GOING PRO FileMaker Business System

The GOING PRO Business System ... this is what it looks like: Cost Estimate, Invoices - count your money


1 ... GOING PRO Quoting and Invoicing - basic Functions of the GOING PRO Jobs Database (this page)
2 ... GOING PRO Jobs Database - more Functions
3 ... GOING PRO Price Database - SET UP, here you initialize your own Business System
4 ... GOING PRO Price Database - Price Data Base Item Entries and Price Entries
5 ... GOING PRO Contacts Database - Contacts Data Base Entry and Management

(Also go to GOING PRO  RESOURCES  ... the page I refer to throughout the book. For a limited time,
the e-book is free when you buy the GOING PRO Business System; trial-read it here.)

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Basic Functions of the GOING PRO Jobs Database ... this is how it works:

Step 1. If you didn't yet  download  GOING PRO, do it now and open the folder ... there are 3 files + the Going Pro Application & extensions in the Mac folder and a whole heap of stuff in the Win folder; about 70mb to download, 186mb on your disk on the Mac; on a Win machine it's 50mb / 200mb.

Double click the GOING PRO Application, it opens on the About GOING PRO page; here you can go to PayPal to make your payment of AUS$99 or you can use GOING PRO on a trial basis.

Step 2. Now click Overview, the very left button at the top; as you can see ... I've left a handful of records in the JOBS DATA BASE, so that newcomers can use them as samples and see how the system works. Once you have written a couple of test Cost Estimates and Invoices, and once you get the hang of it, delete that old stuff. The 5 tutorials you have access to on this website help you get started ... don't worry, it's really easy. Honestly.

Step 3. Next click on Cost Estimate, Contacts and Price Data Base. Below is a screenshot of my desktop (here is a hi-res version): The GOING PRO Jobs Data Base (centre), the GOING PRO Price Data Base (right) and the GOING PRO Contacts Data Base (left).

Step 4. OK, let's begin. Go to the Data Entry screen (click the second of the eight buttons at the top), where you input stuff into your Jobs file ... from the Contacts Database you get your client's address details: When you click the field next to 'Name Code' in Data Entry, a drop-down list shows you all your contacts, or you can just enter the name code and type 'tab'; from the Price Database - where you keep all the items you potentially can charge your client - you get your Job items and prices. They have a number code. You type that code into the very left column in the Entry Layout and type 'tab' ... let's have a look at it (hi-res) we'll check out job 101 ...

You can see that I have 37 different positions in the Price Database (it could be any amount ... you will make your own list). On the left is the code number. You enter this code into the Data Entry layout of your Jobs file, click 'tab' and the item description as well as the price drop in ... all you need to do now is type in a number for the amount of that item you want to charge. '11' is my day fee, I charge '1' of it. '15' is my assistant, he gets paid '1' day and '43' is the model's hourly rate, I'll quote '8' hours ... etc.

Obviously, as soon as you have played around for a while and want to write your own quote and invoice, you will make your own Price Data Base ... just click on the field and over-write the text in it. Some fields you may want to retain, others won't suit you. The prices most definitely will need to be changed ... just over-write them, or type 'command-e' to delete a record and 'command-n' for a new record. (As always: 'Command' for Mac users, 'Control' for Win users.)

Once you're entering stuff into the Jobs Data Base Data Entry layout, you'll notice something interesting ... there are two columns the price drops into: The Cost Estimate columns on the right and the B Invoice columns to the left of it. As you enter the item code and click 'tab', the price drops into both columns; you give it an amount in the Cost Estimate column (you are prompted to do it here by default), and the calculation is doubled into the B Invoice column ... this is where the strength of my Quoting/Invoicing system lies. More about this soon.

One point to make about the Data Entry screen is this: The item description, as well as the prices - even your Item Headers - can be altered as you go about preparing your quote ... this is often necessary, to individualize your quote according to your (or rather your client's) requirements.

Step 5. At the top of the screen you can see the different layouts you can view your data in. Let's click Cost Estimate and let's print a PDF …

Note: on the Mac, under File, set 'Page Setup' to 'US Legal' and I use 'Adobe PDF 9' for a PDF printer; in Win set 'Print Setup' to 'Legal', I use 'PrimoPDF' as my PDF printer - mind you, I'm not very experienced with Win (I'm using Windows XP in Parallels on my Mac), you may need to find a suitable PDF printer if PrimoPDF does not work for you - so, remember these settings whenever you print a PDF.

… and let's have a look at it; for a start, you can see GOING PRO automatically drops the letter-head in (you'll create your own easily in SET UP, learn about SET UP in chapter 3). You can pre-view the document with your letterhead by clicking: command or control 'U' - or just click the 'Preview' button at the top of the screen - but beware: Everytime you go to 'Preview', Filemaker jumps to the first record.

