Fresh Faces: Alec Kinnear
January 15, 2008
I don’t usually provide testimonials. I’m what you might call a difficult client; I build web applications myself, so I have high expectations. I don’t like when things don’t work the way I expect.
With FreshBooks, I’m enthusiastic about giving a testimonial. My business started to double every year at the point I started using it, and I’ve been able to expand my business more easily thanks to hooking up with FreshBooks in a serious way.
My company has gone through several iterations. We started by charging flat rates, and the clients were killing us asking for extra features; we would end up working for next to nothing. So we switched to time-based billing, where we’d just work and work until the job was done.
When we made that switch, we came to realize many things we do are very valuable, but don’t take much time. We’ve built systems and tools for doing them more efficiently, so the real value of these features are much higher than the time they take to implement; we’re helping our clients make hundreds of thousands of dollars more annually. What we do is a big part of their bottom line.
So we’ve gone back to flat rates now. Our clients know they’re going to pay the same amount every month.
Flat-rate billing, time-based billing, recurring billing; there are a lot of different billing strategies in there. Any of them can be accomplished in FreshBooks with ease.
For a while, I had a team split between Paris and Toronto, doing design and marketing for a big dance film in Vienna. I had anywhere from 3–6 people working for me; one in China, one in Iceland, and so on. You can imagine how hard it might have been to manage people’s hours. A full-time employee running after them, clients complaining about their bills, employees complaining about their paycheques; it would have required a lot of organizational infrastructure.
Instead, it all takes care of itself. I’ve got all my projects and tasks set up. If you want to get paid for something, you put it in FreshBooks. I can quickly look it over, put it into a detailed bill for the client, and send it off. It’s very easy to review and get it done.
With FreshBooks, I run an international company with ease. What used to take a full 12-hour day every month is now finished in two hours. That’s non-billable time; nobody’s paying me for that part. FreshBooks saves me a minimum of ten hours a month. That’s a lot of money.
The application is absolutely fantastic, but what makes the difference is having such a fantastic and gifted support team available by telephone. It’s the best support team I’ve ever run into.
I spend so much of my time troubleshooting and filing bug reports for our clients that when I use an application, I don’t want to go through that process — I just want to use it. FreshBooks is self-explanatory most of the time, and when I run into trouble, there’s somebody there to help me immediately. Not only are they nice, but they understand the application, and how I want to use it.
Most companies only do e-mail support. I think the fact FreshBooks picks up the phone adds a whole lot of accountability to what they do. They have developers on the front lines, and they really know their stuff. They help every step of the way, which is a wonderful thing. It saves potential hours of frustration.
FreshBooks support is the best I’ve ever run into.