13 Invoicing Tips For Freelancers To Actually Get Paid
Dealing with late payers is awful. Nobody likes to chase clients, especially freelancers because we usually have more hats to wear. The time we use to collect money is time we don’t get back and we could be using to bill another client.
That’s why I compiled a list of tips to invoice clients and increase our chances of getting paid on time. Here you go!
1. Research your client
Before you start working with a client, do your job and see who your client is. See what people on social media are saying about them. Go to forums and see if past employees or freelancers are complaining about them.
Getting to know your client will help you to avoid a headache. It’s a red flag if you can’t find anything about them online. If you can’t find social media accounts, a website or references, be careful.
2. Get paid first
To minimize the risk of working in exchange of nothing, ask for an upfront deposit. Depending on the size of the project, you can ask from 30% to 100%. If you have a solid reputation your client won’t think twice in paying you.
Avoid working with a prospective client who refuses to commit to the project. If he or she’s not willing to pay you an upfront payment, you’d better pass on the job.
You could offer a warranty for upfront payments in case your client decide to cancel the project before you start doing any work.
3. Automate the process
Invest in an invoicing tool. It helps you to send invoices immediately to your client’s email and notifies you when you have a payment receipt.
You could break the project down in smaller phases to invoice your client for each stage of the project and improve your cash flow.
If you’re not ready to spend money on an invoicing app, you could use this awesome free invoice template to invoice your clients.
4. Contact the right person
Sometimes your contact person is not the person in charge of paying the bills.
Instead of waiting until your contact sends the invoice to the payment manager and making the process more complicated that it has to be, make sure to send a copy of your invoice to your contact person and their accountant.
Ask for their accountant’s email before starting the project, so you can have it way before you need to send the invoice.
5. Add your payment terms
Be clear about this with your clients. You must include the due date, your preferred payment method and finance charges for late payments.
Also, if you usually give 2 weeks to your clients to pay you an invoice, reduce that time to 1 week. Play with it until you feel comfortable with the way your clients are responding to your terms.
As freelancers, it’s rare to give a client 30 days credit. That’s why it’s smart to send smaller invoices and get paid frequently for every stage of a project.
6. Integrate your payment platform with your invoicing tool
A good way to make payments easier for your clients is to integrate your invoicing app with your payment account.
Use popular platforms like Paypal or Stripe to redirect invoices to your account and get paid immediately.
Remember that these platforms usually take a small percentage of your payments, but that’s nothing compared to a late payment and the bad payers nightmare.
7. Include business information
Always add to your invoice these details:
Your tax ID
You Skype/local phone number
Contact’s phone number
8. Detail the product or service
Avoid charging your client for "Design" or “Web Developing”. They already know that.
If you have a regular client who always needs multiple services, this isn’t helpful. Gives as much detail as you can. It’s better to detail the service as "Brochure Design For Christmas Campaign December 2014 Product X".
9. Be friendly
You catch more bees with honey than vinegar. Always be polite and friendly with your clients. Learn the payment manager’s name, involve it in the project and contact them every once in a while.
Always call your contact person and/or the accountant when you’re sending them an invoice. This way you avoid the excuse "The email got lost in the way". Wait in line until they receive the invoice and ask if they have any questions.
10. Notify your client if they’re asking for changes out of the project scope before doing any more work
If you realize your client is asking for work out of project scope, notify them immediately. Don’t send a surprise invoice with all the details without them even knowing.
This will decrease your chances of getting paid and it will probably make your client angry.
11. Make early payment discounts
When you deal with big projects, you could use this as an incentive. Make 5% or 10% discounts for early payments.
This works great with $5K-$10K projects. Don’t make discounts for smaller invoices because it won’t have that much of an impact to your client or to you.
12. Use estimates and proposals
You should always give proposals and estimates to your clients before the project begins. You may include things like deadlines, delivery items, revisions and other considerations.
This is helpful because you can refer to this when talking to your client about the invoice. Here’s a free quote template you can use, that you could convert to an invoice later.
13. Follow up
Don’t forget to follow up. Send the invoice, pick up the phone and tell your client you sent it.
Remember to tell them the invoice due date and call them a few days before is due to remind them about the payment. Better safe than sorry, right?
Do you have any other tips? How are you handling your invoicing and payments with clients? We’d love to know more! Feel free to tell us in the comments section below
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