Invoicing done right without the headache
Every customer wants to be at the top of your list. They want to get everything done quickly, done right, and done cheaply. When they get the invoice, they realize that they can only pick 2 of the above 3 options. When it comes time to getting paid, it is important to realize that you need to charge what you are worth. There will be less snags in getting the client to pay you what you are worth if you have all your invoice ducks in a row.Invoicing software
First, you should realize that many of the steps I am going to recommend are going to be the same for every invoice. If you get invoicing software then you can automate many of the more redundant steps. Having an invoicing software tool also means that you have easy access to your financial information wherever you are. If you haven’t already, move away from paper and go digital! I have put together a checklist of the items that you can automate in an cloud accounting software program first. Just implementing the below will get paid more quickly.
- Your company’s information: Make sure that your company’s billing contact information is present on the invoice and that you provide on your invoice is accurate. Your company information should be the at the very top.
- Your client’s information: Make sure that you include the address of your client on the invoice so that they know it is for them. This is also a good exercise even if you aren’t mailing the invoice because it gives you an excuse to call them and make sure that all of your information on file is up-to-date. Of course it probably will be up to date but now they also have a heads up that you are sending an invoice over.
- Logo: This is optional but I personally highly recommend that you brand everything about your business, including your invoices.
- Detailed line items: Nothing helps speed up the payment process faster than being transparent about what you are charging for. First break your line items into two groups: items and tasks.
- Items: This should include hard costs that you are passing along to your customer. It also includes any physical items that are a necessary for their requested order.
- Tasks: These line items have more to do with time of the services provided. For each line item, describe the service that you performed, how long it took you and how much you charged per hour for the service.
- Terms: Your client needs to know how soon you expect to receive payment. Make sure that you aren’t giving them an out of delaying payment. Typically terms are listed towards the bottom of the invoice where you have the total listed.
- Notes: This is a good opportunity to customize your note to your customer. Building returning business means keeping a human touch on your business.
There are other best practices that are a little harder to implement manually that are more a question of how you interact with your customers. For example, you should send an email copy of the invoice to your client when you have a face-to-face meeting with them. That way you can confirm receipt.
The other crucial part of invoicing that will help speed up the process of payment is collecting 50% of the invoice up-front and withholding any deliverables until you have been paid in full.