if you don’t ask now what these add-on expenses are.

  • ‘Bait software’ and ‘bait payments’ are designed to lure users in with low up-front costs. Those who employ such tactics are fully aware of the enormous costs that lay in wait well after shops are entrenched in the software.

      1. Individuals As Software Companies

      The policies of every consignment-software vendor are pretty much governed by one individual – maybe two, subjecting users of the software to the whims of such singularity. Case in point: At ‘cosignpro’ the policy of the owner is that users who ask too many questions can be fired and forced to purchase the software again ($1,300) to continue to receive support. If they refuse, there is no refund. The same owner, has, in the past, issued ‘free software updates’ to those who didn’t enroll in the annual support plan with a kill switch embedded, which he refused to remove until his victims agree to pay up. Are you protected?

      Apparently not.