The Blog

06/19/17

Why You Should Be Using Bonsai For Contracts, Invoices, and Project Management

One of the things I struggled with for a long time was keeping track of all active projects, sending invoices on time, and being consistent with contracts. There would be times where a client would take a while to reply to me, and I would half forget the details of what we were working on! On top of that I had to manually create and send invoices, as well as contracts. This meant I had to remind myself of how much a person was paying me every time I created an invoice. That got painful when I was doing monthly payment plans.

Then I discovered Bonsai. Here’s why you should be using it too.

Why You Should Be Using Bonsai for Contracts, Invoices, and Project Management

01 Bonsai helps you manage projects

I quickly found that keeping track of clients and what I’m working on with them all in my head doesn’t work. What I love about Bonsai is that you can create projects, and include your client’s name and what you’re working on. You can set a time table for the project, and filter all your projects by ones that are completed, incomplete, or archived. That way when you look at your projects, you will see only those that are currently active. This really helps you stay organized and on track with who you’re working with!

In addition, you don’t have to create or send contracts or invoices to create a project. This is helpful for situations where someone might want to pay by check but you still need to keep track of the project.

02 Bonsai gives you a basic contract which you can then customize

You can choose what type of work you do, and Bonsai will give you a contract that has already been drawn up by lawyers to fit your occupation. You can then either customize all the details of the contract (rewording things or removing sections), or you can simply fill in the basic details to complete the contract. This is so nice, especially when you need to create contracts on a regular basis! What’s more is that your clients can view and sign the contract through Bonsai. You don’t have to worry about finding a site that will allow your clients to sign documents.

I remember when I would create pdf contracts and then use a free site to send them to clients and have them sign. It worked fine, but everything was all over the place. I’d create a pdf in Photoshop, then upload it to the site, and never use that site again until I had to send another contract. There was no central location for all these actions.

On top of generation legally binding contracts for you, Bonsai’s system for inputting your clients’ information is simple and beautiful. It isn’t painful or hard to do! As a designer who loves simplicity and good design, this makes the whole business side of things so much better!

03 Bonsai automatically generates invoices from contracts

What is probably my favorite thing about Bonsai is how invoices are automatically created and sent from your contracts. When you fill in the details for your contract, you’ll decide how you want to be paid (per month, a flat rate before the project, etc.), and the total amount the client is paying you. Once the client signs the contract their invoices will be created and send automatically! You’ll be alerted before they’re sent (and can modify them if needed) but other than that you don’t have to do anything.

This is been AMAZING. I used to struggle so much with remembering to send invoices – even if I set reminders in my calendar – but now I don’t have to think about it at all! In addition to that, if you choose to allow it clients can pay using either a card or PayPal. Having this flexibility has been so nice! I’m not limited to just one form of payment.

Bonsai can revolutionize the freelancer’s contracting, invoicing, and management system.
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04 Bonsai helps you get paid faster than any other invoicing system

If your client doesn’t pay their bill by the due date, they will be charged interest for each month they don’t pay. You can decide how much this will be. What’s wonderful is that it acts as a safety net for you! They will be obligated to pay more if they delay, which makes it that much more likely that they will pay on time. You can also send email reminders for clients who might have forgotten that their bill is due.

I’ve been paid faster with Bonsai than I have with any other system, and I firmly believe it’s because of the payment flexibility, the enforced due dates, and reminder emails! Best of all, it requires minimal effort from me, which is wonderful as the business side of things can be harder for me.

05 Bonsai allows you to track your time

One of the most important features is the ability to create timesheets. I normally charge a flat rate for my work, but there are often times where I do something small and end up charging by the hour. It’s wonderful to be able to track my time in Bonsai, and then create invoices from all those timesheets. Plus I don’t have to do any math when it comes to adding hours up! That’s taken care of and rounded nicely.

Bonsai was free initially, but as they’ve expanded they’ve adopted a new pricing structure. All the features I’ve mentioned cost $19/month, while contracts and proposals cost $9/month, and invoicing and time tracking cost $9/month. Of all the programs I pay for in my business, this is top of the list in importance and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that everyone purchase a full subscription! It’s more than worth it!

(I am not affiliated with Bonsai and am not being paid for this article.)

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