The Best Time to Send Invoices: Tips for Timely Payments

DAVID FAČKO

12 min

·

October 2, 2023

When sending invoices, timing is everything. Did you know that the timing of your invoice can significantly impact whether or not you get paid on time? Sending invoices incorrectly can result in delayed payments and cash flow issues.

As a business owner or freelancer, getting paid for your goods or services is crucial for the success and stability of your business. However, many professionals overlook the importance of timing when it comes to invoicing.

In this article, you’ll discover the best practices for sending invoices and when to send invoices to make sure you pay and receive your money on time.

Early vs. Late Invoicing: Pros and Cons

Regarding invoicing, timing is crucial for business owners. Early and late invoicing have advantages and disadvantages, which can significantly impact a company’s cash flow and client relationships.

Timing

Early Invoicing

Late Invoicing

Pros

– Improves cash flow. 
– Ensures prompt payments.  
– Enhances client satisfaction and trust.

– Gives clients more time to gather funds. 
– Avoids the need for payment reminders.

Cons

– Risk of delayed payments from clients.
– Potential strain on client relationships due to frequent reminders.

– This can result in delayed or unpaid invoices.  
– Disrupts financial planning and creates uncertainty for business owners.

When is the Best Time to Send Invoices

Here are the following factors to consider before sending out invoices:

  • Invoicing Freelancers: For freelancers, the day they send out invoices is akin to payday, provided their clients pay on time. However, many freelancers face challenges with late or even non-payments from clients.
  • First/Last Method: This involves sending invoices either at the month’s beginning (first day) or end (last day). The start of a month often represents a fresh beginning for clients, making them more likely to settle invoices promptly. Conversely, the end of the month sees clients wrapping up tasks, which can also be an opportune time for invoicing.
  • The 15th: Invoicing on the 15th can benefit those who prefer bi-weekly payments. This approach ensures a more regular income flow.
  • Client’s Preference: It’s essential to consider when the client prefers to receive an invoice. Aligning with their payment schedules or cash flow can lead to more timely payments.
  • Upon Project Completion: Some find sending invoices immediately after completing a project is best. This approach ensures that invoicing isn’t overlooked, especially when juggling multiple clients.
  • Time of Day Matters: When invoices are sent can influence payment speed. Mornings are often effective as clients check emails and complete quick tasks. Evenings can be suitable as clients will see the invoice the next morning.

Explore our article to discover effective strategies to get clients quickly and effortlessly as a freelancer.

8 Ways to Prevent Late Payments

Late payments can be a major headache for business owners when running a business. The following steps can help to prevent this from happening:

1. Consider Your Payment Terms

Establishing clear and favorable payment terms is essential for maintaining a healthy cash flow and avoiding late payments. By clearly communicating the payment expectations to your clients, you set the tone for a professional invoicing process. This helps eliminate any confusion or misunderstandings regarding payment schedules and methods.

Determining the appropriate payment terms for your business operations is crucial. You can opt for various terms, such as net 30 45, or even shorter terms, like net 15 or 7 days. It depends on your business type and cash flow requirements.

Having favorable payment terms can incentivize clients to make timely payments. For example, offering a discount for early payments or setting a modest interest rate for late payments can encourage clients to prioritize settling their invoices promptly.

In addition to setting the correct payment terms, leveraging best invoicing software can streamline the billing cycle and improve efficiency. These tools automate the invoicing process, send reminders, and offer online payment options, making it easier for clients to make correct and timely payments.

2. Reassess Your Billing Cycle

The billing cycle refers to the frequency of sending your clients invoices and collecting payments.

Adjusting your billing cycle based on industry standards, client preferences, and contractual agreements is crucial. Different industries may have different billing practices, and aligning your billing cycle with industry standards can help streamline your invoicing process. 

Additionally, considering clients’ preferences can contribute to more robust business relationships and promote timely payments.

When determining the appropriate timing for sending invoices, there are a few factors to consider. 

