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I'm looking for a simple invoicing app that allows me to create while on the road with my iPhone or at home on the lap top, but also keeps either device in sync (cloud service). Closest thing I found so far is "invoice2go", but they don't seem too interested in ever finishing the OSX native side of the program to go with the mobile app.

I'm curious to hear what others are using and recommend.

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Check out "NZ Film Invoice" , a local tech here called Ants Farrell wrote it a while ago and a lot of people here use it, I don't so not sure if it is easily adaptable to suit other film environments but it's a pretty comprehensive app.

Regards,

Chris.

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I am still a big fan of PAID! from Minutiae Sofrtware. It is much more than just an invoice program and it is the only application that I know of that is specifically tailored to our industry. I think it costs about $80.00 now but it is well worth it. Also, built to be cross platform (helpful for those few who might still be using a PC).

sample invoice (screenshot) from Minutiae Software website:

post-1-0-51157800-1324565047.jpg

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My sister is a freelancer (not in film), and she swears by http://www.freshbooks.com/

They have an iPhone app etc.

I have not set it up because I spent a lot of this year on payroll and wasn't invoicing.

I use FreshBooks and absolutely love it. A few points to note about it:

  • It's a monthly cost to you (right around $30, very similar to QuickBooks).
  • Online access from anywhere, including your iPhone/iPad, however that application is an additional cost (one time payment, not monthly).

    • Bugs have also been reported from the iPhone/iPad versions, so I contacted FreshBooks and they swear there is an update coming soon to fix the issues. So if you go the FreshBooks route, use the iPhone/iPad apps at your own risk until they update.
    • [*]Great UI, clean, sharp etc, and clients just love getting professional looking invoices through email or snail mail (your choice, and FreshBooks does the snail-mailing for you, so you never touch paper). You can also assign recurring clients a password to their Invoice 'vault' so they can go back and check invoices from you forever with their own secure access.

      [*]You have the option to have a client pay you via any major CC using PayPal (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, etc.)

      [*]Tracks expenses, projects, hourly entries or flat fee items, etc. and exports all data to .CSV or Excel for your accountant and more... okay enough selling (I really like this program).

Overall, it's a fantastic program, and since I started using it my billing has gone WAY up. I mean radically. I'm still a greenhorn, but beginning to invoice my clients and run myself like a business has really paid off handsomely. After all, why would a client pay for anything that costs you money if they just assume it's profit for you? They have to see the line items - Reimbursables (batteries, etc.), Travel, etc.

I am also stunned at how many clients are using the PayPal option, particularly since there is a processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. I've been using FreshBooks for 4 months now and 80% of clients are using the major CC/PayPal route. The only ones that don't are production companies with real budgets, and of course then I am mailed or handed checks at the end of the gig. Clients paying with credit cards are of particular note to me because what it says to me is this: I probably wouldn't have been able to invoice as high without these clients having the option to pay for a service they can't currently afford.

Give them good payment options, be clear on your invoices and watch your income rise.

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" I probably wouldn't have been able to invoice as high without these clients having the option to pay for a service they can't currently afford. "

?? not certain I follow that, or would believe in it, but if it works for you...!!

:unsure:

Edited by studiomprd
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If I did a job for a client at a mutually agreed upon rate and they couldn't pay it, there isn't any method of invoicing, software or otherwise, that can correct that problem. I'm not sure what is meant by "invoice as high" in the previous post. ??

This was possibly lost in translation. So to clarify, if you have enough money to pay an invoice for $1,000 lets say via check, and save the processing fee of $30, wouldn't you choose that option? The clients are choosing to pay with credit cards more often and eat the processing fee. My assumption was simply that any person with enough cash in their account would write a check and not use the credit card option. Perhaps I was wrong, but it doesn't make sense to me. $30 is $30, why waste it?

I also didn't mean that they are telling me they can't pay it. They are not. They are simply choosing that option and paying all invoices on or ahead of time. Perhaps it's just worth it for people to eat a $30 processing fee. And maybe I was wrong, maybe they are so wealthy that $30 extra isn't a big deal and I'm the jerk for thinking they have chosen a bad option.

And what I can say that is fact, not opinion is this: Before I began invoicing properly I was having a lot of difficultly getting a remotely decent day rate. Now I am having much better luck, and I attribute that largely to clients being able to pay me easily and see the services they are paying for and the discounts they are getting, hence the statement.

