Those who follow me on Twitter know that I’ve done work on multiple freelance projects. This gave me a new project idea, that would help me also in my business ventures. Now, I’ve decided to elaborate on exactly what this project idea is. My goal for the the new project is to create an estimate/invoicing web application (think along the lines of Zoho or or Freshbooks) that runs completely on WordPress, is open-source, and is fantastically simple to use.
The new project would be a free, open-source WordPress solution that provides complete estimate, invoicing, and billing solutions for WordPress developers. Meant to be used as a front-end web app for you AND your clients, it’s built to save you time, headaches, and money!
How simple will it be? I’m thinking along the lines of not having to use the Admin interface for nearly anything. That’s right. Almost everything will be done from a front-end perspective.
I’m calling the new project a WordPress “solution” for lack of a better title. See, it would be more then just a theme or a plugin. It’s actually going to consist of both and will not be like anything you’ve seen! At its core is a custom built theme currently dubbed “InvoicePro”. InvoicePro is meant to be used with a separate WordPress installation. My thoughts are it would work great on a subdomain (for example, http://invoices.yoursite.com/). InvoicePro is still in its very early design stages (see the above image for an initial mockup of the theme) but here’s some of its planned functionality:
What It’ll do for You
- Track client contact info
- Create estimates
- Receive notification of client approval of estimates
- Send invoices
- Allow client viewing of invoices/estimates through encrypted link or force registration
- Send and receive comments to/from clients directly on the estimate page
- Collect payments via PayPal
- View historical data (and save to PDF)
- Minimal exposure to the admin interface (All of the above will be done directly from the theme, NOT the WP admin interface!!)
- Lots more…
What It’ll Do For Your Clients
- View estimates and invoices quickly by using an encrypted link
- Returning clients can view work history (if registered)
- Save invoices directly as PDFs
- Approve estimates
- Pay invoices directly via PayPal
- Leave comments on projects
InvoicePro will also release with a plugin that you install on your current website to view invoice updates on your dashboard.
How Much Will It Cost?
The project would be free, open-source invoicing solution. All project files will be released free of charge. So, why am I doing this? Mainly for the challenge of working on a large project. However, I do have plans for some monetization by offering premium installation, support, and customization services. I will also offer premium invoice hosting. What’s that? It’s for people who need an online invoicing solution but don’t want to worry about the maintenance, hosting, and set-up. Prices are TBD, but should be about $5-$10/month. Users will be able to chose a subdomain at one of three domains: yourname.invoiceproidea.com, yourname.hiredby.me, yourname.proinvoicingtool.com.
When Will It Be Released?
The project is still in early design and planning stages. My expectation is to have some sort of beta version available sometime this fall, but being a one man project means that deadline is “flexible”.
How Can You Contribute?
Working on this project takes a significant amount of time. It also requires hosting, domain, and bandwidth fees. A donation of any size would be greatly appreciated!
You can also donate your time and talent if you’re interested. For more info on how you can help, feel free to drop me a line.
How to Stay Updated?
I’m currently working on finishing up the idea. I hope this idea will become reality soon!