It’s the end of an era for us HelloBonsai users. It was a good year, but this former freemium service has suddenly shifted their model into a paid one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but many marketers are less than eager about adding another monthly bill to their pile. So if you’re looking for a good Hello Bonsai alternative, you’ve landed in the right place. I spend quite a bit of time keeping a pulse on new softwares and other cool technology out there on the internet.
When they first started, Hello Bonsai would charge $1 per successful invoice. A reasonable fee for the automated service, and one that any entrepreneur should be happy to pay (as noted in their growth, with 10,000 users last december).
Now their free plan will only support 1 project at a time, while the next level up starts at $29/mo to get their former functionality. That’s $348 per year, for those without a calculator nearby.
It’s a bummer for us all. Now instead of my $150 or so per year of invoice fees, they’ll be getting $0 per year from many former users.
I contacted their support about the change, and apparently the main issue for the change was this: The free users were too much of a burden on their support. I’m not sure if an entire business model shift was necessarily the best solution here. It certainly wasn’t a good solution for myself or the other entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with.
They also said that I could get $5 for inviting friends. I got a bunch of invites since it was recommended on my resources page, but never received any payouts. This was a dark cloud of foreshadowing for Hello Bonsai’s future.
My Favorite Hello Bonsai Alternative
Invoice Ninja gained my trust back in 2015 and was my preferred invoicing solution for a year. I switched over to HelloBonsai after seeing their slick UI and irresistible pricing structure.
It works with Stripe, Paypal, and other options, so the final way you get paid is up to you.
Fortunately in the time that I’ve been away, Invoice Ninja has stepped their game up. They now have an improved dashboard that makes it easy to manage your clients and invoices.
Creating a new or recurring invoice for a client is simple and intuitive.
They also have an area to manage vendors and expenses, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to pay for these directly in the dashboard. For me personally, this isn’t a loss. I prefer to pay my contractors through Upwork, since it handles all of the time tracking and other nuances for me, so I literally never have to think about it.
Invoice Ninja also includes a free Client Dashboard, so your clients can see their past & current invoices with you, which is a pretty neat touch.
Check out their free account here and see if it’s a good fit for you: https://www.invoiceninja.com
They probably have more features that I’m not aware of since I just use them for the simple invoicing & payment collecting.
Bye bye, Bonsai.
What are you using as an alternative? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll get any other solid alternatives linked to in the post.