Top 10 Invoicing Tips for Your Cleaning BusinessWritten by Bernard on January 10, 2017
When you’re working in the cleaning business, you’ve got a lot of things you have to focus your attention on. It could be the equipment, the customers, the vehicles, or in general the financial health of your business.
However, there’s something else you need to focus on, and that’s making sure your invoices get paid on time.
With the average business waiting 72 days for payment, getting your invoices paid is more important than ever. That’s especially true considering the fact that paid invoices are the best way to increase cash flow, which is often the lifeblood of any business.
Today, we’ll look at some tried and tested ways cleaning companies can increase their invoicing efficiency and help you get paid faster.
Tip #1: Use cloud invoicing
The most important thing cleaning business owners can do is to be organized, especially when it comes to their finances. In fact, it would be ironic if a cleaning business had a messy system.
Keeping copies of your invoices, your client details, and all kinds of receipts and financial documents around the office or in your home is just asking for trouble.
You could lose them, you could damage them, or a number of other things could happen to them.
However, if you used online invoicing software, such as InvoiceBerry, you would never need to look for client contacts or store your receipts in a large folder. Everything’s on the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere at any time.
Tip #2: Create a flexible price list
When you created your business plan, you may have gone over your proposed price list. However, before you even start working, you really need to nail down those details.
Remember, your price list should be reflective of:
- your experience
- your location
- the size of your team
- your speed
- your availability
- the variety of your services
Once you’ve figured out your price list, be sure to keep them as flexible as possible.
Flexibility in price will mean greater opportunities for bigger jobs, so that at the end you make more money. With a good price list, it will be easier for you to create quotes and reference the prices if there are any disputes.
Tip #3: Set up your terms and conditions
Before you even begin to get your clients, you should have your specific terms and conditions set.
As a cleaning business, as we discussed in our guide and ebook, you’ll need to have your certificates and insurance ready depending on your local requirements.
Beyond that, you need to set some T&Cs to avoid any surprises for you or your clients. Specifically:
- set a payment due date (14 days is recommended)
- determine whether there will be interest on late payments
- decide how they will pay you: in full after the job, before, or partially
- set any discount policies if the client is unsatisfied with the job
With these, you’ll have clear terms that will not surprise your client and which you can refer back to if a problem arises.
Tip #4: Use interesting invoices
You can settle with the normal plain black and white invoices. Or you can go ahead and use an invoice that is suited to your business.
Using an invoice template is fine, but as we’ve mentioned before, there can be some problems with that. With invoicing software like InvoiceBerry, you can choose your invoices as you feel.
When you send an interesting invoice, you will make yourself memorable to your clients. One of the reasons clients pay late is that they simply forget, but if you follow these other steps listed here and create an interesting invoice, your client will pay you much faster.
Tip #5: Send a detailed quote before the job
Although you’ve created your terms and conditions, you still need to settle the specific conditions of the job.
What will be the price per room, per square foot, or whatever measure? How long will have you to clean it? What are the exact details of the service you’ll be providing?
Although it’s fine to say housecleaning services, will you be cleaning the toilet, mattress, and windows as well? Be specific in your quote. That will help you set all expectations clearly and avoid any confusion.
Even better, once your client agrees and you’ve completed the job, you can convert your quote into an invoice in just a click with InvoiceBerry.
Tip #6: Send invoices on time
In order to get paid on time, you’ll have to send your invoices out on time.
This means that you’ll need to have your invoices prepared before or soon after you complete your cleaning work.
You may do this on a per job basis, or as a monthly bill. If you are doing it on a monthly basis, and with a regular fee, you don’t even need to create an invoice.
You can use the recurring invoice function on your invoicing software. This allows you to set the date and the amount, and the service will send out the invoice on that particular day for that price and you won’t have to do a thing.
Tip #7: Create detailed invoices
When you send out your invoices, be sure to add all the necessary details. This will be easy if you’ve already created a detailed quote, as you can convert that quote quickly into an invoice.
If you haven’t done a quote, you will need to answer some specific points:
- the exact details of the service (what you cleaned and where)
- the hours (if applicable)
- the payment terms (due date of no more than 14 days)
- the penalty for late payment, if any
- your bank account information
- payment options
Be sure to also include a thank you note. Studies show that adding a thank you note can get your invoices paid faster.
Tip #8: Use your invoices as marketing
Your invoices don’t have to just be about payment. You can use it as a marketing tool.
Just think about it: one of the problems for marketers is getting the message out to their customers and potential customers. With invoices, you are almost assured that your invoices will have a 100% open rate.
That makes it a great marketing tool.
Add in information about upcoming services, sneak peeks, free downloads and much more. Check out the infographic below for more information.
Tip #9: Use discounts and referrals
Either directly on your invoices or as part of the email sent with the invoice, you can let your customers know about fantastic discount and referral opportunities.
The discounts can be the standard “10% off your next purchase” or a sales campaign, such as 25% off Christmas cleaning.
You can also look to referrals, by giving your current customers an incentive to pass on your contacts to others. For example, you can offer $25 off their next cleaning if someone they refer becomes a client.
Tip #10: Follow up
Lastly, it’s important that you always follow up on your late payers.
As we’ve mentioned, cash flow is extremely important for any business, and your cleaning business is no different. With invoices, you’ll get the necessary inflow of cash. But if your clients don’t pay, for any reason, you are denied that inflow to match all your cash outflows.
The day after the 14-day due date has passed, send a polite reminder to your client by email. This is non-intrusive, and politeness will help your professional image. Beyond that, if the client still has not paid after a week (21 days since you sent the invoice), you can send another polite email or even place a call.
Whatever you decide to do, just be sure to follow up. With these steps, your client will be sure not to be late on payment the next time.
These are some of the greatest invoicing tips we at InvoiceBerry have seen work for our cleaning business customers. With these tips, you’ll be sure to streamline your invoicing process and get paid much faster.