Chapter 3 of 8

How to send an invoice that gets paid quickly

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Small business guides > Invoicing Survival Guide > How to send an invoice that gets paid quickly

How to send an invoice that gets paid quickly

Some businesses invoice every week or every two weeks. Some do it only once a month. But the fact is, it’s best to send your invoice as soon as the work is done – especially if you do one-off projects, odd jobs, or you’ve filled an order.

Think about your cash flow when working out your process. If you send all your invoices on the same day every month – and they get paid around the same time – then your bank balance will be full of highs and lows. If the lows create financial stress, consider spreading your invoicing over the month.

If you’re working on a big project, you might send interim invoices for the work done to date. And if you sell subscriptions or memberships, or you’re on a retainer, you can send a recurring invoice at regular intervals.

Ways to get your invoice into your customer’s hands

Send an invoice by post

Sometimes there’s a really good reason to send an invoice by post – perhaps the customer doesn’t use email or they consistently lose emailed invoices. But compared to others methods, post is slower, it costs more, physical addresses change more often than email ones and it’s much less secure.

Send an invoice via email

Email has advantages over post. Your invoice will arrive faster, it can’t really be lost, and email addresses are simpler to get right. Just double-check you have the right contact, and take these precautions:

  • Call after you’ve sent your first invoice to check they received it and understand what it’s for.
  • Send your invoice in a non-editable format. Fraudsters have been known to intercept emails and add their bank account to the payment details. It’s harder for them to do that if you send a PDF file rather an a document or spreadsheet.

Send an invoice online

Smart invoicing software means your invoices can live securely online – you simply send your customer a link to it. Not only does this put off the fraudsters, you can tell if the customer has opened it. Better still, online invoices allow your customers to pay straight away via credit card or debit card (using an online payment service like Stripe or PayPal), or via an automated clearing house (ACH).

Sharon Pocock

"The most important tip is to send your invoice straight away. Get it to your customer as quickly as possible – email is perfect for that. Better still, an app that lets you invoice while you're at the customer's premises!"

Sharon Pocock, Kinder Pocock, Xero gold partner

Handy tips for your business
Small business guide

The 7 benefits of online invoicing

Learn more about invoicing

Guides for small business

Write friendly invoice emails that encourage customers to pay

You’d normally send a short email message with your invoice, and you might send a reminder just before payment is due to increase the chances of getting paid on time. 

What to send with the invoice

The most important part of your invoice email is the subject line. The customer may pay faster if you give them a reference like the purchase order number. You can ask your customer’s accounts payable department what they like to see as the email subject.

You don’t need an elaborate message in the body of the email. A greeting and single line message is enough. The invoice itself contains everything else the customer needs to know.

invoice reminder email

What to send before it’s due

If you’re really organised, or have software that will do it automatically, you might send an email as a reminder just before the invoice is due. It can be brief, but it’s helpful if it includes the amount and the date due.

email letter of demand

Chapter 4: Accept payments

Not surprisingly, the easier you make it for your customers to pay you, the faster you’ll get paid.

Read chapter 4