When to Invoice a Customer

You are here:

There is a general question “When to Invoice a Customer?

An invoice should be sent immediately after a customer’s order has been met successfully.

  • Product-based organization: The invoice is sent when the client receives all the goods.
  • Service-based organization: An invoice is sent immediately after the full service has been rendered.

Here, we have highlighted some of the best strategies that you can apply for sending an invoice to the clients. Moreover, this guide will help you to understand:

What Is an Invoice?

An invoice is a document prepared by the merchant to receive payment for the service and goods supplied. It can also be called a list of a product or service the merchant provides to the client and the prices for every quantity.

The commencement of payment begins when a client first receives the invoice. An invoice contains the following information:

  • Company name to whom you are invoicing.
  • Payment methods for your client to make a smooth payment process.
  • Convenient payment options like debit and credit card payments.
  • An invoice number is often used to reference the client’s order number.
  • The purchase order number is issued by the client and is seen as an agreement between the merchant and the client to explain the details of a sale.

When to Send an Invoice?

The most essential factor that you, as a business owner, need to take care of is when to send invoices to your clients.

Generally, there are three main strategies that you can apply for sending an invoice to your customers.

  • Before the job completion
  • After the job completion
  • Interim invoices

Let’s see how such strategies help you in getting paid faster from your client.

Before the Job Completion

One of the best strategies that you can apply for sending invoices to the clients is billing them before you have actually started the work.

In simple words, it is just like requesting a deposit or prepayment from your client.

Before a service is completed, you have an option to send invoices to your client in terms of the following metrics.

  • Advance payments: The best option is to take payment (most preferable, half payment) in advance from your client. You can take it as a deposit from your client, especially for purchasing equipment or material.
  • Large-scale projects: For large-scale projects, you can request payment from your clients either in terms of installation or after a certain period.
  • Deposits: You can even ask for a deposit from your clients by assuring them of the work to be done as per their expectations.

After Job Completion

One of the most common methods that many businesses follow is sending invoices after the job is completed. Nowadays, customers usually prefer to pay after the job is completed.

On the job completion, there are three standard methods that you can apply to send an invoice to your customers.

Invoice immediately

If you have just started your new business or you are dealing with small-scale jobs, the best option is to send an invoice to your client as soon as possible.

But how is that possible? It is made possible if you follow the below-mentioned strategies:

  • You must discuss the payment terms of use with the customers to make them know exactly what they are paying for.
  • You need to include the charges of late payments from your clients.
  • Keep your professional invoices ready and available to you. The best option is to adopt online invoicing software solutions that make it easy for you to create and send invoices quickly.
  • Credit card payment is the most efficient way that allows your clients to pay faster, making it easy for you to improve the business cash flow.

Sending invoices within 48 hours

This option is well-suited for large-scale jobs and will help to build a strong client relationship.

The best way to send an invoice to the client is by sending a follow-up email or making a direct phone call to your client. It will help you know whether your customer is happy with your service or not.

Some of the best practices that you can apply to send an invoice after the job is completed are:

  • Send a regular follow-up email to your client to notify them that job is done from your end and verify whether they are satisfied or not.
  • Once you receive the confirmation that your customers are happy, send a professional invoice to your client by text or email along with a payment due date.
  • You must provide an online payment option to your customer so that they can directly pay by text or email.

Sending monthly customer invoice

Monthly customer invoices are designed explicitly for commercial contracts or recurring services. In fact, it’s an ideal choice for businesses that don’t want to process multiple payments every month.

There are two standard methods that can help you to send an invoice to your clients using a monthly invoice.

  • Uses of sales invoice: You can easily mention all the essential transaction details like due date, amount of products, seller, buyer, and also total price in the invoice. It will make it easier for you to collect money from your client.
  • Contract termination: Contract termination is a drastic step and should be avoided, if possible. Termination might occur when the terms of the contract or the law allow for termination and it would also be the best way to mitigate damages. Remember, the contract should be terminated with caution and with good legal advice.

Monthly invoices help you deal with monthly recurring services, commercial contracts, get more loyal customers, and most importantly, minimize paperwork and admin work.

Interim Invoices

An interim invoice is usually assigned to the client, just before starting your project or service.

With interim invoices, you can easily get paid on time once the job is completed from your end. However, there are two main options that you can opt for:

  • Monthly Payments: You can send an invoice to your client on a monthly basis depending on your requirements. Let’s say, if you find that you are going to complete your entire job in six months, the best option will be to charge one-sixth of the total estimate of every invoice.
  • Partial Payments: Depending on your project requirements, you can send an invoice to your client to pay you partially. It means that your client has an option to pay half of the amount or some percentage of the total amount before you start your project.

How to Send an Invoice?

An invoice can be delivered to the customer in different ways:

  • By Mail: This is the slowest means of sending invoices; this method is also unreliable as the invoice may sometimes not get to the customer.
  • By Email: To send an invoice by Email is one sure way to get it delivered to your customer as quickly as possible; it is a trusted and secure means.
  • By Accounting Software: A majority of modern accounting software now comes with an internal email system that can be sent to any customer with just a click. Accounting software also helps you follow up on the invoice and notifies you when the invoice is overdue.

When to Follow Up for Invoices?

Sending a late payment reminder schedule to your client either:

  • 7 days before the due date
  • Every day
  • Net 7/30/60/90 (Most preferred option is Net 30 – Payment to be done before 30 days)
  • Sending an email to your client (For 120 days after the due date)

Free Invoice Templates for Small Business

An invoicing template is a layout that simply includes the necessary fields to make it easier to fill in details, such as your company name, company address, customer details, contact details, information about the product or service you’re selling, prices, and extra charges.

If you’re unable to create your own invoice template, you can always download and personalize invoice templates in Microsoft Word, Excel, and even PDF format. This process is easy with InvoiceOwl invoicing software, which provides you with several templates and also a sample consultant invoice.


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!

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

United States