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Side Job Track Thread

With the recent release of the oft requested Simple Timer, it's time to turn my attention to other feature requests that have popped up over the last month as well as gather feedback on anything else that should be added. This will likely be the last round of updates for a while as I want to turn my attention back to my homepage and other experiments I've wanted to perform.

To get things started, here's a list of what's been requested and is currently in consideration to be added:

* Invoice conversion: If you invoice for the total project cost, but only receive partial payment, there should be a way to easily convert that invoice into an invoice increment -- to keep track of the percent paid.

* Secondary Tax Preference: A way to charge a second tax on your invoice for countries like Canada.

* Show Client Name on Projects Tab: When displaying project summary, show the client name in that list.

* Clean up and Finish Custom Template Gallery: There have been some shared custom templates submitted, but I need to get a better admin process for that, as well as develop some language so folks understand not all codes may be present.

* Service Preformed Date: Add a date to note when a service was preformed. This would be an optional field.

* Less Rigid Invoice Increments: Allow new invoice increments to be created even if the last increment is still open. I'm not sure I want to add this, but it's a possibility.

Ok, that's my list, what's yours? (Keep in mind this will be the last round of updates for a while.)

Comments

* Service Performed Date is definately a very interesting thing for me. It should propably add todays date by default. This is easier for me, since I use SJT to keep track of running projects, where I add hours ad hoc when needed.

All the other mentioned features are also interesting, I especially want to see how other have used the invoice system, as I use my own system (excel sheets) still, but want to take the jump.

Amazing system, and its amazing that you offer this for free. If you ever feel the need to add money for this service, I would be one of the first with my wallet out of my pocket.

# 1 lkoudal 12/05/2005

What I was thinking was automatically set the date when clicking the performed checkbox and automatically check the performed box if entering the date.

# 2 rmcox, Administrator 12/05/2005

Sounds great to me.

I like the idea of being able to keep track of fractional invoice payments. I also like the idea of being able to track service completions separately from total project completion. Could come in very handy for large, longterm projects.

Haven't used the custom invoicing system yet myself, but I'm sure I'll end up dabling with it before too long. I don't use the tax fields either, but I'm certain others will find the additions useful.

Keep up the awsome work!

# 3 gahall 12/05/2005

Would be great if SideProject could include a "Pay Now" type link in our invoices that would allow a customer to pay their invoice electronically via PayPal, Authorize.Net (or similar gateway) or 2Checkout.net.

Its ironic that even with all the wonderful automation this site provides, at the end of the day both us and our customers are still using dead trees to exchange payment.

Hope that doesn't come across as a whiney complaint (its not) - I love this service!

# 4 bdurham 12/06/2005

If you customize your email invoice, you can put a link to PayPal, etc. using that and avoid paper altogether.

# 5 rmcox, Administrator 12/07/2005

How about the ability to record a service or material at the actual time and charge per item, but then to reduce the billed amount for that item by %age or $ amount. This would also apply at the invoice level. For example, I may want to accurately record time and materials for a project, but then invoice the client at my "friends and family" rate, which takes 20% off of the total of the invoice. Or, say I do three hours of work times $50/hr, and the client says "I can't pay that much, is there something you can do?" Well, I don't want to change the service to 1.5 hours to reduce the billing amount, because I want to maintain an accurate record of time spent. So, I could, for that service, set the discount to $75, which reduces the amount billed, but allows me to keep accurate time.

Whaddya think? (Awesome service, BTW. :-)

# 6 mkuehn 12/07/2005

Online approval of estimate.

It would be great to be able to send a client an estimate email with an "approved" link that would reflect it's approval status in the software.

# 7 mahuti 12/07/2005

Paid outs too.

I occasionally have to pay out to a sub-contractor. It would be nice to be able to track this.

# 8 mahuti 12/07/2005

Crap, yes, Project Discounts, that's been requested before but it slipped my mind and should be on the list.

The other two... I'll keep those in mind.

# 9 rmcox, Administrator 12/07/2005

I'm looking forward to the improvements on the invoice system. My main thing is that when I start a project, I'm paid a portion of the cost up front, and I need a way to subtract that amount from the total cost when the service is completed.