Hope I didn't offend, and please don't think I'm one of the "I'm so rich." guys. I'm not, I promise. I'm a greenhorn and have a lot to learn, but was trying to offer some helpful advice to others who might be able to increase their rates by thinking a different way.

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Blue Box Invoices, which was written by Jay Kellett and his brother (and JWSoundgroup.net member) Chris Kellett runs on Filemaker Pro. I'm a long-time user and an advocate of the product. There is a mobile version of Filemaker Pro, so if you're already a Filemaker Pro user, this might be an option. As of June, 2010, Blue Box Invoices is released under the Creative Commons GNU GPL License and is free for use under that license.

Best regards,

Jim

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P.A.I.D definitely looks nice, but I doesn't look like there's a mobile app to go along with it. I'm personally wanting something that sync's between devices so that when I create an invoice on the road with my mobile device, my main computer at home is in perfect sync with what I'm doing away from it. When I get back home I don't have to manually enter in any invoices that were created while on the road... huge time saver and efficient way of doing things IMO.

I checked with the Invoice2go people recently, and looks like they're going to have their OSX native software launch in Q1 of 2012, which is great. This has an annual fee for the desktop version and for their Cloud2Go service for the sync....I'll have to do some napkin math to see if it's all worth the added expense though.

@Jim, thanks! I like File Maker Pro (need to get better at using it though). I'll look into this further, since I actually run these programs already.

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"P.A.I.D definitely looks nice, but I doesn't look like there's a mobile app to go along with it. I'm personally wanting something that sync's between devices so that when I create an invoice on the road with my mobile device, my main computer at home is in perfect sync with what I'm doing away from it."

I don't think you will find the sort of automatic syncing across all your devices that you want to have unless you go with a web-based service (which you will have to pay for, possibly considerably more than you would pay for stand-alone software application). It is quite possible that you could achieve some degree of syncing and integration using PAID! and FileMaker GO (which is a $20.00 app for mobile devices providing some degree of support for desktop installations of FileMaker Pro). Also, a web based solution could be an invoice form that you create with Google Docs and this would not cost you anything. I'm sure you will figure something out and it may be that true synchronization may not be so important. If there is a mobile app that does invoices most probably you could do your invoices on your mobile device and then just email them to your client and to yourself --- you would then have a copy for your records when you get back off the road.

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Another thing you might look into is Bento. Bento is sort of like FileMaker Pro Lite and is capable of doing a really nice Invoice form. Bento has a mobile app as well (iPhone and iPad, I don't know about others) and there may be some syncing routines between the two.

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Video guys have problems getting paid a lot esp. by HSI. here a response

I always take credit cards to get paid by HIS at all. It's usually a personal one of the producer, sometimes a card from a company accountant, never a “Company” card. With a credit card you need a payment authorization signed otherwise they can cancel the payment easily. Never accept credit cards from overseas.

Otherwise 120 days are not unusual to wait for a check a lot of places, despite phone calls. Sometimes its 120 years! JOKE. HSI is probably the worst payer short of the Nigerians right now. Most companies feel as if they are 10 days away from bankruptcy, but HSI makes it a business model. (And YES there are some good ones! and I roll out the red carpet for them, we all do.)

Now that it's acceptable to be a Bankster thief of billions, all the little guys try to imitate.

I have not heard of people who took any prod. Companies to small claims court lately, but that is the next step. It is of course a ruse to get you to give them a deep discount of 20% for a check at the end of the job, trouble is they often run out of checks and are very sorry.

Their handling of insurance is terrible for us - usually they use the Adverting agencies policy, which is a mess to deal with. Don't accept insurance policies from unknown or overseas companies. Cash in advance is no good if there is no policy. Policies have 5000$ deductibles now. Count on a small claims court ruling unless you have that signed contract.

If it does not feel right it is not right. If they rely on favors from you too much something else is wrong too. Talk to others on the crew (really!!!) about all this. It is always appreciated. Hollyweird thrives on exploiting naiveté - we all have stories.

With all these cautions I have had only good experiences the last few years with larger L+D claims which are usual on longer feature jobs.

I don't know how many times I have said it guys:

YOU GOT TO GET A CONTRACT SIGNED BEFORE THE SHOOT. ( Avis does, Herz does and cars are cheap).

There are samples on the Files portion of this board. HSI always signs for me. Other companies are reticent some offended, the STUDIOS always rewrite your contract to make it worthless. Small claims judges LOVE contracts, it allows them not to think. Canadian rental houses will not sign their own contracts, what’s that all about?

