Sometimes the actual running of your photography business can get a bit much. We all want to be taking photographs, and yet find ourselves spending most of our time on the more boring tasks like invoicing clients and actually making sure we get paid. That’s where having a streamlined system in place can save you both a lot of time and a lot of stress.
Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool Bloom has just stepped up to help photographers by offering a completely free to use invoicing tool. It has unlimited use, and you don’t even need an account to use it. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is, sort of, if you’re not based in the USA.
Bloom has said that they are responding directly to photographers’ and freelancers’ needs by offering a free invoicing app with safer and more up to date payment options than cash or cheque, which are apparently still prevalent methods of payment for many creatives.
“Old school payment methods prolong the payment process and look unprofessional. Creating multiple invoices on Microsoft Excel or Word requires copying and re-typing item details and too many time-consuming, repetitive tasks that many photographers still use today,” Bloom says.
Bloom is integrated with Square, Stripe, CashApp, Venmo, Paypal, and Zelle and is available in over 25 countries and supports over 135 currencies, apparently.
So first, let’s have a look at what Bloom is offering. On the surface, it appears pretty awesome. The interface when you go to the landing page is straightforward and easy to navigate.
There’s an option for uploading your logo and you can also choose a header image. Either upload one of your own, choose a generic one, or go image free. You can then move on to inputting your personal information, from business details, tax number, client details and currency. You can also input the actual work you’re invoicing for plus fees etc and the percentage of tax to be added.
You can choose payment options from Venmo, Paypal, Zelle and CashApp, and once you add your user handle it will automatically generate a link for the client to pay. When all the information is added, simply press “Download PDF” and it will generate your invoice. It admittedly does create a nice looking invoice, albeit with the Bloom logo at the bottom.
But here’s where it gets a little bit too good to be true in my opinion. While some outlets have reported that it’s completely free with all of these different features, it simply isn’t true.
Yes, it is completely free, up to a point. If you’re based in the USA then you’re good to go. I tried it out and it’s impossible to choose any other currency than US dollars, which is pretty useless if you need to invoice in any other currency.
Secondly, you’re limited with payment options. You only get to choose between Paypal, Venmo, CashApp and Zelle. If you want to use a bank transfer or credit card then you need to create a “free account”. Likewise, if you actually want to save your template and re-use it, you have to create an account. And it’s only free for 14 days. Then you must pay a subscription.
While I don’t want to completely knock the free invoice generator, I fail to see how it’s any more useful in its free version than just creating an invoice template in your existing word processing software. I have several templates saved, and it takes very little time to input the client details. Something for which you’d have to do anyway with the free generator. The cynic in me is just telling me that this is simply a lure to get people to subscribe to their services.
Honestly, I don’t know how things are in the USA, but living in Europe, I haven’t even seen a cheque for about 15 years. If you’re USA based, maybe check this out, otherwise, I’d probably skip it.
Editor’s note: Since this article was published Bloom has informed us that they have updated the free invoice generator to include multiple currencies, now accessible from a drop-down menu. Fantastic news and this means that the free invoice generator can be used and enjoyed by photographers outside the USA.