An invoice is another word for a bill. If you own a company and give credit, you may send a bill or invoice of how much your customer owes you at the end of each month. Retail stores give a bill every time someone makes a purchase.
It may contain many items, the cost of each calculated with any tax added, and the customer pays the final amount. Most online companies send invoices by email, but any business that sells a product or service can send an invoice email. Even brick and mortar businesses are more successful collecting bills through email than through the post.
The invoice or payment request should contain as much information as necessary to make it easy for the customer or client to pay the bill as soon as possible, without asking questions that may delay payment. In other words, the invoice email should not be confusing.
If you are not paid within three to five days after sending the invoice by email, you may need to modify the content. An effective invoice will have less than 10 percent of the recipients asking for clarification.
Some tips for creating an effective email invoice:
• Include the customer’s payment history. This will forestall any questions about previous payments and make it clear what the current balance is. Some people may forget, and think they have already paid their bill.
The invoice should clearly state that it represents any outstanding balance. It may include details about paying online and give a deadline payment date according to the type of service. For example, if the payment is to attend a conference or webinar, there may be a deadline for payment.
• Payment methods offered need to be very clearly outlined. The best means of payment is online payment. This makes it easy for the customer to pay the bill as soon as they receive the invoice.
The date the payment is due should also be clear. The usually time limit is five to seven business days after receiving the invoice.
• The invoice should contain a link that shows the client’s account such as Your Account, Your Payment History or View Past Invoices. This is an easy way to give customers the chance to get questions answered without asking you.
• There should be a clear contact link, so the customer can contact you or your finance department to ask questions they could not find the answer to in the invoice or to request a refund.
• If an invoice is very overdue, you can send a polite reminder that payment was due on a specific date to ask when you can expect the payment to be made, as overdue invoices are problematic for your business.
• Once an invoice is paid, whether it is early, on time or late, you should send a quick thank-you email. This reinforces the relationship and may prompt respect for your company.
The invoice should have the logo, name of the company, address and contact email address at the top. If the invoice can be paid through PayPal or similar service, the header should have the email address that is used for those payments.
Next, you put the customer’s name and address. If it is a company, use the company name and address. If it is an individual, use their personal address.
If you do not have this information, you may need to call them to get it or to ask to whom the invoice should be sent. After the name and address, the company or individual’s account number should be given.
Each customer should have a unique account number. Each invoice should have a unique number that can be near the top of the page. Along with the invoice number, should be the invoice date.
Once the customer and invoice are identified, you can list the products or services that need to be paid for. If it is a service, you may list an hourly rate. A retail store may just list the product.
If the services cover more than one day, the dates should be listed in chronological order along with the amount you charge. A new line is needed for each type of service or product.
For example, if you charge by the hour to work on a car, you need to list any parts you had to buy along with the hourly charge as well as any extra fees and applicable taxes.
Email invoice templates may seem to lack the human touch and be ineffective, but if you add a kind word in the email and make a note of the date the payment is due, 80 percent of invoices are paid on time.
Here is a sample invoice email created for a landscaping company.
Sample invoice email
Account #: 123-456-789
Invoice #: 000-000-000
Invoice Date: DATE
Company Phone Number
Company email address
To: NAME OF CLIENT OR CUSTOMER
Address of Client
Email Address of Client
All of us at Name of Company hope you are well. This is your usual monthly invoice for services rendered as well as the addition of the yearly winter clean up.
DATE SERVICE TOTAL
Date mow lawn 25
Date pull weeds 25
Date remove winter debris 40
Credit cards, PayPal etc., check, cash
Due date: five working days from invoice date
If you would like to make monthly payments, contact us for a payment plan.