A crisp, clean, and professional invoice can do more than make your customer’s life easier.
- It can keep you in the good graces of your customer’s finance department
- Your own bookkeepers and accountants will thank you as well
- It will improve your brand over time
Here are some simple tips to bring your invoices from ‘good enough’ to ‘great:’
Always include line items
When you get a grocery bill, it shows you the price for each item, not just the total.
While you do not need to list every little purchase or expense on your invoices, it should be broken down into segments that make sense to both you and your customer.
For each line item, there are five common parts:
- Short name of the service, such as ‘Window cleaning’ or ‘Deep Clean’
- Additional details or description, if required.
- The cost per unit, if applicable (it may be a unit of time, or item)
- How many units were completed for this invoice
- The sub-total for the line item
Doing this helps both you and your customer to understand where the time, effort, and money was spent. This can be very helpful for negotiating future business or settling disputes.
Swept’s time-tracking feature allows you to easily export your payroll records. This way you’ll always be able to keep a track of the line items/units etc. and invoice your clients accordingly.
Make your payment terms obvious and easy to understand
Terms include things like:
- Within what time range does the customer have to pay?
- What happens if they’re late?
- What happens if the job is delayed or canceled?
Work with your legal advisor to figure out the best payment terms for your cleaning business. Then make sure each and every invoice includes the terms.
Make the due date for the invoice very obvious—it should be near the top and bolded if needed. Besides the amount owed, in most cases, this is the most important piece of information for your customer.
For the other terms, they can be in smaller print near the bottom… but do not try and hide it by making it tiny. Do not try and make it difficult to understand by using complicated legal language. It should be written so that anyone can figure out what it means.
Doing this will help you build trust with your customers. Remember: people do business with people that they like! If you are straightforward with your terms, it will be appreciated by those you work with.
Don’t be afraid of some style
Invoices are not the most exciting documents in the world, but there’s no need for them to be completely dull. Designing a nice looking invoice will demonstrate that you care about details, something that every janitorial business needs to advertise!
Some tips for a good looking invoice include:
- Use your brand colours as an ‘accent’—adding a little splash of colour here and there will brighten up the invoice and boost your brand
- Don’t forget the logo! It should be prominent near the top.
- Get rid of vertical lines in any tables. It’s generally cleaner to only use horizontal lines if your line items appear in a table
- Shade in every other line item. If you have many line items, make the background of every other one a light grey colour. This improves readability a lot!
- Add a salutation. Something simple at the bottom like, “Thank you for your business!” adds a personal touch.
Part of providing an excellent customer experience includes how money changes hands. Payments and pricing are also the sources of many challenges and disputes.
The humble invoice is an important part of a smooth payment process, and it is worth investing some time and energy to make sure your invoices are serving your janitorial business well.
Tip: As a Janitorial Business owner you always run the risk of losing your business to someone who is willing to charge less so instead of devaluing your worth and getting stuck with a contract that is going to lose you money check out Swept’s Free Bidding Calculator.
These tips, along with an earlier article we wrote, are an excellent way to get started.