As the owner of a small-sized or medium-sized business, it is never easy to make and send invoices. You feel concerned about coming off as unprofessional or desperate by choosing to send an invoice too early. On the contrary, waiting too long can interrupt the cash flow of your company.
It might seem more convenient to send invoices before the delivery of services or goods. You receive your payments upfront, which removes the concern of missing your payroll.
But this won’t work in case your customer doesn’t feel satisfied with the provided service and desires an adjustment.
Ultimately, invoicing your customers should depend on the type and method of service. Along with that, other factors like the relationship with a client or customer, and your business necessities play an important role as well.
First of all, you should start utilizing a high-quality customer invoice software solution. Modern-age technologies are capable of making invoicing a convenient and easy-to-manage process.
Most commonly, small and medium businesses send invoices after completing a job. This is what most consumers expect nowadays. So, they prefer paying for goods after selecting them and for food after getting the order delivered. Similarly, consumers expect invoices after the completion of a service.
If your business deals with small-scale jobs or you have just started your business, this option makes complete sense for your business. You can choose to invoice your customers after successfully completing a job.
Services such as handyman, plumbing, HVAC and others can adopt the on-the-spot invoicing method. These services usually require clients to stay on-site, which makes immediate invoicing possible.
Here are some valuable factors to consider when you choose to invoice a customer right after the completion of a service.
Be upfront about payment-associated terms: Help your client understand the terms of paying for a service. Let the customer know the method of payment such as credit card, cash, or check. Similarly, ensure that your customer knows that he or she is supposed to pay in full immediately after job completion.
Arrange a professionally-made invoice right after a job: You can’t waste your customer’s time after impressing with a professional-quality job. So, you need to provide an invoice at the end of a job. But, this invoice can’t be a random paper. You need to convey professionalism with the method you choose for invoicing. Hence, you should use a customer invoice software solution to send digitally created invoices to a customer instantly. This will showcase your business more professional and credible to clients.
Allow credit card payment: In the age of digital currency, most people don’t carry hard cash these days. It would be convenient for your customers if you accept payments through credit cards. It will help you improve your cash flow speed as well.
If your business involves large-scale jobs like lawn fertilization, painting, landscaping, or window cleaning, this method will work well. This method of invoicing is also effective when you hold a professional relationship with your customer or wish to begin a customer relationship.
After fulfilling the responsibilities of your job, you can send an email to ensure customer satisfaction along with the invoice for the job. This way, you can avoid late payments and disputes, which motivates customers to book your services again in the future.
Here are the steps to follow when sending an invoice after 2 days of work completion.
Follow-up with an email: A follow-up email should reach your customer right after work completion. This email needs to notify the customer about the completed job and ask about their satisfaction level. In case, a customer isn’t happy with the provided work, give that customer a call to resolve the problem.
Obtain confirmations of a client’s satisfaction: Using email or other contact methods, you can send a professionally-made invoice within 1 to 2 days. Don’t forget to mention the due date for the required payment. The standard duration is 14 working days.
Online payment option: Using a reliable software solution, you should be able to create personalized invoices automatically. The payment option should include online methods to make quick payment transfer possible for every customer.
Maybe you have customers who acquire work on an hourly basis regularly. For such services, you can send bi-weekly, weekly or monthly invoices. Recurring services or commercial contracts like house cleaning, tree care, lawn mowing, and others can utilize invoices once or multiple times per month.
Depending on your customer and business type, you can choose the terms of payments. Customers who are loyal to your services will prefer getting only one or two invoices per month.
When a customer books your recurring services, convey all payment-related terms. Then, ensure high-quality work as per the scheduled time and send invoices bi-weekly, weekly or monthly.
Sometimes, it would make more sense to send an invoice before starting a job for your customers. This is commonly called a prepayment or deposit.
Here are the conditions when prepayment works better:
1. When completing a job requires a significant amount of materials or equipment.
2. When the job is based on a large-scale contract.
3. When project milestones are predetermined.
4. When a client has a tendency to not pay on time. 5. When your business needs the flow of cash.
All in all, the correct or incorrect method of invoicing customers depends on the business model you have along with the type of services and relationship with customers. Keeping that in mind, you should assess all the factors to choose whether to invoice before or after completing a job for your customers.
But, no matter what time you choose, your invoicing method has to look professional. There are invoice software solutions available these days targeted to small as well as medium-sized business models. You can obtain such a technology to create, distribute and monitor all invoices.