November 23, 2014

How Often Do You Invoice?

Freelance Switch just published an interesting article touting the benefits of weekly freelance gigs over longer-term projects. I’m not sure that I agree with this. As I said in the comments, right now I’m finishing up a project that pays me weekly (which is awesome, don’t get me wrong), but most of my regular clients pay monthly. And when I’m writing for a website or magazine, I get paid even less frequently than that.

This makes my budgeting a little less predictable, but it also gives me greater flexibility. If I had a regular gig with mini-deadlines every day, then it would make it a lot harder to write queries or pursue other projects. Right now I have three clients who pay me for a set number of blog posts per month, but it’s up to me when I write and publish those blog posts (though I try to spread them out evenly over the course of the month). This arrangement works well for both of us, because they don’t have to worry about blogging and I can schedule it around my other projects. Or I can take a day off without much interruption.

Invoicing (and the follow-up email that it often requires) is probably one of my least favorite parts of the job, so invoicing monthly makes more sense for me. I’m betting that my regular clients wouldn’t want to deal with weekly invoices either, because they’re busy running other aspects of their company.

Bonus! Kristen King at InkThinker is giving away 3-month accounts with Infotrak Invoicing and Steph Auteri at .Freelancedom* reviews 7 invoicing applications.

So, how often do you invoice? Do you use an online invoice service or just good ol’ Word documents?

Comments

  1. Amanda Nicole says:

    I use a service invoice template of Excel Spreadsheet. For my one-off gigs, I attach an invoice along with the finished piece, with a note at the bottom stating that payment is due within 14 days of receipt. It used to say 30 days, but I found that I was waiting too long for payments while bills were piling up. For my regular clients, I bill the same flat rate monthly so that I have at least some steady money coming in. And, of course, the payment for print articles comes trickling in seemingly whenever they feel like it.

  2. Kristen King, Inkthinker says:

    Thanks for the link to my giveaway, Susan! :)

    Congrats on making the list of finalists for Top 10 Blogs for Writers.

    Kristen
    http://www.inkthinkerblog.com

  3. Damaria Senne says:

    Most of my clients are invoiced monthly and I have two small clients I invoice when I finish each assignment. This helps me with my budgeting process, and it means I know how much is coming in for the following month.

    The reason I invoice the two clients differently is that they asked me to. They pay immediately after they receive the invoice, which is really cool.

    I use service invoice template of Excel spreadsheet too.

  4. Susan Johnston says:

    @Amanda: I hear ya! Print publications are on a schedule all their own.

    @Kristen: congrats to you, too!

    @Damaria: those client clients sound like keepers! I hope they stick around for a LONG time.

  5. I think it also comes down to how you handle money. Some people are better at budgeting in small increments (or larger, less frequent payouts) and I think this probably affects what type of invoicing feels most comfortable (presuming, of course, that all invoices are paid promptly!)

  6. Susan Johnston says:

    @Trish: Very true. Some people who are salaried love getting a big fat check once a month and others prefer to have it spread out over the cource of the month.

  7. It depends on the client. I have one client that I invoice monthly for ongoing work and invoice at the end of a job for a quarterly newsletter I write for them.

    Other clients, I usually invoice upon completion of jobs.

    Ideally, I make enough money that my bills are always paid, even though that money doesn’t come in regularly.

    I use QuickBooks for my invoicing, keeping track of my time, and all that other financial stuff.

  8. Sage Software has recently launched a free online invoicng tool for freelancers and small businesses at http://www.billingboss.com. Billing Boss is focused of keeping invoicing simple – so simple that you can get set up and send your first invoice in just a couple minutes.

    Please note: With the goal of full disclosure, I work at Sage. Feel free to contact me if you have any feedback about Billing Boss.

  9. Hey All

    I have been using the services of http://www.invoicera.com for quite sometime now and they are coming up with the new Invoicera with features like time-tracking, expense tracking, import function, and much more. Check out their blog at http://www.invoicera.com/blog for updates

    Cheers!!!