Cash is the fuel of your business and in order to continue operating, you need to get paid.
One of the most common ways a business collects payment from a customer is by sending an invoice.
In this article we will discuss exactly how to send an invoice that maximizes your chances of getting paid on time.
It is best to send an invoice immediately after the work has been completed because, normally, the faster you send out the invoice, the faster you can collect payment.
There are many different ways to send an invoice to a customer with the current most popular method being though email.
Businesses enjoy sending invoices through email because the message is sent instantaneously and their is also proof that the invoice has been sent with an exact time stamp.
Other methods of sending an invoice include traditional mail, hand delivery, or invoicing software that can create invoices for you.
Your invoice will need to include a few pieces of important information such as what the invoice is for, the amount to be paid, and the due date.
Other information you will want to include on your invoice has been listed below.
It also important to be very clear with your customer about how you will invoice and what the payment terms look like before completing the work to ensure that you are both on the same page.
Engaging in open communication about payment terms prior to sending the invoice will help to increase payment rate and speed of payment.
It is best practice to send an invoice immediately after the work has been completed to ensure you get paid as fast as possible.
However, if you are working on a large project it is normal for a business to send out invoices on an interval schedule (ex: every two weeks).
Also, if you work on retainer or offer a monthly subscription then you would send a monthly invoice depending the terms of your agreement with your customer.
Sending an invoice by traditional mail is still a widely used practice but also comes with several challenges.
Traditional mail is much slower compared to email and less secure as well.
Further, it is possible to have an old address for a customer or even just copy the address incorrectly.
Sending an invoice through traditional mail is one way to get your invoice to your client, but know that there may be betters ways of doing this.
Sending an invoice by email is almost instantaneous and also guarantees that your customer will at least receive it (assuming the email address is correct).
Also, when sending an invoice through email you will have proof that the email was sent with an exact time stamp of when the email was delivered.
As long as you type in the customers email address correctly, sending invoices through email is an excellent option to get paid.
With online invoicing software you are able to create a link that will automatically take the customer to a payment page in which they can pay the invoice directly online.
Most invoicing tools also allow you to track when the customer has opened or viewed the invoice so you can stay on top of your past-due payments.
It is standard practice to include a short message when sending a customer an invoice.
Within this short invoice email it is important to include any relevant information, such as what the invoice is for and an associated invoice number.
Besides the invoice itself, the subject line is going to be the most important part.
Choosing the correct wording for your invoice email subject line will increase the chances that your customer sees the invoice and makes payment as soon as possible.
In the subject line, be sure to reference the customer's name, your company's name, the invoice number, and what the invoice is for.
The body section of your email can be short and to the point.
Usually just a greeting and a short sentence about the invoice will be enough here, no need to overthink this part.
Subject: "For Bob, Invoice #1234 for Landscaping work completed 5/25 by ABC Landscapes
Body: "Hi Bob, Here is invoice #1234 for the landscaping work completed on 5/25. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks."
If you give your customers more than two weeks to pay an invoice then it may be a good idea to send a gentle reminder as the due date approaches in order to increase your chances of receiving payment on time.
No need to overcomplicate this, just keep your email friendly, short, and to the point.
When sending an invoice, be sure to send it immediately after the work has been completed in order to increase your chances of timely payment from your customer.
Also be sure to include all necessary information such as your company, the customer's name or company, the invoice number, due date, and amount.
Some businesses still send invoices through traditional mail but due to several drawbacks to this method, most businesses choose to send invoices via email or with online invoicing software.
Be sure to send reminder emails to customers as their invoice due date approaches in order to increase your chances of receiving your payment before the invoice becomes past due.
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