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View Full Version : Invoicing (for freelancers)



bacterozoid
08-25-2009, 04:16 PM
SURVEY LINK: http://www.esurveyspro.com/Survey.aspx?id=90cbadf5-4d4f-47d0-9cc4-f95d0c0f6bc6

I appreciate any responses to this survey - it will help me decide several things. All questions are optional

I'm not trying to start another long-listed comparison of all the freelance invoice software/web apps that are out there - there's plenty of that on the web.

What I would like to know is this: For freelancers (geared towards web or graphic design), would you prefer a web-based app that you pay for once and use as you wish? I know most of the apps out there are pay/month which can get expensive after a while.

It would offer you all the basic features you need as well as have a client portal, email notifications, PDF invoices, etc.
- You get the source code + 1 license and install it on your server
- PHP / MySQL based
- Entire thing "AJAX Enabled"
- Entire app looks great

Reason I ask - I looked and looked for one to use for my business, but only really found one that I kind of liked, but it was too buggy. I've started to write my own and think I may be able to sell it...but I need to gauge interest first.

Thoughts/Opinions?

vangogh
08-25-2009, 06:39 PM
I would rather have the pay for once app instead of the monthly. I've seen a few nice monthly apps, but won't purchase any because I don't see enough extra value for the added monthly cost.

Currently I use two programs for invoicing and billing. One is an online app that's geared for a hosting business. When my business started I did (or planned to do) more web hosting. Since I'm not currently doing the hosting thing most of the features of the program aren't needed. Fortunately the app also allows you to create one time and even recurring invoices that aren't tied to hosting.

A few months back one of my newer clients wanted better invoices than what the app could do. I gave Billings3 (a native Mac program) a try and really like it. The only thing it doesn't do, which I'd like it the ability to process credit cards. The online hosting app (ClientExec) does process credit cards so for now I use both to handle my invoicing and billing.

Ideally I'd like one offline program to handle it all. I'd rather open a program on my laptop than log into an app online, though it's not really a problem to log into a site to take care of invoicing.

What you're planning sounds good. There are advantages to the monthly subscription both for you and the end user. You naturally make more money, but even the end user benefits by not having to upgrade and continual support. I think you'll find for a one off fee you're only going to be able to offer limited support and you'll probably have to offer a subscription based support system in some way.

I hear your frustration too. I looked for a desktop program awhile ago that did everything I need and never found one. Billings comes close, but I wish it could process the money (credit cards, paypal, etc) in addition to how it handles invoices. It also does time management, though not 100% how I like. When I looked for a stand alone program to take credit cards the ones I found were far to expensive, especially given that I can already take credit cards through ClientExec. After not finding what I wanted I started thinking about writing my own program that would do what I want. It's on the backburner for now, but if time allows I may work on something.

bacterozoid
08-25-2009, 08:31 PM
Thanks for your input!

My hope is to make it as easy as possible by enabling things like recurring transactions and processing credit cards. These are things I'm looking for in an app for myself and would be delighted to find any app that could do this for a one-time cost.

Here's what I was thinking in regards to that. Processing credit cards and securing the data with SSL certificates costs money...and so does hosting. I'm thinking most people aren't interested in setting all that stuff up and so would not pay for something they have to download and install themselves.

That means it would have to be something I host myself...and therefore pay for the hosting, the processing fees, etc. (I can see why these places charge monthly).

Of course, this means in order for me to make money, I need a constant stream of new users, which I don't know is entirely practical. Now that I think about it more, I do wonder if it will work. My original idea was to sell an app that users install themselves, but it would not have the credit card processing, etc.

rezzy
08-25-2009, 09:12 PM
You could process credit cards through paypal. Since, that seems to be the globally accept system. This would alleviate the need for ssl and other verification systems.

I like freshbooks, because it automates alot of processes, you only pay once you have other a set number of clients.

vangogh
08-26-2009, 12:07 AM
If you do end up going with a pay as you go service I see no reason why you can't build your customer list. Early on you might have to spend more than you take in, but once you reach a certain number of customers you should be earning a profit month over month. As long as the app and service are good you should be able to grow your customers.

Why not start as you are. Build something for yourself. Worst case is you'll have the app you really want. Then you can let a few people try it out and even give them a free year to help get the word out.

Most people who would use the app would already have hosting and some would already have the SSL. An SSL isn't all that expensive given what it's for and if you break it down per month. You're really not talking about a lot of money for a business to spend.

bacterozoid
08-26-2009, 09:16 AM
I clearly have a lot to think about...my main concern with going pay per month is that I would then have to compete with the hundred other services out there.

I'm going to put a survey together to get some more input on the matter. If people are willing to pay per month, I see no reason why I can't go down that road (if I have something unique enough, anyways)

Last night I was set on a one-time fee...now I'm not so sure. We'll see what the survey says...

bacterozoid
08-26-2009, 10:20 AM
SURVEY LINK: Invoice Software - Survey powered by eSurveysPro.com (http://www.esurveyspro.com/Survey.aspx?id=90cbadf5-4d4f-47d0-9cc4-f95d0c0f6bc6)

I appreciate any responses to this survey - it will help me decide several things. All questions are optional

vangogh
08-26-2009, 01:20 PM
Survey done.

bacterozoid
08-26-2009, 01:25 PM
Thank you for your thoughtful responses!

nealrm
08-27-2009, 11:17 AM
Just a suggestion - instead of try to build an invoicing system online, how about building a addon for quickbooks? An invoicing systems should be tied into a accounting system to be most effective. By creating a addon to quickbooks you can you that accounting system and then create an invoicing system to meet your clients needs.

Just my 2 cents

Neal

Evan
09-03-2009, 08:41 PM
I agree with Neal, an addon to QuickBooks or Peachtree would be beneficial. While I'm no longer a freelancer, there is more to running a business than just invoicing. And it makes no sense to have to enter information twice if you did use an accounting program such as QuickBooks or Peachtree.

But these programs are not good at managing customer relationships, or dealing with recurring transactions, etc. I think an application that would allow for this, and perhaps intergrate with a website would be more resourceful than reinventing the wheel.