3 Tips For Quality Invoicing That Encourage Timely Payment
Are you a freelancer?
If yes, then you probably already know that good invoicing skills are not an option for you!
After all, how timely or untimely clients pay you depends largely on the kind of invoice you share with them.
What Constitutes Quality Invoicing?
Part of what makes you a professional and gives you an edge as a freelancer is the ability to create/send a comprehensible invoicing system.
Do not make assumptions or leave anything to guesswork. Your job is to remove the confusion/guesswork out of reading an invoice; not add to it.
One quick look at an invoice should tell your client –
What payment method you prefer
The due date for the payment
The exact amount they owe you
Often beginner freelancers wonder how to send an invoice via email.
You do get a variety of options to pick from. Some may sound more effective than others depending on your industry. Read on to see all available solutions –
Sending it as an email attachment; the DIY route
If you like to keep it simple and basic, stick with Google Sheets or Excel Spreadsheet. See to it that your invoice includes all essential fields like -
Date of issue
Client name and contact information
Details of services
Discount (if any/applicable)
Cost per service
Serve fee and taxes (if applicable)
Total amount due
Late fee (if applicable)
Do not leave out on the preferable payment method. Include your payment address if you use digital payment services like PayPal and Stripe. Pay special attention to AVOIDING TYPOS. One misspelled word can make you lose your payment and hard work.
Save the invoice as PDF so no one can change the information. Attach the PDF file into the email. It’s better to include the invoice number in the subject line.
The body can include a note along the lines of, “Please find the attached invoice for October. Kindly remit the payment to the address mentioned in the invoice. Thank You”
Note – Since the whole process is manual, the responsibility to send reminders will fall on your shoulders. Also, know that this style of invoicing is highly prone to incorrect keystrokes and typos.
If you are sending some personally identifiable financial data, do not send email invoices. They are unencrypted and unsecured. If the payment is going via Direct Deposit or directly to your bank account, certain project types and industries may not accept email-based invoices.
Professional Billing Services and Invoicing Software
This is another way to invoicing via email. An invoice generator takes a lot of work out of this otherwise tedious/manual process. Typically you can pick from a variety of templates in which you can fill in all the relevant information. Much of the language in invoice templates come pre-filled which removes a ton of effort. It’s one of the systems you need to skyrocket your freelancing career.
Benefits of Using Invoice Generator/software
Option to integrate expense tracking
Ability to discern how much profit you are making as a small business
Better cash-flow management
Awareness of total amount clients owe you
Information about pending freelance bills
The best part of using an invoice generator service is - easy integration with digital payment platforms like PayPal, Chase Pay, Zelle, and Stripe. Clients can just click a button to pay directly through their business account which cuts down on the number of steps involved and time taken to make the payment.
Built-in functionalities also avoid chances of typos and mistakes so your money doesn’t end up in a wrong account. Sending reminder is also easy with an invoice maker.
However, on the flip side, often these services can be expensive for beginner freelancers or those that only have one or two clients.
Weigh the pros and cons to see if it hits the sweet spot in terms of ROI.
Freelance Management Toolkits
A freelancer management suite such as Bonsai gives you the perks of dedicated billing functionalities. Translation? You can set up custom invoice templates for different clients, send them securely, and track the money from all channels.
Companies design these suites/toolkits with the knowledge that most freelancers don’t have hundreds of clients. That is why the often price their services rather reasonably.
Often these systems incorporate other elements of freelancing that enable you to earn more and be more professional.
Benefits of Using Freelance Management Toolkit
Setting your expectations right in terms of what you charge
Option to create bespoke service proposals
Project milestone management for different clients
Gives you the big picture of the entire project
Easy billing with a one-click option
Unpaid invoices will automatically trigger a reminder/alert to your client after the due date. You can customize such a courtesy reminder at any time.
The best part – these suites are available at more or less the same pricing as bookkeeping services.
So, Which One Is The Best?
Let’s just say what is best for you may not be for another freelancer. It all boils down to your budget, number of clients, expectations, nature of the business, industry, etc.
Freelancers who are short on time often find that good invoicing practices saves them time and billable hours which they can devote to more productive business activities.
If you find yourself spending too much time on administrative tasks like invoicing - you may want to explore professional invoice creator and management toolkits.