7 Easy Construction Billing Methods For Contractors & Entrepreneurs

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Like every other industry, the construction industry is also back on the track post-pandemic. It has accelerated the rate of growth. Plus, there is on-time payment to construction companies or professionals.

According to the National Construction Payment Report 2020, a survey of 540 construction professionals concluded that approximately 50% of construction contract professionals received payments on time. Things have changed drastically, and the reason behind this is knowing about the construction billing method.

This article is all about letting you know the 7 different and effective invoicing methods to bill clients and receive payments on time. Plus, the construction industry’s best practices that most successful construction contract companies follow.

Wait no more for cash, get your job done, and receive your hard-earned money on time.

What Is Billing Method In Construction Industry?

A construction billing method is used by the construction contractors to notify their clients about the payment that is due for the work. It also means you bill your clients about the value you are adding by building whatever is demanded. It is also necessary for construction accounting and preparing financial statements.

Now that you know what relation you and your client carry, let’s know how to make it long-standing and a cakewalk.

7 Construction Billing Methods

Below are the different construction billing options that you can choose to form stable financial management.

  1. Advanced Billing Method

    As the name says, this method demands cash in advance, meaning before the beginning of the construction project. Another name for an advanced billing method is the lump-sum payment method.

    As a contractor, you can ask for an advance payment to buy raw materials and pay your subcontractors or vendors. On-time completion of the project would not only win payments but also the clients. This way, you may even build long-term relationships.

    Now that you know the good side, let’s know the bad side. If the project goes over budget, the contractors (you) have to put money out of your pocket to complete the construction.

    Who can opt for the Advance Billing Method?:Since the advance billing method requires payment before starting the work, it is great for the ones who have worked together for the long term. This happens when projects are completed on time, construction invoice is sent on time, and payment is done on time.

  2. Progress Billing Method

    Just the way you are steadily progressing towards finding the right billing method, this progress billing lump summethod tells you to bill your client on every milestone you achieve.

    The payments are released on the basis of the project completed to date. Apart from including other information, the important detail you must include is the payment schedule. It means the division of project, invoice submission, and payment should be clearly addressed before you shake hands.

    The progress billing method is one of the best billing methods for both construction contractors and clients. None of the parties are at risk; contractors would never run out of cash, and the client will always have a percentage of work completed.

    The billing method also creates a concrete financial statement and keeps the accounts updated.

    Who can opt for the Progress Billing Method?:Anyone with a heavy budget and lengthy project can opt for this billing method. The majority of construction projects opt for a progress billing method.

  3. Arrears Billing Method

    By now, you have seen two different invoicing methods; before the beginning of the project and payment throughout the project.

    This one is slightly different since it requires asking for the payment at the end of the project. Once the project is completed, the clients release the payments.

    From the contractor’s point of view, this one is quite risky in two ways; firstly, you (as a contractor) have to put money out of your pocket for labor and material costs, secondly, what if the client rejects the project or denies payment.

    Who can opt for the Arrears Billing Method?:Construction businesses with heavy cash flow can opt for this billing method. Plus, the ones who want to win the trust and build long-term relationships. Lastly, the construction company can opt for this billing method when the construction project is for a shorter duration.

  4. Fixed Price Billing Method

    A lump sum amount paid to the contractor for the entire construction project by the client is a fixed price billing method. Contractors are entitled to receive incentives for early completion and are charged penalties for exceeding deadlines defined in the contract.

    This method works well when the scope is clearly defined and there is no price fluctuation in labor or raw material.

    Who can opt for Fixed Price Billing Method?:Contractors who want to win clients and are financially sound can opt for this billing method.

  5. Time & Material Billing Method

    In this billing method, contractors ask for the cost of raw materials and charge on an hourly or on daily basis. The invoicing method allows you to add change orders, and there are no deadlines to it.

    The downfall of the Time & Material billing method is it requires a heavy-documentation process. Plus, there is no appreciation for the work completed before time.

    Who can opt for the Time & Material Billing Method?:Contractors with heavy cash flow and a good reputation in the market can opt for this billing method.

  6. Cost Plus Billing Method

    As the name suggests, it indicates cost plus the part or percentage of profit. The client has to pay the construction contractor an entire cost to build the project plus a profit percentage. This method is also ideal for the contractors since they do not have to put money out of their pocket and never run out of money.

    The cost includes material, manpower, and equipment. Besides, travel mileage, insurance, and communication expenses are also part of the cost.

    Another benefit-cost plus billing method brings to the table is in favor of the contractors; no matter how much the price level increases for material or equipment, the contractors get full payment.

    Who can opt for the Cost Plus Billing Method?:Mostly the projects with undefined scope. Plus, the contractors who have a good reputation can demand this billing method.

  7. Unit Price Billing Method

    This billing method works by dividing the projects into blocks or segments. These blocks remain undefined at the beginning of the project. Plus, there can be addition, revision, or rework in the project as many times as the client wants. The major downfall of this billing method is contractors are required to provide a lot of documents to justify their payments, and still don’t receive remuneration on time.

    Considering all the hassles involved in this billing method to the contractors, we don’t suggest using it.

    We hope you have chosen your billing method to streamline the construction billing process and get into those 50% of contractors, who have received payments on time (discussed in the beginning with proven stats).

