I run a small 2 man design company and although it hasn't seriously affected is in the 4 years we've been working for, we are terrible at project and client management..
We have no set workflow for dealing with clients (quotes/invoices) or projects (time management etc). We do have quotation, invoice and contract templates but we don't always use these. We've never had any serious problems but we've recently had issues with clients not paying and clients expecting more work than we have quoted for etc.
We are now going to start issuing quotes, getting signed contracts then invoicing on every project.
I have found a lot free contract templates online and they all seem roughly the same, so my first question is regarding contracts, are these free templates ok? Or will it be worth me hiring a lawyer or paying an online service for a bespoke contract? Also I understand that digital signatures are legally binding (here in the UK at least), do I need to get the client to 'digitally sign' the actual contract or can they 'sign' the email with the contract attached?
Ideally I would like some form of software that will keep track of all this for me, clients, projects, invoices, contracts etc. I was thinking of custom building a PHP app to do this for us, but this will probably take up a lot of my time (which i don't have a lot of!). I know there are services that do this already but everything I have found is either too expensive or doesn't do exactly what we need.
Is it worth me developing my own software to deal with all this? Or should I try and find an existing service that fits my needs? Or should I manually deal with all invoices/contracts etc and just come up with a better filing system?