Invoicing: Make sure this is someone’s job, if you are the business owner preferably not yourself.

  1. Make sure you do a good job
  2. Communicate upfront with your customer before any work has been done exactly what they should expect.
  3. Have a contract with all your Terms and Conditions signed by them
  4. Invoice immediately, that is straight after the job is completed

I can’t stress how important it is to invoice straight away.

Therefore, you need to have a system for this that is easy to use and a reliable person to use the system.

Who in your business is responsible for making up the invoices? This is one area many businesses fall down, they take too long to send out the invoice, usually because it left to the wrong person to do it.

Make sure you have an automated way to create invoices and set aside time each day to do it, or have someone do this for you, a freelance bookkeeper may be a great choice for this role or if you are doing a lot of work you could employ a bookkeeper. Have them send the invoice immediately and then follow up to ensure the customer received it?

These elements help to build trust.

Most accounting software has a numbering system, use this wisely and code your customers, also put this on the invoice. Little things like these make it known to your customers that you are organised and know what you are doing. 

Make sure your invoice is well itemised, put everything on it, you can also attach a copy of the quote that was provided (you did provide a quoted didn’t you?) Make reference to the quote on your invoice.
Customers don’t like surprises and your invoice is not the place for them, don’t use it as a way to add extra charges that have not been agreed upon.

Honestly, this is one massive problem for us as debt collectors, clients doing extra work that has not been agreed to, it is one of the biggest causes of disputed debts resulting in non-payment. Many times we have seen a customer get their back up and refuse to pay the whole invoice because one element was added that wasn’t agreed to before the job was started.

Check for errors before you hit send, errors are another way to delay payment.

On your invoice, have easy payment options and give lots of choices. How your customers pay you may depend on the type of customer they are, is it business to business or business to consumer?

Consumers are more likely to click and pay if the option is on the invoice when sent electronically, where a business may be more likely have a formal method, like online banking. But don’t guess give lots of option no matter who your customers are.

  1. Online banking
  2. Paypal (I love PayPal it so easy and you have record of all your transactions)
  3. Eway payment gateway is a good credit card option

In summary:

Make sure invoicing is some one’s job if you are the business owner preferably not yours. Don’t put any surprises on your invoices. Check for errors before sending and give plenty of payment options.

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