In part 1 of “The essential guide – Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom” we covered
- Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom – Why am I writing this article?
- Setup & Training Costs
- The Company
- How many users they claim to have?
- How long have they been in business?
- Owner / Developer’s background
- Comparing Apples with Apples
- Hidden costs and upsells
In part 2 in our search for the best printing shop management software, we will cover
- Customer reviews
- Customer Communication about Features (Transparency)
- Fundamentals. (Simplicity vs Future Development) Is the foundation correct?
Great product and world class Customer support is the heartbeat of any software company and when you are charged a monthly subscription fee you are paying for more than just the software’s functionality and future development.
Support is the key to offering an exceptional product to help your company get to the next level.
Giving great customer support involves a lot of effort, time and money. Over the years many companies changed their support policy to cope with a huge influx of support requests. These include buying time by using convoluted methods of communication or simply offering “better” support to those customers who pay more.
Not all companies are transparent about their support policies or cost of support. It is however extremely important to know exactly what you are in for ahead of time. Bad support can cost YOU a lot of money.
Let’s compare Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom and the support they offer.
Here are some things to consider when making your decision.
So whenever you start comparing these companies you need to find out what type of support is available. Do they require you to log a ticket, is there Email Support or Live Chat. What about a Remote Support call and Phone Support.
We did some research. Here is the Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom vs YoPrint comparison.
We were unable to find any support information on Deconetwork’s site.
Look at policy. Response times may vary in terms of the urgency of support. Make the decision “What is reasonable?” We did not find a support policy on ANY of these software company’s site. If I’m wrong and you can point me to one, please comment on this article and I will do so. But I think it is very important to know what support you can expect other than the promise of “Awesome” support.
Canned responses and well trained staff. Canned responses can be very useful, but it doesn’t always solve your problem. What happens in such a situation? Are you able to get Support Request escalation when the person helping you gets stuck? And then very important – Do they take time to understand your question?
Respect and Friendly Support
Some support technicians simply shrug their shoulders, not that you can see, but they have this, that is how it is attitude.
Now obviously no company can do custom changes or design software because you realized the software functions in a way that does not suite you. But usually there are work arounds.
Do they have a wish list? Do they take your need seriously enough so that the development team can at least consider your view?
Find out if their existing customers are happy
Of course bigger companies will have more complaints. So don’t be put off one or two complaints. It takes two to tango.
But by simply doing a bit of research you will quickly find out if they deliver great support. However, be on the lookout for the shills who tell you how happy they are.
How do they handle bugs
One of the most important things I ever taught my kids, were to admit their mistakes, fix them and move on.
Sometimes there is not much a support technician can do to help you other than admitting it is a bug or a design flaw.
If you trying to get support and after one or two exchanges you realize this is no doubt a bug, it is important for the company to acknowledge it, escalate it to development and make sure hit is on the top of the list. Bugs and severe design flaws should go to the top. If you find that the company is immediately defensive and not willing to look at it from your perspective then you should know their overall company policy is not customer centric.
How honest are they
When doing research online about designing your website or landing pages one of the biggest topics is social validation.
As important and it has to be true. Of course nobody, including us, will voluntarily add comments to our own site that is negative. Reading customer reviews on their own sites really doesn’t mean that much. It has value though because I don’t think customers who dislike you will voluntarily do a testimonial video.
Speaking of video! Video and Audio testimonials are slightly different. You can easily identify if a user is honest. You can see their facial expressions hear the tone of their voice and by that quickly decide how honest the testimonial may or may not be.
When you go on social media you see so many people commenting on software.
Again the question is how many of those comments are real and how many of the comments made are done by customers who get something in exchange like 100% off on their monthly subscriptions.
Do some research – it’s not hard to find out who are real and who are not.
If any software company pays for good feedback, then you have to question their entire integrity.
Check Social Media
The problem with social media, well the internet probably isn’t the easiest place to distinguish lies from fact these days. Some fact checkers seems to be very economical with the truth.
But on the upside, by simply putting in some effort you can quickly identify when there are contradictions and then, pull at that thread. It won’t take long before you know the truth.
