Thursday, November 02, 2006

The UBS Software Story

We do everything ourselves in our little dotcom.

My partner Ming agreed to do our company secretarial duties and I have agreed to take on the accounts.

I spent the last few weeks learning accounting and learning how to use accounting software.

But... accounting software is not free.

Being poor, we've explored many options.

I tried using Open-Sourced Accounting Software like Turbocash but it wasn't very helpful. The only option was to buy the original software (and no... as poor as we are... we don't use fake software that cost RM7).

Doing some research on the internet and trying out the trial versions of all sorts of accounting software, I decided to go for UBS, which is done by Malaysians (Malaysia Boleh!).

I called up a company in Penang to ask about its price and they faxed me a quotation. That's right, RM1,749 just for use in a SINGLE PC.

The software on its own cost RM999 but the training and maintenance contract made up the difference.
I couldn't believe it.

I called up the distributor again saying
"WHAT?! I don't want the whole package!

You have to break it up for me... I just want the software... sure the maintenance contract and all is good but I'm not paying RM400 just for maintenance for a year.. it's SOFTWARE I'm buying here..
It's not machinery!!!".

The woman on the other side of the phone said

"Ok ok.. I'll sell you just the software alone RM999".

I asked for a discount and she told me

"Ok... I can give you RM960".

I hung up and thought to myself that at least I got a bit of discount.

Then I started thinking again.

I started thinking about the whole business as a whole and looked at the list of distributors all around Malaysia that I managed to obtain.

There were so many distributors.

I'm sure a company the size of UBS would insist that it's distributors keep to it's listing price and at most only allow a 5% discount.

Then I thought again about the margin of selling each unit of the software ie how much money they make from each unit they sell.

Unlike many other goods, the marginal cost of each unit of software is minimal.

Most of the cost involved in producing the software is in the R&D, so once the company has done its R&D, it's compelled to sell as much as it could as its price.
But since the marginal cost is so low, the margin to the distributor and UBS of selling each product should be quite high meaning there had to be distributors out there who were willing to give a big discount in order to close a sale.

But what do I know... I'm just a little kid who has yet to see much of the world.

I decided to work with my curiousity.

I called up a few more distributors I had on my list and they all quoted me the same price giving only a little bit of a discount.

The memory of me paying the expensive price for my Dreamweavers and Adobe Photoshop months ago came back and I got pissed.
I was determined to get a better discount!

I ended up calling all the distributors in Penang and even some on the mainland in KL. Finally, some of them started to offer me the software for RM899.

I called back the distributors I had called before and said that I had another offer for RM899 and asked them if they could match the offer. After many more calls I finally got as low as RM699 from a distributor in the mainland.

Yet, the thought of going over to the mainland just to buy this software was not very appealing to me.

Not to mention, after some negotiation with one of the dealers in Penang which I will refer to here as Mr Tan, I managed to seal myself an offer for RM760 and with FREE maintenace visits should I have any problems.

Also, rather than buying 6 hours of training that I had to use within one month for RM350, Mr Tan agreed to give me private training as and when I needed them for RM60 for two hours.

That means for RM350 I won't only get 6 hours but instead get 11.6 hours (
double the time). I was willing to close the deal with Mr Tan but I wanted the best of both worlds ie the best price, the flexible classes and the free maintenance.
I called up Mr Tan again

"Mr Tan, I have got another offer for RM699 so instead of giving me RM760, if you can match this other company's offer I will buy the software from you."

Mr Tan took less than a second to respond

"Ok fine lar fine lar... I will give you RM699. Actually it's they themselves who said that we're not allowed to give too much of a discount but since everyone is fighting for it I'll give it to you for that price".

We closed the deal and a few days later the software arrived.

Can you believe this little USB License Key cost me RM699!!!
Then again, I'm glad I got my 30% discount (with all the extra benefits for free)... or I would have lost another ball.

Of course, I could've tried to push it down to get it for RM599 or lower instead.

But I believe that since this guy was giving us free service whenever we need it... squeezing him too hard might affect our relationship and he might be less willing to keep up to his "free servicing" part of the deal.

So yayy!!! I get to keep my right ball.

By the way... have you guys heard? Wingz is looking to employ ... hahahahaha


MaN|acZ said...

