Invoicing is one of the most tedious processes any small business owner has to do. At the same time, it’s one of the most crucial tasks you have to do. After all, you don’t get paid if you don’t invoice your clients!
Thankfully, with a few tricks and tips, you can blast through those invoices with ease. Let’s dive straight in.
10 invoicing tips and tricks for small business owners
Invoicing doesn’t need to be a headache. After all, it’s your money that you have worked hard for. You deserve it! The following tips will help you get paid on time while maintaining a positive relationship with your clients.
Provide quotes and agreements prior to invoicing
The journey to stress-free invoicing starts before you secure a contract. Every business agreement should include steadfast figures, including guidance for potential extra expenses. This will help you avoid hassle and potential disagreements when you invoice your client.
Most invoice disputes involve unexpected expenses. The project went over budget, it required more resources than expected, or the project took longer than predicted — all these and more are disputes you’ve likely run into. Be proactive with all customers by making sure they understand what the work will entail, the costs associated with this work, and the potential for unexpected costs. Do this before signing any agreements to ensure everyone is on the same page before starting a project.
Not only will this make the invoicing process run smoother, it sets expectations early. This can help your client understand how you work and what to expect going forward with any agreement, which boosts satisfaction and rapport.
Set clear payment terms
During the negotiation stages, make sure to set out clear payment terms. This helps set expectations before going into a formal agreement while also ensuring that you will be paid correctly and promptly.
Key information to include at this stage includes details on how to pay, due dates, and any additional fees that the customer may incur due to late payment. If you’re selling a specific product, any applicable warranty and return policies are worth mentioning.
Make your invoices specific
The key to getting paid fast is to make your invoices easily identifiable.
Your client will likely have a million emails and files labelled “invoice”. This makes it incredibly difficult to find a specific invoice, even with computer search functions. The more detailed your invoices can be, the easier it will be for your client to find them.
Start with the basics. You should include a unique reference number to help you and your client find specific invoices. This reference number should also be used to identify payments. The invoice should also include contact methods, including postal address, email address, and phone number.
Don’t be afraid to get specific when listing items on your invoices. Your clients can gain a better understanding of the work you do if itemise everything. It can also help customers understand the value you provide by putting financial figures on each task.
Move from manual to automated Invoicing
It’s 2022. It’s probably time to stop using paper invoices.
Even if you’re only sending out a couple of monthly invoices, it’s still a long process that gets even longer by printing and posting physical invoices. You’ll also be wasting money on postage, paper, ink, and envelopes when you could simply email your invoice.
Using the right software can make the process even easier. For example, Workhorse lets you keep tabs on your invoices with our simple invoices tab. Combined with Xero, your invoicing process can be a breeze. You only need to input your data once to update both platforms and quickly email the invoice to your client.
Be polite and positive
No one likes to pay for things, so invoicing clients can, unfortunately, create conflict between you and your client. Try to view invoicing (and follow-ups) as an opportunity to interact and build rapport with your clients.
It’s fairly simple to do this. All you need to do is speak to the client like you would any other person. Just because you’re trying to get money from someone doesn’t mean you can’t be nice. Be polite and use basic manners throughout the invoicing process to ensure that your tone seems friendly rather than demanding.
Don’t forget to follow up on any payment with a thank you!
Brand your invoices
Branding is important. It sets the tone for your business and helps clients remember you in the future. So, why do we see so many standard invoices?
Don’t be afraid to incorporate your branding into your invoices. How your clients see your invoices is influenced by which colours, fonts, or templates you choose and can help them easily connect your invoice to your company.
Workhorse lets you create a standard invoice template that automatically pulls in all the design elements you need to help your (digital) paperwork stand out!
Create an invoice template
Work smart, not hard! Stop wasting time creating invoices from scratch and create a template of your invoice. This allows you to quickly invoice your clients using a familiar format without creating a brand new invoice every single time.
If you need invoices for a range of services, simply make a template for each type of transaction.
Invoice upon completion (don’t wait around!)
It may feel a little pushy, but it’s best to invoice as soon as you complete a project or delivery. Leaving it a couple of days allows clients to forget about paying you. And the longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to get paid.
By creating and sending your invoice straight away, you both have the project fresh in your minds, you know what you’re charging for, and the client understands why they’re being charged.
Offer a range of payment options
If you want to be paid quickly, you need to offer clients a quick and easy way to pay you.
There are many ways to pay, including bank transfers, cheques, cash, and a huge range of internet-based payment gateways. Offering your clients a range of payment options will make it easy to pay you from whichever platform they’re most comfortable using.
Don’t be afraid to follow-up
Trying to get your clients to pay up can feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re running a smaller business. You may be tempted to take a back seat to avoid coming across as demanding and awkward, but you need to follow up on unpaid invoices to avoid being short-changed.
While it may feel like demanding money is aggressive, it’s your money. You performed a service or provided a product — you deserve the money you earned.
Say goodbye to boring, and hello to automation
Sometimes it can feel like all the key processes you need to perform to keep your business afloat are some of the most tedious tasks. The good news is that you don’t need to feel hampered by monotonous tasks.
With Workhorse, you can automate the dull daily admin and start focusing on what really matters! Plus, with Xero integration, you don’t have to worry about learning new financing software or transferring your records to a new platform.
Enjoy running your business again, with a bit of help from Workhorse. Request a demo today!