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How would you feel if we could manage Home Office or Small Business for FREE? Awesome, right?
After Intuit discontinued their free Billing Manager, I was hunting for a similar great alternative for creating & managing Estimates and Invoices. Fortunately, there are plenty free and low-cost solutions but unfortunately, none of them impressed me much.
I tried Sage BillingBoss as third-party option and tried installing Siwapp, Simple Invoices, MyClientBase on my server but none of them work out-of-the box as I would have liked.
Siwapp is very close to what I would have zeroed down for regular use but then I found SohoOS and it looks too good to be true.
What is SohoOS?
SohoOS is nothing but Small Office Home Office Operating System and I really liked this name which covers everything included in their service.
What does it offer?
Apart from clean, neat and fast user interface; Soho offers few excellent features which are not present in any other competitive services. The primary source of revenue generation for Soho, lies within communication credits which account holder might want to use like, International phone calls, text messages, document templates etc.
- Create, manage, send invoices and estimates. Convert estimates in to invoices. Download these in optimized, professionally formatted PDF files.
- Request a payment & get paid via various methods like, credit cards and PayPal, No need for a merchant account!
- Centrally manage all of contacts including clients, vendors and leads from easy-to-use interface.
- Manage invoices, estimates, purchase orders for each contact
- Download various document templates like business plan, agreements, marketing documents, contract letters, website design contacts and many more just for as low as $0.99 per document (one-time fee)
- Make local & international calls, FAX, SMS, mass email campaigns, video & audio conference calls etc using Soho Communication Suite. These two above, are the only services which have a price tag
- Inventory management
- Upload and manage various documents. It’s very handy because sometimes we face difficulty locating specific documents from a hard-drive.
- Easy to integrate project management capabilities
- Customized reports on how your business is taking shape.
- Create your very own business page and integrate social feed to find potential leads, partners, vendors and clients through a social business community.
- Customize theme for your business page and create leads widget to place on your website or blog.
- Currency support for almost every country / region
- Easily manage all your Soho account data through a free to download iPhone, iPod and iPad app.
How secure is your data with Soho?
When I spoke to them, I asked a few basic and important questions for getting clearer picture about Soho. I found them very helpful and responsive to any query that I bounced on them.
Data on Soho account is stored on secured servers which are virtually impervious to any attacks using state-of-the-art protection. After quickly going through their MyWOT profile I found them very trustworthy and reliable.
What it does not have?
Even if we get a list of hundred of free features – we would still insist for more… don’t we? We’re humans after all.
Like I said above – It does have huge list of features but there are certain things which are not available on Soho at the moment. They’re working hard for making these features available on their system very soon. Here is the list
- You cannot add more users in the same Soho account. Like, I cannot add my partner in the same account to manage invoices etc. (To workaround this, I am sharing the same password with my partner)
- Contacts cannot be imported using CSV or any such contact files.
- Entering business name for logging-in is mandatory. I couldn’t understand why, since email is one email id would be associated with single account only.
- Customized numbering for estimates and invoices is not available. We have to go ahead with default increment of 1. Prefix or suffix not possible.
- Mobile app is not available for Android, BlackBerry or Nokia handsets. (Only iOS)
- Freelance Arena is exclusively designed for Soho users. In face, it is linked with eLance projects.
- Mass email feature is not available.
Apart from few upcoming features as mentioned above – overall Soho looks very promising and looks like I am going to stick to it for long time. Founded in 2009 with over 400,000 users, SohoOS could be that perfect solution freelancers, home office & small business owners would like to give a try.
I am not using their services anymore because they converted the basic free accounts (which was their USP) to paid accounts with a very short notice. Moreover, I thought its completely opposite to what they had said in their vision statement earlier. I am quoting it below…
Our vision is to set up a new global micro-economy by empowering micro-businesses and freelancers worldwide with the management tools they need to flourish. First, to help stimulate and increase growth, and second, to provide a supportive environment to interact and collaborate with others- free of charge.
With an unparalleled growth rate of thousands of small businesses joining daily, SohoOS will assist you in your daily efforts to compete, offering a free-of-charge platform for the management of your business.
SohoOS puts everything that you need to succeed directly at your fingertips so your business can grow and thrive almost effortlessly. From a unified contact system through inventory management to billing and accounts payable, SohoOS handles it all. Free of charge. Both on the web and on your mobile
It was disappointing & I did convey my disappointment message over to them via email.
Hope this helps 🙂