A big part of successful invoicing is making sure the payment of an online invoice is easy for your client. When you make the payment process longer or more complicated than it should be, then your cash flow suffers and the relationship between you and your client also takes a hit.
Maintaining a strong freelancer-client relationship is an important aspect of running a successful freelance business. Part of ensuring you get repeat work from a client – apart from doing great work – is making sure all your communication and processes are smooth and problem-free.
These processes include the sending of invoices and related documents such as deposits, estimates, proposals, and contracts.
To ensure you get paid on time and you cultivate a good relationship with your client, here are just a few ways you can make paying online invoices that much easier.
Provide multiple payment gateway options
All clients love to be able to pay an invoice quickly and easily. The faster they can make the payment, the more satisfying their invoicing experience will be. This then puts your business in a good light, which is vital when it comes to brand continuity and long-term client relationships.
Part of allowing a client to pay quickly and easily is the provision of multiple payment gateway options. At Invoice Ninja, for example, we seamlessly integrate numerous automatic transaction providers allowing your client to make payments in whatever way is easiest for both you and them.
Payment options include Stripe (for credit card), PayPal, WePay, Bitcoin, Authorize.net, and Checkout, to name but just a few. You can enable only 1 credit card options at a time, but you can offer secondary options of Paypal, Bitcoin, Dwolla.
Using attractive and easy-to-read invoice designs
Invoice documents need to be easy to read. After all, the primary goal of an invoice is to convey the relevant payment information so the client can pay quickly and accurately. Any communication errors resulting from a hard-to-read invoice can result in payment delays, cash flow problems, and a frustrating experience for your busy client.
Professionally designed invoices, like we have developed at Invoice Ninja, ensure all the important information your client needs is presented in a clear format with matching brand design elements. An attractive invoice goes a long way to solidifying the expertise and exceptionalism of your brand.
Filling in the right details
A primary reason why payments are delayed is because there are missing, confusing, or conflicting details within the invoice. For example, a business address might be incorrect, a service detail too opaque, or a payment due date may be a little earlier than a client expected. Such errors mean payments are delayed and clients can often get a little flustered, especially if they happen repeatedly.
Always ensure the invoices you create and send are free of errors. Check things like the client’s details, the payment due date, the invoice number, your itemized breakdown of services, the payment methods, and of course the payment total. Specialist invoicing software allows you to automatically save many of these details for particular clients, so you don’t need to repeatedly fill these in for future invoices.
The software also automatically tallies numerous itemized services and can even decipher between partial payments and discounts.
Add relevant third party files
You can fit quite a bit of information into an online invoice, especially when writing an itemized list of the different services you’ve provided for your client. However, there’s often more information you’d ideally want your client to see prior to, during, or after a payment process. Invoicing software, like Invoice Ninja, allows you to attach third party documents directly to the invoice itself.
The documents you can attach might include: a project proposal (perhaps included with a deposit invoice); a contract; terms and conditions; project schedules; timesheets; delivery details; project files; photos; and even translations of the invoice into another language.
Including these 3rd party files with your invoice email allows the client to easily access multiple and related documents all in one go.
Open a client-side portal
A great way to offer your clients peace of mind is by providing them with access to a client-side portal of your invoicing system. They get to see a client version of all the invoices they have paid and all the invoices that are due. They also see various statistics and information related to their payments and your time working together.
This portal lets your clients see all their transactions with you in one glance, which adds a whole new level of transparency few other freelancers or business owners will provide. This can be a great way to build extra trust and confidence between you and your client. It also makes everything easier for your client in regards to understanding exactly what needs to be paid and when.
Enable client signatures and approval checkboxes
Enabling an invoice approval checkbox forces a client, upon opening the email invoice, to approve terms before paying, either by clicking a checkbox or creating a digital signature. This benefits companies where managers might want to check and approve the payment of an invoice before handing the payment responsibilities to the finance department.
The client approval mechanism prevents any unauthorized payments being made and also ensures the client double-checks the invoice before payment, thereby preventing any misunderstandings. Such mechanisms portray your business as highly professional and make things a lot easier for companies which are accustomed to such procedures.
Making life easier for your client and for yourself
When you make paying online invoices easier and faster for your client, you receive the connected benefits. You enjoy a healthier cash flow. Your brand – your business – is seen as more professional. Your client is more likely to stick with you than be tempted away by a competitor.
People like things made easier and this includes busy clients who would rather not spend extra minutes responding to an inaccurate invoice. By ensuring your invoices are perfect, in terms of design, content, payment functions, and deliverability, you make things easier not just for your client but also for yourself.