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Invoicing Tips For Freelance Photographers - Here are a few tips to help freelance photographers with the dull but essential task of invoicing.
Unfortunately, going freelance you’ll need to get to grips with some pretty dull rigmarole... invoicing amongst the essential business tasks you’ll need to get up to speed with.
Now, late payments are the bane of a freelancer's existence and a lack of invoicing expertise can exacerbate the problem, so to help any of you aspiring freelancers on your way (or equally any of you that could do with freshening your invoicing skills up) here’s some tips that might help you invoice more effectively...
Firstly, ensure you include all the relevant infoSomething that can delay the payment process is failing to provide the correct invoice details, clients deeming your invoice invalid.
When you're starting out, exactly what you need to include can prove confusing - I know it was for me in my early days as a freelance writer - so feel free to check these out if you're a tad lost.
Be speedy and cash needyOnce the work is done don’t be sloppy with the delivery of your invoice and raise it immediately. Get the ball rolling sooner, rather than later.
Elsewhere, make sure that payment terms are agreed from the outset and that they’re not an afterthought, as this can have dire repercussions on your cash flow, debtors delaying their payments indefinitely. Stand firm on your payment terms and convince clients that your service is worth paying for quickly, given the value you’ll offer to their business.
Don’t be afraid to get legal, if clients are being evilWhere clients are being particularly uncooperative, it’s worthwhile considering your legal options, as there's new late payment legislation that allows you to charge 8% over your initial fee and make a late payment charge, where payment hasn’t been received.
That said, always use this as a last resort where all other avenues have broken down and don't jump straight into a legal battle, unless you’re wholly convinced that your clients are acting inappropriately on the payment front.
If you’re new to the freelancing game, consider keeping invoicing to a minimumWhen you’re first starting out and perhaps a little tight on funds, try to deal in cash up front if you can, as it’ll probably make collecting payment quicker, as well as simpler.
If you are going to give credit though, try to make sure your client is reputable and trustworthy, otherwise you might face nasty repercussions with your cash-flow. Ensure they’re a real business and not charlatans, perhaps through a little internet research.
And finally, bear in mind the tax factsHMRC require businesses to keep track of documents to as far as six years back, sales and purchase invoices some of the things they might be keen to get their hands on later down the line.
With this in mind, keep a track of all your invoice documents, either filing them or storing them electronically. Ideally both. This way if the taxman does come calling, you should be well placed to answer their queries.
Article by Mark James, in-house Writer for cloud accounting firm, Crunch.