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TomS

USA
32 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  15:56:55  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by MRichardson1952

Cut you're deal with the carrier and make a part of the conditions, that they provide the software for their claims.

I've never had a company or vendor reject that offer, it's pennies to them, and dollars for everyone......never buy the software when they will do it for you and write it off thier bottom line.

For all those who buy it themselves.....shame on you, the vendors and companies will do it if you know what you're doing, and how to say it!

This is what seperates the skilled from the want-to-be's.



Hey, Mark, please tell me the company or vendors that will provide the software free, it has been my experience after 30 years they will give you an install and deduct from your earnings any program they install, however, if you will be so kind to provide me where I can get it free, damned if I won't go and do it.
thanks for your kindness
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catmanager

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  19:22:06  Show Profile
I wouldn't hold your breath
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Russ

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  08:05:12  Show Profile
The only Vendor that has provided my software free, is Crawford. They have an IT Team that will come to you and load xactimate on your computer and set it up for you at no cost to you! I think having the Carrier give us the software of their choice would be great, or let us use the software of our choice. I wouldnt mind paying as long as I'm choosing.
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Gale

USA
231 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  22:02:05  Show Profile
TomS, when you wrote, “give you "2" installs but only on "one" "1" computer” I am not sure what you meant. Does that mean you can install it twice on the same computer at the same time, have it installed with two different users at the same time, get to load it free a second time if your hard drive crashes or something else. While I am not certain but I think some estimating packages actually burn the adjuster’s name on the reports that actually leased the software.

RD and Chuck you touched on the subject of leasing indirectly when talking about MS now tracking who loads XP. My question is can any one inform me on who and when the leasing of estimating software became the norm?

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ChuckDeaton

USA
373 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  22:30:59  Show Profile
The first time I leased a software program it was DOS Simsol. This was five or six years ago.

I use Windows 2000 and Office to temporarily avoid the problems with XP, but eventually Microsoft will designate 2000 as a legacy program and cut off support.
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Gale

USA
231 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  01:09:23  Show Profile
Thanks Chuck. I guess DDS just followed suit. The Boeckh software was just leaving the market in as we were entering the market but we did get to see a Demo of their Windows version in 1998 at ACE but I do not remember how it was marketed.

We would have never gotten in to the adjusting software industry if the leasing method of marketing had not already been firmly entrenched. In the summer of 1996 what struck me so was how expensive estimating software was plus the trend in prices were still trending up when the rest of the software industry was cutting prices every year.

The nice thing about leasing is the selling price can be much lower because one is generating a renewalable stream of income. Yes it makes it harder to get into the business because you are not getting big chucks up front but it makes it easier to stay in business after you cross the hump because most of your income is not dependent on new sales but keeping the current customers happy. If a software vendor needs more income it does not all have to come on the backs of the current customers because the vendor can just go find new users to get his bottom line up in a market like adjusting software that is maybe at 50% saturation.

We have found with falling technology cost companies do not like to make 2 – 5 year commitments to a product. This is good for the consumers and software vendors because the user is always less then 12 months from being free to make a new buying decision and the software vendor is always less than 12 months from losing each user which forces the vendor to stay on his toes or be out of business in a year or less.

Recently I have been talking about accountability issues for adjusters but that applies to software vendors as well. When software vendors make a misstep or a step backwards the users pay through the nose. Just like when a new body style of cars come out there will be issues from time to time. BMW has bought back 500 of their new high tech 7 series cars I read. The software industry is so much newer than the auto industry is one reason there is so much stress in using software today. One makes the hardware; another makes the operating system and then comes a ton of application vendors that think they can make an app that will work with the hardware and OS without fighting with any other apps on the same machine.

It is getting better but it is 10 – 15 years from being great I would guess. If you start counting from 1981 when IBM introduced it first PC that means the IBM PC is only 23 this year. Look at were the auto and the auto industry was say in 1923. There were tons of developers of cars of all qualities and prices in 1923. Ford, GM and Chrysler won the race of the tons that entered and then stumbled in the late 60’s and have never recovered to their former glory days.

Just look at adjusting firms that were so great 20 – 30 years ago. Many of the names have merged and others just faded from fame or totally disappear without trace. How long will Wal-Mart be on top now that Sam is gone? What will happen to MS when Bill is gone? How does one build a great company that does not fade away after the founders get comfortable or expire from the scene? Who sows the seeds of demise the founder, others or is it just the law of nature that all things must die?
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TomS

USA
32 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  10:46:45  Show Profile
Gale,
when leasing, buying or whatever from xact, (they changed the deal 9-1-03) you would get to install tokens, you use to be able to install on laptop and desktop and work both places, etc.
Now they say, the 2 install tokens are only good for "one" (1) computer, that is where I got started, So if I want xact on laptop in field and lap or desktop in home or motel, I have to purchase another install. they restrict what our goals of working in field and after we get back to room or wherever and are making us purchase 2 different installs. Incedentially, not like PC, as with your lease/purchase, you can install on either or both, if I understand you correct.
thanks
tom
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Russ

