Sometimes, no matter how amazing the work that’s done, businesses are not getting paid in a timely manner, or worse, not at all. It often has nothing to do with the quality of work, but has everything to do with the pattern and style of invoicing. Your diligence in invoicing can be as important as the quality of work completed. And while your business is not invoicing, your business does depend upon invoicing being effective. Rather than recreating the wheel, follow some of these simple steps to insure successful collection of your money almost every time.
Invoicing can get very complicated (net terms, late fees, payment options, discounts, taxes, etc.). If you want to get paid, remember these three things and you’ll get paid: Accuracy. Recency. Frequency. A.R.F. Invoice like a dog and get paid.
Clients depend on you to be accurate with your invoice. Fact: If an invoice is not correct, it will not get paid. Some clients will contact you to let you know that a mistake may have been made. But many times, inaccurate invoices are completely ignored. Some clients will not call about an inaccurate invoice, they will simply throw it away until an accurate invoice is provided. In which case, you may never even know that you’ve made a mistake (or that the client believes a mistake has been made).
The sooner that you send an invoice after work is completed the more likely you are to get paid and paid on time. This is because the work is fresh in the client’s mind and they are prepared to make payment. It also shows the client that getting paid is a priority. You did the work. Now it’s time to get paid. When you send an invoice months or even weeks after a project is complete, your customer will pay with the same sense of urgency. The more recent you send an invoice, the more likely it is to get paid.
Let’s face it…we all get busy. Things get forgotten. If invoices are not paid on time, have a set schedule for re-sending frequent reminders. Even better…automate reminders. If you send invoices via email, scheduled invoice reminders are absolutely critical simply because emailed invoices can easily be lost in a crowded mail box. You don’t want to harass your customers with reminders. But you want them to see that you have a process…you are not going to forget…and you expect prompt payment.
Yes, things like terms, taxes, payment options, etc. are all very important. But if you invoice like a dog (A.R.F.), you will get paid.