Oftentimes getting an invoice paid is harder than the work you just completed. After all, it’s not exactly easy to track down overdue payments. But what if there was a way to receive payments on-time more frequently? This can be accomplished if you stick to a consistent invoicing etiquette. With invoicing etiquette, you can create and maintain professional communications with clients while increasing your odds of getting paid on time.
Use the best software for your small business
First, make sure that you’re using good invoicing software in your firm. This software will handle and manage all of your invoices so you can focus on growing your business the smart way. However, recipients will appreciate the consistency of you using the same software when issuing bills.
The reason? It lets them know what to expect from you and they’re comfortable using the software — they also trust that it’s secure.
Also make sure that the software lets you customize the invoices so that they stand out, such as being able to add your logo or change the colors and font. Customizing your invoices can also help clients remember why they hired you in the first place.
Set your terms up front and list your services
An invoice should never contain any surprises. In other words, when a bill arrives, the client should at least expect a ballpark figure, as well how and when the invoice should be paid. This is should have all been discussed during the negotiation process.
Most importantly, make sure that you list all the services that you provided. If you sold products, then you would list all the goods that were sold. This way the recipient can clearly see what they’ve been charged for.
Create and stick to your policies
Creating invoice policies and sticking to them is a part of the game. For example, if your last invoice said “due in 30” but the latest invoice states “due on receipt,” then clients may feel rushed and confused.
Don’t surprise your clients with things like fluctuating due dates or having no tax on one invoice but tax on another. If for some reason you must make a change, then inform them before sending the invoice.
Provide contact information
Whether you’re sending an invoice to a first time customer or to someone who’ve worked with for ten years, always include contact information. It’s a simple way to alleviate any questions or concerns in the event that there’s a problem with the bill.
At the very least, your invoices should always include your business name, address, phone number, and email address. This way your customers know exactly how to get in touch with you if they need to.
Make paying convenient
Want to ensure that you always get paid on-time? Then make it as easy as possible for people to pay you. Accept a variety of business payments include pay links in your invoices, and make sure that they have all of relevant information. For example, if they’re paying you with an eCheck, then they’ll need your bank information.
With that in mind, you also shouldn’t assume that your clients will be using your preferred payment type. You may be cool using a gateway like PayPal, but they may prefer ACH. Ask them how they want to pay you and be a little flexible with them.
Say “please” and “thank you”
It’s been found that invoices containing a simple “please pay your invoice within” or “thank you for your business” can increase the percentage of invoices that are paid by more than five percent!
It’s believed that being polite helps establish and strengthen relationships. And, when you have a solid relationship with a client, they’ll be more inclined to pay you quickly.
Ask for half payment up front for large projects
Do you have a client that wants you to work on a large and time-consuming project? Don’t hesitate in asking for a payment upfront. In fact, it’s normal to request at least half upfront.
Asking for a down payment protects you from the consequences of tardy payments and covers expenses as you’re working. For the other party, it ensures them that you’re going to complete the project in a timely manner.
When a client doesn’t pay your invoice, it’s your responsibility to follow-up. While most invoicing software will send automatic payment reminders, there will be times when you’ll have to contact the client personally.
Instead of threatening them or screaming at the top of your lungs, keep your composure. Remember, it’s not professional for you to act that way. And, again, being polite is a guaranteed way to maintain strong relationships.
Call Scott A. Kunkel, CPA PC today in North Richland Hills at 817-498-1040 to have a chat about your business.
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