Consignment Software Support
The cost of 'software support' will quickly exceed the cost of the software if we don't dig deep prior to purchase to unearth the fees buried under website home pages.
Buried? You bet. If you've spent time on software websites and haven't seen some or all of these 'hidden provisions' for software/hardware support, then it's proven that software vendors use websites, not to disclose information (fees) - but to hide it (them):
- 'Training' and 'asking questions' are not included in the 'annual support plan' and are billed at $100 per hour.
- Elsewhere, introductory training session: $50
- Training videos $xx (for a home-made program selling already for $1400!)
- "Free software updates" (only if the annual support fee is paid)
- Oh, not going to pay the 'optional' support fee? Ok: no software updates, and no support!
- Support fees increase as the number of computers put in use increase.
- Not a support-plan member? Add 25% or more to the price for help.
- Additional copies of the software will set you back $295-$395.
- Need software for another location? Full price!
- Online data storage - free in some circles - not so in others.
- Once locked into a program, annual fees continue to escalate!
- $100 per hour for help between the hours of 10-5 EST. 'Emergency rates' otherwise...
- Weekend rates. When you see no rate quoted or 'call for pricing', go back to your search results and click on the next listing. Vagueness is a sure sign of costly surprises laying in wait.
- Steering you to a co-conspirator charging $100/hour (8-5 EST) and higher 'emergency rates' otherwise
If you're going to invest time talking to a sales person, run him or her through this list.
My experiences were a lot of distractions and diversions away from cost, a whole lot of sales talk and a surprising dose of competitor bashing. Of course the competitors being bashed are those with lower prices and no ongoing service fees. We get the picture.
While not associated with 'service' per se, there's the added danger of running into these unnecessary expenses:
- Annoying hidden shipping charges
- Sales tax (Many online purchases are not taxable.)
- Software ownership: Careful! Vendors will tell you that you have resale rights but you'll need to know to press for the truth. You'll have to ask, "What are the conditions?" It might help to play some music for the footwork you're going to see. I thought "Footloose" was a good match.
- Ask if the 'salesperson' to whom you are speaking wrote the program and is solely responsible for fixing it and keeping it updated. If so, hang up, especially if he refers to himself as 'we'. A good example is the guy in Miami who claimed he was a 'CEO' of a major corporation with offices in New York and Miami with 'corporate servers' when in fact there was no corporation and no New York office but an apartment with two people attempting to give the illusion of a 'company'.
The big expense that could be suffered is finding one day that the person - singularity intended - the person to which you paid umpteen hundreds of dollars for the program and support - has left the building. And there you go, having to not only purchase and learn another software program (the one that should have been purchased in the fisrt place) but getting your data converted and either retagging everything in the store, or dealing with the mess of the transition.
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