You’ve gotten your first client, now how do you get paid? These successful experts share their advice on invoicing clients, including tips on when to invoice, how to invoice, and what they use to invoice their own clients.
Jennifer Martin Founder of Zest Business Consulting
1. Have a plan and stick to it consistently
In any business having a system in place to achieve your goals will help you get what you want, more often. As with invoicing clients the best thing you can do for yourself and your business is to
2. Create a ready to go template for invoicing so that you (or your assistant) can easily and quickly customize for each of your clients.
3. Bill your clients in a regular way. If you are being paid monthly then calendar a day to update your invoice and send it out to your client. You can establish how often payments are due when you sign your contract for services. Then bill accordingly based on the already agreed upon payment schedule.
4. Automate what you can. If you use software like Quickbooks or merchant card processing services they may have options for automatic billing. If your clients pay you on a regular basis the same amount every time, this kind of option can save you tons of time!
5. The best way to get paid on time is to stay on top of payments. If your client owes you money on the 15th and you don’t receive payment, STOP WORKING FOR THEM. Of course you’ll want to first handle the outstanding payment in a friendly manner, by contacting the accounts payable person at your clients business and let them know that you haven’t been paid yet.Give them the benefit of the doubt but if they don’t honor their commitment to pay you don’t give them what they aren’t paying for.
Alastair McDermott Technical Director at WebsiteDoctor
Tip 1: Invoice as soon as possible
There is a direct correlation between how early you send an invoice and how quickly you will get paid. Send the invoice as soon as feasible.
Tip 2: Don’t create your own invoices in Word or Excel, use an invoicing system
Once you start invoicing clients on a regular basis, tracking your invoices and avoiding basic accounting mistakes becomes more difficult. I use an invoicing system that allows me to create a contacts for each client and sends a PDF invoice with online payment links. The system calculates tax, subtotals and totals automatically, and lets me see at a glance what invoices are open.
Tip 3: Make payment easy
Make sure it’s easy for your client to pay – I include options for online payment with credit card and EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) by including your IBAN and BIC on every invoice. You can also offer PayPal, etc.
Tip 4: Offer an incentive for quick payment
I offer a 10% discount for full payment of the project fee in advance by EFT. About a quarter of clients take me up on this, and how this works for you will depend on your business model and services, so might not work for everyone.
Tip 5: Keep payment terms to a minimum (there’s no need to offer Net30 or Net60 for most businesses)
Tip 6: Create a process for following-up on unpaid invoices and use it
Ross Simmonds Owner of Foundation Marketing
- Offer clients the option to have a 5% discount if they’re willing to pay the entire invoice up front. You might not get everyone buying into this approach but it’s a simple tactic that can help you avoid any headaches down the road as it relates to chasing payment.
- Invoice your clients 50% up front and 50% upon completion of your projects. It shows the client that you’re serious about the work and gives you the luxury of having cash on hand before diving into the work. It also decreases the likelihood of being stiffed up at the end with an unsatisfied client.
Julie Whitney of Phillippi-Whitney Communications LLC
1.)My terms are Net 30 days. I am a stickler about being paid within 30 days of the issuance of each invoice. I charge 10% interest if it goes much beyond 30 days.
2.)Ask for cash upfront as a deposit or retainer if you are unsure of the client’s credit history. If they want to work with you they won’t mind having you bill for hours against the initial payment.
3.)Invoicing twice a month – on 15th and final day really helps the cash flow situation dramatically.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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