Billing clients can prove to be a tedious and tiresome task, and for some, it can be one of the major downsides of owning a business.
But it doesn’t have to be!
The key to staying on top of billing your clients is having a plan.
A well-crafted strategy will help ensure you’re paid for the services and/or products you provide in a way that suits both you and your customers.
When developing a plan to bill your clients, you need to address the following five details of your billing process:
1. Go Paperless
From increased organization to faster payments, there are plenty of benefits to going paperless.
I would argue that in our fast-paced, technologically advanced society, there are no disadvantages to making the switch.
In fact, choosing to continue using increasingly archaic paper or Excel-based systems could prove to be detrimental to your business.
There’s an increased possibility of misplacing important documents, making avoidable manual processing errors, and lacking instant access to your records.
But lucky for you, making the switch is easy!
If you have a small business and are new to online systems, there is invoicing software out there made just for you.
We recommend using Freshbooks to start.
Hubspot even offers free Customer Relationship Management software, which can help you enhance your overall sales approach!
Now, you might be wondering whether or not the switch will cause your business to lose clients, especially if you have a substantial amount of regulars.
You’ll be relieved to know that going paperless will not only make things easier for you, but also for your customers as well!
This simplicity will attract more clients while also keeping your current clients satisfied with the newfound ease.
Unfortunately, there will always be clients who want to desperately cling to outdated ways.
Don’t let them stop you from going paperless!
Invoices are a critical part of any business, especially when it comes to getting paid.
They provide your customers with a detailed list of the services and/or goods you’ve provided and the expected payment.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to have a professional-looking invoice that is succinct and well-organized.
The easier your invoice is to understand, the happier your customers will be!
While the thought of crafting an invoice from scratch may sound daunting, don’t let it intimidate you.
There are plenty of templates available online for free that you can use as a guide.
However, don’t let templates box you in!
Feel free to add your personal flair to your invoice by including your business’s logo, matching the colors to your brand, and even adding a little note of appreciation!
While designing your invoice make sure it includes all the relevant details such as:
- Business name
- Contact information (address, email, phone number)
- Invoice number (make sure each invoice has a unique number!)
- Itemized breakdown of services and/or products
- Total amount due
- Due date
- Basic client information (name, address, etc.)
Clarity is key!
Keep industry jargon to a minimum and use terminology your entire clientele will be able to understand.
When you plainly state the above information, you lower the chances of puzzled clients coming to you with preventable questions.
A neat and personalized invoice will show your customers that you care about their experience and are thankful for their business.
We’re all familiar with the phrase “time is money,” and implementing the above billing tips will surely save you a great deal of time.
But why not take it even further by automating parts of your billing process?
One of the great things about automation is the fact that you can apply it to however much of the billing process you’d like; it’s completely up to you!
The most effective way to determine what your business should automate is to think through which tasks are mundane and repetitive.
For example, sending out recurring invoices or routine payment reminders are two jobs you can easily automate.
And if you’re using a cloud-based system, like the ones previously mentioned, you’re already halfway there!
Not only will you save time with automation, but you will also avoid making costly errors that might occur when manually processing invoices.
Imagine how much more time you can spend growing your business rather than just managing it when you automate your billing process (not to mention the extra $$$)!
4. Online Payment Options
The success of your business relies on your clients paying you, and more importantly, paying you on time.
If customers continue to submit late payments, there can be adverse consequences for you like an inability to pay your own bills.
A simple way to combat late payments is to provide customers with online payment options.
In this day and age, people can manage their money matters entirely online if they want.
It’s efficient and they never have to leave the comfort of their home (if they have wifi, of course).
So when you offer online payment options for your business, you make things more convenient for both your customers and yourself.
Additionally, you and your clients won’t have to rely on time-consuming, outdated payment methods, such as sending checks or cash.
And they’ll love you for it!
There are a handful of online payment providers to choose from and each has its pros and cons.
So, do your research and determine which provider best fits your particular business!
5. Review & Feedback
Once you’ve implemented the above adjustments, it’s important to review your overall billing process.
Ensure everything is how it should be and then give it some time for the changes to take effect.
But don’t forget about it!
Schedule time to regularly review and assess the results of the changes to determine what worked for you and what didn’t. Then make more adjustments as necessary!
One way to see how well your process works is by asking customers for feedback.
This is incredibly important because when your clients are satisfied with your company, they are more likely to work with you again and recommend you to their friends!
Therefore, it’s crucial to allow your clients to share with you what they did and did not enjoy.
While you can include questions about their experience as a whole, make sure to include questions about the billing process as well.
This will provide you with valuable guidance on which aspects of the process you can improve on!
Staying on top of billing clients can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be!
By addressing these five details, you are already making strides towards perfecting your billing process.
Just remember to keep in mind that every business is unique and what works for one may not work for another.
Always consider the needs of YOUR unique business when designing the process of billing your clients.
Additional articles you might be interested in:
- 5 Leadership Skills Essential To Owning A Successful Business
- 5 Must-Have Qualities Of A Perfect Invoice
- The Best Benefits Of Customizing Your Invoices
- 5 Ways To Keep Your Business Growing
- 7 Idealistic Ways Your Business Can Start Saving Money Today
Sarai Lopez is a senior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Spanish and Communications with a focus in rhetoric & culture. She loves learning, sharing her knowledge, eating just about any sort of chocolate dessert, and listening to all genres of music. One day she hopes to open her very own bakery.