Do you batch invoice or do you send invoices instantly upon project completion?
Many freelancers send daily invoices as soon as they finish a project. But what if the alternative – batch billing – is more beneficial to your productivity and stress levels?
What is Batch Invoicing?
Batching invoices is similar to batching any form of work. It’s a time management trick that takes away distractions and increases focus. This in turn increases productivity which allows you to get the invoicing done more quickly and with less stress and hassle, leaving you more time to spend on paying projects.
When batching the invoice process, you’re focusing on the same type of work for a longer period of time rather than invoicing in a piecemeal fashion. This allows you to work faster by streamlining the process. This helps you avoid distractions that break your mental rhythm while working on projects you’re actually paid to do. For maybe a half an hour or so you’re in the zone of invoice creation, and nothing else.
When you write invoices wherever and whenever, your mind is shifting and refocusing on different tasks, which leads to fatigue, stress, procrastination, and ultimately decreased productivity. It can become one of those distractions, mentally pulling you away from paying work.
Upsides of Batch Invoicing
Batch invoicing can be slightly intimidating or not very interesting for many people. You love getting paid but writing the actual invoices might sometimes feel like a chore, especially if you write more detailed itemized invoices. By batching invoice creation, you set a time each week to consolidate all the invoice tasks into one-time slot. This means, once completed, that’s it for another week.
Invoicing also requires you to enter a certain mindset, of calculating numbers, inputting details, and working with invoice software. For some more creative professionals, this can be draining. Again, by batching, you only need to enter this mindset once a week rather than in-between exciting projects every day.
Work routines can be unpredictable at the best of times for freelancers. Things can get delayed or unruly, and new things pop up out of the blue. Emergencies happen, and distractions inevitably occur. By batching invoices, you improve overall consistency and introduce more stability into your work routine.
Ongoing clients you work with will quickly become accustomed to your billing schedules. They’ll know what time and day to expect your invoices. This adds an extra professional touch to your freelancing services, and means they won’t be wondering exactly when and if you sent your invoice.
Batch billing also saves time and effort. When you write several invoices at the same time, perhaps for similar types of projects, you can merely copy+paste information and modify details accordingly. You can also create templates to speed up the process further.
Downsides of Batch Invoicing
There are a few downsides to batch billing as well.
If you’re desperate to get paid and you can’t wait for up to a week, then batch billing can feel like an unnecessary delay. Batching invoicing requires patience and is best suited to freelancers able to wait a little longer for payment.
Some clients demand fast or immediate billing. They can be frustrated with once weekly invoicing. In this case you might make an exception for this particular client. But this can be avoided by simply mentioning up front before work begins: “I invoice on Fridays.”
Who Batching Billing is Good For
Batching billing is ideal for freelancers and solopreneurs who send out a lot of regular invoices. Writing and sending invoices at irregular times of the day can drastically decrease productivity, as previously noted.
Batching is also good for professionals who really just hate admin work. This can instead be set aside for one morning or afternoon each week, perhaps with a coffee and some cake, and then it’s done.
If you like consistency and predictability in your schedule, and really love to keep things neat and ordered, then batch invoicing will ensure you have a nice clear slot in which to write and send invoices. This avoids the wherever and whenever style of invoice creation.
Batch Billing Isn’t Right for All Solopreneurs
Batching billing won’t suit business owners who don’t send invoices all that often. Some freelancers and other solopreneurs work on larger and more expensive projects and have fewer contracts. Batching becomes irrelevant when you’re invoicing less frequently as these professionals do.
Some freelancers, such as writers for magazines, will work with clients who have their own invoicing rules. Batch invoicing can be tricky in those situations and not always appropriate.
Finally, for freelancers who require up-front payments (either in-full or in-part), where a payment needs to be received and cleared before the commencement of work, then batch billing is not always suitable time-wise.
Is Batch Billing Right for You?
Batch invoicing has many benefits, although it’s not right for every situation, client, or business owner. If you need to bill regularly and have many clients, then batching can save time, increase productivity, improve focus, and as a result, leave you with more time to make more money.