Many Web developers work as freelance contractors, giving them control over the projects they take on, and the hours they work. This also means taking on the responsibility of invoicing clients, and making sure they have the ability to pay in a way that is fast and convenient for them.
There are hundreds of excellent solutions out there, many of which are made with Web developers and freelancers in mind. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to pay a huge amount of money to get invoices right.
In this article, we will go over some popular solutions being used by freelancers and Web developers to not only provide their users with a professional invoice, but to do so inexpensively.
FreshBooks is the service I have personally used for invoicing and income management for years. It’s an excellent service that is free to use for one client (you can remove old clients to make room for new ones) and gives you a remarkable set of features that enables you to do more than just send an invoice.
FreshBooks tracks payments, giving you a quick, at-a-glance look at which clients have paid, which have not, and what the average time between invoicing and payment is for each client.
Clients receive invoices in a number of ways. They can be emailed to them, printed and mailed at a low price, and can make payments through mail, PayPal, and FreshBooks’ new in-house payment system.
If you track expenses as part of your business, FreshBooks handles this, too. It automatically pulls any payment processing fees in and adds them to an expense report, and you can freely add any items you need to have put on the books come tax time.
You can see when your client has viewed your invoice, and if they make payments electronically, they’re automatically reported to FreshBooks.
Bill hourly? You can track your time through FreshBooks directly, and generate an invoice at the end of your billing period by clicking a single button.
You can even bring on staff and handle their billing and time tracking, individually. This is excellent if you bring in a designer, or additional developers to help with a specific project.
FreshBooks starts free, with paid plans for additional clients and personalized branding starting at $19.95/month. If you have a lot of clients and a handful of staff members, the biggest plan comes in at $39.95/month.
Zoho Invoice is built around the concept of simplicity. Its Forever Free plan gives you the ability to manage up to five clients with a single user, and for $15/month you can manage a whopping 500 customers with up to three users.
Zoho Invoice handles invoices, expenses, time tracking, sending clients detailed estimates, contacts, and reporting. When compared to FreshBooks, the two services are very similar in terms of features.
Zoho’s user interface is modern, clean, and simple. It uses whitespace very well and is easy to follow.
Servicejoy is another great option for freelancers and other small business owners.
It’s Free Forever plan gives you the ability to manage up to five active clients, a single user, and 0.5GB of file storage. If you need more clients or local storage, paid plans start at $20/month and go up to $30/month for unlimited active clients.
Unlike the other plans listed here, if you want to add users to your account, you will need to cough up $5 for each additional user.
Service joy has a 45-day free trial giving you access to the full service for 45 days, at which time you will need to choose between the Free Forever plan and the two available paid plans.
WORKetc is set up as more than an invoicing software as a service. Its goal is to provide a total business management service to users, handling everything from CRM (customer relationship management) to billing, help desk, and more.
This is a solution that would be optimal for a Web Development business that has multiple employees and projects running simultaneously.
It’s a powerhouse that would be a bit much for the freelancer, but would be a huge time saver for the small business by putting your billing, support tickets, and sales resources in one place.
Paid plans start at $78/month for two users, with 3GB of online storage and up to 2,000 contacts. If you have a team, you can find larger plans at between $195 and $395 per month with three included users and the option to add additional users for $49-59/month each.
Want an inexpensive solution that works? How does Free sound? Wave is a free, ad-supported accounting tool made for small businesses that gives you the ability to manage accounting, invoicing, payments, payroll, and receipts from one family of apps.
Wave pulls data from sources like PayPal, Excel, banks, and more to keep your accounting updated automatically.
Invoices can be paid with credit cards with a standard rate of $0.30 + 2.9%.
Its payroll feature does come with a cost. If you have one employee, the charge is $9/month with the fee going up to $65/month for 30 employees. This includes generation of tax forms, reports, and vacation tracking. You can even run multiple separate businesses at once with a single plan.
Invoicing doesn’t have to be difficult. You can do it from a system as simple as a Word document, or as complex as a complete account solution. When it comes to online services, there are hundreds to choose from.
Do your research, and take advantage of free trials. You just might find that running your Web development business is easier than you think.