Do not use Paypal to get money. When you pay with Paypal always make them take the money out of your credit card account not the bank directly.

good luck and good night.

wolf [PS we have Pix240s for rent]

To protect against bad AC this works better than anything else I know of http://surgex.com/

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I don't know how many times I have said it guys:

...

YOU GOT TO GET A CONTRACT SIGNED BEFORE THE SHOOT. ( Avis does, Herz does and cars are cheap).

...

Do not use Paypal to get money. When you pay with Paypal always make them take the money out of your credit card account not the bank directly.

...

Thanks for this input. I do have a couple of questions regarding your post:

  1. If I have them sign a contract that states my payment terms, why not use PayPal? Any refusal to pay wouldn't hold up in court, would it (broad question, I know we're not lawyers)?
  2. If other businesses (thousands) are using PayPal to accept payments, is your instruction not to accept it specifically because we work in a crooked industry?
  3. If I still want to use PayPal, why can't I just have then sign a CC Authorization form, to overrule any refusal to pay or attempt to reverse payment? And why is this more powerful than a contract?
  4. I am considering becoming an LLC in first quarter 2012 (I know that's an entirely different post, but for this specific purpose...) and when I do, I will be able to accept all major credit cards using a SquareUp account (again, like thousands of other businesses do). Their fees and process is almost the exact same as PayPal, except that they allow me to accept payment in person and have people sign using iPad/iPhone, etc. Again, credit cards would be accepted when possible under a very similar scenario to PayPal, except that this time I would be a LLC accepting the payment, not Alex the person. How are so many other businesses not having a problem with this, yet you suggest not accepting payments with PayPal?

Credit card payments have become a convenient and fast way of accepting payment for me, and I would like to preserve this method of accepting payment, however, I also don't want to be burned, and I do appreciate any input from industry veterans like you. I am also well aware that if someone can burn you, they will, and that the best precautions I can make are going to be worth my time.

I am also particular with my clients in my opinion. If I ask for a deposit (always a deposit of 20% of the job if it's longer than a 1-day shoot, and always at minimum 72 hours before the shoot day, not the call time), or if something sounds fishy, or if they low-ball my day rate and won't budge, or won't agree to OT after a certain amount of hours, I just pass on the gig. I don't need clients that are going to be problematic, and if they can't even afford to negotiate, how are they going to afford to pay me?

Actually, thinking about this is clarifying my earlier post, even for me... Perhaps it's that I'm being picky enough about who I work with that I'm not yet having problems being paid. Also every bit of my work is word of mouth. I don't advertise. This month I had to turn away projects as I was booked solid. Again, I'm still a rookie, so I'm not boasting, I'm just trying to avoid being burned, and sharing some information that might be helpful to all those curious about my situation so they might shed some light on it.

But on some level, I feel like with 1.) a contract before the shoot stating my payment terms signed by production, 2.) a deposit for all shoots longer than 1 day and now 3.) my possibly adding a credit card authorization slip into the mix, what else am I (read: are we) supposed to do? I feel like on some level, this is about individual people deciding to burn you or not, and calling your bluff on taking them to small claims court. I just don't know what other precautions can be made at my level.

Again, I don't want to be burned, so please let me know if you still think I'm making a mistake by accepting credit card payments through PayPal.

Thanks for your time.

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" clients are choosing to pay with credit cards more often and eat the processing fee. "

HUH?? what processing fee are the clients "eating" ??

" becoming an LLC in first quarter 2012 ... and when I do, I will be able to accept all major credit cards "

you do not need to become an LLC or incorporate to accept CC's, there are lots of different ways you may set up CC payment, even as an individual, or sole prop.

The CC fees, like the PayPal fees are deducted from the amount the payee receives from the transaction, so it is the payee that must eat any processing fee. If these fees -the discount the payee accepts-- are 3% (+/-), that puts it in line with the old "2/10, net 30" prompt pay discount that was in common in business use when I was in school... Back then a business with good credit could borrow from a bank (revolving credit) for about 8% (annual), so borrowing at that annual rate to save 2% for a (30 day*) short term made great sense then, and still does.

*that's 24% annual rate

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  • 2 years later...

I've been using Harvest, which is a paid web-based service primarily geared toward folks who need to track hours.  They have a really nice invoicing system and there's an app which makes keeping track of expenses very simple.  There are probably better products out there, and I've tried trials on a few, but I find Harvest particularly easy to use and quite flexible.  

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