Business infrastructure

How do you manage your quotations from acceptance, through to excution and invoicing, while also maintaing a consistent customer experience throughout - do you use any special software?

Email Query/Phone Query
Respond promptly
Query if necessary

Input data into Print Logic (or various other systems)
Job number created automatically
Data sent to various printers/designers/etc. whoever needs to do work

Receive quotes back
Add my own markup/margin/delivery costs/design costs etc.

Send quote to client
Accept quote

Send artwork/design brief/whatever is needed

Follow through to approval

Issue POs

etc.

Fairly standard.

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There are subscription-based solutions out there for the type of thing you asking about. I don’t use any of them and am drawing a complete blank on the names of the more popular options. Being a self-employed designer, I have a system that I’ve developed over time that works for me. It’s a mix of custom created InDesign forms and Excel spreadsheets. My system probably wouldn’t be intuitive for someone else to pick up since it’s not completely integrated like some of the subscription-based solutions, but it works for me. As a bonus, it’s one less thing i have to subscribe to.

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Every place I’ve worked has used different systems for this sort of thing. It’s difficult to compare since every business is unique.

Larger organizations with multiple employees juggling their puzzle pieces need systems and processes that enable coherent communication and tracking. A smaller organization can get by with something less formal and more flexible.

The one-person situation I’m in right now lends itself to the most flexibility since I perform all roles myself. I don’t keep a paper trail on things that I can remember or are less important. Categorizing emails seems sufficient to track those things mentioned in emails. I write down everything having to do cash flow since dealing with taxes requires it. However, my methods would have met with disapproval from Mrs. Nell, my old high school bookkeeping teacher.

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That probably makes a lot of sense, I suppose you can produce a consistent quality output for all of your documents in doing so.

We use Excel templates for all the contract/proposal stuff because the front office aren’t designers.
They just open it up and plop stuff in. All the schedules are linked to the synopsis cover. It has headers with the logo and footers with variable contact slots (to fill in the specific info for the individual submitting the proposal) and looks all nice and professional when printed, whether to PDF or to paper.

Once a job number is generated, it all goes to a totally separate, secure system managed off site, which goes way beyond the scope of a single proprietor’s needs. Since most business these days is done through online invoicing and e-checks, having letterhead isn’t quite the necessity it once was. We have it, of course, upper management uses it, but I know I haven’t used it in years.

Well, I did gross a co-worker out not a long while ago by taking a piece of letterhead and hand-writing a note on it with a submitted proof. Not sure why the proof submittal had to go on letterhead, but with about 2 minutes to FedEx pickup, I wasn’t gonna fight with a template and a laser printer, LOL!

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