Last week, we dove headfirst into the amazingness of the 17Hats system, starting with Emails, Projects & Leads. This week, we’re going to get into the details – the things that matter the most to your clients: Quotes, Contracts, Invoices & Templates. We’re going to give you an insider look at the complete ease of setting up and sending quotes to your clients along with contracts, invoices, payments, questionnaires and beautiful email templates – all of which you will learn how to automatically send out if you desire in next week’s post about Workflows. So, let’s talk about those incredible detailed documents!!
When you first start chatting with a new client, one of the first things they’re going to ask for is a quote regarding your services. Creating and sending a quote has never been easier! We’ve found that the best method is to create a couple standard quote templates, all of which can be modified if you need to customize for a specific client. Just like in our last post, we’ll be looking at how HilaryColleen Photography uses these templates.
Quotes are created by going to My Account –> Account Settings and clicking on My Templates on the left. When creating a new quote, you’re met with a very easy to follow system. Name the template whatever you’d like – this name will only be seen by you. For templates, it’s probably best to leave the Valid Until date empty – you can add this in for specific Quotes if you desire when sending them out, but right now, we’re just creating a template. Let’s focus on building your template. You have 3 options for adding pieces to your quote: Standard Quote Items, “Choose One” Options and “Choose Any” Options.
Standard Quote Items are for items/services that the client must have. For example: if you have a certain travel radius and this project would require additional travel expenses, you would enter those as a Standard Quote Item. Anything the client has no choice on when working with you would go here.
“Choose One” Options are for items/services that your client gets to choose between when working with you. For example: if you offer several different photography packages, you could create a different option for each package and your client would need to select only ONE of them to complete the quote.
“Choose Any” Options are for extras, add-ons and are not required. For example: if you offer additional hours of photography, add-on albums, extended engagement sessions, etc., this is the perfect place to add them and your clients can select all, some or none of these when completing their contract.
You can choose to include a Contract, Invoice and/or Payment Schedule in the template here (which is, honestly, the best way to do this) or when you are actually submitting to a client. We’ll talk about setting up those templates next.
Here’s a quick look at a quote that was sent out – this is your view of the quote, but the client’s view isn’t too much different. Note the radio button next to the Platinum Package for the client to select which is best for them. Clients love these quotes because they can play around with different combinations of options and add-ons and the total calculates at the bottom for them. Once they find a combination they love, they can just click “Accept” and you will be notified! While waiting for a client to accept your quote, you can see when they’ve viewed it as well – pretty great feature!
We love the ability to send Contracts with Quotes or to send them separately – and clients will have to accept a Quote before they can digitally sign the Contract – perfection!!!
Contracts are probably the easiest template setup you will make in 17Hats. It looks like an email and you can paste in your existing contract and adjust any formatting as needed. Choose whether you want it to be sent to your client with a signature on it or if you want to countersign after they sign it!
Remember when we were setting up Contacts, Projects and Lead Forms in Part 1 of this series? Here’s where some awesome bits of that can come in handy: in any Contract or Email template, you can Insert Tokens, which means it automatically selects data you have already entered for that Client/Project/Lead into your Contract! If you look at the Wedding Photography Contract above, you will see that the top section of this Contract will automatically pull in the client’s name, project name, date (which is the wedding date) and location. No need for you to type it in by hand every time!
You can also Insert Form fields for clients to make choices, add information, you name it! In HilaryColleen Photography’s Wedding Photography Contract, there is a text field for clients to enter their address after marriage for their albums to be shipped to – whatever works for you & your system!
Ensuring your clients understand payment procedures, amounts they owe and remembering to notify them when payments are due can be a hassle. With 17Hats Invoices, you can accept online payment or not, and can very easily and clearly lay out all the information your client will need to know about paying you. While you can make Invoice Templates in advance, an Invoice Template is not for every business type or style, so we recommend checking the box to include an Invoice with your Quote.
We think it’s easiest to talk about Invoices by first looking at a completed template. This is actually how the Invoice appears to clients, and if online payments were accepted, there would be a PAY NOW button at the bottom. If you are creating an Invoice Template from scratch, the template will pull in information from the Contact/Project only. If you check the box to include an Invoice with a Quote template, the Invoice will pull in all the information from that Quote (highly recommend doing it this way – otherwise you will create the Invoice from scratch as we will discuss below).
