The number one problem I have been hearing about from clients this year is not a lack of leads. No, leads have been strong across the U.S. The problem has been a lack of good people. I have actually been asked if I can provide recruiting services, not marketing! If you do need help finding good help, I would recommend contacting my friends at Summit Services. They provide headhunting services for estimators, office staff and, I believe, help with hiring field employees too. Read More
I was recently asked if I had written an article comparing Salesforce to Base CRM. The contractor had also tried Pipeline Deals as a CRM. This got me thinking that I needed to write a blog about the CRMs I personally use the most and the differences between the three. I hope you will find this post helpful if you are in search for a CRM. Read More
The Referral Mastermind: Brian Buffini
Ask just about any realtor in the country if he or she has heard of Brian Buffini and you will hear a resounding YES. Brian came to the U.S. from Ireland in his early twenties to live the American dream. He became a real estate agent in San Diego. Brian quickly became a very successful and highly recognized agent not only in San Diego but also across the U.S. for his unique way of growing his business by referrals. Read More
This has been one of the busiest summer seasons for most of my painting and remodeling clients in over 5 years. That is a great thing, to be busy, right? The only problem with being busy is that the marketing plan begins to become a thing of the past. Planning for the fall and winter is also the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. Yet, July and August are perhaps the two best months to really begin thinking and planning for the slower seasons. You know they are coming. It happens every year. Read More
Blogs Are Not Dead
The majority of the contractor websites I see today have a blog. Many of these blogs are not active. I’ll see just a few post for awhile and then nothing for months. I understand this problem as it is very difficult to keep up on a blog. Typically a business owner is asking himself things like: Read More
Marketing, Advertising & Branding
Three words, or terminologies, are kicked around often in the mind of many small business owners when it comes to growing one’s business: marketing, advertising & branding. Many times branding and advertising are combined into the one word, “marketing.” So when one thinks of branding, he is thinking “marketing.” Or another might say, “I need to do some advertising”, he typically is thinking, “I need to market my business”. These important terminologies are actually quite different from each other and yet play a significant role in working together. Read More
What Is Google+
Google+ can be described as simple as a social network like Facebook but it does quite a bit more. It allows users to create communities with similar users, hangouts (online conferences / phone calls), private or public posts or shares and more. Perhaps most significantly, Google+ provides authorship or authority to content on the web. What I mean is this, you can connect your blog post to your Google+ account, making you the author of your content across the web. Here is an example of how that content might look on the web when a person has verified his/her authorship on Google+. Read More
During the past several months, the Base CRM development team has been very busy providing many valuable updates to their simple yet effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) cloud software. I have been using Base for the past couple of years for my own business. After the last couple of big updates, it has become an even better tool for my company. I use it daily, and if you are still looking for a great CRM, you should give it a try yourself. It is built for small and medium size businesses. Read More
Yelp Shows Up Great on Search Results
Yelp is one of the fastest growing and highest ranking directories on the web. Do a quick search, such as “painters in Boston” and chances are you will see Yelp results towards the top (picture below: #2 spot).
Because of the clout Yelp has with search engines and the number of reviews, Yelp is far reaching, even to the mobile apps such as Apple Map and Siri results. Try using Siri on your iPhone to look for a local restaurant. It will typically show you Yelp reviews.
This all sounds good. So a construction business should definitely be on Yelp, right? Read More
I am just wrapping up my 5th year in business as I write this blog (April 2009 is when I incorporated). When I opened my doors for business I knew I needed two programs to help get me going and not cost a lot of money. I turned to Google Apps for Business to run my emails, contacts and calendars. I then needed a program that would send estimates, invoices and track my business expenses. I landed on Freshbooks. My web designer, David Guy, was using it at the time and loved it. So the decision was easy and it is where I plan to stay as I start my 6th year in business.
Can A Contractor Use Freshbooks?
Since my embracing and using of Freshbooks a lot of fantastic invoicing and accounting (cloud-based) programs have surfaced. I have tried most of them. The ones listed below all have their place in the market and are high quality products.
- XERO (an excellent program for my industry)
- SageOne (haven’t tried this one in awhile)
- Wave Accounting (similar to Mint.com for business…free too)
- And of Course there is: Quickbooks Online
Most contractors I know have settled on Quickbooks or Quickbooks Online and are happy with the products overall. It makes sense for most contractors to stick with a trusted company like Intuit. They really are the leader in the small business accounting world. I have had a few contractors use Freshbooks for some more seasonal businesses (like Christmas lights) because it is really just a simple system for sending estimates, invoices and receiving payments online. Even though I personally use and LOVE Freshbooks, I’d say that most contractors should probably consider Quickbooks as their billing solution. It would be difficult to switch between the two programs. Freshbooks does not offer some of the key features, like Job Costing.
Freshbooks does have a number of plugins and integrations, as does Quickbooks. So if you really do want a simple solution to start, check out their Add Ons Page.
I tried Quickbooks for myself for awhile, but stayed with Freshbooks for 3 reasons:
- My accountant approved
- My customers have never once complained about using it to pay their bills
- It is a piece of cake to use.
So, if you happened upon this post in search for a very simple and easy to use invoicing system, Freshbooks takes the cake. If you need a more robust accounting system with a lot of bells and whistles, try Quickbooks (for contractors) or check out Xero.