When should I issue an invoice?

Congratulations! You’ve received an order. You have your products packed and ready to go or you’ve completed your service, your customer is satisfied, so you’re all done, right? Not quite yet.

The most important part of your sales process is still missing. You want to be paid for your work. And in order to get paid, you’ll need to supply an invoice. Because without invoicing, there will be no money coming your way.

An invoice is an official document that requires a customer to pay for products or services that you’ve delivered. In some cases, such as if the products don’t match the description or the work was unsatisfactory, payment can be disputed. But an invoice is needed in every instance.

But at what point during the sale is the right time to issue an invoice? Below, we’ve outlined a few tips on how to get the timing right.

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1. Don’t hesitate

Quite simply: send the invoice immediately after the service has been completed or the order fulfilled. Often, only once your customer has received your invoice will they remember to pay you. It’s important for them to have clear documentation of what they’re purchasing.

Although it might seem logical, allowing too much time to pass after fulfilling the order or service - out of seeming polite and not too eager to get your money, is not a good practice.

With invoicing software like SumUp Invoices, there’s no reason to delay or to plan ahead. It takes just 1 minute to create and send professional-looking invoices. Product and service data, as well as customer data, is saved to your account, allowing you to autofill your invoice templates in moments and prevent errors.

2. Always specify the due date

SumUp merchants sometimes ask if it’s possible to remove the requirement for a payment due date on their invoices. But this is not a good idea.

No matter your past experience with the customer or the closeness of your business relationship, providing a due date is an important part of ensuring that you receive money for your work.

The standard payment period is 30 days. However, you can make individual arrangements with your customers and can also designate shorter payment periods such as 14 days, or discounts for early payment (typically within 10 days of issuing the invoice).

3. Write partial invoices

For large projects that can continue over long periods of time, you can speak with your customer to come up with a payment plan that will work, such as instalment payments so that you have a steady cash flow, and they aren’t stuck with one large bill at the very end.

In this way, you can create partial invoices, or rather, invoices for specific parts of an order. This ensures that you need not wait til the end to receive payment, and ensure that you can continue covering your costs throughout the project.

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