As a freelancer, you probably know that your work isn’t really done until you’ve created an invoice and billed your client for the services that you have performed. Unfortunately, for small businesses and those who work on a freelance basis, invoicing isn’t always a priority. Despite the importance of ensuring you get paid for your work – freelancers often have a lot to do – and invoicing can be a headache of a task.
Fortunately, the freelance world doesn’t have to be so worrisome. The following tips should help you to make the most of your career, and ensure your cash flow remains steady as a freelancer.
1. Know Your Worth
This is by far one of the most important things to think about as a freelancer. You decide how much you charge for your services – and you want to make sure that you’re getting fair compensation, while still ensuring that your prices are competitive enough to secure customers. Before you can begin invoicing, you need to answer a few important questions, including:
- How are you going to charge for your services? Do you want to be paid hourly, through a flat-rate for services, or by word in the case of bloggers?
- Do your rates change for specific “extras” that your clients might want?
- Have you factored in additional expenses such as materials?
2. Make Your Terms Clear
Once you have an idea of how much you want to charge for your services, the next step will be to ensure that your clients agree to your terms. The last thing you want is to not be paid for your work because of an issue with terms and agreements. Your terms should include information on how much your work is going to cost, when it will be completed, and when you will expect payment to be issued.
3. Use Professional Help
If keeping on top of your bookkeeping and ensuring that you invoice clients on time is getting to be too much trouble during the course of your career, then you might need to consider getting extra help. For the sake of invoicing, while it might not be difficult to develop your own template using programs like Microsoft Office, programs like Xero can help to save you time by giving you pre-approved professional templates to use. This way, all you have to do is fill in the details of the work you have completed, along with the information required for payment. Xero can even send invoices out automatically, alongside reminders – so you can focus on running your business.
From a bookkeeping point of view, accessing professional assistance from a virtual bookkeeper can save you both time and money, while ensuring you make informed decisions about your finances.
Though the above three tips might be the main pieces of guidance that you should keep in mind when invoicing as a smaller business or freelancer, there are a few extra tips that we can offer that might help to make your life a little easier too. For instance:
- Remember to invoice instantly: This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to ask your client to pay what they owe you immediately – instead, it simply means that you’ll send out an invoice following a project. Getting the invoice out of the way quickly is a good way to ensure you get paid for your work, and that you don’t forget about important bookkeeping processes.
- Follow Up: Don’t wait until your invoice is a month overdue before you send an email to your client asking what’s up. Invoices can be overlooked, so remember to send out reminders using systems like Xero to politely push people into sending you the cash that you’re owed.
- Be Polite and professional: Simply saying “please” and “thank you” can be enough to put your clients in a much more generous mood. You don’t want to threaten them into giving you money – simply remind them that payment is owed. At the same time, remember to check for errors in your invoice that might lead to misunderstandings or delays regarding payment.
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