Great product overall though! Keep up the good work!!

# 10 tonysummerville 12/07/2005

You can track partial payments already by creating invoice increments to charge by percent; when you start a project, read all the information in the Invoicing section to find out how.

# 11 rmcox, Administrator 12/07/2005

The ability to sort items by various criteria? Like on the projects page, if I have items coming due in 3, 5, and 12 days, and some items with no due date, I'd like the projects due sooner to be able to be sorted to the top. Other sorting criteria would be appreciated, too. (name, project total, days since last edited (reveals old crufty projects that should be completed/purged, etc.), etc.) This could potentially be sticky so that the next time I log in, my sort prefs have been retained.

# 12 mkuehn 12/08/2005

You can order your projects by the begin date or due date already. On the projects tab look to the section in green on the right. Click "Change Settings" and you can set that there.

# 13 rmcox, Administrator 12/08/2005

I know you can track partial payments based on a percentage, but I'd like the ability to enter an actual dollar amount for payment already received.

Since the percentage input box is limited to 2 characters, it's not possible to enter the correct "already paid to total" ratio for all scenarios.

# 14 tonysummerville 12/08/2005

Oh right, ok, I'll think about adding that.

# 15 rmcox, Administrator 12/08/2005

You might also consider adding an invoice template variable for total paid toward a project... so the final totals on the invoice might read something like...

(Total Project Cost) - (Total Paid to Date) = (Total Currently Due)

This is extremely minor, but just a note anyway. (PS, thanks for a great tool.)

# 16 placer14 12/08/2005

I often times will keep detailed accounts of services performed in the description for a service or material. However, I don't necessarily need (or want) the client to see all of those details. How about a way to keep my own description, but also to provide a "client description" that will show up on the invoice? That way, I can give them a general overview of what they're being billed for, and also opt to not even mention this task on the invoice by not entering a "client description". Thanks again, Matthew

# 17 mkuehn 12/10/2005

Client export via CSV. I keep a fairly detailed list of clients on my computer. It would be nice to have an export feature so that I could get updates to my client information back onto my computer without having to manually enter the information.

# 18 mahuti 12/12/2005

It would be nice to share a job with another user, to be able to allow another user to add time to a specific job or jobs. I collaborate with other freelancers all of the time, so that would be a great feature. That feature would also catapult sidejobtrack to function as a small groups timer.

# 19 mahuti 12/12/2005

I'll think about both those suggestions mahuti.

mkuehn, if you want to attach information that you don't want the client to see, you can use the notes section for that since those won't show up on the invoice. If you set a note due date, the note will act like a sort of incomplete service.

I'm pretty much done with the updates which took about 7 hours in total spread between the weekend and a half hour or so just now -- and the majority of that time was spent on the project discount stuffs. I'm bug testing things as best I can and will push to production soon.

# 20 rmcox, Administrator 12/13/2005

let us know if you need help with betatesting, im sure that there are several of us happy users here that would be happy to help out.

# 21 lkoudal 12/14/2005

I agree BIG time with tonysummerville about making uneven payments (not simply percentage-based).

I would really like to see the ability to send an invoice of any amount that would be deducted from the project total. The flow could be like this...

1. select 'incremental' invoice.
2. choose 'percentage-based' or 'amount-based'
3. as amount is entered in text field, dynamically show the project balance next to it.
4. each new 'amount-based' invoice would deduct from that balance.

what do you think?

This would be VERY useful to me, as I have run into this scenario a few times already.

# 22 jabezstone 12/14/2005

Jabezstone and tony that has been added and almost exactly as you describe jabezstone, so it's nice to know I'm on track with that. Hopefully the updates will be released this weekend and lkoudal thanks for the offer to help bug test! : )

# 23 rmcox, Administrator 12/15/2005

Ability to track hours instead of $ amounts.

# 24 standows 12/15/2005

file exchange area. client can post files for the project or vice versa, with a comment function to them to iterate changes or approvals.

