What type of software do people use for customer database, mailings, etc? I have Excel 5 but wonder about something like FileMaker Pro.
What do you use to track wood inventory?
Excel can do what you want but Access would be much better. There is a data base wizard that will build what you want. You don't have to be an expert to do it.
Word is that MS is replacing Access in the near future too (about a year or so), so I would feel more comfortable with Filemaker Pro.
Pardox is good if you want a beefy desktop database, but it isn't as easy to use as Filemaker Pro.
You can do a mail merge into a MS Word document for mailings.
Outlook also lets you "journal" information about your customers and related information that you want to be able to retrieve by customer.
Comment from contributor A:
Keep in mind that many popular accounting software packages offer those abilities, with the obvious additional advantages. Try and consider your whole information flow, then see where you can consolidate your functionality. It is very simple to tie accounting, job costing, payroll, inventory, estimating, human resources, and customer relations into a unified solution.
In response to the other replies... I would not recommend Access or basic spreadsheets for any system you feel will be growing in the near future. An SQL type database is an excellent choice. Although some applications have excellent proprietary databases also.
If anyone is into playing around with the operating system Linux, try taking a look at some PostgreSQL and MySQL based applications. A real promising, free one is sql-ledger accounting.