Could you describe in greater detail the scope of this project? For instance, did it involve custom visual design, backend development, training, support, etc.?
They didn't have experience working with a taxicab service before. We exclusively in the towing business. We certainly knew what we wanted it to do going into the project. We would put it all together and say, “Here is what I think it should look like. Here is what I think our dispatcher should see. This is what we want to pass along to the drivers.” We'd provide them with very rough drafts of our requirements, mostly in PowerPoint format. They would come back and say, “This is how it can be done,” and often offer us suggestions on how to modify the process in our favor. It’s definitely been a collaborative effort. It’s our vision and they made it a reality.
How did you select Promet Source as your solution partner?
It’s simply because of my past business relationship with Andy. We worked with a company called Sundial.com during the whole .com craze. I was working for Bell Cells at the time. I’m not actually even sure where Andy was, but there were about three or four initial partners that started Sundial.com, and we built an e-commerce site for the sales distribution of cellphones.
That particular relationship lasted almost five years. We had different ownerships along the way. Everybody parted their own ways after about four and a half years. That’s how I met Andy. Knowing what he could do when I was working with him at Sundial, how our site was working, and all the different firms that we partnered with, was an important factor. I was impressed with how all that happened and knew that he had started this company, Promet, and reached out to him. Also, prior to building our green light, which is what we call our dispatching software, they had built our SchmidtAuto.com site, our towing website, too. I knew that he could build websites, but this was a different kind of project.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in monetary terms?
Taxicab software could range anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000. It was all dependant on what you wanted to spend. We originally went in and said, “We had a budget of $75,000. Let’s get this up and running,” which included of the ability to book online through our primary site, as well as through our dispatch software, run on our iPad application. That was our initial budget. We ran that for a year and a half, almost two years. We always knew we wanted to make enhancements because we’d certainly like to market this. I’ve had numerous people contact me about it. We’re the first one to use iPads as a full dispatch solution. There are various Droid versions out there. I think we might be one of the few companies that use iPads as primary solution. We went in this last year and rewrote everything. We did Drupal 7. We did a lot of enhancements to it. Now, we’re in the six-year range. When all is said and done, we're talking about the $150,000 to $200,000 range.
When was this iPad application completed and launched?
Phase 1 was completed within thirty days. By September of 2010, we were out the door with 10 cabs completely operational. We ran on that for a good year. As we began to add more taxicabs, we knew we wanted to build an enhanced version. They then worked on phase 2 for a good year. We just rolled out phase 2 in September of this year. Actually, it might have been the first part of October of 2013 when we completed phase 2. We probably won’t go much further than phase 2, unless something changes significantly within our business plan. We’re currently operating 35 cabs. It’s a great system for a small- to medium-sized cab company. If we were to get into the thousands of cabs, we'd probably need to do perform some additional systemwide enhancements. For now, we’re set. With software, there are always a million things you can do. In the end, it's really about what brings the most value.