Managing Web Projects #13 – Invoicing the client

Managing Web Projects #13 – Invoicing The Client
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So now we come to the last phase of the Web Project – Invoicing.

Hoorah! I get my money now!

Lets hope so! Of course, thanks to your watertight contract you have all of your costs and payment terms laid out, right?

How you bill the client is up to you. Some people like 50% of the project costs upfront, some like a certain amount after x numbers of hours work has been completed and others bill at the end. Whichever method you use, make sure that it’s clearly stated in the contract and you have proof (most important!) that the client has agreed to the terms.

Blah, blah, you do go on. I want my money now!

So, how are you going to get it? Just send an email saying “Pay me £100 or else”? All companies have some form of financial/accounting system set up (which you will too of course!) and money paid out needs to be tied up properly with an invoice – especially now thanks to Sarbaines-Oxley.

Yeah, I forgot about that, I’ll just use that template I got with Word

Do you think that’ll really cut the mustard? Sure it’s a good starting point but it doesn’t really contain all the necessary information and it also doesn’t look very professional. You can download a HVAC invoice template which looks professional and also works out your taxes and totals for you.

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I guess you’re right, but where do I start?

There are several basic things that you should include on all invoices which are:

  • Your Logo – sounds obvious but a lot of companies just put their name. Make your client remember you and tie in all of your paperwork with your coporate image
  • The Date – again obvious but it’s easily forgotten!
  • Registered Address – In the UK at least, companies have to provide the address their company registered with at companies house
  • Invoice Address – If different from above
  • Who to pay – i.e. what name to put on the cheque!
  • VAT Number/Company Registration Number – if applicable
  • Invoice number – even if you personally don’t use it, your clients will plus it’s easier to chase up an invoice if you can easily identify which one!. If you don’t have an invoicing system, make the number up! My format is always KWxxxxx where the X are numbers. You may want to start really high, I mean KW011901 looks better than KW000001 right?!
  • Work Carried Out – A quick breakdown of what you did e.g. Website Design, Website Build, Hosting (x1 Year)
  • Total amount payable – Er.. I don’t think I have to explain this one
  • Payment terms – although this has been set out in the contract, the accounts department (especially in large firms) won’t know what terms were agreed so it’s best to remind them that way there are no arguments. This is a simple sentence that would read something like:
    The full balance of this invoice is payable within 30 days of the above date. If you have any queries please contact [name, contact details] to discuss the matter further

Optional extras that could be included are:

  • Full breakdown of work – all project milestones/components are listed individually
  • Number of hours per project item
  • Cost per hour
  • Breakdown of hosting arrangements – Server type, bandwidth etc.
  • Domain Name information – domain names bought, renewal dates and a renewal disclaimer which would read something like:
    You will be notified 30 days before your domain is due to expire. [Your Company Name] takes no responsibility for the loss of a domain name if [Client name] fails to renew the domain in good time

As I keep reminding everyone, I am not a lawyer (although I think I was one in a previous life), so get a solicitor to check any statements like the above for legality in your particular country/state.

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Wow! Thanks for that, I’m off to bill my client. We’re in the money!

Hang about! I haven’t even mentioned the most important point yet!

The last thing that should be put on your invoice is….

Thank you for your custom. We hope you you have enjoyed working with us. If you like our services don’t forget to recomend us to your friends and colleagues

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It’s amazing how many companies forget to say “Thank you” to their clients, you’d be surprised how appreciated it is!

There’s one final phase of Managing Web Projects which I’d like to touch on in this series and that’s website maintenance. In theory, your client loves you (and you love the client) so they’ll ask you to do regular maintenance work for them. In the next post we’ll take a look at how to manage your maintenance contracts

Don’t forget to check out the e-book version

About The Author
Katy is always trying to be more productive one day at a time! Whether it's analogue, digital, motivational or psychological who'll try any system that will help her get things done and get organised. As well as running, she also loves making music and reviewing things.
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