Dealing with customer billing is more than just a challenge of freelancing, it’s the whole point. Freelancers work to get paid, no client should expect you to provide your services for free, it’s simply not how business functions. However, billing does become more complicated when you’re an independent contractor or entrepreneur.
Small business owners wear many hats, you can’t count on a billing department to chase down your unpaid invoices anymore. Every small business owner needs proactive measures in place to ensure their financial success. Below are 3 concepts we recommend considering when devising your personal billing process and policies.
1. Be Accurate. You may have done outstanding work, but if you sent an incorrect bill why would you expect it to get paid? Accuracy is vitally important to any billing system. Incorrect bills create confusion, slow down payment, and look unprofessional. Before you send any invoice, triple check it for 100% accuracy!
2. Be Immediate. The sooner you send an invoice after your work is complete, the more likely you are to get paid. It really is that simple! If you wait months to send an invoice, you’re essentially telling your customer that receiving payment isn’t that important to you. Often, they will pay will the same sense of urgency – make billing and invoicing a priority.
3. Be Frequent. People get busy. They forget. They lose invoices. There are a hundred of reasons why a customer might not pay an invoice, it's your responsibility to remind them! Make it a practice to send billing reminders REGULARLY. Even better…use an invoicing solution that automates personalized reminders (we know a good one). We certainly don’t mean to harass your clients, but gentle reminders let them know that you have no intention of forgetting what you’re owed.
Remember, people make choices all day every day. What to eat, what to wear, and who to pay. In managing receivables, you don't always need to get paid first, just don't get paid last!