PayPanther’s Business Management Software for Photographers
We wanted to take a few minutes and talk about a new business management software we’ve been using here at Partigliani to help manage our photography and cinematography business.
As all of us already know, we love to focus on the creative side of our business as opposed to following up, writing contracts, etc… When we have more time to focus on our marketing and creativity, it creates new opportunities that we never thought of before.
The other, more mundane aspects of our businesses still need to be taken care of however. This is where business management software comes in: to take the pain out of running our small business. This in-depth review is about PayPanther, a business management software for photographers.
PayPanther is an online service that combines invoicing, billing, accounting, and contact management (CRM) all in one easy to use software. Our data is securely stored in the cloud, so we have access to it from any device (like taking those phone calls in the car or at an event). There are three main benefits to this kind of set up:
- Our information is available anywhere we have an Internet connection, and from any device (laptop, smartphone, or tablet).
- Since our information is in the cloud, it is secure from hackers, viruses, and data corruption.
- We finally got rid of our in-house server and our computer technician, saving us well over $300/month.
At first, we weren’t sure how it would work, so we took a test drive and tried it for 30 days for free. After that, we never turned back.
How Does PayPanther’s Business Management Software Make Life Easier?
Invoicing & Billing
Every photographer, ourselves included, loathes having to do boring business management tasks. We put off sending quotes and invoices, and let simple tasks stack up. Then, we wonder how much we’re owed in outstanding invoices. I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s simply forgotten about sending an invoice or collecting payment owed by a client, and you can’t exactly expect the client to remind you of these things.
Yet like ourselves, you probably do like getting paid. Getting paid in a timely manner is imperative to a smoothly running business. PayPanther lets us automatically invoice clients, and it handles our payments as well. It even lets us know if our client has opened the invoice that we sent them. That in of itself makes PayPanther worth it to us.
PayPanther lets us keep track of all of our expenses. We can even upload pictures of receipts so we don’t have to keep paper copies laying around in a drawer or shoebox somewhere. Additionally, if the expense is attributable to a specific client, it easily lets us bill the client for the expense. This is so much easier than my old system of using a spreadsheet and hoping I didn’t forget anything when tax season rolls around.
PayPanther makes it easier for us to keep track of our time spent editing each event. It includes a stopwatch that links with the rest of the service. After we’re done with whatever we’re working on, we can then take the amount of time we spent on a client, calculate the amount to be billed using our hourly rate, and then send the invoice to the client (or just see if the event was worth it for us and what our real costs are).
This is one of our favorite parts about the software because we can finally stop playing the guessing game with our finances. Once you begin using PayPanther and imputing your invoices and expenses, the software can show you exactly how your business is doing. We finally know on a daily basis, how much money we’ve made, how many expenses we have, and what our net profit is. We don’t have to wait until the end of the year anymore! When our accountant asks us for a detailed summary, it’s only 1 click away. How’s that for efficiency?!
This is obviously the most important part of the software for us, and it should be for you too. Forget to call that person back? Forget about your appointment? Forget the last thing you spoke to the client about? Yeah, it’s happened to us too. Now, everything is being saved and tracked online. We have one central location to store client’s information, notes, phone calls, contracts, invoices, and more. This is what they refer to as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and it basically helps us manage the relationships with our customers.
PayPanther includes a built-in calendar that links with our clients, projects, events, and tasks. It syncs with Outlook, Mac Calendar, and iOS, meaning that we can access everything on our laptops and phones so we never forget about any more meetings ever again.
PayPanther is available on any web-enabled device, regardless of the platform. We use PayPanther on our laptops and on my iPad and iPhone. It’s a little limited on my phone due to its screen size, but it works perfectly on my tablet, which is great for working out of the office.
(photo taken from PayPanther’s website)
Customer Service and Support
Probably the most important aspect of PayPanther is their customer service. They’re very easy to get in touch with, offering both phone and online support. Whenever we have a question about how to do something (which is not very often, as the software is pretty easy to use), they’re very helpful. Additionally, new features are constantly being added, which is always a nice bonus.
As mentioned above, we tried the software for free for 30 days until we felt comfortable enough to use it for our business. After that, we upgraded to one of their very reasonable paid plans. We personally use their popular “White Panther” plan, which gives us access to 5,000 clients, unlimited invoices, 5 users, and 5 GB of file sharing. As a small business, we appreciate the subscription model, as there’s no large upfront cost associated with purchasing software and a database system to install in the office. Plus, all updates are included at no additional charge.
Before we started using PayPanther to manage our business, we tried doing things by hand: we used a combination of sticky notes, note pads, excel spreadsheets, and our brains to try and keep all information at hand. Now, PayPanther manages all of this information for us, enabling us to focus on meeting with clients and working at events. Our efficiency has skyrocketed, business is booming, and we now have more time to spend with each other (other than editing at 2 AM).
Feel free to post a comment about your own experiences with PayPanther’s business management software for photographers and cinematographers, or any other methods you use for your own business!