Google It (Days of Ignorant buyers are gone)
“The one thing all businesses have in common is that we sell trust”- (Markus Sheridan)
If you have a flaw in your software or maybe lacking a feature it is best to address it up front. Remember if they don’t tell you their competitors will.
At Teesom we acknowledge that our software is fairly young compared to Printavo, InkSoft and even FastManager which we own. We need to be honest and if Teesom is not a fit for you, we will do ourselves and you a lot of harm to continue to push for a sale.
The days of ignorant buyers are over. You can simply do a quick internet search and quickly determine what is right for you and what is not. In the end again it is all about transparency and trust.
Ask for references – Really?
So we discussed shills and website reviews. However some companies like to talk to other customers and then ask for references. In all honesty do you think they are going to give you a list of customers to call that are unhappy with their product?
Maybe go on social media and ask if any Teesom, Printavo, Inksoft, etc customers would be willing to call you.
Ask for Inksoft reviews, Printavo reviews, or screen printing shop management software reviews.
Ask if someone can give you a Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom (or whichever software you are looking at) review. Don’t get the numbers from the software company.
In the same way that you discovered our first article, Google Inksoft vs Printavo, or Printavo vs Teesom, or Deconet vs YoPrint. You will get a mix of happy and unhappy customers and then decide from thereon.
We had a prospect tell us that our one competitor’s QuickBooks integration is not that great. Apparently it was too automated and they had no control over it and that is problematic. Later in the conversation he asked me if we are planning Sage integration because he uses sage. So I could not understand how the QuickBooks integration of our competitor became a deal breaker? He is not even using QuickBooks.
My point is, when you are listening to negative reviews ask yourself how objective they are and do they pertain to you. If they criticize a feature that you’re not even going to use but everything else is great then you need to take it with a pinch of salt.
Features and Money
This is where most users focus when they compare Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom vs any of the other software companies. And it is important.
If by signing up for a cheaper package, you lose the purchasing function, then it may not be as cheap as you think.
Think of the Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. If you spend 2 hours a day creating purchase orders it is costing you $290 per month if you work on a 20day work month just to do purchasing. And that is assuming you actually pay $7.25.
If you pay more, do the math. By bringing that down to 10 or let’s even say 30 minutes a day then you are saving $217 per month. This is all on the assumption that you are paying the federal min wage of $7.25. The amount is probably much higher. At Teesom we had several customers say that our live integration saved them hours in a day when creating purchase orders.
It’s not how much the software cost but rather how much you save.
What happens if you upgrade, downgrade then upgrade again.
When limiting features what happens if you upgrade, then downgrade and later upgrade again.
What happens to you existing data and old data. How will it work.
These are important questions to ask and can cause a lot of problems. This was another reason why we decided at Teesom to not limit features. We are trying to take the complexity out of it. We are not sure how it works with our competitors and we don’t have that challenge to deal with, but it is important that you ask these questions
Automations. Less work vs losing control
Making a choice between Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom vs anyone else can be hard and sometimes automations can be a deal breaker. So first of all what are automations. It is the change of status on an order when something else change.
For example if all the goods are in and the art is approved the production stage could change to “Ready For Production” or as we call it at Teesom “Good To Go”
There are also other automations like sending background emails to customers to remind them of an outstanding approvals and past due invoices.
We don’t limit the number of automations and we don’t really define actions taken by Teesom as automations.
It’s just part of the needed action. That being said it is important that you have control over these “automations”.
There Printavo nailed it! Not only because of their automations, but if you think about it, their Zapier integration really forms part of their automation process. Because that is what Zapier does.
The number of automations are not as important It will continue to increase over the years as customers need them.
We add them as customers need them and we will never stop. What is important is whether you have control over them. Can you turn them on or off. It would be rather embarrassing if you have not captured a payment and then your software sends a past due notice to your customer right? Ask about automations – they are important but most of all the ability to control and setup your automations can make you look professional or not. Again kudos to Printavo for nailing it. We will be there soon and we dragging Zapier into it!
Customer Communication about Features (Transparency)
Be careful of these Buzz Words…..
Real time integration.
What does it really mean?
So the other day I had a meeting with a product vendor. He mentioned that one of our competitors claim real time integration but they really just download their SKU list and upload their data.
They don’t actually do LIVE integration and it is misleading.
