Gone are the days when a handshake was enough to enforce deals between vendors and buyers. Well at least we hope those days are gone. If you’re still doing handshake deals, stop right now! You are a business owner, a potential titan of industry, so in the very least you better be using invoices.
All businesses, both large and small, should be providing invoices to customers for all goods and services they provide. An invoice is a document that details the business transaction between you and your customer or client. Aside from identifying the parties in the transaction, it details the goods or services to be provided, sets out pricing, delivery dates, and payment terms. This little piece of paper can save you from a lot of headache down the road if a buyer doesn’t want to pay you anymore.
When drafting an invoice, it is important to use simple clear terms to avoid any ambiguity. If you don’t have a go-to contract when dealing with customers, we recommend setting out some terms and conditions directly on the invoices you provide your customers or clients. This includes outlining payment terms, performance dates, invoice disputes, cancellations, and liability – that’s in the very least!
It’s easy, especially for new business owners, to forget to invoice. But remember, this is your responsibility and your way of getting paid for your work. If you don’t have a contract in place between you and the party you are dealing with, and they are refusing to pay, an invoice can demonstrate to a court of law that you are owed payment. So, invoice up already!
Robin K. Mann, JD