Helpful Strategies For Freelance Designers To Manage Their Invoicing Process Effectively
One of the most adored professions in the world are freelance designers. If a person is sincere about designing, becoming a freelance designer is like a dream come true. However, all the castles in the sky come crashing down when the same creative and adventurous fellow has to come up with invoices about the services they have provided. An obscure invoice process may end up making the freelancers getting delayed payments and feeling tensed and overwhelmed.
Provided below is the fundamental steps a good invoicing process must consists of. Go through the same, in order to improve your own invoicing process and get timely payments from the clients, while ensuring client retention and improved prospects.
The Better Option Between Automated Invoicing and Manual Invoicing
The in house designers has an easy way out, as all of their invoice related problems are managed and monitored by their employer, but a freelance designer may have to run amok while keeping a track of the expenses pertaining to their endeavor and generate the invoices of the same. Since sending the invoices is an imperative aspect of your work, you need to be sure before making the choice between the two options, i.e. manual or automated invoicing.
According to the survey carried out by Formscan, a data management company, as much as 48 percent of businesses in the United Kingdom still manage their invoices, manually. The deep rooted hesitation of the corporate houses towards automated invoicing solutions is nothing but prejudices, which do not hold any place in the present competitive world.
In the present times, there are a lot of online invoicing solutions and free software available with the freelance designers to monitor expenses and generate invoices. There is a lot of server based and computer based solutions and all you need to do is find the one which matches your needs.
Before Going any Further, Run a Background Check
Before even beginning to work for your clients and getting started with all the official operations, you must be vigilant enough and should run a thorough reference check of the clients you are planning to work for. Before signing up any legal contract with the clients, consult the dynamic market forces and learn about the paying habits of the probable client. Such information can be easily obtained from the market, especially if you have the right sources at your disposal.
In addition to that, solely depending upon your communication skills and interpersonal skills, you can ask your client regarding their mode of payments, if there are any outstanding bills and payments and other such questions. Though beware before attempting it, as mostly no client will leak out such confidential and intimate information, besides you always run the risk of landing into the bad books of the clients.
Chalk out Carefully, the Terms of Your Invoicing
As a freelancer, surely you will be dealing with multiple clients simultaneous, or if not than at least aspire to do the same as the earnings from a single client may not be that lucrative. While dealing with multiple clients, you have high chances of loosing the track of your thought process and end up being confused and dizzy, especially when it comes to financial matters. The confusion may be the result of conflicting terms of two or more parties / clients. Thus before even touching upon the financial matters, it is suggested to create a list of your own terms and conditions pertaining to invoicing and gently present the same to your clients before hand, in order to eliminate any confusion or miscommunication. Before setting up the invoicing terms, you must consider the following –
Decide upon the minimum fees you want as advance.
– Estimate the number of days the task will require you to complete it.
– How much extra money will you charge, if the payment gets considerably delayed?
– If you wish to deliver the complete tasks assigned to you before or after you have received the due payment.
– Will you charge anything in the case of reworking on the project, and if yes then how much?
– Decisions pertaining to the mode of payment.
There may be certain situations where you may have to budge in a little and make certain amendments in the terms, but mostly the list of terms and conditions provides you with a comprehensive way to manage the payment.
Communicate the Charges in Detail
One reason why the delay in the payments is caused is when the freelance designers send across invoices without any details. Avoid any confusion in the invoices that you send, by giving details of each and every service which you have provided them and charged them for. Your invoice must contain a comprehensive detail of the functions you have performed so far on the projects of the clients. The invoice must be of the form like – X amount charged for “A B C” service.
An invoice not containing any details, just a lump sum amount is more likely to cause delays in payments as the client may wish to understand why you have charged, whatever you have charger!
Having said this, if you choose an online invoicing system, you get an in built feature to give details of the services you have provided. This saves a lot of your time and effort, as opposed to manual ways of sending invoices.
Offer Them Different Ways of Payment
In the present competitive world, the choices are abundant and so are the eccentricities. A particular firm may adopt a particular payment option which may be completely different from another firm of client. By making yourself flexible, marking your reach to each and every payment route, as much as possible, will help you stand apart in the clutter and will facilitate the payment process.
You should also communicate your openness to different payment gateways, to your clients as well. Better communication and a wide range of services are sure shot ways of maintaining a long term relationship with the clients and ensuring timely payment.
Keep a Check on Your Outstanding Bills
You must consider yourself really lucky, if your employer clears your invoices on the same day or even week in which you send them. However, most of the employers do not, and thus it becomes important for you drop a follow up mail or remind them about the yet to be cleared payments. The moment your invoice reaches the date of maturity, put in efforts to follow up with your clients regarding the clearance of the same;
If you have mentioned the due date in the invoice itself, start with formal and tender reminder mails, a day before it is going to approach. Once the due date has been surpassed, be firm and gentle in your reminders, yet don’t be aggressive until you get the payment.
Address it to the Concerned Person Only!
One of the fundamental reasons behind sheer delay in the payment is addressing your invoices to the wrong person in the organization. This happens mostly if you are dealing with the large organization, wherein you invoice has to travel across various people and undergo verifications before getting the clearance. And then if you address the invoice to the wrong person, you are unlikely to receive a swift response about the same. Thus it will be intelligent step to straight forwardly ask about the person who will clear the invoices, take his / her contact details and address your invoices only to him, for a smoother and swift payment process.
The Parting Note
Though we understand that keeping a track of expenses and generating timely invoices is very cumbersome and repulsive task, it is at the same time extremely important for the freelance designers. The invoicing process is not just about scribbling down the expenses and sending an invoice, but the designer should make sure that the invoice which is being sent is thoroughly organized in a chronological order and leaves no scope for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of miscommunication. The choice of your invoice process must guarantee a comprehensive and painless way to generate and send instant invoices.