I think even though software costs a bomb, the programmers might be paid peanuts sometimes.

cely said...

shit.. i want not the 1st.. by the time i finish reading.. already 3.19pm. :p

great that u get those discount.. u are now a well trained auntie.. like those who always bargain at the market.. ahahha

Alynna said...

Ouch, I feel the pinch of the software from here. :P

Wingz said...

CEO you very power!!!!

Boss Stewie said...

maniacz: hehehe nonono.. i hear that the programmer that started the company is from Penang.. WOOHOO :P PENANG BOLEH!!!! (PENANG EH SAI!!!)

cely: hahahah aiyoo u were the first sooo many times di mah

alynna: yes alynna... glad to know u feel my pain :P

wingz: hahaha pls dun be silly wingz.. u're the real ceo

MaN|acZ said...

cely: U LOSE ! (Street Fighter lose cue)


boss, erm.. Penang ppl very rich wan kah?

Boss Stewie said...

maniacz: hahaha no lar.. that guy move kl di lar i think

kl people are rich

slacker said...

dude.. you're really breaking his balls :)

the vendor probably earned bout 100-200 bucks for the sale of that software.. their margins come mainly from the training services..

Boss Stewie said...

slacker: so you would rather have me lose my balls?? shame on u slacker!!!!

DareDevil8 said...

aiya typical penangite chinese.there is a saying if u can survive doing business in Penang and Malacca u can practically slaughter anyone in the whole damn world.
what bout the price of the calls ,worth it?
anyway cincailah everyone has to earn a living right?
by the way i'm looking for such software care to share the contact number,pleaselah no need commission!

Jonathan said...

Hm.. the Dreamweaver you bought.. well, depending on what kinda dotcom you're building.. i doubt there's a need for loosing you balls over Dreamweaver.. bet the ROI isn't high.. Photoshop too.. unless you're a design house, lotsa other cheaper alternative will do just fine.. it's like shelling out for Oracle when your database is less than 1 GB.. esp for a startup.. if you plan for 2-3 years.. that's a little too long in the tech industry..

slacker said...


u rich wat :) now the poor ubs dealer have to resort to selling dvds in prangin mall to support himself ..hahaaha

Anonymous said...

we kl ppl not as rich as YOU penang kia.. :P

who in kl haf a hse on top of the hill with balcony that overlook half the island n sea.

Boss Stewie said...

daredevil: hah.. uhmm...the price of the calls were very very minimal... can't possibly be more than RM5

erm... email me and i'll pass u to the contact... why do u need the software anyway? what do u ?

Eve said...

From RM1749 to RM699, your negotiating skills are better than those aunties in the market. ahahaa

chocolat-latte' said...

Now Tim.. don't I get a tiny weeee credit for telling you to get the UBS? I even got my mom to check with her staff for the price.. HMMMMM..

Boss Stewie said...

eve: no lar... aunties in the market could prob get it for RM50

audrey: yes audrey dear... u deserve a medal for that... thank u

Lance said...

I'm actually losing count of the number of balls you have lost already... tho this must've been the first time you saved one. =)

Jackson said...

Yeah I wonder how Stewie got so many balls...

Ellone said...

Must go shopping with you liao like dis.

suicidalconversationjunkie said...

precisely. how can he lose his balls so many times??

he must be faking it, judging by his superpowercannotfight bargaining skills.

*men-jealous again*

ian said...

Hardcore haggler! I'll learn some tips from you soon... Haha!

Boss Stewie said...

lance/jackson: well i lost a ball some time back.. but then i bought it back after getting a loan from maybank... so now i'm back to two balls

ellone: ahahahah fear... is how i feel about going shopping with the ladies

suicidal: hahahaha u're jealous for the funniest reasons suicidal :P

ian: well.. in future people are goign to do the same thing back to me when i start being the seller instead of the buyer *sniff*

DareDevil8 said...

KARMIC indeed
just pulling your legs on the need for the software.thank you so much for offering.

Boss Stewie said...

daredevil: karmic?

DareDevil8 said...

as in shitting on others now but getting the RATS later.
as in your reply to ian

Boss Stewie said...

daredevil: ohh karma.. hahaha lol okok

Applegal said...

boss stewie: So, how much did your phone bills cost in the end? ;)

Boss Stewie said...

The bill hasn't come yet but I don't think it's more than RM5 applegal