Let’s face it – getting paid is great, but invoicing can be a real headache for freelancers, especially designers.
But the reality of freelancing is that your success depends not just on your design skills, but also on how well you handle your invoices. It’s crucial for keeping your business running smoothly and avoiding financial issues or client frustrations.
Being professional isn’t just about your work quality; it’s also about managing the invoicing process correctly. From picking the right invoicing software and policies to choosing suitable payment methods and keeping accurate records, this article shares essential tips for effective invoicing.
By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to doing invoicing the right way, which is a key part of being a professional freelancer.
Read Also: 10+ Best Free Invoice Generators
1. Choosing the Right Invoicing Tools or Services
The first step in creating invoices for your clients is to pick a reliable invoicing tool. There’s a wide variety of invoicing software available that can help you make professional invoices, so finding the right one shouldn’t be too hard.
It’s often better to use an online invoicing service as it simplifies tracking your clients and the money you’re owed. Some invoicing tools are paid, while others are free. Whichever service you choose, ensure it has all the features you need.
Here are some recommendations:
Alternatively, you can check out our post on Top Invoice & Accounting Services for Freelance Designers.
2. Establish Your Payment Policies
It’s natural to expect payment after working for a client. However, in reality, not all clients pay on time. As a freelance graphic designer, you might encounter clients who pay partially and then disappear, or some who refuse to pay at all.
To reduce such situations, it’s important to establish clear payment policies. Consider these factors when setting up your invoicing rules:
- Which payment methods will you accept – cash, checks, online payments crypto, or credit cards?
- How much should the client pay upfront as a deposit?
- Will you start work without any initial payment?
- How long will you wait for the client to complete payment?
- Will there be late payment fees?
- When will you deliver the final work – before or after full payment is made?
Remember, these policies are guidelines, not rigid rules. Sometimes, you might need to be flexible and adjust your policies to suit a particular client’s needs.
3. Adhere to Your Policies
Clients don’t appreciate surprises. Make sure your clients are fully aware of your policies, including your pricing. Inform them promptly if there are any changes to these policies.
If clients encounter unexpected details in your invoices, they may delay payment or refuse to pay.
As a freelancer, building trust with your clients is crucial. Being transparent about your policies not only boosts your credibility but can also lead to more job opportunities.
4. Consider Your Pricing Strategy
The golden rule of pricing is never to undercharge, and it’s absolutely true. Your prices should match those of your competitors. Avoid the temptation to offer lower prices just to attract more clients.
Setting your prices too low often leads to attracting clients who demand a lot but are reluctant to pay adequately. These clients might even disappear without paying at all.
Also, decide on your pricing model. Whether you charge a fixed rate per project or an hourly rate, make sure your clients clearly understand your pricing structure.
5. Detail Services and Charges in Invoices
Ensure every invoice clearly lists the services provided and the corresponding charges. This transparency helps clients understand exactly what they’re paying for.
This clarity also aids both you and the client in keeping track of payments made and the balance due, ensuring a current record of financial transactions and completed work.
Remember, many freelance graphic designers prefer receiving payment upfront before starting a project. When drafting an invoice, be clear about whether the payment is for the entire project or just a part of it.
6. Choose Your Payment Methods
It’s important to inform your clients about the payment methods you accept.
Some clients may prefer cash, while others might opt for checks or credit card payments. The key is to select methods that work well for both you and your clients.
Here are some payment options to consider:
For many designers, PayPal is a favorite due to its convenience, speed, and security.
7. Set Clear Payment Due Dates
Many freelance graphic designers miss out on payments because they don’t specify when payments are due. Always include a due date on every invoice to minimize late payments.
Remember, having a due date is useful even for clients who usually pay on time. It adds a layer of security for both parties.
8. Include Your Contact Information
Don’t forget to add your full name, address, phone number, and email address when creating your invoice. Invoices often go through several hands before payment is made, and it’s easier if the recipient knows who sent it.
Plus, if there are any questions about the invoice, having your contact details readily available makes it easier for clients to reach out to you.
Leaving out your contact info might lead to delayed payments. Clients may also need your details for their records.
9. Number Your Invoices
Dealing with multiple clients means sending out numerous invoices. It’s crucial to have a system to monitor and organize them.
Most invoicing software includes a numbering feature, which is handy for keeping track of payments.
A well-organized numbering system helps you monitor payments, track late payments, and ensure you don’t accidentally invoice clients who have already paid. It’s a big time-saver and keeps your invoicing process efficient.
10. Maintain a Record of Your Invoices
Keeping backups is crucial in business. Without them, if you lose your invoice records, there’s no way to track which clients have been billed and which haven’t.
Develop a habit of backing up your invoice records. You can photocopy them, print them out, or save them to your computer’s local storage. The key is to have a duplicate record.
Also, keep any emails or letters related to the invoices. They can serve as an additional reference if needed, and you’ll be thankful for having them well organized.
Bonus: Follow Up with Clients
Some clients might not respond to your invoices promptly. As the payment due date nears, politely check with them to see if they’ve made their payments.
Remember to be courteous in your follow-ups. While some clients may simply forget to pay, they are generally willing to settle their dues.
Finally, be systematic in addressing any invoicing concerns from your clients. Prompt and professional responses can enhance your reputation and potentially lead to more projects.