Ask DN: Design Agencies - how do you bill your clients?

6 years ago from , f-f-frontend @ lessonly.com

I am currently trying to evaluate different billing tools and I can't find any that make it easy to manage team members and create invoices. What tools do you like and use?

Thanks! Conlin


  • Lee Fuhr, 6 years ago

    Not sure what you mean by the "manage team members" part, as it relates to billing clients. But here's my setup for my shop, Cozy.

    I use Harvest to keep track of our project-level financials. So that's where I enter client info, then project info underneath that (largely I try to automate this with Zapier, but that's another 1000 words). Harvest is where I have our people track their time (to the aforementioned projects), and where I enter contractor and other costs against projects to track budgets, which can also be set per project (in $, hours, etc.).

    Then I create invoices in Harvest for those clients, sometimes based on hours worked, sometimes free-form for fixed invoices, and sometimes (ideally) semi-automatically with recurring invoices. (These are created, I just have to move them out of "Draft" status.)

    I recently added an extra step here, as I started working with an accounting team that convinced me to get my business working in Quickbooks Online. So the extra step here is I hit a button in Harvest to copy each invoice to QBO.

    Then InvoiceSherpa takes over. It monitors QBO's invoices, then automatically kicks off a reminder schedule (via email, SMS, phone calls, and eventually if needed, collections) that I set up. Customers receive their invoices via an IS email that has a Pay Now button. IS creates a portal in which customers can update their own info and view all past and present invoices. It can also store customers' payment info and then automatically charge it. This last bit is huge for the recurring, ongoing work I'm trying to focus us on more and more.

    Now, if this all worked as it should, it'd be great. Unfortunately InvoiceSherpa has been shitting the bed lately. But the devs have been sort of confused, so I think I may have screwed up their robots by migrating from Harvest to QBO rather than just starting new. But the devs are super responsive and I'm hopeful for the future.

    Hope that helps!

    Note: some of the links above are referral links, cuz why not?

    1 point
  • Johnny BridgesJohnny Bridges, 6 years ago

    Our usual setup:

    • Discuss deliverables with client; create a quote with full breakdown of estimated number of man-days required to deliver each deliverable; charge a fixed day rate per designer / developer needed
    • 40% deposit, 60% balance before go live
    • Legals must be signed before any work starts; contract outlines the general rules of engagement (e.g. late payment penalties, missing deadline consequences, non-acceptance of various types of liability etc)
    • Xero to manage accounts and issue invoices (also integrates with time trackers etc if needed)
    • TeamWeek to plan who's working on what, and when
    • CharlieHR for general HR stuff

    Hope this helps

    0 points
  • Tristam GochTristam Goch, 6 years ago
    • rate is based on number of days & team members needed (we have a rate per team member per day + a set amount of leeway we can give e.g. if it's someone we really want to work with)
    • either the number of days (i.e. the budget) or scope (i.e. keep going until scope is fulfilled) are fixed at the outset of the project, I prefer the former
    • deposit up front then bill at regular intervals, negotiated with the client
    • might be UK only, but we use FreeAgent to handle all the admin
    0 points
  • Caleb SylvestCaleb Sylvest, 6 years ago
    • Fixed Price Projects
    • 100% payment up front
      • if they don't go for that, 50% up front, 50% in a month
    • Quickbooks for invoicing, payroll, etc
    0 points