They say people remember two parts of a project most: the beginning and the end. Invoicing comes at the end. It’s important for your reputation and your wallet that you get invoicing right. Though the real work may be done, it’s important to treat invoicing with the same professionalism as the project.

The following post reveals the proper way to handle invoicing.

Use the Best Software for the Money

A freelancer needs good invoicing software. With good software, everything you do while invoicing will be accomplished within the software. Make sure it’s capable of managing your needs. It’s also good to think to the future. Clients appreciate it when you use the same invoicing software with each invoice. They know what to expect from you. Consider customizing the invoice so it looks really neat and unique – especially if you’re a graphic designer. Remind the client why they hired you.

 

Be Clear on the Services Provided

This is the most important part. Make sure you are specific on exactly what you have done for the client. Spell it out (literally) but without being too wordy. Clients will feel better about paying an invoice for “The redesign of three pages on website + the complete redesign of the Google+ page” rather than “graphic design work.” This also makes it easy on your client. They won’t need to wonder what it was you did for them. As a freelancer, your job is usually to make the clients life as easy as possible.

Create and Stick to Your Policies

You’re invoicing. So obvious you’re running a business. Remember that. Create policies and stick to them. If your last invoice said “due in 30” and your most recent invoice says “due on receipt” your client may feel rushed and confused. Did they not pay fast enough last time? Don’t surprise your clients with things like no tax on one invoice and tax on the next one. If you do need to make a change (understandable) then inform them ahead of time. It’s an unwelcome surprise having to pay more than they expected. It’s the same as if they informed you that you would be paid less than expected. Good freelancers attract good clients.

Include Your Contact Details

You may be on a first name basis with your client. But whoever does their invoicing may not know you from any other freelancer. This means that if they have an invoicing question, you should make it easy for them to contact you. Include pertinent information like web address, email, phone, etc.

Make Paying Convenient

The best way to get money from a person is to make it easy for them to give it. This is why those late night infomercials accept tons of forms of payment. They want your money so they make it easy for you. It’s also why many freemium software services require your credit card information. Because once you give that, it’ll be easier to enroll in the premium version when you are prompted in 30 days.

You probably want money from your client. That’s why you’re invoicing them, right? So make it easy for them. Include a PayPal pay link. Or make sure they have your bank numbers. When it comes to invoicing, the work should be done – for both of you.

I like to accept whatever method is easiest for the client.

Politely Follow-Up

You can decide whether you follow-up before the invoice is due or soon after. Most invoicing software will do this for you. Remember that legitimate businesses have a reputation to uphold. Don’t get worried about them not paying. It’s likely a technical issue.

I hope you know more about what it’s like to politely invoice your clients. It’s not difficult. It just requires a little planning and a little finesse!

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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