Being an independent service provider (a.k.a. solopreneurs and side-giggers) requires you to do the majority, if not all, of the work on your own. This means advertising your services, finding new clients, completing the work, and bookkeeping. Then the best part: being paid!
As you probably know, getting paid isn’t as simple as receiving a check or direct deposit from an employer. Solopreneurs have to send their own client bills in order to be paid, however, creating bills that look professional is often overlooked. You’re professional in all other aspects of your business, from contacting clients to the work you perform, so shouldn’t your invoice look just as professional?
Considering this, you may have several questions that you need answered, such as: Are handwritten bills professional? What does a professional invoice look like? What information should be included? How can you create a bill that looks professional? This post will answer these questions and more about how to create and send professional looking bills.
Why professional bills are important
The main reason bills are important is obvious: they are how you get paid. But invoices serve other purposes, which add to the importance of creating organized, accurate, and professional bills.
For example, creating professional invoices is a great way to maintain organized bookkeeping. Invoices serve as documentation of all of your business transactions. It’s important to keep track of invoices as proof of the work you provided as well as the price you charged for it — both for tax purposes and in case the client returns with questions or requests for new work. Your client will want to receive an invoice for similar reasons. While handwritten bills come with an increased risk of being misplaced, generating professional bills with an app like MACH1 will enable you to keep better track of your bookkeeping. You won’t ever have to wonder where your money is (or isn’t) coming from.
In addition, invoices are important to keep track of your earnings. Creating professional invoices can help you to accurately calculate your earnings so that you can better track the growth of your business. You’ll be able to see which customers and services are bringing in the most money as well as the areas where you may be spending too much.
What to include in your invoice
If you want to get paid fast, including all of the right information in your invoice in a professional manner is crucial. If information is missing or unclear, the client will question the discrepancy, which can lead to delays that could cost you money. In fact, a study by CODA, a finance systems specialist, found that after surveying more than 100 U.S. accountants at small-to-medium size businesses, 25% had at least $5,000 a month delayed due to invoicing errors.
To avoid delayed payments, a professional invoice should include the following:
- Your business information: All of your invoices should include your business’s name, address, phone number, email, website, and logo.
- Customer information: A professional invoice will include as much customer information as possible, including their first and last name, address, phone number, and email.
- The invoice date: This is the date when you created and sent the invoice. Any payment terms (i.e. pay within 30 days) will start from this date.
- The due date: Make the date by which you expect to be paid clear to the customer.
- An invoice number: Invoice numbers serve as reference numbers so that you can easily locate a stored invoice in case of queries.
- Line items: Break down the work you did into parts so that the customer will know in detail what they are paying for.
- Special offers: Include special offers with your bills to entice add-on sales and generate referrals.
- The total amount due: The most important part of the invoice is stating the total amount the customer owes you. It should be clear and easy to find so that the customer does not have to question how much they owe.
This is a ton of information to be included on every single invoice that you send, and all of it is very important! Writing all of these items out by hand would be a waste of time that you could better spend growing your business. So how do you create a professional invoice that includes all of this information? The answer is simple: MACH1.
Use MACH1 to create professional bills
MACH1 makes it easy for independent service providers to be paid on time and develop more business. You can use the MACH1 app to create professional looking bills that not only include basics, but can also be branded with your logo or selfie. Plus, you can add before and after photos or even a video to your bills that your customers can post and share with others. All bills created through the MACH1 app can be sent via email or text message, which is convenient for both you and your customers.
So what’s holding you back? You can try the MACH1 app free for 14 days to see for yourself how easy and quick it is to create and send professional looking bills.