Our Business Philosophy
We began with a very simple concept: Design an affordable, reliable, easy to use Windows© based pawn software program for the small to mid-size independent pawnshop owner. In every design decision we asked ourselves these questions: How would this look to the owner/manager of a family store? Would they understand it quickly? Would it make sense for the way they do business? We had the advantage of starting work on a new application from the ground up and the benefit of input from existing pawnshop owners who knew what they wanted the program to do.
Our goal is to see non-computerized shops make the decision to improve their businesses with software. We believe that when shop owners try our software and compare it to our competition, they will like what they see and recommend it to others. These beliefs have come true over the past 5 years as we continue to grow with users in 26 states as of this writing. Regulatory requirements dictate the need for quicker and more accurate reporting capabilities for the smaller shops, which comprise over 65% of the total pawnshop market. An integral purpose of computerizing records is to ensure that the rules are followed and that the accountability and integrity of your business information is maintained.
Many of the users in our early sites considered themselves anti-computer or computer-illiterate. When they saw how quickly they could learn and use the program, we heard comments like "This is easy. I thought it would be harder than this." and "Is this all I have to learn?" One of our early users asked Mark: "You’re going to train me, right?" He replied, "I won’t need to. You know how the pawn business works. I won’t have to show you a thing." Sure enough, she later told us, "Gee, this is easy."
Even the most novice users find that they can get Pawn Wizard up and running in less than 10 minutes. Simply insert the CD and five minutes later you can start adding new customers and entering new pawn transactions. The install routine will ask a few questions about your store name and address to configure the application to your store. This store information is printed on the pawn ticket. It is easy to select your printer from the list that is provided. You should confirm that the pre-loaded interest rates and rules are correct for your state. You can change some options, like the number of copies to print of each new pawn ticket, but the defaults that are already set work well for most shops. That’s it. Close the setup screen and immediately begin adding customers.
In the evaluation version of Pawn Wizard, all features and available options (except multi-user and Global Pawn) are fully functional for 45 days. After the evaluation period ends you will still be able to see your customers and existing transactions but you won’t be able to enter any new transactions until after you purchase the software.
We offer FREE Support and updates for 60 days from date of purchase. Basic telephone support is always FREE to any active licensed or evaluation customer. Program upgrades are available for a small fee on a quarterly basis.
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Company Profile from Global Pawn's Premiere Magazine Issue July 2004
Profiling RAM Development's Pawn Wizard
Q: Tell us about your company.
A: Our company is small. When we began, it was just me, Richard Mullins, and my brother Mark Mullins. I’m the chief developer; Mark’s the project manager. That’s oversimplifying, of course, because we work together on every aspect of our business.
As soon as we had completed our testing and had live installations, we brought in another programmer so we’d have the additional capacity to handle support and maintenance, and just as important, be able to start developing new features and new products. We also have someone helping with our website, and people working on our company’s market and advertising image.
Being small works for us, because of our wide experience and qualifications, because we work very well together and because we are both good at many of the same things – solving problems, analyzing, planning and learning new things. We also understand businesses and their needs, something we believe is very important in the information technology business.
Q: How did you get started?
A: Well, it came about first in this general sort of way, which we sort of planned. But the particular start – creating software tailored to the needs of pawn shops looking at their first software purchase – that wasn’t on our planning horizon at first, because we didn’t know about it.. But when it showed up, we jumped at it.
I had been a database programmer for more than 10 years and had been developing applications full-time for three years. My brother Mark had 20 years of experience in all areas of what is now called Information Technology -- management, networking, hardware, software, sales, and support. Also, we both have broad backgrounds in many fields. I have been a journalism professor at the University of Missouri, where I taught writing and advanced reporting using data analysis. I was a database administrator, and before that an applications engineer for a software integration company. I worked in daily journalism for nine years as a reporter and an editor.
Mark managed the IT infrastructure at a software company. Before that, he worked at Union Carbide for four years, leading a team of techs doing a very large migration project – new PCs on every desk, new servers, new networking, new standards. He stayed on well after the migration was done, because he’d become an indispensable, all-around problem-solver who knew the big picture and most of the details. He is a Windows 2000 MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). Going even further back, he has done retail and restaurant management.
Our backgrounds are big part of how we got started. We were looking for some way to leverage our wide experience and our strengths in problem-solving and managing all levels of a project. So about two years ago, we started talking about forming a company to provide a full range of hardware, software and technical services. We had been kicking that around for a while when learned that the vast majority of pawn shops were not computerized at all. We also learned that normal changes in the business environment, including increased regulations about record-keeping, would soon be almost mandating that shops computerize and get software if they wanted to stay competitive. We recognized that there was an opportunity to cater to that market with a software package designed and priced for the independent, family-owned, new-to-computers store.
Q: You didn’t have any previous experience in the pawn business then. So how did you go about creating your software?
A: We analyzed the business and the various state regulations of interest rates, pawn terms, grace periods, etc. We spent time with shop owners, went back and worked on the design and the rules, then went back to those shop owners again to get feedback and more information. It was a constant cycle. It’s the only way to create good software.
From the start, we knew we wanted to arrange the customer session around the idea of one or more transactions added to a checkout basket. In every design decision and feature discussion, we asked ourselves the question: How would this look to the owner/manager of a family store? Would they understand it quickly? Would it make sense for the way they did business?
We think we had the advantage of starting work on a new application. We didn’t have to upgrade an existing application, which is always tough, because of the basic irony of the software biz: Users want you to make the software better, but they don’t want you to change anything. Plus, we didn’t have to convert an older, non-Windows app to Windows, another tough thing to do, for many reasons.
But we didn’t start with a blank slate, either. We have seen all sorts of windows software for all sorts of businesses. We thought that many typical applications suffered from too much information crowed onto the screen all at once. Of course, you need to have the information available, but we tried to limit the extent of what was happening on the screen at any given time. So, our application uses many different windows, but we control them closely. In the process of customer actions, we give the appearance of progressing through windows in a sequence that follows what a store employee does when helping a customer – look up the customer, update their address and identification, then take their pawns, or payments, or redemptions.
Similarly, in the actions involving reports and other administrative tasks, we follow a sequence, and keep one window open at a time.