When you're one person running a bustling business, efficiency and organization are the name of the game. That's why Harvest, a fantastic tool for estimates, invoices and tracking time, is the hub and home page of my web design firm. Harvest is a software-as-a-service tool that allows me to create professional estimates and invoices -- and track my time on projects I've signed.
Invoices and Estimates
It wasn't long ago that I had to crack open InDesign every time I wanted to generate a PDF estimate or invoice -- it was tedious and added a ton of time to my administrative overhead, which meant it took longer for me to sign a project and I had less time in my day for billable work. Like EchoSign for contracts, Harvest takes all the pain out of estimates and invoices, and allows me to present myself professionally in the time it takes to fill out a quick form.
Once you create your invoice (customized with your logo on a slick template), it's one more click to shoot it off to your client as a PDF wrapped in a professional and personalized e-mail. You can also hook your invoices directly to your PayPal account, allowing for easy online payment and further reducing the time you need to spend on getting paid.
If you're into tracking your time -- which is a great way to make sure your projects stay on budget and your business stays efficient -- there's no better way than with Harvest's desktop widget. Available for both Mac and PC, the widget allows you to quickly log time for all your projects without booting up your browser or any additional software. Check in to the Harvest site for time reports and budget-to-reality comparisons to make sure you're hitting your target hourly rates for each project.
Harvest does an excellent job of integrating these three tools, giving me a single command center from which to track the financial status of my business. It also hooks into Basecamp, Highrise and (for higher-level accounts) QuickBooks, and the Solo account will set you back just $12 a month. It can get a bit expensive if you need a lot of active users, but it's a great addition to any small business.
- Harvest -- Convenient time tracking, professional estimates and invoices