You’re probably wondering why asking people for money is something that is more likely to make them come back again? Surely, at the very most, paying someone is the inconvenient consequence of using their wonderful services?
Well in fact how you invoice someone is a big mark of your professionalism – it forms a piece of the complete customer experience, any problems with which can lead to unhappy clients, potentially bad feedback, and lost business.
For example, when I moved house a few years ago I hired a company to help me move boxes from the old location to the new – and I was very lucky to have a moving allowance from my employer to do this. The move went really well, but I actually just needed the final invoice to claim the money back, and no matter how many emails I sent, or times I called that invoice was just not forthcoming – and I nearly lost my allowance (and I certainly lost my patience).
Five years on, I’m about to move again – and I’m having second thoughts about using the same company, even though everything else went off without a hitch…
In this quick guide we discuss a few tips to keep up your invoicing game, and make sure it’s just one more reason for your customers to come back.
Get your terms of service sorted
These can have a few different names, terms of service, terms and conditions (T&Cs), invoice payment terms.
Whatever you call them it’s worth getting these right – your terms are there to protect you but they also offer reassurance to your clients about what to expect. For example, how long will they have to pay you, will they have to pay for your petrol, what happens if they don’t pay in time or need to cancel?
Scroll to the bottom to find out how to download our terms and conditions template.
Stick to your terms of service
No one likes surprises – if you start adding extra charges or changing how you price without giving your client advance warning, this could result in bad feelings or in the worst case they may end up refusing to pay.
This is why it’s worth a) spending some time getting these terms right and b) making sure your client has read and agreed to them. You can do this by sharing you terms when you invoice, or even have a contract with terms of service that they sign when they engage you.
If you’re invoicing brides keep it as stress free (for them) as possible
Weddings are a tremendously stressful time, especially for brides who are often balancing tight budgets while trying to keep multiple balls in the air. Having complete transparency and quick service from you will be a huge relief for them and really set you apart.
Many makeup artists invoice in advance of weddings and take a deposit to secure their services. Make sure you get this your brides quickly so they’re not stressing about missing their chance to book you.
But make sure when you do send it that you set clear expectations that they must pay you to secure you! (see the aforementioned terms). And if they don’t pay a polite, professional reminder of what they could be missing is totally fine.
Similarly many artists take the balance prior to the wedding day – and again this should be made clear to brides well in advance so they can factor this into their budget. You can also nudge them gently as the date approaches.
Finally, your professional invoices show that you’re a pro
As your business develops if things are going well you’re going to be taking on bigger clients and potentially working with bigger businesses.
If you do a great job for an important client, make sure you follow up with a great, professional looking invoice. It helps them feel happy that in working with you, they’re getting someone reliable, who runs a tights ship and is above all going to behave professionally. This is especially important for corporate clients who don’t want to be chasing unpredictable freelancers, and will pay the extra for someone they can trust.
To keep things professional, don’t send an editable word document – be sure to convert it to a pdf, and check the formatting hasn’t been corrupted in some way by the conversion.
Indicate how long the client has to pay you (usually no more than thirty days, and in this era as little as 7 days can be fine) and be sure to include all your contact details as well as clear description of what they’re paying for.
Finally get the invoice out promptly – for many businesses being able to assign spends promptly in the month they occurred is useful for their bookkeeping and accounts.
What are you waiting for?
Drop your email in the box below to access our template terms and conditions.