Just curious… I’m really really digging Freshbooks right now and all that they have to offer. But one sticking point to the whole "email the estimate to the customer" thing so they can approve it, there’s not a way to pair a basic contract with it.
Has anyone else found this to be true? My immediate thought was to export the estimate in PDF format, merge it with a contract copy in PDF format, then send the pair to the customer. If the client accepts, I’d just manually "accept" in the manager within Freshbooks.
Has anyone else thought of a better way?
Yeah I also keep them separate from the bill, but I’m mostly referring to the proposal piece of it. Maybe I’m just going a bit overboard with the proposal end of it… maybe I should just reformat my contract to allow some space for a little "estimate" area and then only handle billing out of freshbooks.
I wanted to update this in case anyone was every deciding between the two companies to keep track of invoicing, or just doing it yourself.
1. Freshbooks – They DO allow a field called "Terms" on any of the estimates and invoices. So basically you could create a terms and conditions for both Estimates and then also for Invoices. The client then would have to click the Accept button, which would basically be accepting all terms and conditions that went along with the estimate.
What I like about this approach is that it’s quick, simple and does at least carry the accept/reject relationship that would come along with a contract (instead of just winging with verbal understandings). What I don’t like about it is that it lacks the weight of an actual signature on some paper.
I’m curious and plan to find out how much clout accepting an estimate with terms and conditions holds in a legal sense.
What I would prefer is if Freshbooks added an option to upload any number of PDF contracts/terms/conditions that you could include with each estimate and invoice, but we have what we have.
Freshbooks, being the lowest package at $19.95, is more expensive, but you definitely get more bang for your buck if you professional snail mail, recurring billing, estimates and time tracking all rolled into one.
2. Kind of a hybrid – Curdbee at $5 per month will give you an organized way to create cost sheets, then convert them to PDF and include them with another document and then sending that to the client. I’m not seeing any way for the client to accept or decline electronically (unless the Estimates module contains it and I have not seen it in action), so you kind of lose that functionality by going with the stand alone $5 monthly.
Curdbee DOES have recurring billing modules and an estimates module. But picking up both of these clocks you at $15 a month, I think Freshbooks overall has more features for just $5 more (especially with the ability to add terms to estimates).
3. Kick it old school – you have an estimate cost sheet you have created on your own, which you then pair with a contract and email a PDF package to your client, get the jimmy hisslehassles on the dotted line and file it in your records and mark it on whatever 3rd party billing software that tastes good at the time.
I think the advantage of this is that it is generally free. You would have to make sure you have some kind of fax receiving capability, but beyond that you spend less dough and do a little more work. You also get documents that look EXACTLY the way you want them.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful for anyone looking into the subject :)
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