At its simplest, an invoice is an outline of a service/product provided and the costs due. Your invoice needs to be much more than this to ensure that you get paid the right amount and on time. An invoice needs to document all of the information that your client needs to avoid any delays in payment.

Never make assumptions

It may sound obvious but ensure that your company logo and address is on the invoice, along with your clients’ address. There is no doubt that your clients will see numerous invoices a week, make sure that it is obvious which one is yours. You can’t automatically assume that the client will remember what work you have done, try to include as much information as possible and any reference numbers/purchase orders if applicable. Make is clear when the work took place and include specific dates.

Be prepared to defend the cost

People will always try to get a good deal. If you quoted a price weeks or even months ago, it is likely that your client will question the price. Make sure you are ready to reiterate how much work you have done and the quality. For example, instead of listing “Design of artwork” on the invoice list “3 days – design of logo, leaflets and marketing campaign”. That way the client is under no illusion how much work you have done. If you have given any discounts, then do not hesitate to highlight them – everyone likes to feel that they have been given a good deal.

Tie up any queries

Issues with customers can go on for weeks and potentially delay payments. Add a notes section to your invoice so that any loose ends can be tied up. For example, “Reminder – Meeting arranged for next week to discuss final changes” this will reassure your client that you are on top of any changes but you still need to be paid for any work that you have done. Include your contact number as a quick phone call can easily resolve any questions your client may have.

Set a payment date

Late payments and non-payments can cost you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. Make it clear what payment terms you will accept. 30 days may seem like the norm but you don’t have to use them if it doesn’t suit your business. Some businesses do have regulations that they insist on, but in the instance where you can set your own payment date, don’t be afraid to ask for seven or even zero-day payment terms.

Be prepared for the excuses

There can be times when a client will not pay, or try and delay payment dates, you need to prepare for that. Having a contract in place before you begin work will give you something to refer to in the future if there is a problem. Include all of your account details on the invoice so that can be no excuses.

Commercial Domestic Investigations are debt collection experts.

With over 30 years of experience in the collection and enforcement of outstanding debts. We understand that bad debts or unpaid invoices can stifle the growth of your company. Chasing debts internally and using staff within your company can be a waste of resources and sometimes fruitless.

Commercial Domestic Investigations highly trained staff work to industry best practice when it comes to the collection of outstanding invoices. Highly motivated, our account managers work closely with business owners to understand issues and assist with maintaining payment of outstanding debt.

If your business is suffering from unpaid invoices, contact Commercial Domestic Investigations for an informal chat about the services we can offer.