10 Freelance Tips to Invoice Your Clients Professionally

More than a third of U.S. workers are now Freelancers. Freelancers enjoy enriching careers that require them to manage every facet of their thriving businesses. Yet, the hustle and bustle of freelancing often leads to a few neglected responsibilities… like getting paid. You can’t afford to have all of your hard work go to waste because you haven’t kept accurate track of invoices and billing.

Freelance

The freelance financial management experts at BillGrid want to share 10 tips to invoice your freelance clients professionally.

1. Carefully Devise Invoice and Billing Policies

The first step to get paid faster involves devising payment policies, from selecting a payment service such as PayPal to deciding on the amount of time you allow clients to make payments.

Here are some other factors to grow your business:
How much should you bill up front for down payment deposit?
Do you want to establish milestones?
Do you charge late payment fees?
Do clients receive the work before or after you complete projects?

2. Don’t Back Down

Some clients like to bully freelancers by threatening to not pay or reduce the amount of payment. You must stand by your agreement and online invoicing system 100%. Clearly communicate your policies to clients and make sure to save documentation in case a legal dispute arises.

3. Online Billing Software and Invoicing System

You need an advanced online billing software and invoicing system that creates professional looking invoices that automatically go out at times that you designate. BillGrid online invoicing software keeps tabs on which clients owe you money and how long the debt has been outstanding.

4. Organize Invoices and Track your Payment

If you bill through PayPal, you notice the invoice system uses numbers that increase sequentially to keep track of your invoices. Successful freelancers work with several clients simultaneously and thus, they require a way to manage the money owed. By using a simple numbering system, you save time and improve financial accounting accuracy.

5. Maintain Meticulous Invoice Records

The best online billing software and invoicing systems do an outstanding job of organizing and storing invoices for future use. Backup every invoice into a compressed file. When it’s time to prepare taxes or refer to a previous invoice to determine how much to get paid online, you have invoice records that present all of the financial data you need.

6. How Much are You Worth?

This represents one of the most difficult questions for freelancers to answer. You need to price your freelancer services to fall within the range of prices charged by competitors. Never low ball the competition just to snag more business. If you charge below what you’re worth, you can expect to attract demanding clients that require you to perform tedious work outside of your area of expertise. You also must decide whether to charge by the hour or attach a fixed price to each project.

7. Responding to Late Payments

You can expect to deal with late payments and how you word your electronic correspondence determines whether you get paid faster or paid at all. Late payment reminders must never include accusatory language or threats. To increase your chances of getting paid, the trick is to remain polite and professional.
You don’t want to damage the good reputation you worked so hard to build with your clients. With that being said, don’t go soft – you did your part, now it’s time for your client to do theirs.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t procrastinate and make sure you choose an Online Invoice software system that send automatic late payment reminders to clients. No freelancer likes to take time away from their work to chase down payments, so let us do that for you.

8. Due Diligence on Due Payments

Include a due date on every invoice and billing statement that you send clients, including on late payment reminders. Easy invoice software prominently display due dates typically at the top of an invoice in bold font and at the end of the invoice next to the amount due. Forgetting to include due dates on invoices ensures late client payments.

9. Contact Information Matters

Save time billing by including your freelancer contact information on each invoice. You need to present your full name, address, cell phone number, and primary electronic mail address used for business. BillGrid invoicing software for small business and freelancers provides a section for completing your contact information.

10. Due Date Reminders

As another communication tool to get paid faster, automatic due date reminders sent by BillGrid invoicing software for small business and freelancers keeps your clients abreast of payment dates. Most clients don’t intentionally try to stiff you. It’s just that they’re very busy and forget about paying you for work completed.
BillGrid helps freelancers mange expenses and reduce the amount of outstanding balances by designing state-of-the-art online billing software and invoicing systems. We can help you 100% of what clients you for the hard work put in on each project.

Bill Happy,
billgrid_logo_3733_ratings_box_logo

Invoice Due Date Reminders

One of the most powerful features of online invoicing tools is sending an automatic reminder when the invoice is gone unpaid and past due.

Some folks choose a very personal touch when it comes to their client’s payments, but still need help remembering when a particular invoice is due. For that you have an option to send a due date reminder to yourself. On the other hand, most companies choose to automate this and send a past due reminder automatically to clients.

