Tradify’s Tips to Getting Paid Faster

Tips & Tricks

Tradify-Features-Blog-Invoices-Cover-IllustrationUnderstand how you can get paid faster and improve your cash flow, with some tricks from the team here at Tradify. Once you've read our tips, test yourself to see whether your business is ready for automated invoicing! 

Better invoicing is done faster, online and with the help of software.

Our customers notice the impact of better invoicing already. Jonathan Clark from Watts Up Electrical noticed that taking operations online made life much easier and saved him invaluable amounts of time.

“If you’re doing things manually, you have to go back through emails, and get dates, and look at what everyone’s bought, and the time they’ve spent. It’s so time-consuming and draining, that sometimes you just say, ‘screw it’, invoice blind and hope that you’ve allowed for everything,"

“When suppliers send me an update, I upload it, and I always have an accurate listing. It means I also know exactly what I’ve paid for something. That saves so much time,” Jonathan says. “I can check the notes and add anything, instead of running around clarifying things.”

Improving your invoicing on Tradify

In Tradify’s mobile app, you can track your time and allocate costs to a job as you go. If you spot an error, you can quickly make adjustments, giving you confidence that you’ve included all of your time and materials. You can also pre-load (and update) supplier price lists, pricing levels for different customers, and your hourly billing rate, and add these to your invoice using dropdown menus – no more do-overs or double-checking.

Not sure what your billable rate should be? Check out our charge-out rate calculator for trade businesses.

Once a job is finished, it can take a matter of moments to send off an invoice, giving your client no excuse but to pay you on time.

Bill for parts of jobs, or multiple jobs at once

Depending on the job and the customer, you might want to invoice for a deposit or a progress payment. Then it’s as simple as converting the quote into an invoice and flicking it out.  This is especially useful for managing your cash flow during those larger jobs which might take months to complete.

If you’re managing lots of little jobs, Tradify can help there too. 

You can generate a billing run in Tradify to create a bulk lot of invoices – we’re talking 20 invoices in a minute! You can either create one invoice with multiple jobs for a single customer or a bulk invoice for multiple jobs across lots of different customers. 

Personalising Invoices

Adding a personal message to your invoice can be a great way to boost relationships with your customers. The best part? It's super easy! You need to do the following:

  • Create your invoice and approve as normal.
  • Click on Options, then click on Email Invoice.

You’ll see this screen come up:
Emailing an invoice in Tradify

  • From here you choose an address to email the invoice. This can be a different email address to any previously saved -- a great option if you want to email someone directly.
  • Underneath the email field, you’ll see a field for Subject. You can edit this or leave as the default header.
  • The final field is called Message. Here, you can compose a personal message that will appear in your email to your client. Use the dashboard across the top of the form box to change the font style and size, use bold, italics, and underline, change the alignment, and other formatting options.
  • To speed up the process, you can create a custom template for your invoices in Settings > Email > Invoice. This can include a personalised message based on the template variables available in Tradify. This way it can be completely personalised without having to change any information in the email.

tradify-customising-invoices

  • You simply have to find the relevant variable in the list and copy this into your template. Each email you send will be completely personalised based on the job information – this eliminates you needing to adjust any information.
  • Beneath the Messages field is an Attach Files button. Here, you can attach additional files to your invoice, such as plans, producer statements, or compliance forms.
  • Once you have your message looking the way you want it, and any associated files attached, click Send. Your invoice will be sent to your client. Easy!

General invoicing tips

Get a downpayment

Asking for a down payment on a job is perfectly acceptable. Not only are down payments becoming the norm but they also help put your customers at ease, as they feel it means their tradesperson is now more likely to show up. 

You can ask for a 25-50% down payment on work less than $10,000 in value and between 5%-10% on larger jobs.

Getting a down payment will make a significant difference to your cash flow. It also allows you to set some benchmarks around payment terms. For example, a down payment must be made electronically, in advance, 7 days from quote acceptance.

Get invoices out the door as soon as possible

The longer you wait for payment for jobs already completed, the more precarious your cash flow becomes. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to get paid as soon as possible.

Tradify caught up with a plumber who used to handwrite his invoices. Because he was working 6-7 days a week on-site, he often wouldn't get to writing the invoices until weeks, or even months, after a job is finished. By that time, he’s forgotten some of the details.

Remember, the client can’t pay you until they see that invoice!

Now that he's is using Tradify, he’s able to send out an invoice the day the job is finished, sometimes even while he’s still on site. The difference this has made has been transformative to his life.

