Most default settings and values in Crate Pro are based on commonly used industry values.   You should modify the default settings and enter your companies baseline preferences. The more accurate your settings, the faster and more accurate the design process is and the easier you'll find Crate Pro to learn and use.

Your specific needs for using Crate Pro might be very different from other companies so what you want/need to learn might also be different. We offer multiple ways to help you learn to use the program: live sessions, the manual, Support Articles, videos and the forums. Any one or a combination of these options should be used based on your time and needs.

There are three topics that should be reviewed prior to creating designs. whether you review these through the live sessions or on the support site.

  1. Selecting Preferred style templates and set your labor costs and markups
  2. Setting up Inventory
  3. Setting your Material Groups based on your Preferred style templates

These three live sessions build on each other and are the subject of the Start Here 1 group of Solution articles.  You may schedule more than one session for any topic to ensure you fully understand the subject matter.  Session 4 can be completed later and is very important to helping you maximize your benefit to using Crate Pro.

After completing the baseline configuration, you'll select each session topic based on what your goals for custom design software are.


The session software used is Join.Me meeting software. To share quickly, download the desktop application and create a free user account which allows you to very quickly enter a session and share your screen.  Click Here to download 

Schedule multiple sessions as time slots can fill up fast. The more you can complete in a shorter period of time the faster you'll be up an running.  If no one from your company logs in within 10 minutes of the start time, the session automatically closes and you'e marked as a No-Show. There is no refund on paid sessions for a no-shows.


Session 1: Review selecting your companies preferred crate style templates. Crate Pro includes over 400 crate, skid and pallet style templates which can be filtered for easier locating. Narrowing down that list to your companies preferred style templates you will use as starting points is critical for success.  We will set common construction values that will apply to your design policies and review Pricing screens: hourly labor rates and general material markups. Short overview of USER and CUSTOMER modules if time permits

Being ready for the session: (Have this ready if you want to move very quickly through this session)
> In Crate Pro go to the Preferences module > Styles tab and click on the  ? to review the style numbering information. Using the filters on that page, look for styles that meet or most closely match your current construction methodology.  (Do you use interlocking or load bearing corners? Do the ends & sides sit ON the deck or does the deck sit INSIDE the sides/ends?) If not clear, have some images of your existing crates on the desktop of your computer

> Preferences module > Pricing: Have your hourly labor cost for the departments shown and your billing rate. If you bill differently for labor costs, have what your billing method is and have those values.

> Preferences module > Pricing: Have your markup % for your materials used to build your crates

> Have contact information for one customer so we can enter their information.

Session 2: Inventory module. Crate Pro includes over 350 inventory items commonly used to build crates, pallets and skids. We will go over how to 'clean' this list so only items used appear as an option.  Items that you use not already in the Inventory will be added. We will review changing the Item ID to reflect the name you prefer for an item if the existing item name is not preferred.  You will set the Tracking/ Purchasing units of measure for each category of materials.  

Being ready for the session: : (Have this if you want to move very quickly through this session)           
           > Have a list of plywood, lumber and fasteners used and have costs for each
> Know what is the purchasing unit of measure for the items. Example: Plywood purchased 'By Sheet', Nails purchased 'By Box', Lumber 'by board foo

> Know the waste factor you use to get your totals (Crate Pro includes a default waste factor value for each material based on beta testing)

  • Know what items you would sell directly from inventory that are NOT part of a crate/skid/pallet design
  • Often another session, either 30 or 60 minutes, to ensure Inventory is properly set is not unusual since all information regarding your materials is usually not available at the time of this session. If you have a purchasing agent, they could benefit the speed of getting this module configured and maintained

Session 3: Set up Material Groups. With the main Inventory items set you'll set up common groupings of materials so that with a single click you can design the same crate with a different set of wood materials based on the needs of that design. 

Being ready for the session

: (Have this if you want to move very quickly through this session)

> Based on the crate style templates you selected, know what plywood and lumber combinations you would use. This release allows for up to five unique groupings of wood materials for each style family.

Session 4: Projects and Home module and setting Backups.  Projects generate all reports in the Reports module and include a highly requested feature: Ability to print a cut list combining same size materials from multiple designs.  Projects allow users to follow the progress of the designs on the order. Projects  combine totals for costs, selling prices, weights, times and allow you to add overtime and onsite charges. Projects generate quotes, invoices and work orders.

The Home screens are based on a User role within the company and allows them to focus on their work and easily provide information through Crate Pro to foreman and managers. Home screens allow managers to generate new Projects, designs add customers and more directly from their Home screen(s). Foreman and Sawyers can indicate what PO (or other indicator used) that ISPM materials are being tracked on. Review of the Home screens will cover Users but based on time, its suggested reviewing these topics in more detail in another session.

Client-Server administrators can set automated backups through the FileMaker Server Admin Console. For Peer-to-Peer, Crate Pro offers a manual reminder process to create backups. Because peer-to-peer installations are hosting using User software, the person(s) designated to create backups should understand their options and ensure timely backups are created.

