There are a number of invoicing tools out there. I happen to enjoy using FreshBooks.
For years, I just used PayPal to invoice my home business clients. It was simple, and most of my payments come via PayPal anyway. However, it soon became obvious that the fees were draining my wealth. PayPal charges fees of 2.3% of your business transactions. I was literally wasting thousands of dollars paying fees to PayPal.
I had been in contact with the folks at FreshBooks for some time, and I decided to give the service a try on my own. And so far I love it. The major selling point for me is the fact that FreshBooks allows your clients to decide that they will pay using PayPal. But if they pay with PayPal through FreshBooks, there is a flat fee of 50 cents, rather than a percentage. Of course, the transaction needs to be an eCheck, taking a few days to clear, but with proper planning that's not such a big deal — especially since it's saving me so much money each year.
FreshBooks Pricing and Features
There are four packages offered through FreshBooks:
- Free: You can manage three clients.
- Seedling: For $19.95 per month, you can manage 25 clients, and the emails to them are not branded with FreshBooks.
- Evergreen: This is the package I'm using, for $29.95 per month. I paid for an entire year at once (tax deductible), and got a discount on the total price. This plan allows you to manage unlimited clients and provides unbranded emails.
- Mighty Oak: You get the same perks as the Evergreen plan, but with the added bonus of having one staff member access your account (you'll pay $10/month for staff beyond that), plus helpful tools including team expense reporting, project managers, and team timesheets. This package costs $39.95 per month.
Since I'm running a pretty basic and simple?freelance business, I don't need an extra staff member to access my account, and I don't need team timesheets. But I can see how such things would be desirable for other business owners. To me, the price seems very reasonable for what you get.
When you use FreshBooks, you can track who has paid — and who hasn't. You see the amount outstanding, as well as which clients have paid, which payments are in progress, and which clients have only looked at the invoice you've sent. It's also very easy to edit an invoice and re-send it if you have made a mistake. FreshBooks gives you the option of sending the invoice via email, or even with the help of snail mail. The invoices are very easy to see access, and it's easy to see the status of each. You can also keep track of expenses, and choose from a variety of add-ons, depending on the accounting needs of your home business.
You can save client information, and invoice information, so it makes it easy to move forward each month. The main drawback that I see is that some of my clients, who don't pay in US dollars, or don't have US PayPal accounts, can't pay through the PayPal feature with FreshBooks. So, I continue to invoice those clients through PayPal. But even with those few clients requiring the higher fees, and even with what I've paid for a year of service, I'm still saving close to $2,000 in fees. That's not something to sneeze at.
I've enjoyed using Freshbooks. It's been easy, and convenient. Plus, I like the reasonable price point and the fact that it's a service that is saving me money. It's frustrating to see your income trickle away because of the fees you pay. With the help of FreshBooks, everything is taken care of, and I feel better about the whole thing.
What do you use to invoice for your home or small business?