This is what an Invoice Template from scratch will look like. You can select the due date here, but it is also easily changeable before sending out to a client. Adding an Item is much like adding pieces to your Quotes, so there’s nothing fancy to report there, however any item you place on an Invoice is required (obviously), so it should only be items your clients are definitely paying for, no choices (see why we recommend sending them with a Quote?). When you include an Invoice with a Quote, it will automatically pull over the financial pieces and choices that your client selected when they accepted the Quote – yay for automation!
Including Payment Schedules with Invoices & Quotes is easy and looks awesome (did you see how great it looked on the first image we showed in the Invoices section? BEAUTIFUL.). You enter everything in one place and 17Hats takes care of placing it where it needs to be. You have two options for your Payment Schedule: Custom Payment Schedule or Equal Payment Schedule.
Custom Payment Schedules allow you to choose how many payments to break the Invoice up into, when the full balance of the Invoice is due (the Due Date at the top), how much is due in each payment and when each payment is due. You can choose different options for each payment – percentages or dollar values as well as when each payment is due based on the receipt of the invoice, the Invoice due date or the Project date.
Equal Payment Schedules will break up the total Invoice balance into however many payments you desire and each payment will be an equal amount. You can select when the first payment is due and then how often the payments will repeat until they are paid in full.
With both Payment Schedule options, you can add a message to go along with your Invoice. In the preview image at the beginning of the Invoice section on this post, the added message was “The deposit is non-refundable and will reserve your date along with the signed contract. Both the signed contract AND the deposit must be received in order for your date to be booked.
Late payments may result in fees and may jeopardize wedding day coverage or timely image delivery.”
Trying to figure out where to set up your standard Invoice Footer (the text at the very bottom of the preview Invoice)? You need to go to My Account –> Account Settings and then click on Invoice Options on the left. You can enter whatever text you would like in your Invoice Footer. We recommend listing here the types of payment you accept – especially if you do not have a “Pay Online” option. This footer will be placed on all of your Invoices, whether they were from a Template or included with a Quote.
We use the Questionnaires feature within 17Hats like crazy and it helps us and our clients really get on the same page. They are easy to put together, easy to follow and easy to send.
Here’s a quick preview of one of the Questionnaires for HilaryColleen Photography. This template is sent out to contracted clients a few months before their wedding date as things start to get more scheduled and finalized. The client can complete this questionnaire easily online and submit the answers directly into your 17Hats inbox. It’s that simple!
With all of your documents/templates (Quotes, Contracts, Invoices, Questionnaires, etc.) you can have corresponding Email Templates to go along with them – or you can just have an Email Template for other important information for your client.
Here’s a look at a simple Email Template used for giving an engagement client information about scheduling & preparing for their engagement session. Just like with the Contract, you can use Tokens to pull in the Client/Project name or information. You can create Email Templates just like this to accompany your Quotes, Contracts & Invoices to personalize them for your clients and give an additional information you feel is necessary. 17Hats does create some templates for the majority of these actions in advance for you, and you can modify them or leave them as is – whatever works for you! You also always have the option to review & edit these email templates before actually sending them out to the client to make them even more personalized where necessary.
Oh yes, and how awesome is this – you can also attach files to these templates and they will actually be attached! We have found very few automated systems that let you attach files to an email without outside links being required, so it’s so great to be able to attach files right from these templates!
Is your brain swimming with all the possibilities yet?! 17Hats is seriously loaded with everything you need to make your business work smarter, better, easier and faster for you, giving you back the time you’ve been spending on so many tasks by automating them and allowing you to put more time into focusing on the parts of your business (and personal life) that you love.
We’ve given you some insight into the main tools that 17Hats has to offer and you’re all prepped and ready at this point for us to show you how to automate just about everything in your business world. We cannot wait to introduce you to the revolutionary Workflows and Lifecycles of 17Hats in Part 3 of this series! A seamless, productive and intentional business Workflow will transform your business, so we look forward to helping you put it all together and into place next Wednesday!