People usually are focusing on finishing the project and not the part of being paid because they typically think that it`s a simple process, but it`s not.
Common mistakes that we are usually making when creating the invoice can delay our payments, and we are not aware of that.
During my career, I have learned how to invoice the right way and to make sure that I get paid in the right away.
To help, here are the dos and don’ts of invoicing:
The Dos of Invoicing
♦Make Sure You are Clear
Include all the relevant information like your full name, address, contact number, the name of your company and tax id if you have one.
When sending an invoice, make sure to understand the process and not make the client angry. Do you want zip files to be sent to you? Of course not; sending a nice PDF will do the trick.
♦Numbering the Invoices
We wrote a special article about this, so make sure to read it here. Make sure that you are consistent in numbering each invoice so you can keep track of them.
Specify when your invoice is due. Otherwise, as we have said several times, it will mean that your client will pay you when they can. Make sure not to avoid this step and to be clear when you want to receive payments.
Many invoicing tools have a section for special notes where you can write something to your clients. It’s usually a “Thank you for your business” or can be something original that represents you.
♦Add a logo
If you work with a client who has many employees or several freelancers, having your own logo on the invoice can catch his eye, and he will recognize you, as it will be like your personal stamp or trademark.
Everyone likes a gift. Send a coupon code or two articles for the price of one; I did this a couple of years ago during the Christmas season. I said it was in the spirit of Christmas and the willing of giving during that time of the year. My client loved it, and it resulted in giving me a Christmas bonus.
The Don`ts of Invoicing
♦Don`t Make any Surprises
Nothing on your invoice should be a surprise to clients. Make sure you have listed all the items and summarized your total amount. When your clients see a itemized invoice, they will know what they are paying for.
♦Don`t Wait too Long
Have you finished the work? Great, now send the invoice. If your client has a billing cycle, make sure to respect that and send your invoices during that period. Otherwise, you should send your invoices as soon as you finish your work.
♦Don`t be Angry
The client hasn’t paid you, or they have changed their terms regarding payment. If this happened, you should be a professional and never call or write clients in anger. Make sure that you have in writing your payment terms, late fees and billing schedule, and you will avoid complications like this.
♦Don`t wait too long to follow up
It happens that clients are not paying the same day for so many reasons. It can be a personal reason that they are dealing with, it can be that they are out of town or that they are low on cash flow. Whatever the reason, they might not know until you politely follow-up.
Invoicing is never easy, and it is a process that takes time and patience to learn. People are neglecting the invoice process thinking that it`s only an email or a Word file that they need to send, but the reality is that it is more than that.
The way you invoice and the way you are dealing with late payments tells more about you than you think. You can represent yourself as a professional, or you can react and be angry and lose your clients.
Hope that these dos and don’ts will help you to manage your invoicing processes.