So when do you really bill a client

It might seem like a trivial thing to ask right, but when do you bill a client? It's awkward when you have finished a project or task, and then they approve but don’t actually say, “so how much do I owe you?” You don’t want to be rude about it but yeah, you’re kind of entitled to be like ‘erm, so payment…when?” The thing is though, how you ask for payment is just as important as when. Sometimes clients might want more work from you and they’d rather pile it all into one invoice. Maybe a client isn’t happy with the work and if you have already sent them the bill, they will feel like they’re being shortchanged. Or if you leave it too long, they might forget or suddenly, have a different take on the events that took place, and then haggling ensues.

Ask and you shall receive

Firstly, you need to be out in the open, asking if they LIKE the work you have done. It's very important to keep asking if they are satisfied with the work.

  1. You will have proof in emails or text messages that they do in fact like the work and approve of the quality. This is useful for legal purposes.
  2. They will feel as if you care. A client that is asking you how the work they have done you, is fairing in their eyes, is a sign of courteous professional.
  3. They will have a chance to tell you what to improve or change. This way they cannot pay, and then have buyers remorse. This can avoid a bitter ending and future work from them, being made redundant.

Keep it simple Jack

Oh, the woes that many clients face when it comes to the invoice is so annoying. Clients can sometimes put off payment because they don’t like the invoice itself. Obviously, they will read it before they pay you. If it's complex, cluttered, and not very well laid out, it can feel like a hassle to go through. So, show them an initial invoice using this sample invoice template. This can be to show them how the tally of their orders is picking up a size or it can be to give them a taste of what is to come when they are ready. It can be very alleviating to know that your client’s invoice is going to be simple and easy to read. Not just for tax purposes but because they can know that you will make things clear when you or they are ready to make the transaction of goods and services.

Not when they are…

Here’s when not to ask for payment…

  • When they are really busy. It might seem like this is absurd but if you know that they are in the middle of a deadline week, it's best to wait for a little until it's over.
  • When they are ordering more products or services. It's business etiquette to ‘let them finish’ before you ask for payment.
  • When they seem enthusiastic about future prospects working with you. Continue the conversation about future projects, leave payment for another email.

Knowing when to bill your clients is just as important as how you do it. Be patient, use a good invoice service and make it easy.

Photo: Nastya Gepp, Pixabay