How to Create and Send a Professional Plumbing Invoice
Find out how to create a proper plumbing invoice and avoid delayed or lost revenue for your plumbing business.
Many small and independent plumbers work on a one-off basis, move quickly from job to job, and work with several clients per day. This daily routine can make it hard to give invoicing the attention it deserves, leading to delayed, or even lost, revenue.
When you’re just starting your plumbing business, it’s normal (if imperfect) to use pen and paper to get things done. But if you truly want to grow your business and your bottom line, you need to evolve your invoicing process.
Bookmark this guide to find out how to create and send a plumbing invoice from scratch, plus helpful tips if you’re using invoicing software such as Jobber.
Plumbing Invoice Sample
What is a plumbing invoice?
A plumbing invoice is a bill sent to your customers after you complete a job or visit. It’s usually one standard page that establishes what services your company provided, how much is due, and when and how your customer can pay. Legally speaking, an invoice creates an account receivable. Proper invoices are an absolute must if you want to keep your business bookkeeping in order and, of course, get paid.
Cody Loewen, Loewen Plumbing
The biggest thing to help my business grow is to get the payments in. Otherwise you’re always having to chase them, it’s a lot more work.
A plumbing invoice differs from a plumbing receipt because it is sent before payment is received. After receiving payment, you can send your client a plumbing receipt for their personal records.
What should your invoice include?
Your plumbing service invoice must include everything a client needs to know to understand who you are, the work you’ve done, and how to pay you.
It may seem tedious, but leaving out any essential information can lead to disputes or late payments and make you look unprofessional in clients’ eyes. Use this checklist so you don’t miss a thing:
What to include on a plumbing invoice
- Your contact information and your client’s contact
- A clear title with the word ‘Invoice’
- Invoice number, issue date and payment due date
- Itemized description of services rendered and their cost
- Before and after photos
- Total amount due, including taxes and discounts
- Payment terms
- Personal note
1. Your and your client’s contact information
Put your business name and contact info in a large font, either centred or left-aligned. Next, add your client’s name and address to make sure it reaches the right person. Finally, include the word ‘Invoice’ at the top of the page. Your clients will immediately know what this document is and give it the attention it deserves.
Pro tip: If you put your logo on your invoice, you’re 3 times more likely to get paid!
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2. Invoice number, issue date, and due date
After the amount due, these are the three most important numbers on an invoice. The invoice number keeps your records organized, especially at tax time. The dates are a firm yet polite way to make it clear when customers should pay. Add these near the top of the page.
Pro tip: Kiya from Valor Plumbing advises to always include a specific payment due date instead of “Due within 15 days” or “Due upon receipt.” Giving people a specific date (and one that is soon) creates a sense of urgency so clients are less tempted to put it off.
“I set invoices as ‘due upon receipt’ for everyone. Jobber automatically adds the due date based on when I sent it,” she says. “I noticed when I started doing that, I saw payments coming in faster.”
Kiya, Valor Plumbing
I set invoices as ‘due upon receipt’ for everyone. Jobber automatically adds the due date based on when I sent it. I noticed when I started doing that, I saw payments coming in faster.
3. Itemized description of services rendered
List the exact work that you completed, including:
- Items purchased to complete the job, plus the quantity, price per unit, and total amount
- A description of the labour performed, plus the number of hours required, your hourly rate, and the total amount billed
Keep the descriptions short and in simple language so customers can immediately understand what they are paying for. Any confusion or questions on their part will lead to delayed payment for you.
Pro tip: “Sometimes plumbing language can be confusing,” says Kiya, “so I try to write the invoice in a way that people can understand even if they have no plumbing experience.”
Keep the invoice as simple as possible and use your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) to keep technical, internal notes for your own records.
4. Before and after photos
Plumbing is a highly technical trade. More often than not, your clients won’t know exactly what you’ve done, or they won’t be able to see because it’s underneath the house.
