Nowadays’ technology has made it incredibly simple for freelancers to work remotely with clients from all over the world. In the past few years, freelancing has become so popular worldwide because it comes with a multitude of benefits including faster growth opportunities and the freedom and flexibility that you can’t get at a regular desk job.
It seems a lot easier to make money by running a freelance business when you get to choose your workload, control your work relationships, and simply be your own boss. All you have to do is to get your clients’ projects done in time and get paid for them. However, one of the biggest challenges of being a freelancer is, in fact, ensuring that you will get paid. Imagine you work hard and go above and beyond to get that project completed in time. But when it is time to get paid for your work, your client fails to pay you on time.
Luckily, you have a professional and organized way to deal with late payments from your customers: send them an invoice. Invoicing your clients is a professional way to ask them to pay you for your work. Here are 8 tips to help you develop more effective invoicing habits when you are running a freelance business:
1. What is an invoice?
When you are a new freelancer, you may still not be familiar with all the payment insights. You still didn’t have time to develop an effective cash flow management that will help you get paid on time while remaining professional in the eyes of your clients. One of the most proficient ways to ask your clients for payment without coming across as too cold or pushy is to create a professional invoice.
An invoice can be translated into the document that you sent to your client which includes information about your work and the cost it. This document represents a written document of the transition you and your client will make, you offer them your services and they have to pay you for them. An invoice specifies all payment details such as the payment terms and the amount your client should pay, thus increasing your odds to get paid on time.
2. What information you should include in an invoice?
The purpose of this type of document is to keep a record of all the details of the transition between you and your clients. It must clearly state what your client has purchased from you and how much they are going to pay for it. However, a professional invoice which you can get by using an invoice maker needs to have a certain structure and include certain key elements to eliminate any confusion or misinterpretations.
First of all, your invoice needs to contain your personal information such as your full name, tax ID, and contact information such as your address and phone number. Secondly, the invoice document must provide the details of your agreement with your clients including the invoice number, the date when the invoice is sent, all payment terms, and payment instructions.
3. Keep it simple to eliminate any confusion
Running a business, no matter its size or industry will imply that you have to write invoices for your clients. When you are running a freelance business, your invoices will most likely be built and sent online to your clients. However, no matter whether you send the invoices traditionally or in the online world, it should always be treated as professional as possible.
On the other hand, asking your clients for payments is already a difficult and formal task, that both you and your clients will certainly not like. Thus, you should keep things as simple as possible to eliminate any risk of misinterpretations or confusion. When including all the necessary details of the invoice, you should avoid using payment jargon that your clients might not be familiar with. Don’t use complex or abstract words that may lead to confusion, simply use common words that will get the message right to the point.
4. Remind your clients about the due date
It may be a frustrating task for you to keep insisting on your clients to pay you on time. Also, for your clients might be frustrating to be nagged about the payment terms too often. However, you need to consider that it is in your own advantage to ensure that your client doesn’t forget about paying the cost of your work.
You should never wait until the payment due date has passed to get in touch with your clients and ask them to pay you. Instead, you should send automated reminders to your clients before the payment due date is approaching fast using invoicing software. This way you will encourage your clients to make the payments in time which will eliminate the unpleasant situation when the payment due date has passed and you need to solve the situation.
5. Have detailed records to back up your invoice
When you are running a freelance business, chances are that you are going to collaborate with long-term clients that will want you to complete bigger projects. Thus, you need to keep track of your work in order to be able to back up your invoices.
For example, when you are doing freelance work, you may be charging your clients with hourly rates. You need to keep a record of how much time you work in order to prove your client the amount of money they need to pay to you at the end of your work.
6. Encourage your clients to pay you in time
Encouraging your clients to pay for your work in time doesn’t only come down to constantly remind them to do it. You also need to have a strategy in place that will make them want to respect the payment due date. You should consider setting up late payment fees so that your clients will know they are going to be penalized if they fail to respect the due date. The late payment fees can be represented by a flat fee or a percentage of the total amount of the payment.
7. Don’t be impersonal
Nowadays, using personalization with your business contacts can get you a long way and bring you many advantages. Customizing each of your client’s invoices will make them feel valued and invest more in your collaboration. You can find a number of samples for generic messages for invoices online. However, they can seem too impersonal and can easily get overlooked.
If you are aiming to create a long-term relationship with our clients, you should add up a little bit of personalization into your invoices to create a stronger bond between you. you can personalize your invoices by including a link to something they showed interest in or a few final words about your pleasant experience during your collaboration.
8. React well to late payments
Late payments can be frustrating when you have worked incredibly hard to complete your client’s project on time. However, you should never react with a threatening or aggressive language until you know the reason behind it. Perhaps your client has simply forgotten to send the payment or they did but there was a problem with your bank. You need to give your clients the opportunity to explain the situation and encourage them to look for the best solution together.
Getting paid on time for your work should go without saying. However, it is also your responsibility to frequently and efficiently communicate with your clients and explain your payment expectations and terms clearly.