When to Send an Invoice to Customers

An HVAC business owner using Jobber to send an invoice to a customer

You should send an invoice as soon as you’ve finished work for a customer. Sending invoices right after the job is done is the best way for service businesses to keep cash flow consistent, cover business expenses, and grow.

Depending on the type of services you provide and your relationships with your clients, you can send an invoice immediately after or a few days after the job is done.

We’ll explain the best times to send invoices for different situations—and when you should adjust your invoicing strategy.

1. Invoice customers on the spot

For most one-off jobs, you can issue an invoice at the jobsite right after your work is done. Invoicing on the spot can get you paid faster and help your business stay profitable.

Many plumbing, HVAC, and handyman businesses invoice clients on the spot because their clients are often on-site during the job.

Here’s how to prepare before invoicing customers on the spot:

  • Explain your payment terms before starting the job. Before a client approves your quote, let the client know that you expect payment immediately after you complete your service. Include payment terms on the quote that state your preferred payment methods and any late payment fees.
  • Have a professional invoice ready in advance. You can send an invoice faster when you create it before the job is done. To save time, use an invoice template that you can quickly fill with your job and client details.
  • Offer multiple payment methods. Clients will pay you faster when it’s easy to make payments. Accept payment by credit card or online to help clients pay you on the spot when they don’t have cash or checks on hand. Businesses that collect online payments with Jobber’s instant credit card processing software get paid 4 times faster.

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2. Send the invoice within 48 hours of finishing the job

Sending your invoice 48 hours after the job gives you time to ask if the client needs any extra work or rework before you ask them to pay.

When you confirm client satisfaction before sending an invoice, you can avoid disputes, prevent overdue payments, and inspire trust in your business.

Invoicing within 48 hours is a good option for jobs that need longer and more complex invoices, such as large-scale landscaping, lawn fertilization, and window cleaning jobs. You can use this time to write an accurate, professional invoice if you don’t have the time before the job ends.

Here’s how to send an invoice to your client within 48 hours of finishing the job:

  • Follow up after the job. Send a customer follow-up email after you leave the jobsite to ask if your client is happy with your work. If the client isn’t satisfied, call them to find out what you can do to make it right.
  • Email or text your invoice within 48 hours after the client confirms they’re happy with your work. Include a payment due date on your invoice that gives your client 15–30 days to pay.
  • Offer online payment. Give clients an option to pay online directly from the text or email you used to send the invoice. You can use Jobber to automatically create a link your clients can use to view and pay their invoices.

READ MORE: How to write an invoice: 7 steps to look professional and get paid faster

3. Send a monthly invoice

Monthly invoices are ideal when you have clients with multiple visits per month. Sending invoices monthly reduces your paperwork throughout the month and can help you get paid on a more consistent basis.

Many home service providers send monthly invoices for recurring jobs, including lawn care, house cleaning, tree care, and pool service businesses.

Here’s are the best ways to send monthly invoices to your clients:

  • Schedule a day or week for monthly invoicing. Send each client an invoice right after you’ve finished their last job of the month. Or, use the last week of the month to issue all your client’s invoices at the same time.
  • Convert your completed jobs into invoices at the end of the month using invoicing software. In Jobber, you can generate an invoice with a fixed price for the entire month’s work. Then you can email or text that monthly invoice to your client.

When you create recurring jobs in Jobber, you can set notifications that remind you to issue invoices each month.

Every month, Jobber will send you an invoice reminder so you know exactly who to invoice and when. Then, invoice reminders appear on the calendar to remind you of what you need to invoice and when.

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Can you send an invoice before work is done?

You can invoice before the work is done if you require payment before the job starts.

You should send an invoice before the jobs starts when:

  • You need a deposit. If you need to collect some payment upfront, invoice your client for a deposit before you start the job. Many businesses ask for a deposit to cover job expenses or to secure working capital early on for large projects.
  • You have pre-planned project milestones. You might request payment at major steps throughout a large project (e.g., after an installation) to improve your cash flow. Letting clients pay in installments can also make payment easier for them. Put those milestones in writing and tell your client how much is due at each one.
  • The client has a history of not paying on time. If you have clients that delay payment often, invoice them for a deposit before the job starts. This way, even if a customer won’t pay for services days or weeks after the job is done, you’ll still have some cash flow from that first payment.

READ MORE: What to include on an invoice: must-haves to get paid

Can you send an invoice after payment?

You can send an invoice after a payment, but we don’t recommend it. Most clients won’t pay you if you haven’t invoiced them. Send every invoice shortly after the job so your customer knows how much to pay you.

After a client pays, you should send a receipt as proof of payment. A receipt tells your client how much they’ve paid for the job. A receipt is different from an invoice, and it’s the only document you need to send after your client pays.

FREE TOOL: Make and send receipts faster with our free receipt template

Send professional invoices at the right time

It’s best to send an invoice after the job is done. When you need a deposit from your client, invoice before the job so you can get that payment upfront.

No matter when you send your invoices, create professional, detailed invoices with payment terms—and follow up on your invoices with overdue payment letters.

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Originally published in June 2019. Last updated on May 24, 2022.

Tags: FINANCE
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