After spending time and energy completing work for a client, there’s no better feeling than getting paid. But, as a new business, you likely have very little experience in professional invoicing. How do you create an invoice? What should be included on an invoice? There are many questions that can be bumps in the invoicing road.
An ineffective and confusing invoicing process can lead to late payments, which can put you in a financial bind. Thankfully by following proper invoicing etiquette, you can develop and maintain professional communication with your clients, which builds trust and confidence in your company.
Keep reading to learn the invoice etiquette rules you’ll need to follow as a new business owner.
Use an Automated Invoicing Process
One of the first steps to take when it comes to invoicing is to automate the process as much as possible. There are all sorts of tools that make invoicing faster, more accurate, and more efficient for business owners. By using an automated solution for creating invoices for businesses, you can follow a consistent process.
Consistency is crucial when invoicing clients. With a consistent process, clients know what to expect when they receive invoices from your company. When choosing an invoicing program, find one that allows you to create custom invoices so that you can extend your brand. Including a logo and business colors on an invoice increases brand recognition.
Always Include Contact Information
No matter if you’re sending the first invoice to a new client or are invoicing a client that you’ve worked with for years, you must always include your company’s contact information on the invoice. All invoices should include:
- Company name
- Company address
- Contact number
- Email address
- Fax number
By providing this information, clients have the information they need if there are any concerns or questions about an invoice.
When sending invoices to clients, details are a must. You should never send an invoice to a client that only lists the lump sum of what is owed to you. Sending such a bare invoice is likely to cause confusion and plenty of questions.
A professional and effective invoice must have line item descriptions for all of the services you provided, to include quantity, rate, and sub-total as applicable. For example, if you work for a marketing company your invoice may look something like:
|10 Facebook posts||$2 per post||Total: $20|
|Site content (500 words)||$0.06 per word||Total: $30|
|Logo creation||$50||Total: $50|
After providing line item descriptions for each good or service you provided, you’ll want to include a total amount due. Using the sample invoice above, the total cost due for all goods and services would be $100. Ensure this number is bold and obvious on the invoice.
Follow Set Terms & Policies
Invoices shouldn’t be a surprise for a client. When you send a bill, the client should have an idea of how much the invoice total payment due will be along with a timeframe as to when the invoice should be paid. These are details that should be ironed out and agreed upon when you first negotiated with the client.
For example, if you and the client agreed upon a 34-day payment window but this month you require payment upon invoice receipt, your client is likely to be confused and feel rushed. Never surprise clients with fluctuating due dates as this can cause accounting problems on their end.
It’s also important to stay consistent when it comes to taxes. If for some reason you stop or start charging taxes on an invoice, give your client a heads up so that they can prepare ahead of time.
Communicating any invoice changes with your client minimizes confusion and shows that your company is professional and considerate.
Mind Your Manners
At the end of the day, clients are moneymakers for your business, but most importantly, they’re humans. When sending an invoice to a client, it pays to include words such as “please” and “thank you.” Ask clients to “please pay the attached invoice by X date” and always add a “we’re thankful for your business” at the end of the message.
If a client has not responded to an invoice or is late paying it, avoid rash emails. Instead, be polite and simply remind a client that payment is coming due soon or that their payment is late.
Being polite is a great way to strengthen existing client relationships while establishing new ones. Having solid relationships with clients increases the chance of being paid well before the invoice due date.
Following proper invoice, etiquette is crucial in ensuring that you get paid on time. By following these tips and tricks, you can build professional and trusted relationships with all of your clients while also increasing invoicing efficiencies.