  • Billing immediately after service delivery can effectively capture the client’s attention while the value of your services is still fresh in their minds. On the other hand, some businesses send invoices on the monthly anniversary to consolidate all services provided during that period.
  • It is essential to carefully assess your billing cycle by considering the services provided, client expectations, and the nature of your contractual agreements. For example, billing milestones or an initial deposit may be appropriate if you offer large-scale projects. 
  • Additionally, if your business experiences cash flow issues, more frequent invoicing or upfront payments can help alleviate financial strain.

3. Setting Up Automated Reminders for Unpaid Invoices

Implementing automation in your invoicing practices can save time and avoid the hassle of manually tracking and sending payment reminders. Invoicing software, such as vcita, streamlines this process by automating email and SMS payment reminders to clients with overdue invoices. This helps prompt them to make the necessary payment and reduces the chances of a delay in payment.

One of the significant benefits of using invoicing software like Billdu is the quick overview of invoice statuses. Rather than spending hours manually checking which invoices are due or need follow-up, you can easily access a dashboard that displays the status of each invoice, allowing you to focus your attention on those that require immediate action.

Additionally, invoicing software provides clients with an easy and convenient way to make payments. With the click of a button, they can view their invoice, review payment details, and choose their preferred payment method, whether it’s via credit card, online payment, or other options. This simplifies the payment process for clients and increases the likelihood of quicker payment.

Automated reminders

4. Create Multiple Payment Options

When invoicing customers, convenient payment options are essential to ensure a smooth and timely payment process. Offering multiple payment options such as credit card payments, bank transfers, and payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe can make it easier and faster for customers to make payments, ultimately improving your cash flow.

Credit card payments are a popular option for many customers, providing a quick and secure way to pay invoices. Accepting credit card payments allows customers to make payments instantly without needing manual processing.

Bank transfers are another reliable payment option. Some customers prefer this method as it allows them to make payments directly from their bank accounts, ensuring a seamless transfer of funds. Providing your bank account details on the invoice makes it easy for customers to initiate the payment.

In addition, integrating popular payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe can further enhance the convenience for your customers. These platforms allow customers to pay invoices using their PayPal or Stripe accounts, which can be linked to various funding sources, including credit cards and bank accounts.

5. Utilize Professional Invoicing Software

To streamline your invoicing process and ensure timely payments, it is highly recommended to utilize professional invoicing software like Billdu. This software offers many benefits that can significantly improve your invoicing practices.

With invoicing software, you can easily create and customize professional-looking invoices tailored to your business. Billdu, for example, provides invoice templates that can be personalized with your branding elements, resulting in a more polished and cohesive image.

In addition, using invoicing software allows you to track payments efficiently. You can easily monitor which invoices have been paid and are still outstanding, improving your cash flow management. Billdu provides real-time notifications when invoices are viewed, paid, or overdue, ensuring that you are always updated on the status of your invoices.

When it comes to sending invoices, professional invoicing software offers various options. You can send invoices via email or even SMS, providing convenience and flexibility for you and your clients.

Moreover, invoicing software enables you to automate the invoicing process. You can set up recurring invoices for clients with regular payments, saving time and effort. Furthermore, online invoicing with a “Pay now” button allows your clients to make instant payments through credit cards or online payment platforms, speeding up the payment process.

Optimize your invoicing process using the Billdu invoicing software

Invoice creation, expense tracking, quotes, and automation – discover why Billdu stands out as one of Australia’s preferred invoicing apps.

Free 30-day trialNo credit card requiredCancel anytime
Billdu invoice maker and invoicing app

6. Don’t Forget About Interim Invoices and Recurring Services

In addition to regular invoices, interim invoices are crucial in ensuring prompt payment for monthly recurring services. These interim invoices allow you to break down the overall project or service into smaller, manageable parts. By billing your clients periodically throughout the project, you can maintain a steady cash flow and mitigate the risk of late or delayed payments.

Monthly recurring services often involve ongoing work or long-term projects. Instead of waiting until the end of the project to invoice your clients, sending interim invoices at regular intervals ensures that you receive payment for the work completed up to that point. This helps you manage your business expenses and demonstrates transparency and professionalism in invoicing practices.

When offering options for monthly or partial payments, clearly defining these terms in your contracts is crucial. Specify each payment’s amount, frequency, and due dates to avoid confusion or disputes. With a well-defined payment schedule, your clients will clearly understand their financial obligations and will be more likely to meet their payment commitments.

