As freelance writers, we are expected to invoice our clients — they won’t pay us otherwise. We don’t have to have complex systems to get it done, but there are a few things we can do to make our invoicing systems much more effective:
- Set reminders. Whether you are using software that automatically sets reminders of invoice due dates, or you are using a basic spreadsheet and must add them to your calendar or task list, it is important to have a system of reminders in place. In the past, I’ve relied on my memory in order to know when to send out second notices, but I know I’m fallible. And very few of us check our invoicing system every day: we just check it when we’re adding a new invoice or marking an old one as paid.
- Include your payment terms. Even if the terms of payment are set out in a contract, everyone can use a bit of a refresher. If you don’t include the terms of payment, you may not get your money. For instance, if you have no penalty for late payments, your clients have no incentive to pay on time.
- Set out how you can be paid. If you only accept Paypal, make sure your invoice includes your Paypal user name. If you expect a check, your invoice should include your mailing address. Some freelancers set out special terms for certain methods of payment, such as convenience fees. For instance, adding a certain percentage to your invoice total for Paypal payments in order to make up for the percentage Paypal takes for transferring money would be a convenience fee. Including all of this information in your invoice can save you the effort of extra back-and-forth emails and save time as well.