Unlike employees, small business owners are responsible for invoicing clients to collect their rightful earnings. Unfortunately, getting paid on time can be challenging. Roughly 11% of invoices sent by small businesses get fulfilled after the due date. Since delayed payments can cause cash flow issues and jeopardize your business’ long-term growth, you must learn to optimize your collection strategy. Let’s explore how to best invoice clients so you can get paid faster for your products and/or services. Best Ways to Send an Invoice Old habits die hard, and sending paper invoices through the mail remains surprisingly common. However, it’s slower, more expensive, and more susceptible to failure than digital transfer methods, not to mention more damaging to the environment. As a result, business owners should generally use digital invoicing whenever possible. Here are the two best ways to send invoices online. Email Sending invoices via email is the traditional form of digital billing. It usually involves customizing invoice templates using a word processor like Google Docs or a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel, then emailing a PDF copy. Invoicing clients via email is vastly superior to mailing physical copies. It lets you send the documents to your clients much more quickly, affordably, and sustainably. It also provides an automatic paper trail, recording when and to whom it was sent. However, emailing invoices can still be relatively time-intensive. Not only does it force you to create each one with tools that are poorly suited to the task, but you’ll also need to craft the body of the email and an appropriate subject line every time. You can speed up the process with an invoice email template, but you’ll still have to customize and track everything manually, which can quickly become tedious. Invoicing Software Invoicing software is the most efficient way to collect payments from clients. Like email, it’s faster, cheaper, and more sustainable than snail mail, but it also offers several additional benefits, including: Faster invoice generation: Instead of building invoices in clunky word processors or spreadsheet programs, you can generate them in a few clicks through an intuitive dashboard designed for that purpose. Convenient payment options: Using invoicing software makes it easier for your clients to pay you. Most tools let them fulfill their obligations via multiple payment methods directly from the digital document. Tools to encourage timely payment: Instead of manually notifying clients that their invoice is coming due or already delinquent, you can use invoicing software to schedule recurring invoices and automatic reminders. Invoice status tracking: With email or snail mail, your invoice goes into a proverbial black box with little or no visibility into its current status. Fortunately, many invoicing softwares let you track the status of your invoice, from ‘received’ to ‘in processing’ to ‘paid’, so you can rest assured that the invoice is proceeding as expected or be notified of when you need to intervene to get paid on time. The cost of invoicing software has historically been the primary reason to email invoices. Fortunately, Lendio offers free invoicing software to help small businesses get paid faster, making the choice between invoicing methods a no-brainer. Invoicing Best Practices to Get Paid Faster Sending digital invoices through email or software rather than snail mail significantly shortens the time it takes clients to pay you. However, there are several additional practices you should follow to get paid as fast as possible. Here are the most significant. Confirm Invoicing Terms Upfront One of the best steps you can take to get paid faster should happen well before you send a client their first invoice. Namely, confirm your terms in writing at the start of each business relationship. Not only does this reduce miscommunication errors, but it also means you can remind clients that they agreed to your policies if they ever complain about them. Send Invoices On A Consistent Schedule A consistent invoicing schedule is essential for getting paid on time. It lets clients know when to expect each bill, so they can ensure funds are available. It also conveys professionalism and encourages clients to take you seriously. Monthly and biweekly invoicing are two of the most popular invoicing cadences. However, this should be one of the details you confirm with your client ahead of time. Send Payment Reminders Your outstanding invoices might be on the top of your mind, but they’re probably not your clients’ highest priority. As a result, it’s a good idea to send gentle reminders to ensure they don’t forget to pay you. Consider scheduling one just before payment comes due and a series afterward that becomes increasingly firm if a client fails to pay on time.