Posts

We published Release 2013.11 over the weekend, as announced in the Táve Users Group on Facebook.

Payment Editor Refresh

Many of our portrait studios collect the first payment prior to package selection or even contracting while many of our event photographers receive tips that aren’t easily handled without revising the order. We’re addressing both scenarios with this release, as you can now record payments exceeding the job balance. The new Surplus allocation is a useful new addition to the payment editor.

The previous payment editor could be a bit tedious, so we’ve streamlined the whole process. You no longer have to select the invoice to apply a payment to, just the order (or even just the next balance due on the job). This means paying an unexpected amount, greater or less than an invoice amount, no longer requires using split payments or editing the invoices. You can still split payments between orders or between orders and surplus, but even that is far easier now.

New Payment Editor interface

We also made payments received via Client Access editable. Previously you could only edit certain details about electronic payments, but now all fields are always editable.

Payment Schedules

This release makes payment schedules much easier to use, as you’ll only ever need to set up payment rules when creating advanced schedules. We made the retainer a part of the payment schedule and added three built-in schedule types; One, Multiple, and Monthly. We recommend against using percentage-based retainers, as they may be seen as refundable deposits if challenged in some courts.

The three new built-in schedules work just as you’d expect. The One type will result in the entire balance being due upon booking. The Multiple type lets you specify a retainer and then a number of payments to split the balance between. The Monthly type creates monthly invoices from booking up until 30 days prior to the job date. The advanced Custom type has the traditional rules, though the retainer is no longer included there.

Updated Payment Schedule editor

As you may have noticed, we also added a third example to the payment schedule editor in Settings, so you can visualize the schedule applied to three very different orders.

Finally, we added a Restrictions field so you can restrict online payment to the first payment only, to only subsequent payments, or completely disable online payments for the schedule. We previously provided the less-flexible “Limit online payments to retainers only” option at the brand-level. Many studios outside of North America use this to limit exposure to the added cost of credit card fees after booking.

Payment Gateway Expenses

While a few payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe send us the credit card processing fee, most do not. For those gateways that don’t tell us the processing fee, the payment gateway setup now lets you specify a fixed amount and percentage to automatically create a processing fee expense.

For example; if you use Braintree, you know you’ll have a flat $0.30 plus 2.9% transaction fee. Once a client makes a payment using Braintree, an expense for $0.30 plus 2.9% of the transaction total will be created and applied to the job. If you use a variable rate gateway like Authorize.net you can use an average, but keep in mind that American Express or cross-border transactions may significantly increase the expense and your Profit & Loss report will be incorrect until you finalize the actual expense.

 

Upcoming Events

Jason and I will be at Imaging USA in Phoenix, Arizona, this January. Come visit us in booth 1633 at one of the two International Print Competition entrances. We’re also attending WPPI in Las Vegas this March (booth 1361, across from Kelly Moore).

Tave is attending ImagingUSA and WPPI

We look forward to seeing you!

If you’re using Google Checkout with your Táve account, you’ll need to find an alternative online credit card processor before Google Checkout closes on November 20th. We recommend switching as soon as possible to avoid any interruption to your business.

We use Braintree for our subscription system and recommend them, as they don’t charge any setup or monthly fees and have a low 2.9% + 30¢ fixed rate (even for American Express cards). Be aware that they were acquired by PayPal last week, so their reputation for amazing support, speedy services, and data portability may well fade in time.

We currently support the following payment gateways:

  • Bank of America
  • Beanstream
  • Braintree
  • Merchant Warehouse
  • PayPal Standard
  • Stripe
  • WorldPay

Contact information and tips can be found on the Payment Gateways setup page, just click to add credit card support and select the gateway you’re interested in.

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve published support for 6 more payment gateways. In fact, several studios have already set up and started using these new payment gateways. The list of new payment gateways includes Bank of America, Beanstream, Braintree, Merchant Warehouse, Stripe, and WorldPay.

 

2013-7 New Payment Gateways

Have another gateway you’d love to see added? Please let us know (besides Square that is, as they unfortunately don’t provide a third-party API, as they note here). While I’m now switching gears to join in on Adrian’s next major release, the framework is in place to easily add additional payment gateways outside of our standard release roadmap.

To utilize one of these new payment gateways or to get contact information for priority registration, head over to the Settings section and visit the Payment Gateways page.  Add the credit card option at the bottom of the list and then select the gateway you want to use:

Payment Gateways section of Settings.

 

One last thing: For those of you using Google Checkout, don’t forget that the service joins the frustratingly vast ranks of beloved yet retired Google services soon, so you will need to switch to another payment provider by November 30th, 2013. They suggest Braintree, which offers a simple flat rate fee structure without maintenance fees or minimums and supports merchants located in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Braintree also happens to be the gateway we use to manage all subscriptions inside Táve.

