So your business finished another terrific project, and the client couldn't be happier. You just sent out your final invoice, and that's when you see it: a glaring typo that snuck right by you.
Invoice mistakes can not only delay payment, they also make your business look unprofessional. The good news is that these mistakes are easy to avoid. Here are five to watch out for.
1. Vague Invoices
Your invoice should have an itemized list that clearly explains each product and service. The person responsible for paying the invoice may not be familiar with the details of your project, particularly if your client has a dedicated accounts payable department. By itemizing your invoice and clearly explaining what each payment is for, you can help prevent a delay because the client doesn't understand the bill.
2. Not Including Payment Details
Your invoice should clearly state the payment deadline and how you prefer to be paid (for example, by check, money order, online transfer, in installments, etc.). Include this information in writing, even if you've already discussed everything with your client. People forget, and the person looking at the invoice might not be familiar with your payment terms.
3. Surprise Fees
Sometimes, you need to add extra fees to the price you originally quoted. For example, you may need to do this if a project takes longer than expected. However, you should never add extra fees to your invoice without letting the client know first. Otherwise, it can seem like you're trying to sneak something by them. Letting your client know about the extra fees as soon as you can, not just on your final invoice, can help avoid any confusion when they receive the bill.
4. Careless Errors
If your invoice has a spelling error or is addressed to the wrong person, your client might be left wondering just how careful you were with their work. Meticulously review every invoice before sending it out, and, if possible, have someone else perform a final review so these basic errors don't make it to your client.
Also, invest in a professional-looking invoice that includes your company logo. If you want help designing one, you can use an invoice generator like Square. A solid last impression can help make it more likely that the client will work with you again or send referrals.
Most of the time, the sooner the client receives your invoice, the sooner you get paid. So why delay? Sending out an invoice as soon as you reach a payment milestone can help you get paid faster. If the client is late on a payment, remind them right away. If you are late in sending your invoice, the client may think that payment is not a priority for your organization and take longer to pay.
You and your team worked hard to successfully complete your project, and it would be a pity if avoidable invoice mistakes delayed or jeopardized your well-earned payment. By being transparent and sticking to a schedule, you can help keep your client relationship healthy and happy.