All the figures and numbers we input before are in place and the Total for Job is calculated. So far so good ... you email the Cost Estimate (or Quote, or - as the Americans call it - Bid) to your client.

Step 6. Your client gets back to you and says, "we have decided to use the shots not just for our in-store posters, as per our initial brief ... but also for magazine ads and brochures." Well, of course that is a new ball game. Two things happen now: 1) You call the talent agency, fill them in on the new requirements and they give you a figure they will charge as loading for the model, say $1,000. And you do the same yourself, you negotiate with the client a 50% loading (just as an example, it could be 100% or indeed any other amount) for the extra usage. Furthermore, they ask you to include an amount for props - such as jewellery - say, $1,000.

How does GOING PRO handle this? Wonderfully! The first thing you do is Duplicate the record. You can do this in the Data Entry layout or in the Overview. The Job ID (lets's call it that; it is the number for the Cost Estimate or Quote / Bid, and the Invoices) is 101. As you duplicate it, the number turns to 101-1 for the original, and the duplicate - in which we make our adjustments - gets the number 101-2; check out the changes here ...

... I entered '50' in the 'Extended Usage Loading' % field, GOING PRO calculates that 50% of my $3,000 fee is $1,500. I also typed in the changes we made, i.e. 'magazine ads, brochures' and entered the changes in the 'Production: Talent' as well as the 'Production: Styling & Hair Make-up' sections. Note how the changes also appear in the B Invoice column.

Let's have another look at the Overview screen ...

... you can see how 101 changed to 101-1, the amounts in 101-1 are the same as before in 101, but in 101-2 they reflect the new costs we are quoting. GOING PRO adjusts all sub-sums and totals automatically.

Here's some more info about the Overview: I mentioned before the way duplicated Jobs change their numbers to contain a hyphen and an extra digit, whereas 'New' records will get the next Invoice number; so after 101-2 the next Job ID (Invoice Number) will be 102, then 103, 104 etc. If 102 now gets duplicated, its number changes to 102-1 and the duplicate record will be 102-2. Note: I sometimes had to provide six, seven, eight or even more Cost Estimate or quote/bid updates.

Step 7. By the way, the Item Header and the five sections they head, are a big deal. You have these five sections to categorize the different kinds of costs you're quoting and you're later on charging. My experience is that clients like to have their Cost Estimates itemised, and GOING PRO makes that really easy. It provides sub-totals for each section. You have two lines in the first section. This is the section I use for my fee(s). It is from this section, and this section only, that the Usage Loading is calculated, i.e. if your fee is $3,000 and your Usage Loading is 50%, then GOING PRO will calculate the loading as $1,500.

The other four sections have 8 lines each. Use the different sections to sub-categorize your production costs. One section will be for styling and props. Another for location services and location fees. Yet another for casting and talent. The fourth can be anything - but then, so can be all of them - it could be a discount you offer to meet a budget target (don't forget the minus sign '-' before a discount amount); or it could be for additional, out of the ordinary photography expenses - like large studio hire or super-hi-res equipment hire; or it could be for set building, wardrobe, hair and make-up etc etc. Adjust and amend to your heart's content - and to suit your local conditions.

Frankly, I believe the fact the quotes & invoices are so detailed, makes it easier to justify certain costs. Clarity and transparency are a key in helping your client to decide you're the operator they want ... as are the speed with which you can provide very complex, detailed costings; and your ability to effectively provide alternative Cost Estimates.

Step 8. Every now and then you want to click: command or control 's' (Sort Records - Sort Order - Invoice number), because - even though 'Keep records in sorted order' is clicked - they miraculously may un-sort themselves. It's interesting that command 's' is not 'save'; Filemaker is auto-save.

Step 9. There is a new feature in GOING PRO ... you now have the choice to apply Usage Loading or to not mention it at all in your quoting / invoicing. On the Data Entry screen is a button Usage Loading with a tick box(see the image below). Check out Job (Invoice No.) 101-1 ... to begin with the Job had no Usage Loading applied, but the box was ticked, which meant the Job could potentially be subject to Usage Loading; and indeed, I had to re-quote and in version 101-2 of the Job I quoted 50% Usage Loading (50% of my fee, that is). In Invoice No. 102-1 you can see how an arbitrary amount - other than a percentage of the fee - can be quoted, in that instance $1,000.

But in Invoice No. 105-1 Usage Loading is disregarded (see bottom section of the image below). In some businesses Usage Loading will not be an issue and the button will remain un-ticked with all Jobs, as it is in Job 105-1. In my GOING PRO book I make the point that for commercial photographers, especially advertising photographers, Usage Loading is a big deal; but it may not be for portrait or wedding photographers.

So now you have three choices: You can apply "0" (zero) Usage Loading, by ticking the box but without entering any Usage Loading ... in which case you make your client aware of the fact that Usage Loading may apply; you can apply a percentage or an arbitrary amount of Usage Loading to your Jobs ... or you can disregard Usage Loading and leave the box un-ticked.