You can setup reminders that are sent out before, on the due date or after the due date of the invoice, by simply moving the arrows next to the due date. If you need more then one, simply click on the + icon to add more. Just don’t forget to Save when you’re finished.

reminders

A standard client reminder text goes as follows:

$clientFirstName $clientLastName,

We are reminding you that your invoice is due on $invoiceDueDate and due amount is $invoiceBalance .
Click on the link below to view details and submit electronic payment.

$invoiceLink

Thanks,
$yourName
$yourCompanyName

Anything with the $ sign is used as a placeholder for the your client and invoice information from which the reminder will be sent. Want to customize the message so it fits your company image better – just update the text and move around the variables so they match your new format. Variables could be:

  • $clientFirstName
  • $clientFullName
  • $clientLastName
  • $projectName
  • $clientCompanyName
  • $yourEmail
  • $yourName
  • $yourCompanyName
  • $invoiceAmount
  • $invoiceBalance
  • $invoiceLink
  • $invoiceDueDate

To see this in action check out your Setting/Email Defaults section which will look similar to below:

reminders

Questions? We’ll be happy to answer your question, just use our support widget to contact our team.

Bill Happy,
BillGrid.com

Weekly Time Entry Project is Sorted, Excludes Completed

For folks using BillGrid’s weekly time entry view – we’ve made improvements to the project picker so that it matches in functionality to the project picker on invoice/estimate pages.

sorted project list

The above implies that “client (project)” values are now sorted by name. The list no longer includes completed projects. In case you forgot how to complete a project – you can do so by hovering over it’s on the client view page:

completing a project

Bill Happy,
BillGrid.com

Invoice Activity with Payment Details

We’ve added payment details to invoice activity events. Now when you are manually marking invoices as Paid, you can finally see all of the details within your invoice activity and weekly reports.

There are 3 possible events that could happen if you are manually marking invoices as Paid:

Full Payment (complete amount)

payment activity

Partial Payment (part of the amount)

payment partial

Remaining Payment (partial payment completing all payments on the invoice)

payment remaining

 

 

Sorted Client Picker and Other Fixes

We’ve released a few updates to BillGrid to make it run better.

  • Sorted client dropdown picker for invoice and estimate pages

Client List

  • Improvements and fixes to check payments via Authorize.net
  • Improvements to make view invoice page load quicker
  • Improvements to Plans and Pricing page
  • Google and Authorize.net API uplifts (due to changes listed here)

More updates are coming soon. Happy Labor Day weekend to the folks in US!

 

 

 

Weekly or Daily Time Sheet ?

You have several ways to track your time with BillGrid:

  • Daily
  • Timer (can be started from Daily view)
  • Weekly

For those of you who prefer the weekly view you can now save your preference such that Weekly view always shows up first (instead of Daily).

Time Sheet Daily vs Weekly

To setup your default time sheet view preferences go to Settings->TimeSheet Defaults, choose which view you prefer and hit the Update button.

Time Sheet View Preferences

We hope this makes your time logging and client billing easier. Feel free to give us a shout if you have any questions or feedback about this or any other feature.

Bill Happy.
BillGrid.com

Managing Time with BillGrid

We wanted to give a quick overview on many powerful time management features in BillGrid that can help you manage your billable time easier. We’ll go over multiple ways of entering time records, how to create an invoice with all or specific time logs as well as how to run reports for all time related activity.

For starters, you have the option to log your time in three distinct ways:

  • Timer (accessed from Daily Time Entry)
  • Daily Time Entry
  • Weekly Time Entry

Timer is really effective if you’d like BillGrid to keep track of how much time you spent on an individual activity. To begin tracking time you can pick a client and task, and Start Timer to activate the time tracking feature. Once timer is activated you can go to any other BillGrid page and continue to see the timer in the top section (header) or you can even log off or close your browser. You would need stop the timer when your activity is finished. If you have not – no worries – timer would be automatically discarded after 24 hours.

Managing Time with a Timer

Daily Time Entry is very useful if you are tracking time frequently with small increments. For frequently used client/task BillGrid keeps a quick hand section so you can pre-populate all inputs from last three previous records.

Managing Time with Daily Entry

Weekly Time Entry is very useful if you are tracking time infrequently, for example once every couple of days or once a week. You can add a client and task with a brief description and log time for each day of the week. When finished – do not forget to hit Save Time button to save your changes. Note that records that show up in gray have already been imported to an invoice and are not editable (more on how to import to invoice below).

