As your painting business grows, so will your needs for tracking, documenting, and recording job and client information. From keeping track of payments to recording tax information, invoices can go a long way in helping you to stay organized and on the ball.
In this resource, we’ll explore why you should consider using painting invoices, what to include in them, when to send them, and what type of invoicing strategies to consider.
What is a painting invoice?
A painting invoice is a document that outlines the details of a painting job including costs, labor, discounts, and more. Essentially, it acts as a bill from a painter to a client.
Regardless of whether or not a job is for a residential or commercial client, every painting invoice should clearly outline the services performed and their associated costs.
You can pick and choose what amount of detail goes into your painting invoices; however, we strongly encourage to include more information than less.
We suggest including information such as rooms to be painted, services rendered, special requests, square footage, and materials. For example:
- One or two coats of paint on the walls
- Prep work
- Drywall ceilings: prime and topcoat
- Drywall ceilings: two coats
- Ceilings: two coats
- Rooms: entrance, living room, kitchen, bathroom, stairway, bedroom, hallway, office, etc.
- Door frames
- Accent wall
- Paint brand and materials (interior or exterior)
Why Should You use a Painting Invoice Template?
A painting invoice template can help you standardize how you document jobs, bill clients, and track payment information and client history.
Instead of creating a new invoice for each job, a residential or commercial painting invoice template can help you quickly and easily detail the information you need to send to a client, while ensuring that your invoices are consistent every time.
Regardless of whether you prefer paper, digital documentation, or software, invoice templates are an important aspect of the administrative side of your painting business.
For example, without a template, you may forget to charge a client for smaller items if you don’t have a place to list materials on your bill, like caulking or additional coats of paint. With a template, you can have specific line item sections dedicated to each service and material you offer.
You can structure your invoice templates to include all your services and materials offered, and only check off those completed for the specific job.
Alternatively, you can log and tag all of your services and materials in your painting invoicing software, which will prompt you to select those that apply to the job you completed.
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How do You Write a Painting Invoice?
To write a painting invoice for your residential or commercial painting business, you will need to:
- Use software or a template to maintain consistency and professionalism before you begin writing your invoice.
- Work off your original painting estimate for the job as a guideline for your invoice.
- Put in an invoice number, date, and contact info for both parties at the top of the invoice.
- Include any additional costs, like materials and labor that weren’t accounted for in the estimate.
- Include payment information, like a deadline and acceptable payment methods.
- Write a thank you note and any additional helpful information, like terms and conditions or warranties, at the bottom of the invoice in the notes section.
- Send a copy of the invoice to your client and keep one for your own records.
When Should You Send Painting Invoices?
The time you send your invoices out to your clients is just as important to consider as your invoicing strategy. For example, you can invoice your customer before or after a job.
You also need to decide if you will bill clients on a recurring, one-off, flat rate, or hourly basis.
The option you choose depends on what works best for you and your business. You may wish to use different invoicing methods depending on the project. Just make sure to let your clients know how and when they should expect their invoice.
Recurring bills are generally used for longer projects that extend over a couple of billing periods.
For example, if you have a client that needs 3 months’ worth of work, recurring billing would mean that you send them a bill during each billing period for any work that was completed during that time, like once a month.
One-off billing is when you bill a client once for a single service, like a touch-up job or a single project.
Flat-rate billing is when you charge a standard amount for a specific job, like painting all the walls in a room, or in a house at a fixed rate. Flat rates include materials and time.
Hourly billing calculates time and labor needed to complete a painting job. It doesn’t typically include materials, which are added onto the invoice before it is sent.
Painting Invoice Best Practices
Invoicing might seem like a relatively small aspect of your business, but it can help you to grow and even bring in more painting contracts. Why? Because you’re able to showcase how professional and well-organized you are to your client.
Take a look at these tips to make sure that your invoicing strategy is reaching its full potential:
Timing is everything––even when it comes to invoicing. Sending out an invoice too early or too late is likely to do more harm than good because your client might miss the memo.
The best time to send an invoice is soon after a job has been successfully completed.
While you may be used to handwritten invoices, they’re becoming a thing of the past. Digital invoices that clients can read, save, and pay online are easier on your administrative task load.
For example, Jobber offers software that can create and send invoices on the go, so you don’t even have to head back to the office once a job is finished.
Software also helps you to look professional, which goes a long way in getting referrals and building a reputation.
Remember to thank your client
A simple thank you message at the end of your invoice, or a follow-up text after they’ve paid will show your clients you appreciate them. Plus, it will soften the fact that you’re requesting money.
Know your numbers
As part of your administrative strategy, you should have a list of services you offer and their associated prices.
This doesn’t have to be available to clients. However, you and all your staff who will be estimating or billing jobs should have access to it.
A regularly updated pricing sheet will help to ensure that your invoices and pricing structure is consistent across jobs and clients.
Use clean formatting, easy-to-read fonts, and clearly outlined payment information. Send out invoices consistently and in a timely manner. Include all the information a client would want or need to understand the cost and make a payment to your business.
Send digital copies
Whether you use software or not, you should send a digital copy of the invoice to the client whenever possible. Make sure it’s a PDF that cannot be edited by your client, and keep a copy for your own records.
If you want to create a template for yourself, but aren’t sure where to start, ask other painting professionals about their invoice template structure to see what your competitors are doing.
Starting an Invoicing Strategy for Your Painting Business
Invoicing isn’t always thought of as a strategy to bring in more clients and build your reputation, but, if used correctly, it can do just that.
Whether you’re looking to build an invoicing strategy or improve an existing one, these tips and tricks should help you to get a head start.
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