7. Take Advantage of Online Payment Platforms

Online payment platforms offer a range of benefits that make the invoicing process easier and more efficient. Two popular platforms that are widely used are PayPal and Stripe.

One significant advantage of online payment platforms is their convenience to business owners and customers. With platforms like PayPal and Stripe, customers can make payments with just a few clicks, eliminating the need for writing and mailing paper checks or visiting physical locations to pay invoices. This streamlined process saves time and effort for both parties involved.

Moreover, online payment platforms allow businesses to track payments more effectively. With these platforms, businesses can easily monitor the status of each invoice, see when payments are made, and track any outstanding balances. This helps improve cash flow management and allows businesses to identify and address any late or missing payments quickly.

For business owners, using online payment platforms for invoicing also enhances their professionalism and reliability. Customers appreciate the convenience and security of online payments, and by offering this option, businesses demonstrate their commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

8. Offer Incentives for Early Payments

Offering incentives for early payments is a strategic approach businesses can take to improve their cash flow and decrease the likelihood of late payments.

For insights into writing a professional late payment email, delve into the following article.

One effective incentive for early payments is offering discounts. Businesses can offer a percentage off the total amount owed or a flat rate discount for payments made before a specific date. This encourages customers to prioritize their payments and take advantage of the cost savings, thus increasing the chances of receiving payments on time.

Another option to consider is providing loyalty rewards. Businesses can offer rewards such as points, credits, or exclusive perks to customers who consistently make early payments. This incentivizes prompt payments, promotes customer loyalty, and strengthens the business-customer relationship.

Offering extended payment terms for early payments can also be an attractive incentive. This allows customers to have a more extended period to make the payment while still enjoying the benefits of early payment discounts or rewards. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for customers with varying cash flow cycles and can improve the overall payment experience.

Invoice automation

Leveraging Technology and Automation

Ecommerce automation empowers businesses to enhance efficiency by streamlining their invoicing process. Embracing technology and automation not only saves time but also ensures seamless transactions, making it a crucial strategy for modern businesses.

One of the critical advantages of technology and automation is the ability to generate and send invoices quickly and easily. With automated invoicing software, businesses can create modern invoices with just a few clicks, eliminating the need for manual data entry and formatting. This saves time and reduces the risk of calculation errors or invoice details.

Invoicing software also offers the benefit of customizable templates and pre-set payment terms. Businesses can use these features to ensure that their invoices comply with industry standards and meet client expectations. Clear and transparent invoices facilitate timely payments and help build strong relationships with customers.

Mobile apps and accounting software can further enhance the invoicing process by providing access to real-time information and facilitating on-the-go invoicing. With these tools, businesses can effortlessly track payment history, send reminders to clients, and monitor the status of overdue payments. This level of automation ensures that invoices are delivered and processed promptly, minimizing delays and improving cash flow management.

Final Notice

Determining the optimal time to send invoices is a delicate balance that hinges on various factors, from industry norms and client preferences to a company’s financial needs. While early invoicing can bolster cash flow and reflect professionalism, ensuring it doesn’t inadvertently strain client relationships is essential.

Conversely, late invoicing might offer clients more flexibility but can disrupt a business’s financial planning. Ultimately, businesses should tailor their invoicing practices to their unique circumstances, constantly communicating openly with clients and leveraging technology to streamline and optimize the process. Ultimately, the goal is to foster trust, ensure timely payments, and maintain a healthy cash flow, regardless of the invoicing timeline chosen.

Unlock your business’s full potential with accurate financial projections. Take action now and make informed decisions for a prosperous future.

Billdu: Your Gateway to Perfectly Timed Invoices!

Accelerate your invoicing process and achieve lightning-fast payments with Billdu. Experience the ease of sending invoices swiftly and efficiently, ensuring prompt payments and a seamless cash flow. Join us today to transform your invoicing experience! Check out our pricing options.

Free 30-day trialNo credit card requiredCancel anytime
Billdu invoice maker and invoicing app

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DAVID FAČKO

SEO Specialist at Billdu

David Fačko is an SEO specialist at Billdu, one of the best-rated invoicing software for freelancers in the world.

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