Plutio - How to invoice clients professionally

How to invoice clients professionally?

July 16, 2021

You decided to leave your regular (and safe, but a bit boring) white-collar job and freelance your way to success - that is a great start! Being a solopreneur is an exciting journey. It is always amazing when you take a different path from others and rely purely on your talent and creativity. It can be both liberating and scary at the same time to start making your own path to success.

You are probably already noticing the benefits of being your own boss, and you are working on perfecting your skills. You are finally experiencing true freedom, and even being tired doesn’t bother you because you feel content at the end of the day. Yet with all these amazing changes comes a bit of anxiety. Questions you are probably most concerned about are of financial nature.

The world of invoicing is still incredibly complex - but we will help simplify it! Don’t get drowned in a never-ending sea of papers, instead learn how to surf on it with more style. 

Conquering the invoicing chaos

Financial concerns are always lurking somewhere in the background when you are working as a freelancer. You are worried if the payment will get there in time. It will eventually, but when? Invoices tend to be late (about 29% of invoices), and there is always a possibility of mistakes. Deadbeat clients? Of course, you will encounter these mythical beasts with their set of excuses, that is for sure. 

In the worst-case scenario - invoices are sometimes lost. Do you know that the average time for invoice processing is around 28 days?

Bills will be there in time, that is for sure. 

As a freelancer, you need to learn to tame the invoicing chaos and think ahead. Once you are a well-established expert in your niche, you are well informed about all the expenses of freelancers and self-employed workers - it is the right time to learn to invoice clients professionally. It is not complicated as it seems; follow our steps, and invoices will flow smoothly.

How do you write a professional invoice?

Before you find a great client and commit to it, it is time to think about your invoice process and set up the rules. The first step is standardizing your invoicing process before you even begin. Set your expectations and think of the best ways to invoice clients.

Setting up the foundations for establishing a great invoicing practice

Start with making a great outline of your freelance contract that will definitely meet your expectations. Things you need to consider:

  • Are invoices sent for partial payments, or everything is expected to be paid in full.
  • You expect your invoice to be paid in which time frame - is it 30 or 60 days or something in between? Be honest about your expectations.
  • Are there any repercussions of missed payment deadlines? Are there any late fees?
  • What happens if there are new changes in the contract? What if there are revisions to your current project that are going above or beyond your invoiced amount. 

Once you get all the answers to these questions, your clients will also be happy with the entire process standardized. 

Be detailed and precise about your services

Leave nothing to interpretation. Your invoice needs to contain all the essential information about your services that everyone can understand clearly. Avoid lengthy explanations. Your invoice needs to contain which services you provided, their pricing, and payment methods. 

You also need to include your contact information, relevant details of the project and important dates, cost of your services, payment due, potential discounts, and how the payment should be made.

Remember that accuracy is the key in this process, and you need to look at the potential typos and mistakes - they are mostly to blame for late invoices.

Offer more payment options

Your clients will feel more comfortable paying for your services if you let them pick their favorite method. Find the method they are most comfortable with and be flexible - companies will appreciate it. Find the middle ground that can suit you both. 

Options are numerous - PayPal, EFT, Stripe… even bitcoin in some cases. Remember that most of these systems have their fees, so find the opportunity that works the best for you in the long run. Clients will maybe choose one method for the first month, another one for the second month. It is imperative to keep the communication channel always open to agreeing on what works the best for both of you.

Uniformity of your invoices will leave the impression of professionalism

You want your customers to remember you - lookup for modern invoice template options and solutions. Customize your invoices, play with custom fields, include your logo and color palette. Use modern solutions and leave the lasting impression that you are a professional. 

Always include all your important contact details in the header. Your logo should be in the left corner of the header.

Using a professional invoice template will even inspire companies to pay your invoice more promptly. Consistency is the key, and you will make sure that you are doing everything right every month.

How often should I invoice my clients?

The rule about invoices is that you shouldn’t wait very long. You need to invoice very often and, if it is possible - earlier. Never wait for the last minute or for invoices to pile up. 

Instead, set the date when you need to send your invoices and set the reminders. You can fax your invoices, send them via mail or send them automatically via email if you have a reliable invoicing software solution. If you can- send multiple invoices during the month to assure a steady flow of money. When sending invoices, it is also crucial that you know who you need to contact. 

Also, remember to track your invoices, no matter if they are already paid or not. Keeping your invoices in order will help you follow the critical milestones in your projects.

Be polite

Being polite is scarce in the business world, so it is very welcome for you to express your appreciation. If you own an invoicing software, a thank you note will be a great addition. If you are doing things manually, a personalized email that the payment is received will be enough.

When a customer does not pay your invoices on time

Remember to handle this situation professionally. Situations like these are bound to happen sometimes. When the invoice is not paid on time, it is always the best guess that there is some sort of error. Skip assumptions, and instead of getting into conflicts - focus on invoice transparency. Follow up when you notice that something is off. It is happening on a regular basis that companies sometimes lose track of your invoice so reminding them is the natural reaction.

On the other hand, if something is not right after you have sent a follow-up - it is time to discuss it with your client.

It is okay to discuss it with your clients to remind them of the terms of your contract. You need to locate if there is a problem with their cash flow and avoid issues like these. Remember to be open-minded and listen. If you are waiting to be paid for a milestone in your project - it is okay to hold while the situation is resolved. 

It would be best to always keep the balance between your stable cash flow and maintaining excellent relationships with your clients. 

One invoicing solution to rule them all

Keeping track of your invoices and sending them manually is one of the most tedious tasks, not to mention very time-consuming. If you are at the very beginning of your freelance or self-employed journey, finding a reliable automated invoicing solution can be a great way for your thriving business.  

Never miss sending the invoice, offering different payment methods and currencies, customizing your invoice, and keeping track of them. Our intuitive invoicing solution connects every important aspect we mentioned above. Think about getting new clients; we will think about you getting paid promptly.

We already say that being proactive is the most important thing when you are a freelancer. This sound investment will save you a ton of time so you can focus on what is essential.

Grow your business, not your overhead.

All the tools you need in one intuitive platform. No more juggling between apps.