The Art of the Invoice: How to Boost Your Chances of Getting Paid
Mastering the art of sending invoices requires careful consideration of the details.
Freelancers know the struggle: you’ve completed a project, it’s time to send an invoice, and you’re already dreaming about that paycheck.
But days turn into weeks, and those crickets you’re hearing aren’t going to pay the bills.
It can be tough for many freelancers and solopreneurs to find the confidence to send an invoice, but a few tips and tricks can help you ensure your invoices get paid promptly.
I know because I’ve been there myself! When you have to chase down payment, it can take away from the joy of being your own boss.
But the good news is that with the right approach, you can make sure your clients don’t forget or ignore paying their invoices.
A Spoonful of Sugar: Be Kind and Courteous
Start with a friendly and conversational tone. Clients are more likely to respond to an email that feels like it’s coming from a friend.
Begin your email by thanking your client for their business and expressing how much you enjoyed working with them. Remind them of the project you completed for them, and let them know you’re ready to send an invoice.
To add a personal touch to your email, try mentioning a positive moment from working on their project.
Maybe they had a unique idea you enjoyed bringing to life, or perhaps they gave helpful feedback that improved the final product. Expressing your gratitude for these moments can make the client feel appreciated and more likely to respond promptly to your invoice.
Confidence is Key: Show Them You Mean Business
Be sure to provide clear and specific details regarding the invoice. Include the project name, the total amount due, and agreed-upon payment terms in a straightforward and concise manner.
This will ensure that there is no confusion on the client’s end and that they understand exactly what they are paying for.
Don’t be afraid to emphasize your professionalism and business acumen — you are the business owner, not them!
Establishing yourself as a reliable and confident freelancer will make clients more likely to pay on time and increase the likelihood of repeat business and referrals.
Stand firm on your deadlines. Politely remind clients of any pre-discussed late fees if full payment isn’t received by the deadline — just do so in a respectful way!
The Waiting Game: Patience is a Virtue
We all have bills to pay, but that doesn’t mean you need to pester your clients. A polite follow-up email reminding them of the due date is perfectly reasonable, but try to avoid sending too many emails quickly.
The truth is, sometimes it just takes time for your clients to process the invoice and get back to you. Many clients prefer to pay their bills on a certain day, so being patient and giving them the time they need can be beneficial for both of you.
Keep calm and carry on. Continue focusing on other projects and clients, and don’t let stress over one invoice impact the quality of your work. After all, you’re a professional, and your clients will appreciate that.
The Follow-Up: Persistence Pays Off (Literally)
What should you do when you realize your client isn’t going to pay?
First, try sending a friendly reminder email that states the due date is approaching. Or, if the due date has already passed, emphasize that payment is now past due.
Let them know the consequences of late payment or nonpayment, and be sure to include the full invoice details for their reference.
If a client still doesn’t respond after multiple emails, it might be time to get a bit more aggressive with your follow-up strategy. You could try calling or sending a letter, but the best way to get their attention is by sending them a statement of account.
This document clearly outlines the amount owed and any fees that may be applied for nonpayment. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a statement of account to get your client’s wheels in motion.
Pro Tip: If you aren’t the aggressive type, let an AI tool like ChatGPT write the letter for you.
An example prompt I love to use is: “Act as a company accounts receivable in writing a friendly reminder letter for an overdue invoice for a client.” This should give you a great template to personalize and send without fretting over the wording!
At the End of the Day, You Deserve to Get Paid!
A freelancer’s job is never done until they get paid! While it may be frustrating at times to chase down clients for payment, having a clear and polite invoicing system in place will make it easier to stay on top of your finances.
And don’t forget — never be afraid of the follow-up! When all else fails, a statement of account should do the trick.
Always remember that the experience of working with you extends to your invoicing process. Keep it professional, pleasant, and efficient, and you’ll be on your way to quicker payments and a solid freelance reputation.
In time, you’ll find that you have more and more repeat clients, referrals, and an overall good relationship with your customers.
Now get out there and start getting paid! You’ve got this!