American Contractor Software Review
"This is almost the worst software I've ever used," said Bennett Rodgers of Image Communications, a firms that installs voice and data infrastructures. "There are simple task (in my opinion) that this software will not do. Mainly, the search function. It will only search by the first word in the description exactly as it was entered. Spelling must be exact. No spaces or multiple words either. However, the searches are quick. Instant rather on the local network. The owner of the company likes the "bird's eye view" reports. That's a really nice feature. There are other little things that frustrate users, but I've managed to find a "work-around" or two on those. The system has potential, but right now it is just average software. Since originally posting this review, the company has contacted us and they are working on a solution."
How long have you been using this tool?:
What kinds of construction projects do you mostly work on?:
We install low voltage cabling such as voice, data, security, CCTV, CATV and WiFi.
Where did you obtain it?:
We bought our American Contractor software directly from Maxwell Systems in Nashville, Tenn.
How are you using this product?:
We use our American Contractor software for customer quotes, inventory control, accounting and payroll.
Why did you pick this product?:
The salespeople promised this software would do everything we asked. They couldn't actually show us anything until it was installed at our office, but their demos were impressive.
Was this product compatible with the software programs you were already using?:
Did you look at other tools on the market before picking this one?:
We considered Master Builder and Quickbooks Premier. Looking back, Master Builder may have been a better fit. All of the products we reviewed had flaws, things that we needed but they couldn't provide. The salesman for Maxwell Systems promised that the American Contractor software could do it. He obviously made a promise that he couldn't keep. The company however, is trying to make ammends.
Before you bought this product, were you using a different one to do the same job? :
ExecUtron's PIMS (Professional Inventory Management System. It was mainly for storefront-type sales and inventory.
How many people are using this software? :
Comparing the way you work now with the way you worked before you bought this tool, what has changed? :
We are producing five times as many quotes. We have about three times as many employees to track and payroll. We have three times as much work to track and report. The reporting features of American Contractor software seems to be missing reports that we really need, but the company is working to change that.
Can you give us an example of a job where this tool really made a difference?:
We can work remotely (as long as we have Internet connection), which we couldn't do before. That is great. However, Maxwell Systems promised we could create quotes and proposals completely disconnected from the server, but have yet to get that working for us either. When i called technical support, they offered to do many things for us, as long as we pay astronomical fees to have a trainer sent out. However, we have a new account manager now and she is working hard to get the answers we need. I'll put in another review later pending that outcome.
Can you estimate how much time or money you saved or other measurable benefits your firm realized using this tool?:
This software is immensely better than our previous software. But that software cost was only in the hundreds, not thousands. We have lost many hours attempting to make this system do ordinary tasks. It locks up regularly and has to be re-indexed. Everyone has to log out for this to be done. Some recent upgrades though, have made it a little more stable.
What are the best features (for your business) in this tool?:
It's better than the old software we used (PIMS). .
Do you think it's a fair value for the price you paid?:
Absolutely not. But the company is working to find a solution for us now.
What would you change about the product if you could?:
Allow users to search for entries (parts, quotes, customers) using any part of the description instead of using only the first word. The interface feels outdated. It's similar to the classic "Windows" interface. Not at all like XP or even Windows-7. I've heard that may change with an upgrade though. I just hope it doesn't cost even more money.
Who would you recommend use this tool?:
Nobody. But again, the company is working very hard to change my mind.
How much computer experience do you think someone needs to use this tool effectively?:
I think even a SQL programmer would find this frustrating because you can't change the chassis on which this thing is built.
Did it take much training (or studying) to learn to use this tool?:
We were given a few training classes by Maxwell Systems. Then we hired an accountant to learn this software and interact with Maxwell Systems for more training so that he could train everyone else at our company. It's been over two years and we still keep him on retainer to fix ongoing problems that we have with this program, because Maxwell Systems charges more for a visit than he does.
Have you ever called the company's support lines and asked for help?:
Yes. They offer to set up a training session for an astronomical fee. It doesn't matter how simple or complex the question, they give us the same response every time. However, the new account manager is very concerned with our issues and is working hard to resolve them.
How would you rate the user documentation? :
Minimal. Not helpful at all except for getting headaches.
When the next version of this software comes out, will you upgrade to it?:
Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate this tool?: