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Running a Profitable Web Design Agency with WorkflowMax [User Story]

User Stories is a regular column on the WorkflowMax blog. Here, we get a company to walk us through their workflow process. Every company is different, and every firm has different methods and processes for managing their projects. Our hope is that by taking a look at what others do, you can gain an understanding of WorkflowMax could work for your business.

Today we talk to Patrick Howard, director of web design and development company, The Web Company.


Tell us about your agency, The Web Company

The Web Company has been around for about 11 years. We’re at 26 employees now, and probably going to grow to about 40 by the end of the year. We’re primarily involved in ecommerce development, digital marketing and cloud software.

What challenges were you facing when it came to your workflow?

Prior to using WorkflowMax, everything was pretty reactive and there weren’t many tools around reporting and visibility. Managing workflow was challenging. I remember we had two or three large whiteboards throughout the office with up to 50 projects on each. I had Excel spreadsheets floating around on desktops and everything was quite reactionary with very limited visibility across performance measures. We we unable to measure billable versus non-billable time, and unable to easily track staff delegation on tasks.

What was most important to you when choosing workflow management software?

One of the key drivers was finding a company that was local. That was quite important. We wanted to deal with someone in New Zealand. Then we wanted to deal with a platform that was designed for agencies, and WorkflowMax ticked both of those boxes.

Walk us through the life of a project:

Generally what we’ll do is create the quote in WorkflowMax. That’s quite straightforward because we can pull through pre-populated fields for whatever task we need. We’ll either invoice for time and materials, or by task. Once that’s approved by the client we’ll convert it into a job, allocate to the necessary staff members and get underway. The staff then log in and input their own time. All documents related to a project - even the contracts - are always uploaded to WorkflowMax. The invoice is populated in WorkflowMax and pushed through to Xero.

What other tools are you using to manage your business?

We started with WorkflowMax, and have since integrated Xero with it, as well as a CRM system and Google Drive.

What kind of reports are you creating using WorkflowMax?

We have a number of custom reports that we’ve developed, but the primary report that we use is around productivity and profitability, so measuring billable versus non-billable, and also tracking certain clients at project level. From that information we’re always making on-going changes to how we manage time and fluctuations in tasks. It allows us to make predictions quite quickly. We’re not having to wait until the 20th of the following month to see why our income is down. It’s so powerful we’re actually reporting now on a daily basis. Being able to get reports literally at the end of a day, you know exactly how much you’ve made or lost - that’s pretty powerful information.

Then being able to use that information to alter the way you might be doing business. Maybe there’s lots of work on, but the allocation of that work isn’t being done effectively, or it may be that everyone is busy, or next month isn’t looking so great and you need to drive sales. It’s about being able to predict rather than being reactionary.

What do you love most about WorkflowMax?

Being able to run a profitable agency. We are able to measure performance at individual and team level. If you compare the cost investment to other platforms, for the amount of performance and the amount of functionality WorkflowMax provides, it’s very good value for money. It's very easy for everyone in the business. It covers 95%, if not more, of everything than an agency might require from a workflow, pricing, and document management perspective.

Thanks Patrick! If you’re running a company using WorkflowMax and want to talk workflow with us, then drop us an email at steff.green@xero.com and we can interview you for User Stories.

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Monica Shepherd
Monica is a marketing copywriter for WorkflowMax, creating content for the website, blogs and ebooks. Having run a copywriting business helping a wide range of businesses create stand-out marketing and website content, she has a thorough understanding of the challenges business owners face. By sharing this insight at WorkflowMax she can continue to follow her passion for helping small businesses punch above their weight.

Monica Shepherd