Another month, another big update: Release 2012.10 is now rolling out to all Táve 3 studios and includes some frequently requested improvements for orders and packages. Your current version and build number can be seen at the bottom of Táve 3, above our logo.

New Unified Orders Page

Over the past few releases we’ve been gradually improving usability, adding utilities like flyouts, and better organizing the information you want to see. Today’s release continues that process by unifying the Orders page, eliminating the dedicated Order Viewer and Invoice Viewer and thus means less clicking to get to data. Here’s an example:

The order totals flyout includes more details, including taxes and discount totals:

 

Order Revisions

Modifying an order after it’s booked is verboten, so when a client wants to make a change you needed to void the order and modify a duplicate. Unfortunately, that process could get a bit tedious and error-prone as you also had to reallocate all payments to the new invoices after booking the revised order. Now there’s no need as we’ve introduced a new revision action that will automatically create a new version of the order, leaving the original version untouched. You can access the previous versions any time by hovering over the revision icon and clicking on one of the snapshots.

Automatic Invoice Numbering

Our advanced object IDs aren’t the easiest things to read, so we’ve added much more understandable numbering to all orders and invoices. With the exception of order revisions (which include the revision number, like R1 or R2), the new numbers are numeric and thus much easier to understand and convey over the phone. The new numbers are based on the job’s event date (or if there isn’t one, the date the order/invoice was booked or created). The final 3 Numbers are a counter for that date. One of the conveniences of this numbering scheme is that the invoices numbers will be sequential and similar to the order itself. These numbers are now used throughout the app, including printouts and client facing pages:

The printout button seen above is a new addition to the client facing invoice page in this release as well.

Split Payments

When a client pays you for more than one invoice in a single payment, you no longer need to merge your invoices to match, as you can now split a payment between multiple invoices.

% Discounts in Packages

When % discounts were added to Táve 3, they were only added to the quote and order editors. As of today’s release, you can now add % discounts to packages as you’d expect.

Job Date Conflicts

While the New Lead Worksheet and the Event Editor include an agenda so you can easily see potential conflicts when scheduling an event, there was nothing on the job overview itself to alert you to potential conflicts on the job date. Today’s release adds a schedule flyout when you move your mouse over the job date text on the job overview. If we find a conflict, we add a warning icon next to the date as seen here:

General Improvements

Most of the remaining changes in Release 2012.10 are bug fixes or minor tweaks (such as the invoice editor’s new option to evenly divide the balance across all open invoices). One of the more significant improvements behind the scenes has been a completely new incoming mail processor, which has dramatically improved the reliability of the BCC system. The previous system was using Google Mail and was having issues with the high volume of very similar incoming messages. The new system uses Sendgrid, our outbound email provider. This new system has exciting possibilities and we look forward to adding even more email features using it. We hope you enjoy our 2012.10 release!

Carli Morgan is a wedding and portrait photographer (and Táve user) from Fresno, Ca. She loves finding and sharing new stuff with her fellow photographers and she is joining Táve’s blog to do just that.

There are a bazillion reasons why I love Táve, and eventually I’ll share them all with you, but one of my favorite things is that it’s helping me “go green.”  A lot of people will sneer at that, but for me being green isn’t a marketing angle.  It’s how I was raised, and it’s how I live my life.  I’ve got solar panels on my house, I recycle or reuse anything I can, and I try not to waste.  Before Táve I swam in paper.  Notes to myself, phone messages, client records were stacked all over my office.  Táve allows me to store most of that in that big beautiful cloud.  My contracts are signed and stored digitally, I can add any kind of note you can imagine to the clients’ files, I can forward email correspondence directly to my client files so I have records of what I told who and when.  The best part is that I can actually FIND the information when I go looking for it.

Not only have I decreased my paper usage, my ink usage, my trash output and my storage space needs, I am also reducing my own and my client’s carbon footprint, by using the client access system.  A new client used to mean a consultation in my home, then after their decision was made, another trip back to my house to sign paperwork and pay the deposit.  Now I send them quotes online before we meet, so they can see the system, meet with them, and explain how they can use the online system.  They go home, log in, pick their package, sign their contract, make their payment and they don’t have to make another trip.  May not sound like a lot of savings, but if each photographer saves one trip per client per year that’s a lot of gas and emissions we are eliminating.  I now email my clients their statement with a link to the client access and all of their payments can be made online.

We’d love to hear from those of you have used Táve to “go green” and what changes it has made for you on that front.