Managing Time Weekly View

Once time records are logged you generate an invoice with all or some of the records included. The quickest and easiest way to do so would be from the client view page where you’ll find a list of projects with Time Entries subsection. You can highlight the records you’d like to include and hit Import to Invoice button, which will generate an invoice with a line item for each record selected. Note that once such invoice is saved – your time record status changes from OPEN to EXPORTED.

Managing Time Client View

There is a more powerful way to create an invoice from a range of time entry logs. It is located on TimeSheets page as a button called Import to Invoice.

Time Import to Invoice

Import to Invoice feature allows a range of options with Date/Time, Client and Project and even Staff selection. You can input your hourly rate so that all time cost would default to that amount or enter it from the invoice directly once it is created. You can group time records individually or by task or even project (switch between Detailed/Grouped arrangement options).

Advanced Time Import Screen

Finally once in a while you might want to keep a tab on all of your time logging activity. To do so you can run a Time Log Details report (from Reports->Time Log Details) which lets you select an individual client (or all clients) and Date Range.

timeLogReport

Hope this was a useful overview and please always feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions.

Bill Happy,
BillGrid.com

Import Expenses to New Invoice

We hope you’re all enjoying the World Cup (we certainly do). Despite of all the fun – we’ve been hard at work and happy to announce a new feature for Invoices: Import Expenses.

Expenses are designed to track one-off charges when you are not yet ready to invoice your clients. Once you are ready to send the invoice. You can either select all expenses for a given client/project on Expenses page and use Convert to Invoice button:

convert expenses

or you can start creating a new Invoice and use Import Expenses button once you’ve selected the client:

import expenses

In both cases all OPEN expenses will be added as new line items on an invoice.

Things to know:

  • A new expense is created with an Open status
  • An imported to invoice expense (with invoice saved) will show up with status Exported
  • A paid invoice with an expense will automatically change expense status to Paid
  • If there are expenses you do not wish to import you have the option of closing them via Close button on the Expenses page. This will make the status of an expense as Closed. There is always an option to delete an expense if you want to get rid of the expense entirely.

If you have been using BillGrid for a while you might need to clear your browser cache to pick up the changes from this release. If not sure how to do that you can refer to our earlier post clearing browser cache.

Bill Happy,
BillGrid.com

Estimate Number Default

Happy to announce a new feature in BillGrid: automated Estimate Numbering. This feature has already been available on invoices and now it is available for estimates.

By default all accounts start off with a Numbering 000001 and empty prefix. This can be easily tweaked under Settings->Estimate Defaults (or Invoice Defaults for invoices).

Estimate Defaults

For example lets suppose your company name is Italian Bakery Inc and you would like your estimate numbers to look like IB-000001, IB-000002 and so on. You can easily do this by saving IB as the prefix on your Invoice and Estimate Defaults and you’re done.

Estimate Number

 

Some advanced tips:Some folks find it convenient to sort through invoices/estimates by year. You can accommodate this easily if you add the year into your default prefix this way your invoices/estimate number could look like: IB2014 – 000001.

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

Bill Happy,
BillGrid.com

 

BillGrid Email From and Reply To Changes

Recently several major email providers including Yahoo and AOL updated their email policy on how email From address is validated. This means that any system except for the original domain owner will not be able to send any email on behalf of the xxx@yahoo.com or xxx@aol.com. Such emails will be rejected unless you’re emailing from Yahoo and AOL websites. Other large email providers are expected to follow suit in attempt to reduce email spam.

How does this impact your BillGrid account? If you previously setup your Settings/Account Settings From Email – it has been updated to be a Reply To address instead. Reply To address is activated when your clients would try to reply back on the email, no matter where the email originated from.

All BillGrid customer facing emails will now originate from billing.[your company name]@billgrid.com. For example if your company name is Pancake Design House – the emails would be originating from billing.pancake.design.house@billgrid.com. Please note that if you have any non-standard email characters in the company name – From Email would then come as noreply@billgrid.com.

We expect this change to improve email deliverability all your emails and hope this causes very little inconvenience. Your clients are still replying to emails and reminders properly and no communication should be missing or lost.

You can read about the changes for Yahoo here and for AOL here.

For any questions please feel free to contact our support.

Bill Happy,
BillGrid.com