Get Creative Freedom When You Go Clutter-Free with 17hats (Reviews)
Looking for the best photography studio management solution for YOUR business? 17hats helps you streamline tasks for a stellar client experience. (Featuring THE BLUMES)
Escape the Sticky Notes Tidal Wave
Two years after starting their photography small business, Phillip and Eileen Blume faced a tidal wave of spreadsheets, sticky notes, and unanswered emails. Their small business had grown quickly, and they risked drowning in their own success. Something had to change.
“Since we went from hobbyists to pros in just a few months, we felt like we were treading water because we didn’t know how to automate our business or set up workflows. We joked that what we really needed was a robot for our photography business!” – The Blumes
Since robots weren’t an option, the Blumes started searching for studio management software. After testing a few, Phillip discovered 17hats and felt like he could finally steer clear of the tidal wave that was threatening their photo business.
He and Eileen breathed a sigh of relief and tapped into the integration between ShootProof and 17hats.
Every photography business is unique, just like the photographers who run them. But if there’s one thing every photographer appreciates, it’s simplicity. The Blumes chose 17hats because its user interface minimizes distractions. When you’re overwhelmed, the last thing you need is a cluttered screen!
“After trying and failing to click with other studio management software, 17hats stood out to us because of its intuitive interface. It’s simple and beautiful. 17hats automates complex business tasks without feeling like complex software.” – The Blumes
Every photographer has different needs; but for wedding and portrait photographers like the Blumes, 17hats felt like the best match. We can’t imagine anyone better-suited to demonstrate a few of 17hat’s fantastic features…
Do you find yourself forgetting client details? Maybe you feel like doing too much with little time? Perhaps you seem to be always working, losing time for recreation and rest? 17hats is a cloud-based platform that enables you to automate processes- 17hats lets you keep track of documents, invoices, and contracts without the hassle of paperwork. With a centralized system, 17hats manages everything from workflow, bookkeeping, and lead generation. It also has a terrific customer support!
If you are dealing with multiple clients and employees, 17hats optimizes several features to support your photography business. 17hats simplifies repetitive tasks, helping photographers organize, secure more bookings, and get paid faster.
When you log in to 17hats, a dashboard lets you see everything at a glance. Important action items are highlighted to make sure you don’t skip a task. You can also view key calendar events on 17hats three days ahead. There are tools that let photographers manage operations including scheduling, billing, and lead generation. In this way, you won’t overlook any workflow waiting for approval, and your emails won’t go unnoticed.
What makes 17hats So Super?
Most 17hats reviews can agree with the Blumes about how the software’s features allowed them to make work easier and avoid repetitive tasks. In addition to a simple user interface, there are three 17hats features the Blumes rely on to run their photo business:
The core of 17hats is workflows: templated emails, built-in contracts, online payments, and customizable reminders that work together seamlessly. 17hats helps you stay in sync and prevents you from doing repetitive tasks. Additionally, you can create a workflow for each of the three stages of a project: pre-sale, delivery, and post-sale.
Quotes and Invoices
Clients need to know all the crucial information about your rates. Fortunately, the Quotes section enables you to send a proposed cost to customers. It also allows your clients to select a package and see any discounts. Once the customer accepts the Quote, 17hats lets you send an online contract. Thus, your clients get a more convenient way to close the deal. After that, you can send the invoice at the appropriate time.
Reminding your clients to pay can sometimes be embarrassing. One of the best features of 17hats is its automatic payment reminders. In this way, clients will receive professional-looking invoices and reminders.
Have you ever experienced retyping emails and questionnaires every single time? For more efficient communication, 17hats helps you create free templates for workflows, emails, questionnaires, and lead capture forms. The software also provides templates that you can edit to suit your style. In 17hats you can put as many questions and input areas as you want. There’s also an option for you to change the colors to match your brand.