# 25 theherostudio.com 12/16/2005

When I work with clients, I might be doing several things for a project, and want to record these in the services as and when i do them. However there might be different logical times when I can bill them. Example: might be doing software development and server management. Software development gets billed everytime features are complete, Server development every month.

For this I wish you had:
An interface to select what services to put into an invoice
Instead of showing a project value showed the foll values:
Total: $100
Paid: $ 10
Invoiced: $80 (not paid)
Done: $ 10 (not invoiced)
Also more than 1 invoices may get partially paid by the same client on the same project. Is there a way I can track that?
Also how about a summary sheet that allows me to get an invoice wise breakup of payments recieved and pending?

Thanks for a great tool.
-V

# 26 vaibhav 12/16/2005

I would like to second #25 (theherostudio.com)'s idea. a small file exchange area. each project (perhaps even better; each client) can get access to a file-exchange area, where they can upload/download material for the projects. Definately a good idea, and something I would love to have.

The interface for this would not have to be very elaborate, in fact, the simpler, the better.

# 27 lkoudal 12/16/2005

I have been waiting a long time for a site like this. Almost started one myself. Here are some suggestions...



1. Collaboration
Since most people on here are part timers doing side work, and a lot are in the tech industry. It would be nice to be able to collaborate on projects. Do a search for someone with an "open to collaboration" status and who has the skill you are looking for (i.e. web designer). This could be a nice online Side Project one stop shop for getting a team of people together to collaborate on a project and track it. Users could also have an E-Bay like rating system for selecting quality work partners.

2. Security
Also HTTPS would be nice for logging in and updating personal info.

# 28 mrryansan 12/16/2005

If you are looking for collaboration in terms of swapping files and exchanging information with clients I would suggest getting a basecamp account. The type of collaboration mrryansan is talking about, among Side Job account holders, that is something I may consider adding to the site.

I will look into the cost assocatied with ssl.

# 29 rmcox, Administrator 12/16/2005

About the HTTPS-Question:
You don't have to pay for that at all, on http://www.cacert.org you can get a certificate for free. Only one problem with that: The root-certificate of them isn't included in any major browser by default, so user would see a warning until they import the root-cert. But still: Encrypted data transfer for free. If you need assitance with that just contact me.

# 30 linecheck 12/17/2005

Thanks linecheck -- looks like this was a topic at Apachecon and my host is at that -- I'll ask him about it when I see him.

# 31 rmcox, Administrator 12/17/2005

Anyone who's interested in helping bug test the updates -- which actually ended up being pretty intense after changing the invoice increments to accept either %'s or $'s and adding project discounts -- send me an email via the form available to Side Job account holders at the top of this page.

Please ONLY offer to help bug test if you understand that doing so might screw up your data if a bug does exist. You will need to pay close attention to your data and possibly take the time to write down values and do manual calculations. Do not offer to help lightly.

# 32 rmcox, Administrator 12/18/2005

This is the absolute BEST application out there for a freelance guy like myself! I do website design/development and this came recommended to me via newstoday.com.

Many thanks to whomever has dedicated so much time and effort to this!

I think that you should throw up one of those PayPal 'donation' buttons however. in my search for a tool like this i came across many many others, however they were half the quality and none of them were FREE. Myself and I am sure many others would help out and donate to keep this thing going!

Thanks again!

# 33 bradleyd 12/18/2005

This is a simple one but one I would find useful. Under the projects tab I can see my projects at a glance. I could have two projects for the same client, and could differentiate the jobs based on what I typed in for the description.

However, the Services that are listed under the Project don't show the description field so I dont know exactly what was done unless I click the service link. For example I have a service called "Web Development". I may have done three different types of web development for them for different pieces of functionality. It would be cool to have the description listed under the service name in the Projects tab view, so I can see exactly what was done at a glance.

# 34 mrryansan 12/19/2005

You can see the service description when you hover your mouse over the service name link. But it will only show however much your browser shows for the title attribute, maybe there could be some sort of js hide/show toggle tho...

# 35 rmcox, Administrator 12/20/2005

How about project task tracking with checkbox, assigned to, and due date feilds? also email reminders - similar to backpack.

