Ballpark Review

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Date Established
2006
Location
Canada

Highlights:

  • Easy to Use
  • Unlimited estimates and invoices
  • Project management
  • Good customer service

Overview:

In the invoicing software world, Ballpark is in the minor leagues. When we lasted reviewed Ballpark, they were in the middle of a trade. Now, three years later, we’re revisiting this invoicing solution to answer the question: will the new software hit it out of the park or strike out?

Ballpark was founded by Andrew Wilkinson (the founder of MetaLab) in 2006. At the time of our last review, MetaLab was trying to sell Ballpark to an organization that could give the software the love and care it needed. They found that in Simple Focus, the company bought Ballpark in 2015.

Since Simple Focus has acquired Ballpark, they’ve improved the UI, added a project management feature, and increased overall functionality. Today, the software offers unlimited invoices, a large feature set, and good customer service.

However, this invoicing solution has yet to hit it out of the park. Navigational difficulties, a lack of key invoicing features, and overpriced plans are holding the software back. Ballpark isn’t out of the game entirely, but be sure to continue reading to see if the software is a good choice for your business.

Pricing:

Ballpark offers three pricing tiers. Plans are paid monthly; however, you can receive one month of free service if you opt for a yearly subscription. A free 14-day trial is available, no credit card required. Plans can be canceled at any time.

Ballpark also has a very enticing referral program. If you refer a friend who then creates a Ballpark account, both you and your friend get 10% off of your monthly subscription. There is no cap on this referral, meaning you can potentially earn free software if you refer enough people.

Additionally, Ballpark is currently offering a 50% discount off the first 4 months of service for any user who switches from FreshBooks. Learn more at ballpark.com.

The details of each pricing plan are as follows:

Solo:

  • $13/mo ($143/yr)
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Unlimited projects
  • Time tracking
  • 2 payment gateways
  • 1 user

Basic:

  • $30/mo ($330/yr)
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Unlimited projects
  • Time tracking
  • 2 payment gateways
  • 3 users

Team:

  • $60/mo ($660/yr)
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Unlimited projects
  • Time tracking
  • 2 payment gateways
  • 10 users

Web-Hosted or Locally-Installed:

Web-hosted. No downloads or installation required.

Hardware or Software Requirements:

As cloud-based software, Ballpark works with nearly any device so long as you have an internet connection. No mobile apps are available at this time.

Specific Size of Business:

Ballpark is geared toward freelancers, micro business, and small businesses which want to send invoices and have 3 users or fewer (as Ballpark’s 10-user plan is highly overpriced). Ballpark offers very basic bookkeeping tools compared to traditional accounting software (and even to other invoicing software), so it’s not a good fit for companies that need extensive expense tracking, live bank feeds, or reports.

Companies can control user access with three preset user roles (admin, basic, and timer).

Ease of Use:

Ballpark is an incredibly simple software so it takes no time at all to learn the software. The setup is fast and the organization is intuitive, although certain functions are a bit confusing at times.

  • Setup – Getting started with Ballpark is a piece of cake. Simply add your name, choose a Ballpark domain, agree to Ballpark’s terms and conditions, and ta-da! Your account is up and ready. Before you begin using the software, I recommend spending some time in Preferences (Ballpark’s settings). In Preferences, you can select your default invoice template, set default invoice notes, edit default email messages, add items, invite employees to Ballpark, and more.
  • Organization – Ballpark is incredibly easy to understand. There is a menu bar across the top of the screen that reads Dashboard, Estimates, Invoices, Projects, Time, Expenses, Contacts, and Reports. In the top right-hand corner of the screen, you’ll find a person icon. If you click on it, you’ll see a drop down menu with links to Preferences, Referral Discount, Help (chat), and the option to log out.
  • Instructions and Guidance – Ballpark is really easy to learn so I didn’t often feel the need for extra guidance. However, if you do need help with a feature, Ballpark is incredibly good at responding quickly to emails and chat inquiries. There is also a Ballpark Help Center, but I found the articles to be short and uninformative.
  • Problems – While Ballpark is incredibly easy to use and offers the basic features found in top invoicing software companies, I had several issues with the software.
    • Poor Invoicing – For an invoicing company, I was not impressed by Ballpark’s invoicing. There are only two (very plain, very boring) invoice templates and no invoice customizations at all. You can add a logo, which is an improvement since our last review, but that’s it.
    • Clunky Navigation – Sometimes the Ballpark interface is difficult to use. For example, when adding information in settings, once you fill in a preference field, you aren’t given the option to click enter or save; instead, you somehow have to know that clicking outside of the Settings screen will not delete your information and will, in fact, let you move on to the next field. Little oversights like this could definitely stand improvement.
    • Lacking Features – For an invoicing software, Ballpark’s invoicing capabilities are severely lacking. You won’t find any true reports. There is also no way to import bank statements or connect to your bank account. In fact, there are no importing functions at all. Ballpark also has no mobile apps, which are a staple in the invoicing industry.