Use accounting software to automatically notify debtors

When you’re sending out lots of invoices every week, it’s easy to forget which ones have been paid and which haven’t. Chasing up unpaid invoices often falls to the bottom of the pile when you’re struggling through hours of paperwork each night.

Luckily, if you use accounting software like Xero, Quickbooks, or MYOB, you can pull out and notify late-payers with the touch of a button.

For example, in Xero, you can automatically see your debtors on a projected graph right on your dashboard. This means you can see in advance when lots of payments are supposed to be coming in, and also who you should be chasing up.

Consider Stripe or Payclip for instant payments

If your business primarily does smaller jobs lasting from a few hours to a couple of days, then you may find it beneficial to equip each van with a device that allows you to take credit card payments automatically.

More people prefer to pay by credit card these days, because it enables them to collect the cash-back or airpoints. This is great, as it means you can literally get cash in the bank on the same day you finish a job.

This may sound like a huge headache, but I promise it’s easier than it seems. Stripe is a small dongle that attaches to a smartphone. The dongle reads a credit card chip and the simple app allows you to take payments just using your phone. Many banks operate a similar product connected to their business packages. Speak with your bank manager about options in your country.

Get a credit report

One really easy way to reduce the chance of bad debts or late payments is to get a credit report done on any new SME customer you take on board. A Credit report is a very cheap, quick and easy way to get some insight into who you’re dealing with and whether or not they can be trusted to pay on time.

Given the potential level of exposure and impact to your business, spending $64 to manage this risk feels like money well spent. Find out more here.

Run profit-and-loss to check your pricing

Because you work in an industry where clients expect a quote before you start a job – and every job is different – things will sometimes happen on a job that will mean it takes longer or costs you more than the original quote.

You’ll sometimes finish a job and realise you haven’t actually made any profit. It’s part of life, but if it’s happening more often than you’d like, it’s time to look at your pricing.

This is another case where accounting and job management software is awesome. You can run reports like profit-and-loss or job costing to see where you’re losing money. Usually, you’ll be able to notice a trend.

Test yourself - do you need automated invoicing?

If you're interested in using software to help your operations, then why not consider automating your software too?

We understand that every business is different, so see for yourself in a quiz we developed alongside Debtor Daddy if you're ready to make the leap. 

Is it time to automate your invoicing?

How many hours a week do you spend chasing debtors?

Whether it’s you or a member of staff chasing overdue invoices, calculate the number of hours you’re spending every month following up trying to get paid.

Two hours a week? That’s more than four working days a year!

Now calculate how much that, in wages (not to mention stress, frustration and cash flow problems), is costing you. More than a cup of coffee a week? Then it’s probably time to move to an automated system.

How are your client relationships?

It’s difficult to do business when you’re waiting to be paid. Not only are awkward ‘pay me, please’ phone calls difficult to have, but they can also be problematic for maintaining a friendly working relationship.

Similarly, it’s difficult to negotiate on new projects when outstanding invoices loom over the conversation.

If you’re uncomfortable making that bill-chasing call, if you’re in doubt as to whether your staff have the ability to perform such calls well, or if, heaven forbid, you’re putting off chasing overdue invoices because you hate the process, a system that keeps invoices in check automatically is likely a good choice for you.

How much are you owed in aged receivables?

Prompt payment of receivables (or lack thereof) is a sign of your customer's financial health. Overdue invoices and any trending towards invoices being paid slowly are a warning sign that business may be slowing down and cash flow is becoming tight for that customer.

Simply put, if your client’s accounts are overdue it’s indicative that that client is becoming a credit risk.

And those outstanding bills cost you. Use this financial impact calculator to find just how much they’re affecting your business.

Have you been worried about being able to pay your creditors?

Make no mistake – poor cash flow can kill a business. When a business goes under and is unable to pay its creditors, that often has an insidious run-on effect for those companies owed money. And the bigger the percentage of revenue that a client company represents, the bigger the risk.

If you’ve been under pressure when it comes to paying your creditors – because you’re still waiting to be paid by your debtors – your need to get your cash flow under control.

Making sure invoices are paid promptly is essential to protect yourself from risk and the best way to do that is via an automated invoice reminder system.

Are you growing as a business?

When you’re seeking new opportunities, the last thing you want to be doing is looking over your shoulder, trying to get paid for last month’s (or worse) work. Having an automated system in place to chase debtors will let you focus on the future instead of pouring over your past efforts.

A ‘set-and-forget' invoice chasing system like Debtor Daddy can take the invoice management hassle off your hands entirely, freeing you up to seize new opportunities, source new work and grow your business (not your debt).