Pet Sitter Assistant

 

FAQ

If you have a question, please send it us.

Q: Why can't I install this program on my own computer?
A: Unfortunately, this application does not lend itself to being installed on a desktop class computer. There are three major software components required that will overwhelm most desktop computers. Additionally, the technical infrastructure is comparable to that of an IT department at a medium-large size bank. The software components that are the backbone of the application consist of Microsoft SQL Server 2000, Windows Advanced Server & Server Enterprise 2003, and Macromedia ColdFusion. Each of these products are designed to be used by IT professionals, require performance tuning and monitoring, similar to what a corporation's IT department does every day. These tools were selected because of their stability, performance characteristics, and security facilities.

Q: Is there a contract that I have to sign? How long am I committed for?
A: No there are no contracts that you have to sign, nor do you have to commit to a period of time. You are required to sign a non-disclosure document that defines confidential information and how it should be handled.

Q: Is my data safe?
A: In nearly every case, your data is safer on our servers than on your laptop or desktop. Our servers run commercial grade operating systems that are extremely reliable. They are only used as an application server. Unlike the desktop in your office, no one is using word processing programs on the servers, no one is browsing the web picking up various rogue spy programs and trojan viruses. You data is backed up nightly and the backup is copied to another server which in turn transfers the backups to a offsite computer.

Q: Who own's my data?
A: You own your data.

Q: How do I get my data back should I decide to quit?
A: Your data is stored in relational tables and can be extracted at any time from the Admin screen. There are three extracts: 1) client information, 2) pet information, and 3) service detail data. The extract program actually opens Microsoft Excel and extracts your data with column headings allowing you to do a file save as. The service detail data can be used for statistical analysis any number of ways allowing you to better understand your business, which in turn allows you to make better business decisions.

Q: Can my sitters use this from their home?
A: Yes, one of the great benefits of the system is that the sitters can review their schedules at any time for any time window allowing them to better plan their personal life. They can also look at clients that have been assigned to them in order to keep the client information up-to-date. The number of phone calls you make with your staff will be reduced significantly.

Q: Does it work with Handheld devices, portable devices?
A: Yes, it does work with handheld devices, however those devices must be connected to the internet. If you simply wanted a telephone list on your device, you could extract the client database, delete the columns you don't need and then transfer that file to the device.

Q: Can I access the system from my portable PC using my local coffee house wireless network?
A: Yes, if you have a coffee house that has wireless capability, you can use your laptop to just as if you were connected to a telephone or cable modem at home or the office.

Q: What do I do if your servers go down? What do I do if my power is interrupted for several days?
A: In the event of a national or regional emergency where power is interrupted, you can quickly rebuild your schedule by using the staff notification messages. These messages are sent via email to the scheduled staff whenever a service is booked. They contain all the information needed to quickly reconstruct the schedule if your PC is inoperable. At the end of the month, the staff notifications can be bundled with your other accounting documentation. We attempt to schedule maintenance when its impact affects the fewest number of users. A message broadcast area is located in each screen where system status messages will be displayed.

Q: How often do enhancements get put into the system?
A: We work all the time on this application. Every new client we sign up has at least one very good enhancement request. We work with each client to make sure that the application is addressing their particular needs. Over the last year we have updated the software 20+ times. Some of the enhancements included e-commerce capability, accounts receivable, enhanced reporting, aging reports, and so forth. A defined testing policy is adhered to, helping to insure the continued stability of the production environment.

Q: What if one of my sitters or clients does not have a PC or they do not want to get email from the system?
A: If a sitter does not have a PC, then you will continue to call the sitter to communicate schedule changes. The method at which you send the schedule will continue to be the way he/she gets it. The confirmation to the clients is useful as it places the responsibility of accuracy back on the client. If the client does not want to get email or they do not have a PC, then you will need to continue working with the client as you have in the past.

Q: Will the application run on a Macintosh?
A: Yes, the application will run on a macintosh, and a variety of other devices (including web tv). The application has been developed with the assumption that it is a browser-based application. It will run on virtually all hardware platforms with their "industry standard" browser.

Q: I would like to have a custom feature included in the application. How does this process work?
A: We are always looking for ways to improve the application; in fact many of the enhancements made to the application have been suggestions from our clients. If the suggestion fits within our development priorities and direction we will endeavor to include it as soon as possible. If the suggestion falls outside our development priorities, we can discuss various customization options where the development expense is shared with the client.