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  17:54:04  Show Profile
I was told by a Computer builder that you can buy a license for Windows XP for approx. $65 to $70 from Microsoft and not have to buy the entire program. The License is for the Mother board of the individual Computer. You pay them and they send you a License to use XP on your particular Computer. He didnt give me the website or address, but I think you can call Microsoft and ask them. I believe the rest of the Software developers will probably follow suit and sharing software will become non existant ( till someones figures how to beat the system).
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Gale

USA
231 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  22:23:51  Show Profile
Tom,

Thanks for your explanation. As mentioned before I can understand the “why” behind the policy change and it is an issue that each vendor has to decide how to handle. While all policies are abused occasionally it boils down to if the vendor decides to suck up the cost (perhaps loss of “potential” income would be a better description) or limit its software value to all users. Sometimes reducing one’s software value to the user is perceived as being worse than a price increase in the eyes of the user.

As posts on this thread indicates not all like to abide by license agreements that they have no control over and especially if they have no other software options that they are free to choose from as is often the case. As far as I know today all estimating software dictates one will “acquired” a Microsoft operating system from some source if they are going to be required to use an estimating software package.

In 1996 – 1997 we researched the price point that adjusting firms felt was affordable for them and still fair for the software vendors in an effort to limit the abuse of our license agreement and lower the radar as to better protect ourselves from new vendors coming up from behind. Over a period of about 12 months it became very clear that the magic price point was in the ballpark of $500 for a year of use if the software was easy to use and well supported. Today our website clearly shows our price structure that starts at $599 and goes down to $399 for 100+ copies and that is based on our research findings.

Because of our research we also designed PowerClaim so it does not lock you out of it after your time has expired so you never have to call up and pay us to view or print out a copy of a claim you completed while you were paying for the use of our software just like Reader Digest does not lock up your old copies of their magazine just because you did not wish to renew your subscription to their service. We take the position your claims are yours and not ours to lock up from you. Go ahead and download a full version from powerclaim.com (we do not have crippled domo versions) and you will see you can view and print the sample claim that ships with PowerClaim without it being activated. Just click on “Close” when it asks you to call us to activate your free 30-day trial and you will be inside of the software. You will get the same message the next time you open PowerClaim so don’t worry about clicking on “Close”.

When an adjuster is out there with two computers of a vendor’s software loaded on each there is clearly a possibility that one may be loaned to a “friend in need” until they can afford their own copy of estimating software. While this would be an illegal use in the case of our software agreement it would not be the end of the world. First you can’t get blood out of a turnip so if there were no money the software vendor would not have received any cash anyway. Secondly and more importantly the adjuster defeats his goal of being able to keep turning files in case of a computer/software crash in the middle of the night if another adjuster has his back up copy tied up. It would be smarter for the adjuster to call us with his credit card and pay $75 to activate his “friend in need” computer for 30 days and it actually happens.

Here is our two-load policy. An adjuster can for $75 (30-day option and the same applies to our 90 and 365 day options) install and activate PowerClaim on two computers at the same time for HIS ON PERSONAL USE. The exception to this rule is that PowerClaim can only be installed on one computer if a group of two or more adjusters want to share the same computer (often referred to as a pool computer) but with the price of software and computers today this is seldom seen anymore.

The concept of the pool computer is a carry over from the old days when it could cost $5K - $10K for a system and software because if a group of adjusters in an independent adjusting firm today have to drive to the office and wait their turn they will pay 10-fold plus in lost productivity but it is not worth our time to change a fixed mind especially when we can sell 5, 50 or more copies while trying to sell two more copies to a three adjuster firm. Often one of the adjusters will just pay out of his pocket and then the next thing you know the firm springs for new computers and software for all three.

All adjusting software vendors are subject to changing policies that hurt their loyal customers so just let us vendors have an ear full. As I stated in an earlier thread there is the temptation to lose the single user that only wants their software “turned on” when they are on the job. We personally look at CAT adjusting as a small part to the big picture plus it is a fact that all businesses provide segments of services that are less profitable. Just look at running claims where two nearly identical losses that will pay the same fee but you may spend a lot more of time on one over the other. We all like to have our cake and eat it as well. :)

From time to time someone mentions I am promoting PowerClaim and that is factual. What nearly all CAT adjusters know is I am not trying to sell PowerClaim to them because for the most part they do not have the option of what brand they use so it would be of little value to try. We are working to set some standards in adjusting software industry that will benefit you even if you never get to use our software. I do respect CAT adjusters for what they have meant to our company in moral support.

I would like to thank all of the CAT adjusters for their input and especially for their encouragement. Without question Roy’s service to the industry provides the forum that never existed before so thank you Roy. There is one name that I remember but others were there as well at a real critical time in our history. The name I can recall is RD (Dave) Hood and that time was at NACA in January of 1999 in New Orleans.