    Now let’s look at the best practices to follow to get the payments on time without fail.

Create Estimates and Invoices Instantly and Save Time

5 Billing Practices For Construction Companies

Here are some of the best practices that you should consider for your construction projects.

construction billing practices

  1. Generate Detailed Invoices and Send Them Instantly

    Firstly, you should generate invoices by filling in the necessary details. Add net amount depending on fixed rate or unit price contract, shipping address, contact information, and available payment modes. Once an invoice is made, you should recheck it for billing errors or spelling errors.

    Thereafter, you should send it to your client as quickly as possible. This is because the longer you wait, the longer you have payment delays. In case the invoices are sent late, there are chances that you may receive late payments. Consequently, you may not have smooth cash flow in your business. Therefore, we suggest you must send timely invoices to the clients. And the best way to get it quickly is by an online invoice builder.

  2. Describe Payment Instruction

    Another important note you need to insert at the time of invoice generation is to mention the payment instruction in detail. Longer payment instructions may lead to a higher debt ratio, which can be critical for the companies’ finance. So you can describe it in a short note at the bottom of the invoice.

    It is necessary to clearly outline the important payment guideline for customers to know exactly when you are expecting payment. But do not try to include burdensome terms and conditions along with payment instructions. Build trust and a collaborative relationship with your client so that you can help them on the path towards securing better terms.

  3. Offer Discounts On Advance Payments

    In the construction industry, customers will find your construction business interesting if you have discounts on your contract price. Yes, it is the easiest way to get payments faster if you come up with discount schemes for your service. On the other hand, you can introduce charges for the late payers to penalize late payments.

    So, if the customer pays after the due date, you can ask them to pay late fees. By introducing these two schemes in the construction contracts, you may have a reduced number of unpaid invoices and more service buyers. In terms of discounts and late payments, you should inform them about your payment expectation as well.

  4. Take A Follow Up For Unpaid Invoices

    When you are into the construction business, you might have to be on your toes to chase payments. This could be the result of the outstanding invoices which have overdue payments. In such cases, immediately send a reminder to your clients to understand your concern. Downloading InvoiceOwl App, you will not have to search unpaid invoices, as you will be notified once the client’s payment is due.

    Professionals who are running construction businesses take follow up by sending emails or direct phone calls. By taking follow-ups you would be sure of getting paid for what you have worked. Also, you can talk to the customer about the pending invoice before sending an email. It will be a professional way to contact your clients in case they have due payment.

  5. Adapt The Accounting System

    Mostly, construction companies prefer to use the invoicing software where they may not have to enter details manually. Also, it would help them to have a reduced workload. We recommend professionals from the construction industry use an invoice generator. The automated software designed for the construction project will help you choose a suitable template as per your requirement.

    At InvoiceOwl, your billing process will not be time-consuming and you will fewer errors when you have e-invoices. Moreover, it would be easier to save records of paid and unpaid transactions, which will help you at the time of tax reporting. Overall, you don’t have to maintain a ledger, and billing clients would be easy-peasy.

Frequently Asked Questions
    1. Being a contractor when should I send invoices?There is no deadline to send the construction invoices. But, the contractor must start creating invoices as soon as they start their new project. Once the project is done they should immediately send invoices to the clients so that the client can pay you on time. Also, you can send invoices while the work is being done and request the client for advance payment.

    1. How can an invoice be both a purchase invoice and a sales invoice?An invoice can be both a purchase invoice and a sales invoice if the invoice is generated by a neutral third party to acknowledge the transaction.

    1. What are construction invoice templates in the construction industry?Construction invoice templates are one of the easiest ways for a contractor to generate invoices. It comes with pre-filled information related to the construction industry where a contractor just needs to add their hours and description of the services. The construction invoice template is created to ease the work of a contractor and help them get paid faster.

    1. What are the standard payment terms on the construction invoice template?The standard payment terms illustrated on the sample construction invoice template helps customers to know when exactly the contractor is expecting payment. And what will be the consequences if they don’t pay the total cost on time or at the payment due date. In the future, a contractor can modify the standard payment terms as per the client’s agreement before issuing the invoices.

  1. What are the necessary details to enter in a construction invoice?Below are the essential details you need to enter while creating an invoice.
    • Business name and logo
    • Billing name and contact details
    • Shipping address
    • Product quantity and description
    • Payment note
    • Contract price and the net amount
    • Invoice number and due date
    • Payment options

Create Professional Invoices Online Easily and Keep On Top of Your Finances

InvoiceOwl is a feature-rich invoicing app that helps small businesses, freelancers and contractors to create invoices on-the-go and get paid quicker!

We understood how construction invoice helps the contractors to create invoices by adding essential information related to work completed and materials used. By using construction invoice templates in your business, you can easily:

  • Generate professionally-looking invoices
  • Send invoices quickly to the customers
  • Get paid on time
  • Improve your business efficiency

Also, we learned the best practices that you can apply and make your work easier. On the ending note, it is better to adopt contractor estimate and invoice software like InvoiceOwl that offers customized invoice templates in Word, Excel, and even PDF formats to create invoices as per your business needs.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the Founder of InvoiceOwl and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.