Features:

Ballpark offers a good selection of invoice features including:

  • Dashboard – Most of the Ballpark dashboard is a timeline of recent activity that lets you know what is going on in your company. On the right-hand side of the screen you’ll find quick create buttons which allow you to add new estimates, invoices, projects, timers, and expenses. Beneath those buttons, Ballpark breaks down your estimate, invoice, time, and expense activity as well. Every category you click on in the top-screen menu will also have its own mini dashboard that shows you the most important (and recent) information regarding that particular feature.

Ballpark Review

  • Invoicing – Ballpark offer two basic invoice templates, and there are no design customizations available. Ballpark does support recurring invoices and you can attach files to invoices as well. You can also add discounts and sales tax rates to invoices. There are a few automations, including default invoice notes and a default invoice email message.

Ballpark Review

  • Estimates – You can send estimates and convert estimates into invoices with a single click. You can leave internal comments on invoices for your employees to see. You can also discuss estimates directly with the client via Ballpark’s client discussion section.
  • Client Portal – When receiving an invoice or estimate, customers gain access to their very own client portal. This is a surprising touch, one I was happy to discover. Clients can comment on estimates, decline estimates, accept estimates, invite others to view and estimate or invoice, print an estimate or invoice, download a .pdf of an estimate or invoice, or pay an invoice directly from their client portal.

Ballpark Review

  • Expense Tracking – Ballpark’s expense tracking feature is incredibly limited compared to other software options. Ballpark does not offer live bank feeds and there is no way to import a bank statement into the software, leaving you to add every single expense by hand. You can add an expense description, category, amount, and the date an expense was created. All expenses have to be attached to a project, company, or client, which just isn’t realistic considering all of the expenses small business owners face. You can invoice expenses through Ballpark.
  • Contact Management – When saving a contact in Ballpark, you can add a contact name, company name, job title, default hourly rate, email, website, phone address, Facebook account, Twitter account, and a photo. Once you have created a contact, Ballpark will show you their contact information, location on Google Maps, and any projects, notes, or activity associated with that contact. I particularly love that when you click on a contact, Ballpark includes a completion bar next to all projects associated with that contact so you can easily see how much progress has been made.

Ballpark Review

  • Items – You can create a “reusable items” list under Preferences. This is not a full inventory solution, but you can add an item quantity, kind (product, service, etc.), description, and price. The quantity field is a bit misleading. It does not refer to the quantity on hand, as I initially thought; if you put that you have 60 potatoes, every time you select the “potatoes” reusable item, the software will automatically add 60 potatoes to the invoice. So be careful how you fill in that field.
  • Project Management – With Ballpark’s project management feature you can easily create a project and add a budget, client, descriptions, and code. You can attach hours and expenses to projects and invoice projects as well.
  • Time Tracking – The time tracking feature is a little bit clunky to actually use, but you can enter time manually or use the built-in timer to log hours.
  • Reports – Ballpark doesn’t offer traditional reports. They offer a report section where you can look at your payment, time tracking, and expense history, but you cannot run actual reports like a Profit and Loss or Income Statement.
  • Default Email Messages – You can set default email messages for both estimates and invoices, which is a nice touch.
  • Sales Tax – The sales tax module is a bit weird and contradictory. In preferences, you can set a max of two sales tax rates. However, when you actually create an invoice, no default tax rates pull up. Instead you can enter any number into the sales tax percentage box on your invoices.
  • Importing/Exporting – Ballpark has very poor importing and exporting capabilities—and by poor I mean there is no importing at all. You cannot import contacts, items, vendors or anything into Ballpark unless you are transferring from FreshBooks. You can export estimates, invoices, and contacts via .pdf, .csv, . xml, or .ison.

Customer Service and Support:

Initially, I was disappointed with the small number of customer support options available. The Help Center was particularly uninformative and there weren’t any webinars or video tutorials available. However, my mind quickly changed when I received a reply to an email the minute after I sent it. Representatives were incredibly quick to respond both via email and chat, and all of the responses I received were helpful and thorough. While the Help Center and blog could both use some work, overall, Ballpark’s customer service was a joy to work with.

