Freshbooks – Invoicing made (almost) painless.

Post Published on January 17, 2011.
Last Updated on November 29, 2017 by davemackey.

Image representing Freshbooks
Image via CrunchBase

[I no longer use Freshbooks, I now use Wave Accounting.]

For years I’ve done side work relating to my profession (Information Technologies) – systems design / implementation / support and web design / development / hosting. For years I’ve gotten the work done, but not always the billing. I hate billing. I hate invoices. I hate paperwork.

When I found Freshbooks – I thought I’d found a little bit of heaven…and I still think I have.

Freshbooks is free for a very simple, base account that lets you manage up to three clients, track time invested (for a single person), and create and send/email invoices. It works great! It makes recording my time easy, creating invoices easier, and mailing them out a cinch (whether postal or email!). You really couldn’t ask for much more…

Now, I’ve usually kept a pretty small client based and also worked solo by and large…but lately I’ve been getting a lot of leads…and I can see I’m going to either have to start turning down clients or start scaling out. So what do I do?…I’d like to upgrade my Freshbooks account, but the cost is a bit steep – $20/mo. for the first tier “seedling.”

Granted, this $20/mo. gets you basically the whole kit and kaboodle. You can add slightly expanded features by moving up to “evergreen” ($30/mo.) and get it all for $40/mo. with “mighty oak” – but for 90% of folks, I think seedling is going to cover it…

But, moving from $0/mo. to $20/mo. is a pretty big jump. I’d like to suggest that Freshbooks create an intermediary level between free and seedling. Yeah, yeah, it ruins the whole naming scheme – maybe they could call it: “runt seedling”. But naming apart, here is what I’d like to see in a $10/mo. plan:

Plan:“Runt”“Seedling”
# of Clients1025
# of invoices you can sendUnlimitedUnlimited
# of contractors that can track time and invoice you25Unlimited
Accept Online PaymentsXX
Invoice in multiple currencies and languagesX
Send snail mail invoices by postXX
Customer SupportX
Timesheets, Document Sharing, Support TicketingXX
Firewall protection, SSL encryption, data backupsXX
Your logo on invoicesXX
Data import/exportXX
Automatic Scheduled Invoice CreationX
Unbranded EmailsX

If I had to I’d even be willing to give up logos on invoices, to be charged per instance for data imports/exports, to not be able to send snail mail invoices, and to not be able to accept online payments. When it comes down to it – the number of clients and the number of contractors are what really matters to me. I think something that stripped down might be “Sickly Seedling” (underneath runt) for $5 or $6/mo.

I wonder how many folks would convert to paying accounts at these sort of levels? It seems to me that while a select few might downgrade from the $20/mo. level, most would grab a $10/mo. account and as business expanded, continue to hop their way up the chain.

Alternatively – if FreshBooks doesn’t open up any lower tiers, does anyone have competitive solutions they’d recommend that offer free/lower prices?

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