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Home Business Product Review: FreshBooks

by Miranda Marquit

As a home business owner, it helps to have an invoicing tool that you can rely on. One of the tools that I have found ideal for my freelancing business is FreshBooks. It’s easy to use, feature-rich, and comes with a very reasonable price point.

I switched to FreshBooks after years of using the invoice option through PayPal. PayPal works fine for invoicing, but it can get pricey. I became discouraged by the fact that I was paying a percentage of each transaction to PayPal. The fees were eating up more than $2,000 a year. I had been in contact with the people at FreshBooks for a couple of years, and they told me that they have an arrangement with PayPal: A flat 50-cent fee per transaction.

I decided to try out FreshBooks, and it has been working really well for me for months. Plus, even after I pay the cost of FreshBooks, I am saving more than $1,500 a year on fees.

FreshBooks Features

FreshBooks is very feature rich, and it can be integrated with a number of other accounting and expense apps. FreshBooks is compatible with Outright, Xero, and QuickBooks. You can use it with Salesforce DataSynch, as well as Shoeboxed and Expensify. If you are using time tracking apps for Android, iOS, or Blackberry, those can be integrated with FreshBooks. You can also download the FreshBooks App from the iTunes store if you want to manage your accounts on the go.

It’s possible, with certain plans, to add team members to access your FreshBooks account, making it easier to delegate some of your tasks. You can set up timesheets and bill for time spent, as well as create and answer support tickets for your business. Transactions can be completed with the help of PayPal (of course), iTransact, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, and others.

FreshBooks Dashboard

The user interface is simple and intuitive. You can easily see which invoices are outstanding, and which have been paid. You can also quickly see which invoices are overdue — and by how long. Clients can use the “pay online” option on their invoices to be taken to your preferred payment method. The main downside is that the FreshBooks PayPal option doesn’t support international transactions very well. I’ve had to keep billing my Israeli and Canadian clients directly through PayPal.

You can send invoices via email or snail mail. You can print out the invoices and mail them yourself, or you can have FreshBooks take care of it for you. You do have to buy stamps/envelopes, but it’s easier than going to the post office. You can also edit invoices easily, or have dialogue about disputed invoices through FreshBooks.

FreshBooks reportsRegular reports can help you break down your tasks, billing, and revenue. You can see recurring revenue, as well as divide up your revenue reports by staff members, to easily see which are hitting sales goals, and which need to improve. Everything is presented cleanly, so you can see exactly how matters stand. You can learn more on their feature page.

FreshBooks Pricing

There are four different plans with FreshBooks:

  1. Free: There is a free 30-day trial of FreshBooks. After that, you can keep with the free account, but you can only manage three clients at once, but send unlimited invoices. Additionally, your invoices will carry a FreshBooks logo.
  2. Seedling: For $19.95 per month, you can send unlimited invoices to 25 clients. At this level, the FreshBooks logo is dropped off your invoices.
  3. Evergreen: This is the package I use, and it comes with a discount if you pay for an entire year at once. Otherwise, the cost is $29.95 per month. You have unlimited clients and unlimited invoices.
  4. Mighty Oak: You pay $39.95 per month, and it comes with the ability to add one staff member to the account and manage his or her permissions. Additional staff members cost $10 a month each. There are additional team management tools at this level.

Overall, FreshBooks is a great tool for the small business owner. It’s been great for my business, and offers an easy way to send professional invoices, as well as track payment.


Published or updated November 2, 2012.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley

If you had to choose between this and QuickBooks, what would you go with?

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2 Miranda

I understand that Quickbooks is rather clunky with a steep learning curve. I like using Freshbooks for my invoicing, and I use Moneydance as my personal finance software, and keep track of my business transactions.

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