Cost and Bookkeeping
Whenever you send invoices, the 17hats software automatically updates the Bookkeeping, so that you can check your sales. You can also connect a bank account and a Paypal account. When it’s time to meet your accountant, there’s an option for you to filter data by month, category, keyword, or bank account. Your clients can pay online using debit or credit cards, as well as an e-check through Stripe. The software also supports Authorize.net and Square for payment processing.
Other amazing features include:
- Emails: Have you ever felt as if you are drowning in unread emails? For this, you can view emails on 17hats by project or by the client. It also allows you to identify which emails require follow-up and replies. This can be such a life-saver when it comes to emails!
- Contracts: Say goodbye to printing and scanning and say hello to contracts that can include digital signatures. Complete with your branding and logo, your clients will thank you for the hassle-free contract signing. If you tend to misplace your printed contracts, now’s the time to go digital and save them in one place. This feature also allows you to categorize them according to their event type, such as newborn, wedding, birthday, corporate, and product, all in one place.
- Projects: The Projects section shows all the items you are currently working on. The 17hats system automatically updates action times for each project once a task is done. For each project, you can see the details of the client, the task’s information, and a timeline in one place. This part makes it easy to view all the different things you have going on at once.
“For example, a bride can inquire with us through a 17hats contact form that’s embedded on our website.
“She is instantly added as a new client profile in 17hats. Then 17hats automatically replies to her, sending info to book a consultation. If she doesn’t respond, our custom studio workflow sends a follow-up email. When she’s ready to book, an online contract and an invoice are sent.
“When she signs and pays, our pre-wedding workflow – including questionnaires and appointment reminders – is effortlessly sent to our new client. It’s all about creating a great client experience!”
– The Blumes
When you set up a 17hats workflow, every client can get the same royal treatment – automatically. How’s that for streamlining?
It is essential to gather all the necessary information for a shoot. 17hats lets you build questionnaires, so that you will know your client’s preferred time, location, theme, clothing, or poses.
From there, you can use the data to update your Workflow and Project sections. The software will also send an email to clients about the final answers, letting them check everything.
The Blumes use questionnaires like a secret ingredient; they gather information about their wedding and portrait clients. Those insights may seem small, but they’re what enable Phillip and Eileen to impress their clients and earn referrals.
“We use questionnaires for everything — to set wedding day schedules, to gather vendor contact info, to ask our clients to share their “love story” (which promptly becomes a pre-written blog post), and even to request business reviews.” – The Blumes
Simplify Your Sales
Questionnaires can even increase your photography businesses’ profits. The Blumes utilize this feature in 17hats to ask their clients questions like, “Does your wedding timeline match the number of hours in your wedding package?” If not, no worries — clients can click to purchase extra coverage right there within 17hats’ studio management interface.
#3: 17hats Teaches You To Be A Bolder Businessperson
The team at 17hats practices what they preach – they aim to make business owner’s lives simpler. That’s why they built a new onboarding course that walks you through set-up and customization. As soon as you log in, you’ll see the new Learning Module. Rather than an oversized to-do list, the Learning Module is an interactive guide that helps you get your studio management workflow up-and-running faster.
Here are some ways that 17hats helps to simplify your business:
Scheduling and Calendar
To ensure you won’t miss a deadline, the Calendar helps you monitor tasks you need to do per day or every month. With a glance, you will see what’s going on and adjust accordingly. In addition, you can connect the software’s Calendar to Google Calendar.
Sleep peacefully, knowing you’ve accomplished everything for the day. The To-Do Lists section removes the inconvenience of using sticky notes. Instead, you can make a checklist of the tasks you need to do for the day, for the week, or the month.
Each task includes information such as description, deadline, and assignee. It also contains a checkbox you can tick once you are done.
Track your time with just a click. If you bill your team by the hour, the built-in timer helps monitor their working hours. For every employee, you can assign a project, set the deadline, and include an hourly fee.
Another advantage of the timer is that you can see how long it takes to finish tasks, may it be a photoshoot session, sorting, or editing. This section will also keep track of the billing and add it to your Bookkeeping.
Some customers will contact you, asking vague questions about your products or services. To help them take an interest in your business, you can create lead capture forms that potential clients can fill out. There’s an option to embed the forms on your Facebook account or website.
