Professional billing or invoicing is very important for every business. Handling invoicing in the proper way will increase your chances of getting paid on time as well as help you establish a good relationship with your customers. Here are some guidelines for billing your clients professionally:
1. Establish policies
When starting your business, it is very important to create policies regarding payments. This will give your clients a clear idea of what is expected of them, thus avoid conflicts and misunderstanding. A good policy should answer the following questions:
- What is the mode of payment for your business? Is it credit cards, checks or cash?
- How much is required as down payment?
- After delivery of the final work, how many days will the customer have to complete payment?
- What is the penalty for late payment?
However, these policies don’t have to be cast in stone but should serve as guidelines for payment. Occasionally, you might have to make some adjustments to your policies in order to make room for a client. However, as much as possible, it would be advisable to stick to your policies. Customers might get angry and refuse to pay if they are not informed of any policy changes early enough. To maintain the trust of your clientele, be sure to communicate any policy changes long in advance.
2. Mention the products/services and charges
Your invoices should clearly mention the products/services offered and the amount charged. This way, the customer will know exactly what they are being asked to pay for. In addition, you will be able to keep track of what has already been paid and what is still outstanding. However, don’t make the mistake of underpricing or overpricing your products/services. Make sure your prices are within the current market rates.
3. Use good invoicing software
When it comes to invoicing software, there are numerous options in the market that you can choose from. This includes FreshBooks, LessAccounting, Blinksale, PaySimple, and Invotrak. Such online invoicing software will make it easy for you to track your customers as well as the amount of cash you are owed. Some of the software is free while others are paid services. Be sure to choose a software which meets all the needs of your business.
4. Include your contact details
When creating your invoice, remember to include your full name, email address, physical address, and telephone number. This way, the person receiving the invoice will not have to guess where it came from. Furthermore, they might require you to make clarifications on some items in the invoice. Including your contact details will make it easier for them to get in touch with you. Making the mistake of omitting your contact details could result in payment delays.
5. Keep records
If you lose your invoices, you will not have a way of knowing which customers have been billed and which ones have not. It is therefore very important to develop a habit of backing up all your invoice records. You could download them on your computer, print them out or photocopy them. In addition, be sure to preserve all letters and invoices which are connected to your invoices. In case of any problems, you will have an extra reference which can come in very handy.
Despite your best efforts in professional billing, some customers will still fail to pay up on time. To avoid this, get in touch with them before the due date and politely find out if they have sent their payments. Some customers may have simply forgotten about the payments. If they fail to pay past the due date, then you could consider taking more drastic action.