He and others stopped by our display table and encouraged us not to quit because we were closer than we realized to having a workable solution. We really did look out of place and insignificant because DDS had just landed the Crawford account and they were the darlings of the show and everyone wanted to talk to them. Thanks to you RD and the others that encouraged us at a time when there really was nothing but hope that we would be able to remain open to see PowerClaim become truly marketable.

In fact Eric and I made some hard decisions about what to do on the plane home. We decided that we would pull PowerClaim off of the market and implement the most basic of the suggestions that Dave and the others had just given us. We got back on the market in May of that year and sold 25 copies in July of 1999, which was nearly as many as we sold the year before. We have not looked back since that time. If we had not attended that event and Dave and others not stopped by our table to encourage us to redouble our efforts and move ahead there would very possibly be no PowerClaim today. Thanks for being there guys.
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Kenco

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2004 :  13:55:32  Show Profile
I purchased Xactimate two years ago. I received two latches and was to pay $300.00 per year for tech. support and updates. After paying for the $300.00 for updates and tech. support for the year 2002, in mid-year Xactimate started charging for one-on-one tech. support. I had problem with Xactimate and was charged under the new rate plan, or double billed.

Now Xactimate will not update Xactimate installs purchased even two years ago. This makes their software useless as the carrier I work for requires the most recent updates to work for them.
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Ghostbuster

476 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2004 :  17:50:02  Show Profile
This seems like a good time for a musical interlude. How about an old time Methodist or Anglican Hymn. Anyone out there have any appropriate suggestions? Maybe something in a funeral dirge?
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okclarryd

USA
106 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2004 :  10:15:39  Show Profile
This, like a lot of the other threads, makes for some very interesting reading. The various software packages and their development in the past couple of years has really confused me. I use Xactimate and DDS(MS/B) and they both have some really good features. Of the two, I prefer DDS due to it's "user-friendly" type of system. Xactimate is like drawing in the dirt with a stick to me. But, what do I know?? I've only been doing this since '70 so I have a limited set of experiences to draw from.

I am trying to stay current on the various extimating packages and recently drove 1,050 miles to attend a day and a half clinic on Xactimate. Now I wish I could remember what I heard!

The companies that I have worked for and will continue to work for have placed the responsibility for the purchase of the software on the adjuster. Maybe I should change my employer and get it for free. Just as soon as I can get my pet pig to land. None of the companies I have worked for have given me a choice of what estimating package I could use.

I just wish that there was some continuity as to the pricing and support on these various software packages. They are all relatively easy to use except for............. I really feel the problem is with the arrogance of the support person. This attitude usually comes down from the top.

Oh, well. '03 was a good year and '04 is gonna be better.

LARRY D HARDIN
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Jgoodman

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2004 :  15:57:23  Show Profile
For what it is worth, Windows XP can be repeatedly installed onto the same machine as many times as you want. It must be activated each time.

XP takes inventory of the computer hardware, or at least 10 of the pieces of hardware. If more than three of these change, the software must be re-activated.

If you re-activate XP and the hardware has not changed, then there is no problem. If the hardware has changed, you might have to call and explain why this is not a new machine.

I try not to use any of the XP or newer MS products, but as Good Sir Deaton has pointed out, Billy Boy Gates is doing best to push everyone to a two year upgrade cycle. All a two year upgrade cycles does is line Billy Boy's pocket.

This is what is behind the MS cutting off support for the old programs. Win98SE entered "Extended support Phase" in Microsoft speak on Jan, 7, 2004. This basically means you cannot get a human at MS to support Win98SE, but the on-line support is still available.

How much do your business requirements change in two years? Enough to have to totally replace the application and operating software. I don't think so.

Computer builers do pay about $75 for a copy of the XP Home Edition package, with the Pro flavor being about $50 more. This license must be sold with a motherboard because is it an OEM copy which must be sold with a computer system. And the license is only good for that computer system, it may not legally be installed on any other computer. Also all support for that version of the software will be handled by the computer builder, not Microsoft. This is why it is so much cheaper than "Retail" versions, which are suppported by Microsoft and can legally be installed on any machine, as long as it is only on one machine at a time. If you buy the retail box of XP Pro, you can legally install it on a new machine, as long as you delete it off of the old computer. With the OEM version, you cannot legally install it on any other computer than the one on which it was purchased.

At least this is what Microsoft tells us "Channel Partners".

Hope someone found this useful

Jeff Goodman
Goodman Enterprises
www.stormcentral.com
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Catmannn

42 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2004 :  09:49:48  Show Profile
Does anyone out there is xact land know how to toggel on the printing
feature of the statement of loss form? It seems like I called Utah a couple of years ago about this same issue and was told it was pending.
I guess noone in Utah has ever got off their chair and had to provide a
SOL to a carrier.

Thanks for your help in advance,

David Houtz
dhoutz6@aol.com
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trader

USA
236 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2004 :  11:21:49  Show Profile
Poor guy x-ware and the carriers that require x-ware. He needs more than 60%
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