Back a number of months ago I started using this online invoicing and time tracking program from a company in Toronto, Canada called FreshBooks.
As a new user they offer you the use of the program for FREE and the only limitation on the free account is that it is limited to 3 clients.
This is perfect for me, as a freelance web designer, as I can now track the time I spend on each client and their project and the program automatically inserts that time into an invoice for the client.
You can choose to have the invoice emailed to the client or have it sent via snail mail. It is very customizable for each client, project, billing rate and you can even add your logos to the online program (as I have) to let your client log-in and view their invoices online in a custom site that you can design to have it look like it is your own online invoicing application.
It is pretty easy to set up, but if you want to customize the look it might take you a few hours to fully set up the site. The help section is easy to use and does actually help.
You can have it send late notices and create reports. It is a serious time saving application for the freelance professional.
Since I now have more clients I happily needed more than the 3 free clients and upgraded to the $14/month plan, which lets me control up to 25 clients at a time, all with unlimited number of invoices you can send, full customer support (M-F 9-6 EST), data backups, unbranded emails and more.
There also is a very cool Mac OS X widget that allows me to have the small widget open in Dashboard and log time for any client and project I want, then submit those hours to the online program, all without having to be logged into the online web site of FreshBooks. And you can start and stop this timer many times before submitting the hours worked.
I urge you to go to FreshBooks and test drive the program yourself. Yes, my links to it are affiliate links (I try to be up front about this), but this only costs them a portion of the signup cost (nothing if you are just trying out the free version).
I stumbled across a discount of 30% for the service by signing up for a membership at a freelance help site called Freelancer’s Union. They have health insurance, a job board, events, freelancing advocacy and a directory of freelancers. You should join this just for these benefits alone. The discounts are a bonus to membership. So if you want to get 30% off any level of service you buy with this great freelancing invoicing and time tracking tool, go there and sign up first.
Note: I did wind up having to call to get them to give me a code to get the 30% off, but the customer service people at FreshBooks were so nice and helpful, it only took a couple of minutes for me to save about $50 a year off the service.
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