Cindy Lin, Founder, Staged4more

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Reviews: 17hats

Reviews: 17hats

For those of you who read this blog, you will know that I’m a lazy person, and I am a total nerd when it comes to apps. I like efficiency and I don’t like to do the same thing twice.

Before 17hats, I was using Harvest for invoicing and running the contract and payment through MoonClerk & Stripe. It was slightly complicated and a bit costly. With our volume, after transaction fees from all the payment gateways, we lose about 4% on each transaction. But, we like the idea of electronic signatures and keeping everything in one place (on our internal website), we stuck with it. When I came across 17hats, I was so curious to try it.

17hats‘ main selling point was that it is an all-in-one solution:

“All the features you need in one beautifully designed package. Stop paying for a mess of different apps and enjoy the simplicity of an all-in-one service.”

It provides an at-a-glance view of your business, allowing you keep track of your projects under one solution:

Photo Credit: 17hats

  • keeps track of contacts
  • keeps track of projects
  • captures leads
  • allows you to create questionnaires and custom forms online to lead capture or get feedback
  • drafts quotes, invoices, and contracts
  • collects e-signature and online payment through credit cards
  • syncs to your Google Calendar and Gmail
  • to do lists
  • tracks time
  • creates workflows
  • have templates for emails, quotes and contracts
  • it even has a bookkeeping function

It is a pretty great idea for project management. I have used BasecampFreshbooks and other similar solutions, but none of them has as many functions as 17hats does.

PROS

  • Pricing: The annual plan is cheaper than all the different solutions I had combined.
  • Save time: Because everything is under one platform, it saves me time from going app to app to app.
  • Templates: This I LOVE. Everything we send now (emails, quotes, invoices, contracts, etc.) are all templates that we can customize before we send. This feature is great because I can set up the templates and have Anita, our Project Coordinator, send them out the way I want.
  • Details: I love that I can add phone log conversations, additional contacts, etc. to the project. It keeps everything in one place.

Photo Credit: 17hats

  • The electronic signature for contracts: One of the big reasons why we lived with 4% off on each transaction was because I wanted something that could be all-in-one. Because of the template, we don’t have to recreate each contract on our private site, set up a password, etc. 17hats took care of all that.
  • Credit card payment integration with payment plan option: I love how flexible this is. When we send an invoice, we can specify how we want the payments. We require a 50% deposit to hold the calendar date, and the remainder two days prior to a project. Clients can pay with different credit cards, pay all at once, or pay 50% now and 50% on the due date. It is so easy!
  • All the clients’ emails to you automatically syncs with your Gmail: We run our company email through Google Apps. And I love how the system automatically tracks the emails and files them into different projects. However, there is a minor issue when the client refers to another project in the same email. It gets filtered under the wrong project.
  • Same with your Google Calendar: Every event you schedules in 17hats, it automatically syncs to your Google Calendar. This is a great feature.

17hats is a fairly robust system, but not without flaws. 17hats is still relatively new, and there are still a lot of glitches that can get frustrating.

CONS & WISH LIST

  • No integration with email marketing providers: I can see having CRM function to be a powerhouse feature for 17hats.
  • The interface could use some facelift: Sorry, being in the visual business, I would like something that’s a bit prettier. I truly miss using Harvest; I love its simple interface and clean design.
  • No multiple log-ins: 17hats was designed for sole proprietors, and it shows. So right now we are all sharing one account, this can be a little annoying because you can’t see who did what. It would be great to have multiple log-in for teams.
  • The transition is a bit clunky: A lot of times, I feel that I have to take the long route to get to my designations. For example, on the dashboard, 17hats shows you your list of to-dos, automatically generated from your workflow. However, I can’t click into a specific project by clicking on the to-do. I have to click on “Project” and then select the specific project I want to go to.
  • No simple reporting: This morning when I wanted to reference a previous client’s invoices, I had first to pull up a list of invoices. But, I couldn’t click into individual invoice to see what was on the invoice. This is when I miss Harvest again, where I can easily pull up a report with two clicks.
  • You can’t set up a project without a client: It would be nice to set up as many projects as I want without a client attached to a project for internal use purposes. You also can’t have two clients attached to the same project.
  • No project labeling on individual invoices: When we generate an invoice, you don’t see what the project is for on the invoice. All you can see is the client’s name. When we have multiple projects under one client, it gets confusing.
  • It would be nice to have a notes section for each contact.
  • I would love to be able to capture credit card information and set up recurring charges.
  • I can’t just start a project, I have to add a contact first.
  • No reordering of the items in quotes, so if I want to change the order or the items, I have to start over and add the individual item manually. It’s just so silly!
  • Because it has a built-in bookkeeping function, there is no syncing to Quickbooks.
  • You can’t save emails in drafts! That is a huge inconvenience. I had to retype an email three times as there is this formatting error with the bullet points, and the screen got stuck.
  • There are also a lot of mini glitches. Like sometimes the same invoice gets saved twice and creates duplicate invoices. Once that happens, you can’t change the invoice number or replace it with a new invoice number.
  • Workflow: I use and like the workflow features a lot, but I do wish that if I archive the project, it will automatically close out the workflow instead of leaving it on my active to-do list.

Overall, it is an Yes for us, despite our laundry list of cons. Ultimately, this program saves us time and money and enables us to delegate task to our Project Coordinator. The cons are fairly minor comparing to the advantages of switching to 17hats.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF MY 17HATS REVIEW? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TOOL YOU USE TO ORGANIZE YOUR BUSINESS? SHARE YOURS BELOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION.

Interested in checking it out? Check out 17hats here (full disclosurethis is our referral link. There is no additional costs for you to sign up using our referral link, if you do sign up, we get a little perk for our referral.)

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