Whether you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, you know invoicing your clients is essential if you want to get paid. Sometimes invoicing isn’t something you’re looking forward to, and it’s easy to slack off on your invoices when you’re dreading the task. But your invoicing habits may be delivering a different message to your clients than you expect. Consider these three common invoicing habits that may be delivering the wrong message and how you can turn it around:

1. You’re not prioritizing on-time billing.

When you forget to bill your client, it shows a lack of priority and professionalism. It can decrease your cash flow, and this poor invoicing habit can backfire when your clients end up taking their time to pay you for your services. Instead of leaving invoicing to the wind, consider automating the process with bill notifications and recurring payment options, so you don’t forget when to bill. Personalize the invoice and be polite when communicating.

2. You don’t have a written policy or agreement.

Without a written policy or agreement, you can come off as a novice. Instead of risking being taken advantage of, include a written agreement and stay consistent with your policies so your clients know what to expect. Policies and written agreements make it easy to set expectations from the beginning of a business relationship. Clients will know your payment terms and deadlines and the consequences of not paying on time and you’ll have it a resource if you ever need to collect a late payment.

3. You keep waiting to get paid.

When you neglect to collect a deposit for large projects, you risk investing tons of time into providing a service that you may not get paid to do. If something interrupts the client’s ability to pay you, including if they go out of business or overdraft their account, then you risk slowing down your cash flow. Instead of waiting for your payment, ask for a retainer fee or a 50 percent deposit upfront. It balances the risk factor and encourages your client to pay the rest to receive the completed services or project.

Final thoughts…

Without invoicing your clients, you don’t just miss out on getting paid but you risk lowering expectations with your clients. That’s why it’s critical to ensure you implement invoicing best practices from the very start (or as soon as you can if you haven’t already!). The great news is that you don’t have to do it alone. You can take advantage of technology to enhance your invoicing habits and step up your invoicing game.

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