Customer service is available Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Other support options include:

  • Email – You can contact Ballpark at support@getballpark.com.
  • Chat – There is a chat feature both on the Ballpark website and within the software itself.
  • Contact Form – Ballpark also provides a contact form.
  • Help Center – Ballpark has a Help Center with articles on various features within the software. It’s a good thing the software is easy to set up because these articles are very short and uninformative.
  • Ballpark Blog – Ballpark has a blog featuring updates and other company news. While the articles are interesting, finding them is a pain. There is no search bar and you have to scroll through the full article of each blog post to get to what you’re looking for.
  • Ballpark Newsletter – You can sign up for a monthly Ballpark newsletter at the bottom of the Ballpark website.
  • Social Media – Ballpark has accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +. None of these sites are maintained regularly. I recommend using the chat or email option as your main source of support.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Ballpark hardly has any customer reviews online and its internet presence is nearly nonexistent (and drowned out by dozens of baseball ballpark sites). For this reason, I created a list of my own issues with the software that may be potential problems for customers.

  • No Mobile Apps – Ballpark used to have mobile apps, but after the company was bought out, Simple Focus discontinued the iPhone app and hasn’t introduced any new mobile apps.
  • No Invoice Customizations – For an invoicing software, this is an absolute must. With no invoice customizations and only two spartan templates to choose from, Ballpark falls far behind the competition.
  • Poor Expense Tracking – Most invoicing software programs have live bank feeds capabilities that allow users to connect to their bank automatically (or at least offer a way to import bank statements manually). Ballpark has neither of these features.
  • Limited Support Resources – While Ballpark has wonderful response time for emails and chat, I was hoping to see more support avenues, such as detailed help articles and how-to videos.
  • Too Expensive – While the smallest Ballpark plan is competitively priced, the Basic and Team plans are incredibly overpriced. At $30/mo you might as well buy full-fledged accounting software, and at $60/mo you could be getting much more out of your money elsewhere.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Ballpark does have several redeeming qualities:

  • Easy to Use – The software is incredibly easy to use, which I really appreciate.
  • Improved Feature Set – Since our last review, Ballpark’s features have improved greatly. Simple Focus has worked to add a brand new project feature and has improved existing features by a longshot. Hopefully, this sort of momentum will continue driving Ballpark forward.
  • Client Portal – The client portal is a huge bonus. The feature is well-designed and gives users the chance to comment on estimates and pay invoice directly online.
  • Unlimited Invoices – Many invoicing software companies put limits on the number of invoices that can be sent with each plan. It is refreshing to see a company that offers unlimited invoices.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

Ballpark only offers four integrations—a fairly small number compared to most invoicing software companies. Ballpark’s integrations include:

  • Highrise – A CRM solution that tracks lead and contacts. Read our full Highrise review for more details.
  • Paypal – Accept online payments and enable electronic payment of invoices. Read our full PayPal review for more details.
  • Stripe – Payment platform for both web and mobile payment methods. Read our full Stripe review for more details.
  • Dropbox – A document management solution where you can share and store important files. Ballpark uses Dropbox to add attachments to invoices and estimates.

Security:

Ballpark is not very forthright about security measures on their website, a thing which always worries me when I review a software. You can contact customer support for details about Ballpark’s security or you can read their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

According to Ballpark’s customer service team, the company uses SSL encryption and data is backed up nightly. Ballpark does not store any customer credit card information; all credit card information is controlled by Stripe.

Final Verdict:

Ballpark offers all of the features one would expect to find in a top invoicing software competitor, and then some. However, the features themselves don’t have the depth to truly compete with those of vendors like Zoho Invoice and FreshBooks. Ballpark has poor expense tracking, no invoicing customizations, no true reports, and very few automations. To top it off, Ballpark’s pricing plans are highly overpriced.

What the software does have going for it is good customer service, a nice client portal, and unlimited estimates and invoices. With a little more coaching and time, Ballpark could be a big-league competitor. It’s worth keeping an eye on going forward, but for now, I recommend sticking with a more established and affordable option like Zoho Invoice or Invoicera. If you are still interested in Ballpark, be sure to take advantage of the free 14-day trial and let us know what you think of the software.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she's not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.
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1 Comment

    Ian Coburn

    I was a Ballpark customer since 2011. When I started using the service, it was great. But they have done basically nothing as far as feature updates the entire time I was a subscriber. They focused on small items like timers, when their exporting features are absolutely dismal. The complete lack of expense tracking, a feature pretty much every other invoice software has at this point is also a glaring issue. I went to cancel my account today and ran into 2 more issues. To export all data from the time I joined was a complete pain. Luckily I spent a few days doing it, because as soon as hitting ‘cancel’, your account is deleted. Any other subscription service I use for pretty much anything let’s you run out the remaining time on the month you paid for.There was a time I would have recommended Ballpark, but there is no way I could now. They are basically stuck in 2011 as far as features, while every other invoice software out there buries them feature wise. And, for less money per month in most cases.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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