I would use a spreadsheet, such as Excel (not the only one, just the
one I know the name of; also, it comes in both Mac and PC versions).
In the workbook, make separate tabs (or pages) with the name of the
store on it. Then decide what data you want to keep track of, these
will become your column headers. (Who, what, why, when, how much?
Perhaps better designed as When, What, Why, How Much? The ‘Who’ is
the tab/page, so it’s obvious who you did the work for.)
Example: You resized a ring on 22 January for Ma & Pa’s Jewelry, and
charged $50 (it was quite a ring!). The page (who) would be “Ma &
Date (when) = 01/22/2010,
Item Description (what) = fabulous ring w/2 diamonds and 3ct emerald,
Repair Instructions (why) = resize from 5 to 8,
Price (how much) = $50.
A spreadsheet will easily allow you to sum a total, account for a
quantity discount, things like that. It’s not hard to add new
columns if you wish, even if you started with bare-bones information
collection. Spreadsheets tend to be inexpensive and not terribly
However, if you see your needs growing to link multiple accounts,
create special reports on data (example, how many rings did you
resize in the month of June for ALL accounts, broken down by
account), then you will need a database. Databases are not very
friendly programs no matter how well written. They tend to be
expensive and can be hard to set up. No programmer ever thinks the
way you do about your data, so you will have to tweak whatever you
My recommendation is to use what you have. If you’ve got the
Microsoft Office Suite, then you already have the spreadsheet Excel.
If you don’t have it, there are freeware, shareware or low-cost
alternatives on the internet that are just as good.
If you need a visual on the example I used above, let me know and
I’ll send you a screenshot.