FreshBooks: Online Invoicing and Time-Tracking Service

September
1
2009

Toronto-based online invoice and time-tracking service, FreshBooks, is probably the best Canadian export since Canadarm.

In the world of freelance, there are a handful of tools that are nearly universally indispensable. Besides those items that are specific to the trade within which one works, some tools just help with the everyday trappings of running a one-man(or woman)-show, no matter what the discipline.

Developing quotes or bidding on jobs, billing clients, and keeping up with late payments are all part of business. It’s not the fun or glamorous part of business, but nevertheless, it’s certainly necessary. Lucky for us self-employed types, there’s FreshBooks!

Here are just a handful of reasons to love it and sign up today for their free trial account:

  • Manage all your time-tracking, and account management for up to 3 clients
  • Send an unlimited number of estimates and invoices (even recurring invoices)
  • Use an unlimited number of contractors who can invoice you through your freshbooks account
  • Brand your invoices, and the client login page with your own logo and colours
  • Import and export your account information
  • No contracts: all accounts, including the paid ones, are month-to-month

Free…really, really, FREE!

All these reasons are made better by the fact that unlike most such web-based applications, FreshBooks is not free for a limited time.¬† They really are committed to growing with you.¬† Your free trial benefits last as long as you have three clients or less.¬† You only become obligated to opt-in for a paid plan once you take on that fourth client.¬† That’s fantastic news for upstarts who might be squeamish about shelling out dollars they don’t have to spare in the early goings.¬† By starting this way, you can invoice a few clients and start some cash-flow before upgrading to a paid account.

Once you do start paying, you begin experiencing the real joy of FreshBooks.¬† It’s more than just removing the branding from your emails to your clients.¬† The most modest account available comes at a cost of only $19 per month, and offers the functionality to manage up to 25 clients.¬† Don’t bother grabbing your calculator, I’ve already figured it out for you…it’s only $0.76 per client at the top end of the “Shuttle Bus” account.¬† Beyond that account, your monthly cost per client gets better and better, and as good as $0.03 a month per client under the “Time Machine” account, allowing up to 5000 clients for just $149 every month.

Good posture will get you paid

Once you go through the simple setup of client accounts, invoicing them for pieces of work is every bit as quick and easy.¬† Beyond that, if you have recurring billing for some of the folks you deal with, you just have to “set it and forget it”.

Even the burning problem of unpaid bills can be fully automated so that reminders are automatically sent at intervals that you set.  Imagine how wonderful it is not to have to directly chase clients for money.

There’s really no need to keep track of any invoicing once everything is setup in your account unless someone gets so delinquent that the three-reminder system still hasn’t yielded payment.

Partnerships, Add-Ons, and Widgets…OH MY!

FreshBooks has even partnered with several other online application providers to boost the juice in their already powerful system.  You may already be using some of these other services, and if not, I would urge you to check them out too.

Are you a fan of FreshBooks, and has it positively impacted your business?
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