CRM, PM, quoting/billing, and client portal?
Basically, I am starting my own (small) creative design business. I have C5 installed and have begun building my website.
I am getting more and more clients so I need to start organizing my business better. Up to now, I've only been using gmail and invoicing through PayPal.
What I'd really like to do is build an intranet where I can log in and keep track of all of my clients, projects, proofing, and quoting/billing. I'd then like a separate area for clients to be able to log on and view everything that pertains to their account.
Basically, if a client requests a quote, I can log in and view the request, send them the completed quote along with a Project Agreement that will both appear in the appropriate sections in their account. After their project agreement is signed, I will then issue an invoice for their deposit which will show in their "Invoices" tab. After they pay, I can design the proof and upload it for them to accept/reject. Then comes their final invoice. Everything will be tied between the admin and client pages.
I've been researching for the last month. It seems like all of the options out there either offer way too many features or only offer 1 or 2 that I need. I need something simple, streamlined, and something that works with/for me. I threw together a "dashboard" page that kind of reflects what I'm talking about. I've attached the images.
So now for my questions. I know very little about code (can change colors and fonts but that's about it). Can C5 help me accomplish what I'm trying to do? If so, please let me know what I should do. If it can't, can you suggest how I might be able to get as close as possible using another program? Any/all help is greatly appreciated!
Looking at what you want to achieve, and then reading this line:
"I know very little about code (can change colors and fonts but that's about it)."
I would be inclined to advise you to not try and do all of this within Concrete5, it can be done, I am certain of this, but would require a pretty good knowledge of Concrete5 and PHP, there are some things that you can set up out the box, like making your client areas, and receiving requests for quotes, this can be done through a form on your site which is just stock standard concrete5 functionality, but getting all the features you require running in harmony all on one system is a big job for someone that does not code.
I can suggest a few services which I know of, I have either used and can recommend from experiance, and others that I know colleagues have used with success.
"Basically, if a client requests a quote, I can log in and view the request,"
Not a problem, C5 will do this out the box, you can set up a request a quote form on a public page and get the results from your dash.
"send them the completed quote along with a Project Agreement that will both appear in the appropriate sections in their account. After their project agreement is signed, I will then issue an invoice for their deposit which will show in their "Invoices" tab."
I would advise you to use a service like this for this part:
"After they pay, I can design the proof and upload it for them to accept/reject."
There are a number of services for this, I currently use this one:
Its very good, allows annotation on the design, so allows easy feedback from clients.
"Then comes their final invoice. Everything will be tied between the admin and client pages. "
For this part you could then go back to billings, which handles this sort of thing nicely.
Just wanted to say that the UI you mocked up is brilliant, really like that.
While I don't know that much about code, I am a pretty quick study and can do just about anything if I have a tutorial to follow ;) I certainly appreciate your honestly in telling me it CAN be done with the right knowledge.
I completely forgot to mention, I just signed up for a trial of Freshbooks http://www.freshbooks.com for quoting and invoicing and really love it. I just wish there were a way to integrate it into my site without having to send my clients to an outside website. I really like the face that I can integrate it with the Wufoo Quote Request form I've created http://rockinmom.wufoo.com/forms/estimate-request/... so it automatically adds their information to my freshbooks database. I guess if I could find a way of just integrating freshbooks that would resolve my quoting, billing, and client management.
As far as proof review/approval... thanks for the suggestion, I will have to take a look at it. I deal with individuals (birthday invitations, cards, etc.) and consultants (Scentsy, Avon, Mary Kay...) and essentially want a very simple program. There's really no need for markups or anything that might confuse my client so just a simple "Accept" or "Reject" function is all I need. Obviously, if they reject it I will need to know why. Take a look at the attachment to see an example of what I mean.
I actually found a site called Reviewpad http://www.reviewpad.net that looks promising but I have to wait for them to respond to my email. Do you have any other suggestions of something that might come close to giving me something like I've attached?
Thanks for the compliment about my mockup! I like a clean, simple feel. I was surprised to find that there really wasn't anything similar to what I need. I figured more people would have a need for something like I want- guess not though!
***If any developers out there read this and want to introduce an integrated system like I've described, I'd be more than happy to be a guinea pig! ;)
ReviewPad looks promising may check that out myself, I did have another thought for a service that you may find useful,http://www.box.com/home is an online storage service, but it does allow you to set up collaborative folders, so you could leave a message to your clients with the file, just asking if they want to accept or reject, they do allow a minimal amount of personalization too, so you could brand it a little. I dont personally know of anything that suits your criteria closer than that and prevue, sorry.
I do think your idea is pretty sound though, a one stop shop for all these things would be very handy, and thinking about it, I am surprised nobody has come up with something like that already, if you could get a few competent devs onside, you may have something there.
They have scads of features at a very reasonable price.
The main attraction for me is the simplified style though. That's the closest I've seen to something I'd want/need.