Step 10. By the way, there's also a button to create a New Duplicate Record ... that's a combination of a New Job and a Duplicate Job, where you create a Job with a brand new Job number, but with all the items and prices from the former Job duplicated; you may want to quote to a client the exact same costs you have previously quoted/charged somebody else ... or indeed a similar Job, where you simply change one or two items - you may actually create a template, where you have created a record of a Job you charge frequently.

And there's more info in the Overview: When a Job has gone ahead, you tick the relevant box. Now its value will be calculated in the Overview ... the sum of A + B Invoice is added to Total Sales to Date and the respective amounts are added to the A Invoices Outstanding and B Invoices Outstanding columns ... until you click either tick box paid.

You have an alternate viewing option in Overview: Show 'live' Jobs ... clicking here shows you all jobs that have gone ahead and where Invoices are outstanding. Show all Jobs takes you back to the general Overview. Have a look now how all this information we have entered shows up in the various GOING PRO layouts ... once you click the respective buttons at the top of the screen you get: Overview, Data Entry, Cost Estimate (all shown above), and the Cost Estimate Cover, A Invoice, Talent Release, Call Sheet, Price List as well as the B Invoice (shown below) ... these PDFs are the documents available in the GOING PRO Jobs Data Base, designed for emailing to your client. Note: On-screen, in 'browse' mode (command or control 'B'), you don't see your letterhead ... it only shows on the 'printed' PDF ... which you can preview (command or control 'U').

Step 11. Now it's time to answer an obvious question, "Why are there two Invoices, A & B?" Easy ... the A Invoice is for your Advance; you want a certain amount of money up front (in this case 50%). The B Invoice is for the Balance of the Job. I like my Balance to be paid after 7 days ... so my Payment Terms on my Cost Estimate and my Price List are: 50% upfront, balance 7 Days (wishful thinking - but at least it's there in writing); you set the default for your own payment terms on the 'SET UP' screen.

If for some reason (and there are potentially many) you wish to bypass the A Invoice, just leave the % field in the Data Entry 'Prod. Advance' empty ... the B Invoice will then be for the full amount; check out 103 and 106 for examples. You can actually ask for any amount as an Advance, not just a percentage of the total ... next to Prod. Advance in the Data Entry layout is a field into which you can enter any amount you fancy as an Advance, it will over-ride the percentage calculation; I did that with 105-2, where I entered $1,000 and 107-1 & 2 where I entered 8,000 ... another field where you can over-ride a percentage calculation is the Extended Usage Loading, I did that in 107-2 and 108-2 as well.

Here's another function of the A Invoice: You may have a case where you want to be paid for the whole Job in advance ... say where the client negotiated a lowered price and you say, "OK, I'll go along with that ... but I want to be paid up-front." Then you just type 100 into the Prod. Adv. % field and your A Invoice will be for the full amount of the quoted Job; I have done that with Job no. 108-2, where I had reduced the Extended Usage Loading from 100% ($2,500) to just $745 ... to arrive at the budget of $7,000. Check out the A Invoice 108-2 ... in the text field I explain why the invoice is due right away. Incidentally, if you check the B Invoice, it's $0.

Step 12. Let's have a close look at the B Invoice, because the Total has changed from the Cost Estimate. Two things happened: I had booked the model for 6 hours, with a hold for another two hours, but I put the full 8 hours into the quote (I like to keep my options open and be safe). The shoot didn't last the full 8 hours, we finished with the model after 7 hours, so that's what we'll charge the client ... a saving of $285.

Then the stylist didn't spend the full $1,000 on the props, but only $815 ... however, she spent more time doing the propping. I allowed an extra hour's fee for additional styling for her in the B Invoice (please note, if you're entering new items into the B Invoice, don't use the code entry, enter the item manually; if you use the code entry the item will also drop into the Cost Estimate) ... altogether it means a saving of $320 + 10% GST = $352, which I pass on to the client ... that's my prerogative, I probably could have bumped up my own charges by that amount; in any case, I like to be transparent toward my clients about how I charge ... they like that!

Following are the Data Entry for the B Invoice calculations and the B Invoice.

The changes to the Job costings are also reflected in the Overview: The Job has gone ahead, so it received its 'job gone ahead' tick; furthermore, the invoices have been issued … which is indicated by the fact that the B Invoice received a date. Note also how the two amounts - of A Invoice and B Invoice - differ. Sadly, though, none of them have been paid yet!

The point with all this is to show you how easy it is to prepare Cost Estimates and Invoices - not to mention all the peripheral documents - in GOING PRO, and how powerful the GOING PRO Business System really is. Next go to chapter 3: SET UP … to see how to personalise your own GOING PRO; and then familiarise yourself with the PRICE DATABASE - check it out here. Also check out more functions in the Jobs file.