Product Review: Bidsketch

One of the biggest needs any business has, no matter how big or small, is adequate systems to handle cash flow. For the freelancer it’s even more important, because we have to wear all the hats. When you’re a freelancer, any tool that can help you do your job well is a tool that you need to take a look at. Today, we’re taking a look at one that fills one of the biggest needs for cash flow – proposal management. Enter: Bidsketch.

Why the freelance world needs Bidsketch

You can be the best designer that the world has ever seen, but if you’re slow to get proposals and estimates out the door, you’re only hurting yourself. While it’s important to qualify your prospects and make sure you take on clients that fit, you need to be able to quickly recognize and snag the ones that do in order to maximize your efficiency and revenue.

For most of us freelancing service-providers, the average project looks fairly similar. You’ll occasionally find an outlier that needs some uber-custom work to meet a special need, but by and large, the billables of the project will remain mostly the same: design, development, consulting, etc. Anytime you find yourself repeating your work, you should work on finding a way to automate it.

Bidsketch handles this fairly well. They have gotten the process of drafting and sending proposals down to an art. By allowing you to create reusable content for your services, while at the same time allowing you to customize them without a lot of effort, they’ve made the process as speedy as I’ve ever had it. Drafting a proposal or estimate for that next client is as painless as I could imagine it being, while still allowing you the flexibility to be creative where you need to.

One particular thing I love: options! Not for me, the client. Being able to tag items with their own fees as “optional” does the client a huge favor about staying within their budget. Bidsket says that by having optional add-ons and upsells, you can increase your profit by as much as 32%!

Bidsketch does what they can to keep your clients happy as well, allowing them the ability to view the proposal online, and agree to it as well. Bidsketch keeps track of whether or not your client saw the proposal, whether they’ve agreed to it, and they keep a running tally of the proposals you’ve won and lost.

Bidsketch also plays well with others; you can integrate your proposals with Basecamp, Highrise, Harvest and several others. Get a full list of third-party tools on their features page.

More than a web app.

The best value that Bidsketch offers isn’t even their software, even though it’s excellent. The team at Bidsketch proves they truly operate in the best interests of their customers by not only giving you the tools, but showing you how to use them. They have an excellent newsletter that they send out on a very regular basis that will improve your proposal-making skills by an outstanding degree, particularly if doing proposals isn’t really your fortè. It was Ruben’s awesome newsletter that  turned my mind to Bidsketch when I began looking for an alternative. Even if you don’t become a Bidsketch customer, I highly recommend you subscribe if you want to learn how to make more money as a freelancer. Sign up at their blog.

Super-quick customer service

In a world of variety and choices, the ones who go the extra mile in customer service are the guys who win. When my first experience creating a proposal for Bidsketch had a few hiccups, I sent out a signal flare on Twitter and within moments, got a reply:

The fact that they are actively looking for ways to help their customers as much as possible on every level – in addition to their awesome features and resources – makes me a done-and-done switcher. Congratulations, Bidsketch. You’ve won me over. Believe you me, it wasn’t easy to do.