Why small businesses should send professional invoices
Your customers are unique, and have different needs and requirements. That means you need an invoice that is flexible enough to capture all you do for each customer. At the same time your invoice needs to be clear and easy-understand so your customers know exactly what they are paying for.
As a small business it’s also extremely important to appear professional and experienced. A well-organized, attractive invoice reflects positively on your image and brand, and adds to your outstanding reputation as a small business owner, no matte whether you are in photography, consulting or construction.
- Look through our wide range of invoice templates in several beautiful designs and colors
- Pick the invoice that suits your small business and download the invoice template in the format you use, such as Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets. It’s free!
- Insert your small business name and all of your up-to-date contact information
- Add in your fantastic logo, website address, and any other promotional graphics
- Insert your client’s name and contact information
- Generate a unique invoice number and add it on
- Put in the invoice date, and if appropriate, the date the work started and finished, or the duration for which you provided your goods or services
- List your products and/or services, with a description and cost for each
- Don’t forget to list any materials or miscellaneous costs that are charged to the customer, including descriptions
- Add lines to make sure the invoice covers all your costs. The template is easily customized to meet the specific requirements of your small business
- If you are including a discount for loyal or first-time customers, add a line explaining the discount so your clients know you appreciate their business and are giving them a special price
- Calculate the total price, including applicable tax, and enter the total at the bottom of the invoice
- Include your payment terms, such as the methods of payment you accept, and the payment due date
- As a small business owner you want to encourage repeat business, so always thank the customer for their business, and add a personal note that will make you stand apart from the competition
- Save a copy for your records – and send the invoice to your client
When is the right time to send an invoice to your small business customers?
The right time to send your invoice varies with the type of goods or services you provide, and the type of customer. If it’s a stand-alone order or project, many small business owners invoice upon completion, especially if it’s for a long-time, repeat customer.
But if it’s a complicated order, or a project that will span a long period of time, you could request partial or even full payment up front, especially for new customers.
Whatever payment period you choose, make sure it’s clearly noted on each invoice, and clarify what portion of the final ‘cost’ has been paid to date.
Invoicing tips for small business owners
While you might want to appear as polished and professional as a bigger, more established company, don’t pretend to be one. Emphasize the benefits of working with a small business instead – such as greater customer care. Your customers will appreciate your transparency and honesty.
Include professional recommendations
Customers appreciate professional recommendations on any future services or goods you think would be beneficial to them. It shows you are sharing your expertise, and that you value their business. If you write a blog or have been featured in one, include a link. Take the opportunity to add a few lines to promote your business while you have the customer’s attention.
Include a ‘payment due’ date
It’s a great way to gently and professionally encourage on-time payment. Always give a clear indication of when you expect to receive payment.
Keep a record of your work with numbered invoices
Numbered invoices help you keep track of how much money is coming in, and shows your customers you have an organized system in place. You can also assign a job code if your work is going to be spread out over a long period of time or may involve several invoices.