September 24, 2016
Invoicing Etiquette for Independent Contractors
There are many perks to working as an independent contractor, but not receiving a regular paycheck is certainly not among them. Instead of receiving automatic payments from clients, most contractors have to send out invoices in order to be compensated for their services. However, unbeknownst to many fledgling contractors, several rules of etiquette should be applied to invoicing clients. Contractors who are new to invoicing would do well to utilize the following tips.
Send Reminders Ahead of Time
While it’s by no means required, many contractors send reminders to clients one week before their respective payments are due. This ensures that your compensation remains fresh in a client’s mind. A fair number of credit card companies and loan services employ a similar reminder system, so you can take solace in the fact that it’s been proven effective on a larger scale.
Invoices should be submitted to clients within 24 hours of a job’s completion. The longer you wait to send an invoice, the further your payment will be from a client’s mind. Although some contractors are afraid that speedy invoicing makes them seem overeager to collect payment, this shouldn’t be a concern. Taking too long to submit an invoice is liable to make you appear lazy and unprofessional, thus diminishing your stature in the eyes of clients. For best results, prioritize promptness and enlist the aid of a dependable online invoicing service.
Don’t Be Afraid of Following Up
When payments aren’t processed on an agreed-upon date, contractors are well within their rights to contact clients in response. More often than not, there’s a reasonable explanation behind late payments, so there’s typically no need to use harsh language or adopt a combative tone. Instead, you should be polite but firm when asking about late payments. If you completed a job on schedule, there’s nothing wrong with expecting to be paid on schedule. Chasing after late payments is an unavoidable part of running a business, even if that business only has one employee. Follow-ups should initially be sent within three days of a payment being missed – and every day thereafter until a satisfactory reply is received.
Working as an independent contractor entails a great deal of uncertainty. Not knowing how much work you’ll receive, how much money you’ll make or how many clients you’ll be able to find on a monthly basis can be stressful, to say the least. Fortunately, learning the ins and out of invoice etiquette can help ensure that you’re compensated for your efforts in a timely manner.