Invoicing can be a painstaking process.
For those who’ve had difficult clients in the past, it’s especially frustrating…as it seems as though anytime after the invoice is sent, communication slows and becomes muddled.
Proper invoicing techniques will not only help ensure you get paid quicker but to the terms that you establish that ensure your business is running smoothly. This is really where the value of your work is captured, which is why it’s such a staple part of the business process. And to help ensure you’re getting paid fair and square every time, we’ve compiled a few tips on the best invoicing practices. Check them out below:
Before you even write-up your first invoice, it’s important to have all the specific terms in your contract beforehand to ensure you’re getting a fair shake. Depending on how you’re pricing out your services, there are a number of different items you should include to cover your bases, such as:
- The allocation of time or services in accordance with your price. For example:
- Charging per hour/month/week
- Charging per item (I.E.: A logo, financial audit, or article)
- Cancellation terms (for example, giving a two-weeks notice)
- Costs to be reimbursed by the client
- Late fees
- Special circumstances that require higher fees (for example, rush delivery or on-call fees)
Although there are certain general consulting agreements you can find online, it’s best to go over with a lawyer the specifics of each deal you’re aiming to compile. Not only will they be able to point out things you may have overlooked, but position the language of your contract to ensure all the necessary provisions are covered.
Once all your parameters for working are set, it’s time to map out what needs to be included on your invoice. Here are some of the most common:
The Date It Was Created and Sent
This helps with organization, as well as initiates when you’re allowed to consider the invoice ‘late’. Usually placed at the top-right corner of the invoice.
The Due Date
Another pretty straightforward term, the due date is determined by your contract, whereas you can state it’s due immediately (often written as “due upon receipt”), or due in 30, 60, 90 days, etc.
Your Business Name and Address
Usually placed at the top left corner, your business name and address help identify who you are.
Customer Business Name and Address
Under your business name, most people place a “Bill To:” followed by their business name and address.
A reference number is helpful in organizing and keeping track of your invoices (especially if you send multiple to the same client). One helpful way to write it is the date (I.E.:0810 for August 10th), followed by a keyword, then the serial number (I.E: 001, 002…so you can invoice multiple people on the same day regarding the same project). Finally, this also enables you to assign a unique ID to clients to ensure that sent payments are matched properly.
The Services Or Products Charged
Just as you would see on any other receipt, an invoice always includes the services/products provided, cost per item/hour, any multiplier rates, or extra fees. It’s important to be as detailed in your itemized services/products as possible to help avoid confusion from the client.
Bank Details/Multiple Payment Methods
This is perhaps the most vital part.
Whether you’re getting paid via check, ACH, PayPal, or cryptocurrency, it’s important to list out the necessary information you feel comfortable transacting with your client. By giving them multiple ways to pay, you’re able to both get paid quicker, as well as leave them with fewer excuses if they aren’t as trustworthy as you initially imagined.
Late Fees/Other Notes
Finally, most invoices have a section under your charges for terms of late fees or other miscellaneous notes. If there was a special circumstance where you had to charge more for something uncommon, this would be the place to map out your reasoning. Especially if you envision this invoice to be used in court, getting a thorough explanation upfront will be crucial to proving your case later on.