Even worse, he said he doesn’t know how updated their data lists are and how often they download or update their data.
This is just one example, and not just with business management software for Apparel decorators, but whenever you buy ANY thing, watch out for buzz words and in which context they use them.
It is not always what it seems
Read the fine print Many times they explain what they mean by their statements in the fine print.
Fundamentals. (Simplicity vs Future Development) Is the foundation correct?
Foundation of their database design.
If a database is badly designed it may limit your future growth or hamper developing more advanced features since you never captured certain data to begin with.
Now it is impossible to predict everything but the key to developing a great program is thinking ahead.
Having a vision of where you want the program to be then planning for future growth.
There is a saying “Measure twice cut once”.
Well the same goes for development.
Plan twice code once..
Across the screen sizing is a good example. It is very convenient to enter quantities across the screen but there are limitations. For example, if you allow your user to customize the size headings, they then have the ability to create or quote on items that don’t even exist. Not to mention that 2XL shirts are normally more expensive and quoted at a different price.
How will this impact the future when you plan live integration with vendors or while calculating accurate pricing?
Fundamentals are important. When you look at the software, make sure you see the program grow in future.
Some features to keep in mind
Back-end vs Front End (Production vs. Stores)
One of our customers said they investigated all the software out there. They either have a great front end (Stores) and a weak business management side or the other way around.
This still seems to be the case.
Even though Teesom started their stores platform it may take another few months before it will be available.
At this point in time you need to decide what is more important to you.
Can you wait for stores to come to Teesom? If not, you may need to look at our competitors who have stores in the feature list. The reality is, even though some offer both, they are normally weak on one side.
We have a customer who uses Deconet for stores and us for business management. It’s just the current state of the industry. No harm meant
- Is inventory important to have in you company?
- If not, are you planning to grow and will it be in future?
- Will you need multi warehousing?
Not all programs have inventory control.
With Covid impacting stock shortages many companies resorted to keeping stock of the most popular items such as blank white, blue, red, green and black tees. Suddenly knowing how much stock you have and how many you need to order becomes an issue.
Integration with Vendors and Other platforms
What integration do they offer?
Many software companies refer to real time integration with SanMar, Alpha Broder etc but when you read the fine print they only downloaded the SKU list from the vendor and include it in their data.
There is a difference between LIVE integration and real time integration. With live integration you should be able to get latest cost as well as latest qty in stock and in real time. Sending the order directly to your supplier without having to use their online ordering systems is an absolute plus.
Cloud vs Desktop
FastManager is our desktop version and Teesom is our cloud version. If keeping your own data on site is important to you, you would want a desktop version. If you want more capabilities for online activity and working remotely then cloud based is better.
Your Brand is important (Brand Removal / Email Accounts)
With some business management software packages you have to pay extra to have their branding removed from your invoices and documents that are sent out.
You know the ‘Powered by:” line.
Another point to note is how does their software send emails on your behalf. Do they get an email that reads Norepy@mysoftware.com or can you send emails as if it came from you?
What should you rather have on your invoices? Your brand vs Printavo vs Teesom?
Let’s look at how these programs sends emails
Printavo vs Teesom
So here, if you compare Printavo vs Teesom vs Insoft it is the clear that Teesom is the winner right ? Not necessarily..
Let me begin by saying that, if you don’t setup your own email account in Teesom, your customers will get their emails from email@example.com
We have to send it from somewhere and setting up your own email account involves more than just knowing your SMTP server information.
The big tech companies are constantly tightening the rules on spamming. For example: If you send an email from your company’s domain but from the Pintavo server the chances of it going to spam is much higher than sending it from the Printavo domain itself. You have to digitally sign your emails, so that the spam filters know this email was sent from you. You can read more about it here.
So when you compare Printavo vs Teesom vs Inksoft, you need to ask yourself how important is the Branding aspect for you.
Are your customers going to call Printavo or ShopVox or any of the others and go directly to them? I don’t see that happening. In the end if you are a small company and don’t want to go through the process of setting up your own email account, then sending it from Printavo or Teesom won’t really matter.
I know we make a big deal of it in our PDF features list, but it’s really a “nice to have”. Yes it makes you look bigger and more professional and your customer will expect and recognize your company name instead of your software company’s name. But it should not be a deal breaker.
