General questions
It takes roughly 10 minutes to install PlantX on each computer. The time it takes to install depends entirely on the performance of your Internet connection. See Installation for details.
Not very long at all. To enter roughly 150 materials and 450 catalog items, with prices and supply quantities, would take roughly 2-3 days. You are likely to add customers as you go and there are special windows that make order entry quick. Overall we say 4-5 days to be fully operational, but some nurseries have done it in two. See the Fast Track page for details on getting started quickly.
No. PlantX is an on-line application where the application and data are hosted on our system. This is formally know as Software as a Service, and provides many advantages over software installed at the premise, including the time, equipment and costs associated with running your servers. See Software as a Service for more information.
There is now a built-in feature that can convert your customer database to the PlantX format. It converts basic details like company name, contact, phone, fax and a billing and shipping address, and imports the data into PlantX. See Customer Import for more information.
The basic subscription to PlantX Wholesale Edition allows for three concurrent users. This means that PlantX can be installed on any number of computers or laptops, but no more than three users can be logged on at one time. This is not a hard limit and we will not prevent you from making more than three connections, but if you persistently need more than three connections, we will adjust your monthly fee accordingly. Additional licenses are available; see Pricing for details.
Short answer: Fifteen years as of October 2016 (nineteen years if you include prior off-line versions). For a longer answer see Company History.
The number of customers PlantX can support is limited only by the bandwidth (size) of our Internet connection. Closely monitored bandwidth usage shows that only a fraction of our fiber optic capacity is used during peak hours. This includes not only the connected PlantX users but also hundreds of visitors each hour to the hosted websites. From that statistic, PlantX can support over 350 connected users or roughly 100 nurseries with the current Internet connection.
When starting out with PlantX, you are given three hours of support time to get going. Additional support can be purchased in three hour blocks for $249. The blocks are used in 15 minute increments and carry over from month to month. To better support our customers, we use a remote computer connection to work directly with you on your computer.
We will raise our prices from time to time. As a PlantX member, the monthly fees will change over time but strictly limited to adjustments for inflation or roughly $7 to $12 per year (assuming 3 to 5 percent inflation). Our price increases are mostly applied to new memberships, since as the number of members growers it will require more equipment, more bandwidth and support staff. This pricing structure effectively rewards the early adopters. See Pricing for details.
Yes, it can! For your website to adapt the real-time features of PlantX, it is best that we host your website and integrate your custom look and feel. You have the option of hosting your own static pages (pages that don't change much) and redirecting to our web server for your live inventory availability and on-line order entry; however, this split-role method tends not to look as integrated and seamless as having us host the website and perform a thorough integration. Since the website hosting is included in the monthly service, you need only pay for the hours needed to perform the integration (an added service that is done on bid).
In short, there are none, but our business model stands a much better chance at survival than past and present competition. This appears to be a genuine concern in the nursery industry, as it appears that a number of software companies have come and gone, or have been bought and sold. The nursery industry is a niche market. Although there are a large number of inventory software applications available, nurseries have their own unique demands, to which various software companies have adapted or written custom solutions.

Where are they now?

The problem lies with way they sold their product; they sold licenses. The licensed model was doomed from the start. Once they sold the license, usually for thousands of dollars, their revenue stream dried up. They eventually run out of time or money supporting their customers, or support dwindles, customer satisfaction suffers, and future sales dry up. To survive, they are left with charging for every slightest thing: fixes, upgrades, and added support or "maintenance contracts." Because their income opportunities are unpredictable and few and far between, the charges become almost adversarial in nature. The only reason their customers contact them is because they are frustrated or in distress, to which they respond, "open your checkbook wide." Of course, they can just hire more sales people and sell more licenses, but this only further dilutes their customer service.
Instead, we form a partnership with our members as we cover their daily IT operations. If the niche market keeps PlantX profitable by paying their fees, we will keep PlantX running and up-to-date. Likewise, if we continue to satisfy our membership and keep them profitable, they will continue paying for our information services. It is quite simple and elegant. So if you compare PlantX to the software license model, in the long run both will likely cost the same, but with PlantX, there is no cash down, no long-term commitment and no balance due should you decide to opt out. Effectively, we have the confidence to "bankroll" the cost of our own software and the incentive to satisfy our members. To test this, ask our competitors to offer you long-term financing with an option to opt out early, with no balance due.
There have been over 700 upgrades in the past seven years (both major upgrades and minor fixes). Depending on the type of features we are working on, it may be one or two months between upgrades, or we may upgrade daily for awhile. If we find a bug, we will release it within 24 to 48 hours. New report requests are released within 48 to 72 hours, depending on the complexity of the report.
Customer demands are always changing. Software is always changing. The server and security are always changing. Our business model of software-as-a-service is designed to embrace this fact of ever-constant changes. Because of the labor and costs of upgrading customers one-by-one, our competitors can perform upgrades only on monthly, quarterly or even an annual basis. Most of this cost is passed onto the customer when they "decide" to pay for the upgrade. We say "decide", because it is more a matter of "how long can I wait for a feature before it is economical to get other features, too". Embracing the software-as-a-service business model, we were able to create tools that upgrade and validate your installation at every login, which guarantees that no one is left behind!
Yes. PlantX has a complete A/R as part of customer resource management. Besides generating invoices from orders, A/R includes payments along with debit and credit memos. Create an account aging or extract and print periodic statements, with or without finance charges.
Not at this time. It is on our list of enhancements, but it has not been a priority for the current membership. If A/P is a priority for you let us know.
Yes it can, but it is (very) expensive. Given the amount of equipment and time (and money) needed to build out the minimum-required servers and supporting services, you would have enough infrastructure to host two dozen nurseries. That was one of the motivations behind making PlantX an on-line service; by the time you have it all put together, put it on-line, and hired the staff to support it, you could host dozens of nurseries. To install PlantX on your servers, you would need to budget $145,000 minimum for the installation, and $2000 per month for maintenance.