We all work with the end goal that we will get paid. As a small business owner or a freelancer, you need to maintain a regular cash flow, and without it, your business can`t grow, and you can`t pay your bills.
How do you best get paid? By regular and consistent invoicing.
People often think that they will send an email or an invoice drafted in Word and they will be paid ─ just because.
In reality, invoicing is more than that, as it`s a process where you are asking to be paid for the products and services you provided. And, it’s proof that you have finished your part of the job and now it`s time for your client to do so, as well.
Over the years, I have had many problems with getting paid. I learned a lot and here are 5 tips to get you paid faster:
This is my favorite one ─ I never do things manually if I can do them automatically. It saves me time and keeps things organized.
There is no reason to send your invoice manually these days with so much innovative technology and invoicing tools around us.
You can use online invoicing tools and set up recurring, automatic payments for clients that you are billing the same amount to each time. Or, you can set up the system to send reminders for invoices that are overdue.
This way, you don`t need to think about it, as it all takes place automatically.
2. It`s All in the Details
People don`t like surprises. When sending an invoice, make sure that you itemize every part of it so your clients will know what they are paying for and there will not be miscommunication and surprises.
When sending a detailed invoice, you will get paid faster because you will not exchange many emails to be clear with your client why your bill is so big.
3. Short-term policy
When possible, set a payment policy with short terms. Depending on the contract, if you have one, some clients pay within 15 or 30 days after receiving the invoice.
Of course, some clients will go over this period. In this case, you should let them know that you will charge late fees for each day that is overdue. No one wants to pay more, so, this step will make them pay on time.
4. Keep it Professional
When someone owes you money, it`s hard to be polite and professional, and in the end, you work for money as you and are not a charity.
However, if you want to have a good reputation and more clients, you have to think twice before saying something that you will regret later.
In a situation like this, send reminders with a polite message that you expect a payment of the overdue invoice by a specific date, or you can say, please pay within 15 days of receipt to set expectations and be polite.
I think that this is the most critical step in creating and sending invoices and people keep avoiding it.
How can you manage your invoices if you don`t have them numbered? How will you ask your client to pay a specific invoice if you don`t have an invoice number?
It`s not professional to send invoices that are not numbered and also it will be hard for you to be organized.
It`s hard to manage cash flow if you don`t have a steady one. It`s even harder to have a constant cash flow if you don`t get paid on time.
Sometimes, when we do not receive payments on time, it`s usually our fault. We forget to add important information like our contact name, address, due date or to itemized the invoice.
Avoiding to add information like that means for lengthy exchanges of emails, which leads to waiting for your invoice to be paid.