COVID-19 was rough on New York City. Everything was closed and I was sitting at home listening to my upstairs neighbor riding his stationary bike for hours at a time. I desperately wanted the time in isolation to be meaningful.
But the journey started long before that when I was the part-owner of a video game store in Manhattan. VideoGamesNewYork on 6th Street near 3rd Avenue. We were a little shop but we were one of the biggest sellers of classic consoles and games.
I’d got into the game business accidentally. My friend Jesse was the original owner and the store, Multimedia 2.0, was quite popular in the 90s. Another friend and I bought Jesse’s store when he wanted to move to Las Vegas. But my heart wasn’t in the retail business. I am a web developer and I left the business to pursue other opportunities in 2006.
Fourteen years later and in the midst of COVID, the manager of the store called me. They were using a repair tracking software they purchased which ran on a Windows server and it broke. They had not updated the software in years but the cost of updating was $700 for the software and $400/year for the hosted Microsoft Server. The software was sub-par and I knew I can do it better. I said to the store manager, “Let’s build exactly what you need.”
Of course, there is a plethora of software you can subscribe to or purchase, and they are all decent. Two major issues jumped out at me.
- They are too feature-rich. Not needing 90% of the features but seeing all those options on-screen slow your productivity.
- They are ridiculously expensive. If you are a small store or an on-person repair operation, can you justify 5 to 10% of your expenditure on repair tracking software?
After 6 months of working on the software I had an alpha version for the store to try out. The software had the basic requirements:
- Minimal fields required for customer intake. We only require one field.
- Ability to customize the repair statuses.
- Fast. There are opportunities to quickly find the repair ticket from every screen. We utilize typeahead wherever possible to save you from endless typing.
- Printable PDF with warranty and service terms statement.
- Track customer deposit and balance.
We invited some friends of the store for private beta and the response was amazing. I teamed up with my friend Matt and his first thought was “why limit this to just video game stores?”
Good question. Really solid question. So with that, I went back to programming and made the software more generalized. Now we have more than just video game stores using the software, cellphone repair, computer repair, even household appliance repair shops use our system. Matt is more of a big picture guy but we both agreed that this should be more than just a business opportunity for us. We wanted our customer successes to be our successes. We made sure that our free version is perfectly suitable and we would only charge for non-critical features as part of a very affordable premium package.
We encourage you to sign up for a free account. There are no hidden fees and your credit card is not required. If you are happy with just the free features we hope you enjoy the software and rest assured you are every bit as important to us as the paid subscribers. As your business grows we hope our premium features might entice you to subscribe to our low $9/month or $90/year subscription. As a premium subscriber, you will enjoy all of the future updates and features.
Thank you for being a part of our journey.