SIMPLIFIED, PART 1: INVOICING
October 21, 2010
Billing. Egh. If you’re a creative type, like me, the day-to-day administrative tasks sure seem less appealing than designing, planning, working with clients or, heck, re-organizing your envelopes. I get so excited when I find a new way to simplify these types of tasks. Freshbooks is a lifesaver for me. As many of you know, Quickbooks and I have a long-standing love/hate relationship. Another post on Quickbooks later. Yes, it makes my life easier – but it’s something that’s been so hard for me to wrap my head around. (Tip #1 – Hire an accountant.)
I use Freshbooks as a compliment to Quickbooks for Mac and it is constantly open in my browser. Estimates, invoices and all that jazz just get really complicated for me in Quickbooks – so Freshbooks came along and made life easier. Freshbooks organizes your clients (these can be clients who you’ve sent estimates to – or clients who you have active invoices out to) as well as your invoices and estimates. Highlights of Freshbooks:
- TIME TRACKING: It has a great feature for time-tracking. You probably think the time tracking feature isn’t necessary for you – but let me tell you… the little pop-up timer is FANTASTIC for measuring the amount of time you spend on each order, with each client, etc. It helps me make sure my pricing schedule is on track. If I know what I intend to pay myself (as a salary) for each hour worked – this timer is fantastic for helping me make sure my pricing matches my actual time spent/worked on each project. And – if you’re a designer who bills freelance projects hourly – it’s easy to use the timer to keep track and send a detailed invoice/report to those clients as well. Consider using that little timer to see exactly how long you’re spending with each client – it has drop down menus to easily allow you to switch projects quickly (and if you’re a multi-tasker, this will come in handy) and a big start/stop button as well.
- EMAIL-ABLE INVOICES: With each client you enter, you can easily enter saved items onto an invoice or estimate – and send them off via email using the Freshbooks templates. The client receives the email with a link – which takes them back to your “Freshbooks” page.
- CUSTOMIZABLE PAGE: Your page (the one you see and the one your client sees) can be customized with your logo, colors, a personalized greeting, etc) to view/print/pay their invoice or estimate. You can also customize templates to automate and personalize the messages sent to your clients.
- EASY PAYMENTS: Freshbooks allows you to hook up your PayPal account or your Merchant Services (credit card processing account) as well — making payment a breeze.
- AUTO BILLING: This feature is one of my favorites. It allows you to auto-bill/email (meaning, you dont have to do anything and it automatically does it for you on the date specified) clients when their balance is broken down into payments.
- REAL PEOPLE/CUSTOMER SERVICE: Let me just say this as well – yesterday, I had a problem with my Merchant Services not working in Freshbooks – I looked up their customer service number, prepared myself for a maze of “Press 3, Press 2, Press 5 to speak to a real human” and instead, I got “Thank you for calling Freshbooks, this is Taylor. How may I help you?” after two rings. Sold.
Honestly, Freshbooks is one of my top-ten ways to simplify my day-to-day. And no, they did not pay me to write this. I just really believe in their service. To make it even more sweet, Freshbooks also connects with a ton of other services (including Basecamp) to even further simplify your billing/client management.
They have a couple of different plans/pricing. For about a year, I used their FREE service which allows you three clients and access to just about everything else they offer. I had to keep deleting and adding clients – so I recently upgraded to the $19.99/mo package. Totally worth it – but the free service lasted me a while. Freshbooks makes life easier – and makes this busy working-woman’s life a lot more simplified when it comes to the stuff that isn’t as much fun as the alternative. Here is a little tour they offer to show you around.
Do you use Freshbooks? What other services do you use in conjunction? If not, share your tips for making billing/accounting easier and I’ll add them into the next post on this topic.