Using Billing - Documents, Payments & More
On every job inside Dispatch you have the ability to create Estimates & Invoices. You can also capture customer signatures with our mobile apps and apply payment. Below is an overview of our Billing functionality.
Terminology & Workflow
Let's explain some key terms that will be used throughout your experience.
- Billing/Line Items: a set of saved/stored products & services that include titles, descriptions and a standard price
- Contracts: written language that may include terms or legal details that can be optionally attached to any billing document
- Billing Documents: estimates and invoices created to be customer facing that displays line items, pricing, contracts, contact information, signatures, and payments
- Payments: collected as cash, check, offline credit card, credit card, or bank check and attached to a given Invoice
- Status: documents can be in one of several statuses at any given point - "Draft", "Sent", "Balance Outstanding", or "Paid"
Before creating any Estimates or Invoices we suggest visiting the settings page to choose your payments options and sequential numbering.
We can help you enable Credit Card Processing, you'll simply need to select from one of our integrated credit card payment options and contact us to connect with your account - this is a premium option. Collecting credit card payments through Dispatch does not subject you to paying us transaction fees.
If you charge taxes, you'll certainly want to setup tax rates as applicable to your company. They're very straightforward where a single tax rate can apply on a billing document, though you can choose which line items should be calculated with a tax rate. Be sure to enter the exact tax percent like shown in the below screen shot with a corresponding name for your team to use where applicable.
In order to simplify accounting and enable more exact reporting, many organizations choose to establish a list of standard billing line Items for their team to use across Jobs and Appointments on all billing documents.
To add Billing Items, click on Billing in the main menu if you are not already in this section of Work. Next, click on Items > Create Billing Item.
You will see the add Billing Items dialog, which you can fill out with all of the relevant information. Click on Taxable if the Item incurs a tax (e.g. state sales tax) and save your item! Afterwards, you will find this new Item in the alphabetized list view. Clicking on the Item in the List will open the Edit Billing Item dialog.
As your list of Items gets longer, you may find it easiest to use the Search function located at the top of the Billing Items page above "Create Billing Item". Field and Manager mobile app users can search this list in the field as well, and they can add new Items as they create Estimates and Invoices. Any new additions from mobile users will populate the larger organization's list of Items.
While optional, attaching contract language to billing documents may be a great way for your organization to include state-required legal language or perhaps general customer agreements for all signed documents. Our contracts enable your staff to select pre-written language for any given document before sending off to a customer. Contracts can be found at "Customer Billing > Contracts" from the navigation bar on the left while logged into our web platform.
You can certainly have as many contracts as you wish, such as when the type of service provided requires slightly different language than another. You can create & update contracts as you see fit and even select a default contract to be attached to all billing documents unless otherwise specified on individual estimates/invoices.
If you choose a Contract to add by default, that Contract will appear on every billing document created unless you select another one of your added contracts. Contracts can be added to billing documents via our web platform as well as our mobile apps.
You may also have noticed in the screenshot above that you can require that a customer agrees to the Contract added to a billing document before they have the option to sign electronically inside of our Mobile Apps. If you elect to have a contract require that the customer acknowledges prior to signing, your customer will be prompted as shown below prior to having the option to sign. This option is only available in Dispatch Field and Dispatch Manger app versions 2.8.0 so be sure your personnel in the field update their mobile apps from their respective app stores.
Once "I agree to these terms" is toggled on, the customer or the technician can select "sign" to then allow for the signature to be taken. Note that regardless if the option to "ensure customer agrees" is enabled for a contract, a time stamp will be captured under the signature when applied to a billing document for easy reference. Also note that at this time customer signatures can only be taken via our mobile apps.
Estimates & Invoices
All Estimates & Invoices have statuses in terms of where they are in your process. The order is typically the following:
- Balance Outstanding (approved)
You can create an Estimate for a customer on any job that you wish to provide "estimated" pricing and capture signatures prior to creating an Invoice. In fact, when creating an Estimate, when the Estimate changes to a "Won" status, a subsequent Invoice is automatically created with the exact same line items, pricing, taxes, and contracts. The new Invoice that is created will automatically be in a Draft status to allow you to make any chances if necessary.
Inside the web application at work.dispatch.me you can view a list of Estimates or Invoices along with the current status, creation date, and click in to each individually for all of the detailed information.
On every Estimate and Invoice you'll see action buttons which include:
- Send (by email)
- Download (immediately downloaded to your device in .pdf format)
- Print (printable .pdf copy)
There is no place you can view deleted documents so be sure you really do wish to delete an Estimate/Invoice before choosing that option!
Customer Billing Documents
Customers have the ability to view Estimates and Invoices right from the customer portal. They are even able to approve Estimates and submit payment on an open Invoice (if your organization has credit card processing enabled).
When creating an Estimate or Invoice in our web platform (work.dispatch.me) or from with our mobile apps, you have to ability toggle on whether you would like that billing document to be shared in the customer portal. Be sure to do this during billing document creation or prior to approving! Below is the view from within our web platform. You can elect to "show in customer portal" from within our mobile app by expanding the "show details" option once the first Line Item is added.
If you have this option toggled to "Yes", when you send the Estimate or Invoice to the customer, there will be a link in the email to take them right to their customer portal. Customers can view any billing document that you elected to share and perform a couple of different options including "Approving" estimates and even submitting a payment on an open invoice (so long as you have credit card processing enabled). You will be notified via email whenever an Estimate is approved or an Invoice is paid.
While visiting a customer your team is empowered to capture digital signatures on their mobile devices within a few seconds just by allowing a customer to sign with their finger. Signatures are attached to Estimates & Invoices, individually in person. Along with customer signatures your Technician or team member can sign the document after the customer. We automatically apply the name of the user who's logged in to the mobile device as the "Technician" - be sure your field staff have individual user accounts created with your team otherwise signatures & names will not match.
These signatures are attached to all views of the document:
- Sending Preview
- All Document Statuses
- PDF file (when sent or downloaded)
- Document View in Mobile and Web applications
Accepting customer payments is the last part of the experience. You can collect a few payment methods:
- Credit Card
- Offline Card
- Bank Payment (electronic check)
In the web application you may see a payment screen like the following, and you can toggle between the different payment options at your free will.
- Why do we have Estimates & Invoices? Should we use both?
Using Estimates is a great way to have several versions of an 'agreement' with a customer before doing any work. Think of an Estimate as a way to summarize your services and pricing where a customer could sign, receive a copy, and you can track which Estimate was the agreed upon total. Using Estimates prior to an Invoice will allow you to automatically create an Invoice when any given Estimate is marked as "Won" - we'll duplicate the Estimate as a new Invoice with the exact same line items & pricing on the spot.
- Can I edit a document after it has been approved/has a payment?
Currently we do not allow for modifying billing documents at certain statuses. You can "Send" a document to any email address you wish while the document is in "Draft" status and still be able to modify the document. For instance if a customer reviews the PDF document sent to them and provides you feedback, you could still change the contents of the document.
2a. If an Estimate is marked as "Won" or "Lost", you can not modify the contents of the Estimate
2b. If an Invoice is "Approved" or has a payment attached, you can not modify the contents of the Invoice.
- Do customer signatures on an Estimate get copied to the Invoice?
No, a customer signature on an Estimate will not automatically appear on the Invoice if the Estimate is marked as "Won". Customers will need to sign the Invoice independent of the Estimate, in-person if a signature is required for your organization.