8 Tips for any creative agency to invoice clients correctly
Invoicing a client can be a challenge. No matter how smoothly the project went, when it comes to payment, there may be some issues on both ends. The way you invoice your clients will affect your professional relationship. It can even make or break customer retention.
Whether you are a photographer, artist, or graphic designer, video creator who uses online video editor platforms, here are tips to help improve your invoicing method, making sure that your client's needs are met and that your creative agency is paid right and on time.
Clarify payment terms in the contract
The best way for both parties to have a clear understanding of the costs and payment terms of a project is by stating it in the contract. Discuss those terms in your conversation even if they are already within the document. This way, you can be sure that there is no confusion or misunderstanding on the part of the client. It would also be a good opportunity to ask if the client has special requests.
The payment terms should include a policy about late payments, whether the invoice will be sent by mail or email, and if they will be paying by check, credit card, or in cash. By giving them such choices, you are showing them that you are willing to accommodate their preferences. Now, that is one way to provide customer service.
A deposit is essential
It is not uncommon to ask for a deposit, especially for large-scale projects. The deposit serves as a security for both parties. It gives you something to start the project with, while also assuring you that the client is more likely to pay invoices without delay and resistance. As for the client, it gives them the assurance that you are ready to get started.
List down all the details and specifics of the project
Be very specific about all the details of the project and put them all in the invoice. Break the project down to give the client an idea of what individual components are involved and what they are paying for.
If you are a graphic design company designing a logo for a client, include details about the logo’s colors, font style, and special characters, especially if these are custom-made. If you are a wedding videographer or photographer, mentioning details like “same-day video editing with highlights, photo slideshow, and framed photo” will help clients understand why your charges are what they are.
Include contact information of both parties
If you are dealing with a company, make sure that the invoice is being billed to the right person. It is important to ask to speak to the financial team or purchasing department and find out who is in charge of payments.
If your client refuses to provide a phone number or physical address, this may be a red flag. You should both be able to reach each other when necessary. Also, include your contact information in the invoice so that the client, or anyone who is in charge of making the payment, can easily contact you if they have concerns about it.
Specify terms for late payments
There is a significant time difference between reviewing and signing a contract to when the project is completed and the balance needs to be settled. It is important to understand that there is a huge possibility that the client won’t remember the payment terms that you discussed.
To make everyone’s lives easier and to avoid unpleasant penalties, you should include the late payment terms in the contract at the bottom of the invoice. This will help refresh their memory and encourage them to pay on time.
Submit the invoice as soon as possible
There is quite a debate as to when to send an invoice to the client. Should you send it right after the project has been completed? Or should you wait a week after completion? The answer is “as soon as possible”.
If you have delivered the project and completed everything you have discussed and specified in the contract, prepare the invoice and send it to the right person immediately. Showing that you are a little hesitant to bill them will only give clients the impression that you are unsure if you have completed the job correctly. If you want to get paid on time, send the invoice on time as well.
Send the invoice online
This will depend on whether the client prefers receiving the invoice by email. If they choose the electronic path, then good for you and your agency. Not only will online invoices save you time and money on sending paper documents by post but you’re also able to get the invoice across instantly, helping speed up the payment process.
Just make sure that the invoice is in a format and file type that is easy to access and download. Keep the layout simple to make it easy to read and navigate as well.
Use an invoicing software
Although the traditional method of invoicing is still acceptable, you get to save time and energy while eliminating mistakes when you use invoice software. Choose a software that allows you to automate one-time and recurring invoices with ease and simplicity.
Using invoicing software helps smooth out the business workflow of your agency while giving your client a seamless experience, especially when it comes to payments. It will also keep a record of your transactions, secure all financial data, and keep track of client payments if you are working on two or more simultaneous projects.
Get paid quickly and easily
Invoicing your clients is no walk in the park. But with these tips, it can be. Establishing a clear and consistent process for invoicing can help guarantee that you get paid before the deadline. It also makes the process less frustrating for both you and the client.
A seamless invoicing and payment process can help build a good professional relationship between you and your client. It shows that you can be trusted and that you are not a pain to transact with. Getting paid on time is also very motivating for you and your team. You can say goodbye to those days when you have to chase a client down for unpaid projects.