When Lou Lesko, the brains behind Blinkbid contacted me a few weeks ago, to see if I’d be interested in doing a review of his estimating and invoicing software for photographers, I happily agreed. After all I had been using Blinkbid for a while already, and I think that you’ll like it as much as I do. Bidding on jobs, sending estimates, building image usage licenses, setting terms and conditions, and record keeping are just a few of the features that Blinkbid has to offer. They have a great website with video tutorials to get you started, and you can download a demo for free.
Many creative people like me would much rather be doing the creative side of their work, as opposed to running a small business. I often jokingly say that I do the photography for free, but charge a lot for all the editing and paperwork that I have to do. Blinkbid makes the part of the job that I don’t enjoy doing, easier and less time consuming. Now that’s a product I can endorse! The team at Blinkbid works closely with photographers and videographers, in order to make sure that the software reflects the needs of their clients. Blinkbid is now up to version 6.01 and while i owned version 5, Lou provided me with the latest version to make sure that my review was up to date. I did not get paid in any way to write this review, I really do like Blinkbid and would recommend it to all kinds of photographers. If you are looking for a solution for creating estimates for clients, bidding on potential jobs, and invoicing, then Blinkbid is for you.
Now let’s take a look at some of what Blinkbid can do:
When you click on “Create a New Job” you will be presented with this screen with all the information to fill out. Pretty simple stuff to begin with.
Click on the “Terms” tab that you see highlighted in blue to proceed to the next step. Here is where you can build your usage license. I know what yhou’re thinking. ken, that’s all good and fine, but I’m no lawyer! How on earth do I write something like this properly? It’s going to take me forever!
Wrong Grasshopper… Check out the next screenshot to see just how simple this is with Blinkbid. What would potentially have you pulling your hair out (assuming that you have any) is now easy as apple pie.
In this mock job that I set up, my client “Awesome Advertising” , is looking to produce 1000 billboards all over the US and Canada with the images that I shoot for them. They want to license these images for one year, exclusive to their industry, starting on the date of first use. Having these facts at hand, it took me less than a minute to fill this section out. Simply click on the “Usage License” button at the top left, and this screen appears. See the image above this screen capture to see the final text that was automatically written in to the proper area.
In order to do the assignment for my client it will require a 4 day shoot, 2 models, 2 assistants, a hair stylist, make up artist, wardrobe stylist a few pre production days and other things listed here. Remember this is an estimate and you can always come back to tweak thing later if you need to. Blinkbid saves revisions of the original estimate, so you can keep track of your negotiations with your clients. There is a great selection of items to potentially add to the list, and you simply click on a selection form the list to add it.
Once added to the estimate you can edit each item individually.
Can’t find the item you’d like to add to the list? No problem! You can add your own items by clicking the “Add Line Item” button on the top of the menu. You can also add new Item Categories if need be.
Blinkbid allows you to set up different profiles which comes in very handy for tax issues. You may want to set multiple profiles for billing clients from different countries, states, or provinces. This way you can set the different taxation rates and even compound the second and third taxes if need be. This is a very handy feature, especially for someone like me that would rather eat glass than do math equations.
Set up your banking information for your client to be able to wire transfer your payments.
Set up your own variables and Blinkbid once again will write up your Estimate Terms.
Same thing applies to the Invoicing Terms.
Does this software link to Quicken?
Prague Hotels says
I like Blinkbid software. What a help for finding freelancers! Thanks for introducing to Blinkbid!
What does the final estimate look like and can you customize the design and add your company logo etc?
Ken Kaminesky says
Rob, You can add a header with you logo to customize the design, and there are a few other tweaks as well to help you with the look of the final quotes and invoices.
Thanks, Ken. Really thorough. A couple of questions for you if you have the time. 1) Have you had any cause to use the Bid Consultant feature here, and if so what are your impressions of its usefulness. And 2) I notice that your estimate includes licensing terms but no line item for licensing fees. Do you wrap your licensing fees up in your day rate? Thanks!
Rob Andrew says
Thanks so much for the discount code! ordered.
Rob Andrew says
@other Rob, yes, you can add your custom logo as a JPG image.
Great stuff on Blink Bid. I have been using BB for a few years (well bought it, not consistently used). I am starting use this software as the norm. I love it. The more I dive in, the more I find how useful it is. My question is related to fees: What is the difference in the catalog between “Photographers Fees” versus “Day Rate for 8 hours”? As part of that question, what things would be considered when creating the fee to be charged? Thanks for the time.
That is very helpful. Thank you!
I am wondering how to create an invoice from an estimate. Do I have to start again with filling in the numbers, or can I go from the estimate directly to the invoice format with the details I filled into the estimate.
Thanks so much,
Ken Kaminesky says
Joe, These are all subjective things to consider and each photographer has to judge for themselves what to charge and what to charge for. There are no true rules here.
Ingrid, Blinkbid had a good help section on their website and will also answer questions like this far better than i can. They will be happy to help you :)
Tim, 1- the Bid Consultant feature is not one of the stronger points of the software in my opinion. 2- Licensing fees are not included in my rates. Then again they don’t always apply to a gig. I like to keep them seperate when they do apply to a job.
I’ve used https://invoisoft.com for quite some time, it creates PDF invoies which is great for what I need.
Thanks for the review, very helpful.
Question: in your example, if I understand correctly the usage fees are built in to your shooting and post fees as opposed to being a separate line-item?
@ Paul From Invoisoft says
Hey Paul, Before you start Hawking your Invoisoft software on sites like this, you should run spell check on the website. ie “Powerful invoicing for your busisness”…what is a busisness? Is that hobbit speak?
Patty Hudson says
This software is a disaster! It is NOT ready for release it is still in BETA mode three months after release. The customer service is pathetic and the response time is 4-6 hours Monday through Friday only. SERIOUSLY they have never worked in production to release a software with this many bugs. DO NOT depend on this software for your productions. It will double the time that you spend invoicing and billing.