# 36 emorgan 12/20/2005

I agree with bradleyd, put up paypal link for yourself.

Brilliant product by the way, I have a good idea of the time involved in creating something like this, how did you make the time and support yourself.

Suggestion wise,


Import options for client details. (CSV and/or XML)

# 37 dereko 12/20/2005

Hi. I have a couple of items to suggest:

1) Make an interface theme option or at least the ability to choose a color scheme; the current scheme calls too much attention to the site from people walking around near the computer and some users don't want that.

2) Have the ability to add client names to companies; I have different people in different departments from the same company sending me jobs and I need to track and issue invoices to each of them. Right now the brute-force way is to retype the address info, etc. for the same company for different people, which is not efficient.

Thanks! This is a great site!

# 38 anguswong 12/21/2005

I've just found you guys today and I'd like to add my thanks for creating this great product.

As a new user i'm still finding my way around but i wondered if you'd consider adding a forum so that i could discuss the features with other users and find the correct way to solve some of the issues I'm having?

# 39 brillweb 12/23/2005

What an excellent tool you have developed! I'm a fan of Side Job Track even if I just signed up 30 minutes ago!?! Very intuitive and killer design.

However, I miss some features:
1. I use to bill my customers in diffrent currencies [USD/EUR/GBP]. It would be awesome if, when adding a service, I may select the currency for that service.
2. Also, it would be nice to have exclusive services for projects. I mean, there are services I do only for a specific customer and I do not want to see this service in the existing services dropdown list when adding services for other customers of mine.

I will add more suggestions as soon as I have new :)

Thank you very much for this excellent service!

# 40 webdevst 12/26/2005

I use it for the last few months and it is really great.
The features I miss:

* Able to give clients a discount that is based on the total cost.
* Able to add services that are calculated on the total cost of other services.
* it would handy if there was a feature that let you tell wether a project is on the running or there was only an estimate for and the client hasn't agreed with the estimate. Now it is all mixed up.

# 41 pierot 12/26/2005

Project discounts are coming, the forum might not be a bad idea and that's a good point about what's been estimated versus what's an actual project.

Thanks, hopefully things will be out soon. I don't want to rush bug testing though.

# 42 rmcox, Administrator 12/26/2005

I'm using Sidejob Track since yesterday and now I'm busy lay-outing my own custom invoices. I want to thank you for this nice piece of software.

A nice future feature could be:
- language packs (I want to help with the Dutch version): not such a big problem, but the rating unit is in English on my invoices and the rest is in dutch. It's only a very minor issue though.

Also, the EURO sign is not displayed in my browser when using the HTML template for invoices. Instead, there's a ? showing up.

# 43 thehotseat 12/27/2005

Okay, sorry for bothering. I fixed the EURO sign problem by changing the charset for the HTML page to: iso-8859-1

# 44 thehotseat 12/27/2005

hi can we put anytype of link on our site.. so client can track progress of project?

# 45 dotcommakers 12/28/2005

I skimmed through the comments but didn't see this.

Would it be possible to just add the simple timer to use with the entire Project. As in just keeping track of how much time you've spent on the entire project not just a particular service within that project. We bill our clients $XX/hour per item based on a projected amount of time. All we want to do is keep track of the time we spend on the entire project to see if our projected time is close to our actual time.

# 46 randmstudio 12/29/2005

In my work I've regular fees for services, as a temporal contract. For example, marketing consultancy for 12 months for 10$. All the project is 10$ x 12 months, and I've an invoice every month for 10 $.

But that doesn't mean that the work is finished every month, but your system understand that I've a project with 12 items and I need to finished them in order to send an invoice.

It'd be very usefull for me to have the possibility to send regular invoices as regular fees for a service offered every month (in example).

# 47 syameses 01/02/2006

Sorry, in the example:

For example, marketing consultancy for 12 months for 10$/ Month.

A contract for 12 months, and a regular monthly fee for a single work. (in this case, consultancy)

# 48 syameses 01/02/2006

Pay-out a subcontractor tracking is a good idea too..

# 49 syameses 01/02/2006

NOTICE: This post closed to comments

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