The other features are far more important.
This means the software adapts to the size of the screen.
If you need to do an urgent quote while on the run, and all you have is your phone, having to scroll across tables is not very helpful.
Of course it will always be better to do many tasks on a desktop or laptop but we are moving more and more to a mobile world and software needs to adapt.
This is kind of funny. 2+ years ago when we researched our competitors. When it came to Printavo vs Teesom we asked if their software is responsive or mobile friendly and we got a firm yes, but…. when it came to order entry you their grid/table did not adapt. you would have to scroll from left to right to enter your quantities. In hindsight not many people do order entry from their screens, but at that point our dream was to have reps be on the road and just pump out quotes. So having a responsive design was very important.
So when comparing Printavo vs Teesom we made really pointed out the fact that you can use out software from anywhere and any device. In fact it is the very first video on our home page.
When I researched their website before writing this article I saw they added this to their website.
So this doesn’t mean much. But to their point. Why is responsive design so important? Are reps really entering orders from their phones every day? If you only want your customers to view and pay their invoices, well then this may not be so important right now. But I do think the landscape is changing. And responsive design is going to be very important in the next few years. It already is for many other applications.
Which catalog data do they include? Can you have your own catalog data, and can you upload your own catalogs?
How often is the data that they uploaded, updated and how old is the pricing that’s loaded?
Say it together… Let’s compare!
Back to front end and back end.
We can grab some of that. How important are stores to you?
Do they open their data?
What if you want to hire a programmer to write something for you and access your data?
Do they give you access?
Scheduling and Production
Everybody has a different manner of scheduling production. And that it depends on what works for you.
FastManager is even more awesome in that it has auto-scheduling. FastManger will calculate the production time based on the number of colors/stitches etc, split the job up into different tasks for different departments and find the best machine to do the job on if you have multiple machines and then assign the task to that machine and you can easily see how booked up all your machines are.
Of course we are planning to bring Auto Scheduling to Teesom in the near future.
So why use a calendar.
Ask yourself if you did not have a computer system would you use your diary book or a big white board to schedule jobs ?
Exactly! The calendar idea has an appeal to it but if you think about it may not be so practical.
You still need a comprehensive job board. Calendars are nice though to see how busy you are. If you can, a glance, see how busy you are next week Wednesday in screen printing and maybe even drag and drop an order to another date.
Again, this is something that you will use every day all day. You need to get a demo on all the production scheduling features of every software program and then decide which will work for your company.
The only correct answer is the one that will work for you.
That being said, Teesom has a jobboard, tasks and a calendar to assist you in planning and scheduling your jobs.
Recording Production History.
This is important when getting repeat orders. Screen printing is so tricky. From squeegee angle to pressure to how the ink was mixed. If you are printing for large corporations and you need to get the same every time, make sure it is well documented.
Your software should have this feature.
I don’t think any of the software applications available does not have it. We all know it is important. It’s like development priority #1
Setup / Onboarding
How much time will they spend?
This is important. Because it can become tricky.
Training is difficult to gauge because it depends on your company how many staff you have etc. If a software company doesn’t address this expense on their website you need to get in writing exactly what you are getting.
The sales push
Remember this is not one of those $67 once off special software packages that they advertise on Face Book.
If it doesn’t work out you need to move on to another package.
This is a big deal.
You are going to invest a ton of time and rearrange your entire company, train staff etc.
Unfortunately a quick sales push to get you to buy is not the right way here.
We don’t drive sales reps to close in the shortest time possible.
We want to make sure if you the software is the best fit for you because once we’ve put in all this work we want to make sure you stay with us.
Don’t fall for a sales push. Just step back breath deep and take your time to investigate and choose the right software for you company, even if it is not Teesom.
I have a goods psychologist and I will get over it.
What is a deal breaker. What to do if you encounter one. This week we lost two potential deals simply because we are still developing out store platform and stores was a deal breaker. You know what your deal breakers are and not budge
All of the above is about customer retention.
That being said, if I want to cancel a service, I hate it if there is too much pressure to stay on. If it doesn’t work for you, you should be able to cancel without any hassle.
