5 Tips for Solving Billing Problems with Clients
Whether you are a lone freelancer or manager of many, money is what keeps you going. For businesses that deal directly with clients, this brings up the sometimes uncomfortable subject of asking them for money and actually having them pay it.
Here are five tips for resolving billing problems that may come up with clients, and how you can gracefully handle one of the toughest parts of running a business.
Agree on Terms Up Front
You want it to be crystal clear with your clients as to exactly what they are paying for when they use your services. Provide them with your fee, along with the terms for fees such as late payment penalties, down payment terms or installment payment terms. Ensure that they know how long they have to pay their invoice before late fees are incurred, and how late fees are assessed. If you don't actually speak to your clients, ensure that the information is clear on your invoice. It might be wise to have them sign a contract page to be certain that they understand the terms of working with you. Otherwise, you might not avoid angry phone calls and emails. Making sure that there are no ambiguities in your billing process can save you time and a lot of hassle.
Use Clear Language On Your Invoices
Don't use in-house or industry jargon on your invoices. You want your invoice to be as straightforward as possible so your clients know exactly what they are paying for. For example, don't put “20wh” for 20 hours worked. Write something clear such as “20 hours labor”. Otherwise, the phones will start ringing again, as clients will want to know exactly what they are being billed for and why.
Keep your Clients Up to Date
Just because you aren't ready to send an invoice to your client for completed work does not mean that you should not keep them apprised of your progress. Setting up a client login on your website or a third-party website that can generate understandable data for your client can really enhance your reputation as someone who gets things done.
The nice thing is that there is now intuitive data software that can generate this data for you. As you keep track of the work you do yourself, it keeps track of you. This type of software can provide your client with charts, graphs, and other types of easy to interpret graphics that will let the client know up-to-the-minute information on how their project is coming along, and can also show them the costs associated with their project so far. This will give them peace of mind that you are sticking to your side of the contract. If they see any discrepancies they can contact you.
Step Away From the Spreadsheet
If you are still relying on antiquated Excel-based spreadsheets for all of your accounting needs, updating your billing system to an online software solution will save you time and headache. There are lots of tools out there to do small business accounting.
One of the best solutions for keeping track of time sheets, invoicing, expense tracking, and overdue accounts is ZipBooks. ZipBooks is a free, online based software that will manage all of your accounting needs. It is customizable and can be easily tailored to grow and change with your business. With little effort you can generate and send out automatic online invoices. Being consistent with your billing cycles is another way to be sure you get paid on time and in full. In turn, you and your employees get paid on time. ZipBooks keeps track of what is flowing in and out so that you are aware and keeps your business flourishing. Drop the spreadsheet and embrace the newest business trends such as ZipBooks.
How Can I Get Paid?
Ensure that your clients know exactly how they can pay for your services. In this world where people want to do everything online in an instant, you are 30% more likely to get paid if you accept online payments. However, there are other methods, and you want to be very clear with your clients about the types of payments you will accept. Do you accept personal or business checks? Can they pay you through Paypal? If you would like to accept personal debit and credit cards, but don't want to pay the fees associated with methods such as Square, you can use a free accounting software such as ZipBooks. Customers can easily pay online through ZipBooks software and you can keep track of money coming in and out. ZipBooks is a quick and easy way to process customer payments.
Getting paid for the work you provide doesn't have to be a painful process. Be clear about your expectations and your client's expectations. Help your clients to understand exactly what is happening every step of the way. Most importantly, use ZipBooks software to make your accounting process painless by knowing exactly what is coming in and when. If you follow these simple steps and embrace the technology that is available to you, accounting will not be a daunting part of running your own business.