When you’re running a small business, you need to do your best to meet as many clients’ payment demands as possible. Clients usually want to get as many services as possible at attractive rates. In order to simplify and accelerate the payment process, every business owner should introduce a simple invoicing system in their work. You can create and format an invoice in many different ways. Still, some of them are more efficient than others. In this article, we’re going to break down the type of invoice formatting we find most suitable for service businesses.
1. The key elements of craftily formatted invoices
Your invoice should neither contain too many elements nor be too simple. While simplicity is valuable in this process, thanks to its time-saving features, there are some elements that every well-formatted invoice needs to have.
Put the name of your small business in the upper left corner. This section should also contain the physical address of your business headquarters, as well as your website and your email address. Apart from that, put your logo below these major business data. This is a perfect way to send a strong brand message and grasp your client’s attention at once.
Further, you should place the payment data, such as your account number and other payment options in the upper right corner of the invoice. Together with the business name, this part will form a single unit that will call the client to make their payment.
The name and number of the invoice should dominate the part of the document below your business data. Also, here you should include the invoice date and the NET payment date. This is where you can add the payment currency, as well.
Moreover, you should put your client’s name and their business address in the central part of the invoice. Include their physical address, the email address, the phone number and any other contact data here.
After that, you should make a table that will contain the information about the services you’ve provided for the client. For instance, you can use the leftmost column for the names of the items you’ve sold to the client. You can put the quantity of those items in the next column. The price per item should be placed in the next, third column. Finally, you should write down the price of every single item in the rightmost column.
At the end of the price column, express the subtotal amount, i.e. the amount of money you’re going to charge for the performed work. After that, add the tax and write the total amount your client should pay for your services.
This part can be used to send your regards to the client or to write any additional notes, in case you need to discuss any unsolved issues with your client. However, it’s not recommended to use invoices for discussion. In line with that, add a short note if the client is late or a cordial thank-you template message if you’re satisfied with the collaboration.
If you want to make such a simple, yet informative invoice, you can follow our steps and create it on your own or go for a free invoice maker to get things done.
2. Setting the payment schedule
We’ve described where you should put the invoice date and the payment terms. Still, you can apply different payment terms and schedules to different clients. It will all depend on the nature of collaboration you have with those other parties.
A rule of thumb for smaller businesses is not to give too long payment periods to their clients. When your cash flow is volatile, you can’t afford letting other people play with the money you’ve made. Therefore, go either for NET 15 or NET 30 payment schedule. For example, getting paid in 15 days’ time could be used for new clients, while your old, reliable payers could be given 30 days to make their payments.
No matter how assertive you are with the message you send via your invoice formatting, you always need to have a plan B when it comes to cash. That’s why you should learn about saving strategies and keep your finances alive even when the cash flow is low.
3. Highlighting the refund terms
Small business don’t have to deal with the return policy. This mostly refers to service-providing ventures. What you need to specify, though, are the refund terms, in case a client isn’t satisfied with the service you’ve provided.
First and foremost, those special refund terms and conditions need to be clearly explained on your website. That way, every client will be able to read those terms and decide whether or not they want to use your services.
Further, you should include the basic aspects of your refund policy in your invoices, as well. They can be added to the last part of the invoice. For instance, you can determine two different elements of your refund policy. The first one will be valid for the trial period, during which the client can terminate the agreed terms if they don’t like your services without paying any fees to your business. The other one should refer to the subscription period and these terms will be different from the ones set for the trial period.
Also, include the information about the customer support service, so that you can provide assistance for such clients and meet their needs before they ask for a refund. If they complain about your invoices, take the necessary actions to change those rough parts. And always remember: you’re designing your business features for clients and not for their devices, so always make sure that your invoices are formatted in a customer-friendly way.
4. The final word
Generating a straightforward, yet informative resource will take some thinking and adjusting to your particular business. If you apply the tips provided in this article to your invoices, you’ll have wisely organized invoices that call your clients to action.
Also, don’t hesitate to add some other original features that will make you stand out from the crowd. By doing so, you’ll offer your clients some friendly payment terms, comprised in nicely formatted invoices that will meet both your clients’ demands and your own business preferences.
AuthorBio: Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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