I understand they would want to know why and so do we, that is so we can identify problem areas and fix them in the future, but there should not be a “Well what if I give you 50% off”
In all honesty, we have helped some customers who went through a difficult time financially.
They loved our software but due to covid I remember during the 2008 crash how many of our customers had a tough time and there we do help.
It is not to cling on to you, but rather to help you.
Privacy & Security
Number of Developers
The more developers, the higher the risk. Most security breaches are due to inside jobs.
What access do staff have to your information?
Staff access to client information must be monitored and access should be given only to staff that really needs to use it.
More than simply encryption.
Different types of encryption. Once way encryption does not allow you to decrypt but only match up two values after they are encrypted. This important when it comes to passwords.
There are other security measures outside of encryption like not keeping all data on a single machine. This way if one machine is breached then they only get access to half of the data which is meaningless.
The fact is massive companies get hacked, so nobody is immune against hacking, but as long as your software company takes security seriously and implements every possible trick in the book to prevent it the odds of being hacked are low.
Our industry is relatively small and hackers are not that interested. Most of the time it is an internal job or disgruntled employee which brings back to how many staff has access to the code, servers, and data.
What are they sharing with other companies?
Is the information your entered in the screen printing shop management software secure? That your clients information is secure?
Internet privacy laws have taken huge strides forward in recent years. And every SaaS service provider should not only adhere to those laws, but they should go the extra mile to make sure your information and data is safe.
Find out exactly how serious the company is with a very small test.
Are you expected to Opt-out (withdraw your consent) or do you need to do a double Opt-in (confirm your consent).
The first assumes that you are fine with them using your data and can point to a “lazy” view of client data.
A double Opt-in shows that the company is serious about not only your consent but likely about your and your clients’ data as well. They will not take shortcuts because it is the easier way to do it.
Your customer has faith in you that you will protect their prvate info and you trust your software procvidor to take care of it. Take security seriously
Where are they hosting?
They are all good.
Make sure your software company is backed by a decent company. It is like an insurance company that takes out re-insurance. Printavo states on their site they use Amazon and we use Microsoft Azure or Amazon or one of the other big guys but I would prefer not to say because … you know, why point bad people in the right direction.
Cancellation and data
What happens if you cancel?
Do you still have access to YOUR data? Teesom we simply stop you from entering new orders but you will always have access to your data.
How often do they do backups? How long do they keep historic backups? These are the questions you need to ask.
What happens to your data if the software company fails?
Ask this question. A company does not fail overnight. Should that never happen and I hope we all stay in business (there are enough customers for us, Printavo, Inksoft, Yoprint, and all the others to share) then at least you should get enough notice and a copy of your data.
Who’s success is more important. Yours or Theirs?
Look at (or back to) the sales push. – Actions speak louder than words.
Think of your future.
Are you planning on staying small?
You may find basic software attractive now, but what happens if you grow. Would you ever need inventory control. Moving from one software to the other is a big deal. Out data is not very compatible with each other so make the right choice early on.
Where is your focus going to be? (e.g. Sporting Goods)
This is a complex industry and as much as we all would love to have every feature in our software it’s just not possible and won’t happen overnight. So decide where your focus is and choose the software that will work best for that.
If you are doing a lot of sporting goods then names and numbers and even a Point Of Sale make be a key part of the software.
If you do a lot of contract printing then contract profiles and blind shipping become a big factor.
You know what your niche is so take that into consideration
I recommend you check out ALL of the available print shop management software applications. Make sure it is the right fit for you.
In the quest of Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom you will need to make the right decision. And you won’t know until you do proper research. If you see an ABSOLUTE deal-breaker, don’t invest the time. Your time is valuable.
Recap the actual and indirect cost of choosing the wrong software
Most Importantly Listen to your gut. No Contract will ever protect you. You must be comfortable with the company you are going to use. When you talk to them Listen to them. Read between the lines. Listen to the tone of their voice or correspondence. Follow your gut and be dililgent.
We would love to be apart of your success story, but know we cannot always be.
And there you go.
I sincerely hope you got the value from this series that I poured into it
Again those links for you if you would like to visit any of the Inksoft vs Printavo vs Teesom companies.