USER SESSIONS (assumes configuration sessions above have been completed)

Here are common topics for user training and additional configuration. Session subjects may overlap based on time and your comfort level. Our goal is to help you maximize your use of the program.

  • Basic User training:  This assumes multiple sessions. Configuration of Crate Pro with your companies baseline settings should be done prior to user training. This help ensure that users are seeing results based on your information. 
    • How to create designs and print cut lists (multiple sessions tor proficiency)
    • Templates and Duplicate designs: How do they work and what works better for your company. This is a key session and recommended for everyone. Understanding that  a new design does not need to recreated if already done will save you hours every week. This will help clarify when its better to duplicate a design, create a template or start with a new design works best for the situation.
    • Adjusting design results in the design if needed (unless an administrator is in the session we will not make changes in any of the configuration modules.)
    • Using Home screens assigned to see an overview of your work. (ISPM training for Foreman and Sawyer roles is a separate session)
    • Adding designs to Projects, printing cut lists and other reports. 
    • Printing and/or emailing customer quotes, invoices and work orders
    • How to use Projects: Practice using the stages and status' in Projects is used to manage your order. We can discuss what your current process is and help you decide in what manner using the stage/status feature

  • Additional Sessions for configuration - Admin / Manager Training:  
    • Users and user permissions  Will review any questions you may still have from the configuration sessions. Creating, deleting user accounts. Setting permission levels and Roles. Changing passwords . You do not have a limit on user accounts. Users must connect from a computer/device that has a CAL license. There are no fees for user accounts and every person that will use Crate Pro should have a user account in Crate Pro AND an online portal account (also free)
    • Customers:  Creating customer accounts. Understanding customer special settings. Adding Ship To, Pickup From and Final Destination addresses. 
      • Special customer pricing: How to handle when a customer has a special pricing. Or a customer has different markups or discounts,
    • Costs - Labor: Your labor costs are not as close as you expect. Schedule this to determine what settings affect this result
      • Labor time settings : Labor times for different processes vary widely among custom crating companies. Crate Pro offers many fields to set your baselines to most accurately help you estimate labor costs. Due to the number of settings Crate Pro offers  that  allow you to configure your specific times, you may need to set more than a single session. Please have existing information for comparison so we can identify what changes need to be made
    • Costs - Materials: Your material costs are not as close as you expect. Schedule this to determine what settings affect this result
    • Selling Price:  Your selling prices are not what you expect. This session will help determine if the issue is due to materials, labor or both.   Before scheduling this session you will need to ensure the calculated costs for both materials and labor are accurate. If not please schedule one of the Costs - Labor or Materials first. 
    • Forms: quotes, emails, etc.. Set up the forms to allow for immediate communication with customers. Forms are available in both the Designs and Projects module and can be configured based on a company policy as well as an individual customer.
    • Importing Customer Lists: In advance of this session please request the format  that your CSV  file must be in for customer importing. You will need a CSV or Excel file to import your customer information.
    • Backups: Customers with FileMaker Server must have admin console login credentials. Stand-alone and peer-to-peer must have Admin permission into Crate Pro AND the permission to save the backup files to a separate location on your network or on an external drive
    • Project flow: Looking at your process and staff and working toward a flow that allows for speed and accuracy. This session should be done once you have a comfort level that the calculated costs/pricing and designs meet you expectations
    • Project  Stages and Status: Review of Design and Project Status fields for better staff communication. The Projects module provides all the information for the Reports module. This includes ISPM reports, Material Usage reports, status reports for Projects. Using Projects gives you better control over the entire crating process and helps your staff stay on task. Setting up Projects to manage your individual designs will reduce the time needed to manage your crating processes. (Does not cover ISPM training
    • ISPM and Material tracking. Setting it up and using this feature. Its important to know in advance how your company tracks/identifies the material for your reporting. By PO, by lot number, by invoice, by a flag color? What staff is involved with ensuring the materials are identified correctly? Having this information for this session will make the setup faster and more accurate


We offer free live session installation and update support for all customers with active maintenance. To be eligible for free updating, your version can not be more than 2 releases behind. Must be able to update directly into the newest version and not require multiple step-ups to be brought current.  Current and legacy installation/update documentation is available on the support portal.  Support portal accounts are FREE. 

Use this LINK to bookmark the live session scheduler. You must have a support portal account or the session will be canceled.

More to read if interested!  

Why does this version have multiple steps for installation and update when older versions had a simple run the executable?

 Crate Pro is a bundled solution with FileMaker database software and your order includes both Crate Pro and FileMaker software. Prior to the development of Crate Pro 6, current customers were surveyed to determine if they preferred a single step installation process or an 'open'  FileMaker license which would allow them to create their own databases. independent of Crate Pro. Overwhelmingly the response was that companies wanted the option to be able to use the FileMaker to develop their own databases which could then be hosted alongside Crate Pro.