Capturing new leads helps you turn potential customers into regular clients. This section will let you respond to customer queries immediately, improving your customer relations and satisfaction.
You can ask for general details such as their event type, possible location, or tentative date. As a result, you get the chance to introduce your services that might fit their needs. Even if you don’t know much about digital tools, the software will automatically save the information on your file.
You’ll learn more than just how to use 17hats, however. You’ll learn organizational principles that will help you run a successful business.
Here are a few concepts 17hats teaches in their Learning Module:
- Photographer-Specific Organization: Workflow management, bookkeeping, invoicing, and time-tracking — all in one place.
- Lead Management Methods: Building a strong foundation by monitoring prospects. Capture, respond to, and evaluate new leads.
- Booking Workflows: Make work easier by systemizing your bookings, and send an email containing contract, quote, and invoice.
- Client Onboarding: Facilitate convenient communication using questionnaires, emails, and client portal.
- Order Fulfillment: Begin your day using the Dashboard to get a glimpse of what you need to do for the day, all in one place.
What if you have an on-location shoot, and you need to check your accounts? Since its inception in 2014, 17hats responded to user reviews asking for a mode to access the software even without a computer. The good news is that there’s an app that puts 17hats at your fingertips.
For easy and quick access, the front page displays a summary of tasks, new leads, documents, and your calendar. The app isn’t as user-friendly as the website, although it saves you the trouble of finding a computer to check your projects, workflow, and invoices.
What’s more, you will get push notifications whenever your clients send a lead capture form, accepts a quote, completes a questionnaire, signs a contract, or pay an invoice.
Since the software caters mostly to small-scale entrepreneurs and freelancers, 17hats supports several devices, including Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Windows Mobile.
Being a photographer is not all about passion and technical skills; it’s also about learning how to handle the whole business. More than the task and client management tools, 17hats provides education materials such as a business makeover course, quick start course, video tutorials, and weekly webinars.
Moreover, 17hats has excellent customer support. Their customer support staff is responsive, making sure they can assist you if there are problems along the way. You can reach 17hats customer support by Live Chat or by email. Their customer support monitors chats for any urgent matters, but if a message reaches their customer support outside these hours, they’ll respond the next business day.
17hats + ShootProof = Better Together!
From emails that auto-fill clients’ names and gallery links, to synced contacts, 17hats and ShootProof take the stress out of running a creative business. In addition, brilliant bookkeeping features take the headache out of financial reports. With 17hats and ShootProof, financial reports self-import and categorize ShootProof print sales. (Your accountant will love you!) Knowing your numbers often means the difference between success and stress.
“Running a small business isn’t easy, but never believe the lie that it must be stressful. Using ShootProof and 17hats together has made us more professional — giving our brains to our business, so we can give our time and energy to our family and friends!” – The Blumes
How Much Does 17hats Cost?
17hats offers a seven-day free trial to show you how using the system can alleviate the stress of handling workflows and managing photoshoots at the same time. After that, you can choose whether to avail of a monthly, annual, or two-year plan. You can even contact their customer support for a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Where Can You Find The Blumes In (Virtually) Real Life?
Fast-forward a few years. The Blumes now have four photography brands: three studios, and a non-profit. But it’s their three homeschooled kids who really keep them on their toes! Having studio management tools in place to keep their business running smoothly helps them focus more time on their kids.
“We exchanged our old style of “busy-ness” for a better “business.” – The Blumes
Focus On What Matters Most
If 17hats isn’t for you – no worries. What’s most important is that you find the right tools to help your business succeed, and help you focus on what matters most. CLICK HERE for a full list of ShootProof’s partner integrations, including:
- professional print labs in the U.S., Canada, the EU, and Australia
- album, slideshow, design, music, website, and volume photography partners
- the best photography studio management software solutions in the industry – including 17hats!
Written by RACHEL LACOUR NIESEN | Featuring THE BLUMES – Phillip & Eileen | Special thanks to 17HATS