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About Probill Software

Probill was first conceptualized by John, the owner of the company, in the early 90's. At the time John owned an alarm company called Protech Security in the Tampa, Florida area. Personal computers were just starting to take off and John had always thought of himself as a "techy" type of person. Therefore, he wanted to use this new technology to simplify his monthly recurring billing. He searched and searched for something that could easily automate these tasks, as at the time he was creating and tracking all of his invoicing by hand; a task that took up far too much of his already stretched time. Heold probill logo wanted something that would allow him to create invoices, proposals, and also generate recurring billing painlessly. That way he could spend his time generating new business instead of handling these time consuming day to day tasks. When he couldn't find what he was looking for he decided to just create a program himself.

John had dabbled in computers and programming before, but creating Probill was a completely different feat. The original version of Probill had over 4,000 lines of code. With the finite amount of memory and space computers had at the time, he had to carefully program with these constraints in mind. John spent weeks programming late at night - he still had to run his alarm company and spend time his three small children during the day. To finally complete the software he ended up setting up camp at his father's home for a couple of weeks, to get away from distractions. His father made sure to keep a pot of coffee warm for him and periodically brought him Sunshine Oatmeal Cookies until finally Probill Plus 1.0 was born in the Spring of 1995.

probill screenshotThe original version of the software was vastly different than today's version based on the limitations at the time. The original version of Probill was mainly meant to print recurring bills to your dot matrix printer. Even with its limitations John adamantly describes the original version as "pimpin". As you can see from the screenshot on the left, the color scheme was horrible!  However, it was the first program of it's time to run on the Windows operating system - up until that most programs were still being created for MS DOS. 

After the software was completed and John had been running it for a few months on his own, he realized that it might be something that other companies like his could use. On a whim he put an ad in SDM magazine and hoped for the best. A few weeks later, he got his first sales call while drinking a beer on Redington Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast. He answered his brick sized cell phone and nerve rackingly answered the potential customer's questions. John swears that he made his first sale that day, although we can't be entirely sure.

John kept selling software and eventually created an informational website for Probill in late 1996. You can actually still view a copy of the site by clicking here - although beware there are a lot of flashing neon colors and rainbow text!

As computer technology progressed Probill began offering new features and acquiring more and more customers. John's small software startup was quickly outgrowing his alarm company, so he made the decision to sell the alarm company in 2001, to focus solely on Probill. Around the same time John and his wife decided to move their family to a small town in Southern Utah called Cedar City - where Probill headquarters is currently located. 

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He inevitably ended up completely rewriting Probill in a new, more current programming language later that year in order to add many of the new features Probill offers today. He used his original formula of late nights, oatmeal cookies and endless pots of coffee until Probill version 2.0 was created with an additional 100,000 lines of code and provided the interface you all know well. This new version eventually allowed features, such as credit card processing, bank drafts, email, document creation, and mail processing to be possible.

The most troubling feature - at least in the beginning - that we added was the Mail Processing Service. The idea for us to print and mail bills for our customers was originally thought of by John's wife. She saw it as a great way to expand Probill and offer a unique service to our customers. After completing necessary research, Probill ended up leasing a machine to fold, stuff, and seal bills and John wrote the necessary functionality into Probill. The first time we actually did a mail run was in February 2005; we processed about 500 bills. The machine we purchased was supposed to process somewhere around 1,500 bills an hour, so we thought it would be a piece of cake. However, as with most brand new things, things did not go as planned. John and I sat in front of that machine for at least 8 hours, clearing jams, resealing envelopes, reprinting invoices, etc. - it was a nightmare! Finally I gave up and took a stack of bills and decided to just fold and stuff them myself by hand as I was sure I could do it faster than that stupid machine!

Though the first few months were rough, eventually we got everything working properly, purchased some extra equipment, and currently handle somewhere around 250,000 bills per month with a lot less hassle. Mail Processing is now one of the most popular things we do!

That's kind of the way we try to do things around here though. We want to add a lot of new features and we are always looking to find ways to simplify billing for our customers. In the last version of Probill (ver. 2.6.5) we wanted to simplify emailing and add extra options such as adding a custom note to your emails. In the next version of Probill (ver. 2.7.0) which will be out in a few months were going to make some big changes to credit card and ACH processing; hopefully making the set up easier, reducing costs for customers, and simplifying the way that these features work in general. Unfortunately, John says I'm not at liberty to talk in depth about these yet, as he is still programming away on a diet of coffee and cookies, but I promise release information will be coming soon! :)

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Phone: 1-800-409-4997  |  Fax: 1-800-951-4831  |  Email: support@probill.com

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