I am asked many variations of this question, along with a variety of questions about essentially the short and long term reliability of SMOTGO.
My name is Scott Folley and I own and operate Scott’s Specialties, Inc. in Rockville, MD. We are a Volvo specialty shop and have been in business since 1989. One of my hobbies is computers. From building, repairing, to networks and programming. I built SMOTGO for several reasons. First, I love all the benefits of the cloud and there were no shop management programs using the technology at the time I started building it. I thought it would be a great tool for my shop and then there is the challenge and all that I learned as I built it. I had a new child a few years ago which meant spending more time at home, so I used the down time. There was very little (relatively speaking) extra work required to make it available for anyone to use and I also believe the more users, the better the app can become.
Why don’t I charge to use it is a very frequently asked question. First, while I have enjoyed building it, it is not entirely altruistic. I would love to make some money from the site but I don’t think charging users is the way to do it. The sites on the web that make the most money do not charge the users. They realize the more users they have the better they can make the site and the more valuable it will be to what I will call sponsors. I have no intentions of filling up the site with ads, but some banners or small ads is a possibility. A partnership with a part supplier is also a possibility. But unlike other management systems, this one does not require me to make a profit for it to stay around. We use it to run Scott’s Specialties everyday so it has to stay up and running as long as we are in business.
Currently the only support is through our videos , blog, and via email. I run a shop full time and don’t have a lot of time to offer support. Which is another reason I don’t want to charge to use the site. Usually I answer emails pretty quickly, but I cannot make any promises at this time. Please don’t try to contact me via phone.
I get lots of questions about data and how it will be used. I treat your data (your customer’s and your shops) the same as I treat my customers data. I do everything I know how to do to protect it. I do not knowingly share or sell it. I may at some point use “meta” data to look for things like common problems, labor hours, labor rates, etc. Having said that it is important to keep in mind that any time data is put into a computer even if it is a PC in your shop, it is at risk. Not too many days go by without some multi-million dollar company suffering a breach of data that they have probably spent millions to protect. I have to believe that the data in SMOTGO is of very little value as most peoples names, addresses, and phone numbers can usually be found freely on the internet. Still, we do use SSL encryption and make sure that servers have all the Microsoft updates about once a month.
The data is backed up every 60 minutes and 5 copies of the back ups are made across 3 different computers. You can export your data at any time. This video demonstrated how to do that. Export Data Video.
How reliable is SMOTGO and will it be around. SMOTGO is hosted on a server at a Godaddy Data Center. GoDaddy claims a 99.9% up time. Most issues with the site come when modifications are made to the server, site, or database. These can usually be corrected pretty quickly or rolled back. This is one of the great advantages of a cloud based app. If there is an issue or bug, you don’t have to wait for the next software update for it to be corrected.
The last variable with regards to reliability, is me. I have created and maintained SMOTGO myself. If something happens to me, then I don’t know what would become of SMOTGO. If SMOTGO becomes more popular and it picks up more users, then I will look at contingency plans. Currently the lease on the servers is paid thru 01/16/2016, so if something were to happen to me and barring any major issue, the site should keep running until then. Note, this was updated on 05/24/2015.
If you have any questions, use the contact link above.