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When Should You Send an Invoice to a Customer?

If you want to be among the 40% of small businesses making a profit, you need timely payments from customers. This allows you to maintain accurate financial records so you can run your business. But you also don’t want to be too aggressive and push away customers.

What should you do? Read on to learn about the best time to send an invoice to a customer!

Discuss the Payment Amount Ahead of Time

When you’re determining an invoice timeline, consider the scope of your job and your cash flow needs. And think about your workday. If you’re running from one appointment to another, it might not be feasible to give an invoice until later.

Regardless of whether you invoice a customer before or after a job, talk over the estimated payment terms. After all, you don’t want to catch someone off guard. They might not have the budget ready to handle a surprisingly large payment.

Consider Invoicing Before Large Jobs

If you’re completing a kitchen remodel or another large job, it might make sense to provide an invoice before the job. Or you could invoice for certain aspects of the job, such as demolition or cabinet upgrades.

That way, you won’t be relying on one large payment at the end of the job. Your cash flow needs might dictate that you need some money along the way. Plus, the customer might appreciate paying for the job at specific milestones rather than in one lump sum.

Invoice a Customer Immediately for Small Jobs

Did you just install a toilet or complete an HVAC servicing? For smaller jobs that are predetermined, you can invoice a customer on the spot. Have the invoice ready to hand them before you go, and make sure they’re clear on the payment terms and deadline.

The more aesthetically pleasing your invoice is, the likelier someone will be to remember it. Invest some time into designing an invoice that features your logo, a few design accents, and clear instructions. Use an online invoice template if you don’t see yourself as design-savvy.

Send an Invoice within 48 Hours of Completion

If you do invoice a customer after completing a job, be sure to do so within 2 days of completing it. This provides a small window of time for the customer to reach out if they have questions or concerns about the finished job. For instance, after a gutter cleaning job, a customer might notice that one downspout still is clogged.

It’s smart to tell the customer that an invoice will be sent via email or mail. Be friendly when you finally text or email the invoice. Offer availability to answer any questions, and make paying online easy.

Determine Your Invoice Timeline

When you send an invoice, determine whether it’s better to do so before or after you’ve completed your service. For bigger jobs or customers with a history of late payments, you might want to invoice in advance. But for smaller jobs, consider invoicing after you’ve completed the job.

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