We all have a love/hate relationship with invoices – they’re a bit of a chore and mean more paperwork that we don’t really have time for, but we also wouldn’t get cash in the bank and make our business profitable without them. So to really streamline your invoicing process and make it easy for you and your clients, we’ve put together some handy tips.
1. Make sure you’ve got the right contact details
This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s important to get clear on who exactly you need to be sending the invoice to. If it’s a husband and wife team, will you send it to both of them, or does one handle the accounts, or has been taking charge of this particular job? Make sure you also have the correct spelling of their email and the right phone number – there’s no point sending an invoice out into the ether where it won’t be seen or paid.
2. Send invoices out ASAP
You’ve just finished the job and you’re looking to the next one, but it’s important to invoice as soon as you can, ideally as soon as the job is done. If you leave it for later, you might forget about it – and the later you send it, the later you get paid, particularly since the client is likely already moving on to the next thing too. It might seem a bit forthright to just hand the invoice over the second you’re done, but it encourages the client to get it sorted right there and then while they’re thinking about it.
3. Include as many details as you can
Yes, this takes more time, but it will mean you get paid faster as there won’t be as much back-and-forth querying what exactly is being included in the invoice. The best thing to do is to begin with the problem, i.e. some faulty electrical wiring, and then end with exactly what you did to fix the problem. If you break everything down clearly, there isn’t really room for questioning or misunderstanding, so it’s likely that it will get sorted much quicker. You should also make your payment terms very clear, and outline what steps will be taken if a payment is late.
4. Keep it simple
The easier you can make it for the client to pay, the faster the money will be in your account. Keep in mind that many people prefer to use credit or Eftpos cards so it might be worth investing in a portable card machine to ensure you can get paid on the spot. There might be a bit more of a cost here to implement something like that, but if you’ve got money coming in quicker and you’re saving time, we definitely think it’s worth it.
5. Always follow up
If you haven’t been paid by the specified time, make sure you’re following up with the client as to why that is. It doesn’t have to be an interrogation, it’s a chance for you to see if there’s anything you can do to make it easier for them to pay – this might mean offering a payment plan, or taking a payment over the phone. If they’re still not sorting the payment, remind them of your late payment procedure so that they understand what will happen if they don’t pay.