Henry Sanchez, owner of Valor Plumbing, adds before and after photos and even videos to every single job using Jobber’s mobile app. This gives his clients reassurance of what work was done. He can also save these photos, along with notes, to the client’s profile so that if they call again in the future, he can see exactly what he did last time.
“The pictures have been really important,” he says. “Another thing we do to make it easier for the customer to follow is we mark up the pictures so we explain what is what, what are the damages, etc. That has been really helpful.”
5. Total amount due, including taxes and discounts
Tally up all of those line items for your total amount due and write this on a separate line, preferably in a bold or highlighted font so that it stands out from the rest. If you have taxes or discounts to apply, include them as line items just above the total amount due.
It’s really important to get this number right, so double and triple check. Or, use invoicing software to calculate the total automatically and make your life a lot easier.
Pro tip: Did you know you don’t have to create a plumbing invoice from scratch for every job? If you’ve already created a service quote, you can easily convert it to an invoice using field service software. This ensures that contact info, prices, and services are exactly aligned.
Cody Loewen, Loewen Plumbing
I use Jobber to do up my quotes which has been very helpful. I break down exactly what they want, and I give them options depending on their budget. One thing I like the most is that they can click on the quote and accept it right off of their Client Hub
6. Payment terms
Every plumbing invoice you send should clearly state the following payment terms:
Payment methods: What payment types do you accept? How can clients pay online?
Late fees: If you charge late fees, or fees for bounced checks, include exactly how much.
Guarantee/warranty disclaimer: If you offer a money-back guarantee or service warranty, make sure to specify what situations qualify, and for what amount of time.
This step is absolutely crucial for good customer service and avoiding disputes. We also recommend going over these terms in person with the client before the work is done to ensure they understand.
Pro Tip: If you’re using Jobber to create invoices, you can write a ‘Master disclaimer’ once, and it will automatically appear on every single invoice you create. That way, you’ll never forget to let your clients know about important disclaimer information.
7. Personal note
Finally, wrap up your plumbing invoice with a brief personal note. This step is optional, but it’s a great way to stand out from your competition, request feedback, or even get referrals. Even a simple “Thank you for your business” message or your favourite quote can go a long way to bringing a smile to someone’s face.
This is the very last thing they’ll see before paying, and is a great way to make them feel good about choosing your business.
How to Create your Plumbing Invoice
To make your own invoice, you’ll need to use an online template or invoicing software. We strongly recommend against writing templates by hand, as this is a recipe for lost papers, double-billing, and payment nightmares.
Once you have your template or invoicing software of choice, all you have to do is add your company name and logo and start working!
Invoicing software like Jobber goes a step beyond what you can do with a template. For example, you can:
- Choose from a variety of pre-made plumbing invoice templates
- Automatically generate invoice numbers so you never have duplicates
- Add your company’s brand colours to make them more professional
- Automatically store sent invoices and invoice drafts so you can access them anytime, from any device
- Send batch invoices if you service multiple properties or perform multiple jobs for the same client
- Track which invoices are sent, paid, and overdue
- See the exact date a client opened an invoice email
- Get notified when a customer pays online
-Cody Loewen, Loewen Plumbing
The nice thing is with Jobber we can see when they opened the invoice. We get some clients who say they haven’t received it, but we can see on May 7th they opened it. It’s like: ‘caught ya!’ That aspect is wonderful.
When should you send your plumbing invoice?
If you work with residential clients, the best practice is to send the plumbing invoice PDF right away. If you’re using plumbing software, this can easily be accomplished by using Jobber to convert the work order to an invoice and send it straight from your smartphone or tablet.
If you work with commercial or contractor clients, you can send the invoice email immediately or a few days later. Set the payment due date to 30 days from receipt.
“For commercial and contractor clients, we say on the bottom, pay within 30 days,” says Cody Loewen. “For everybody else, it’s pay as soon as you get the invoice. If we haven’t heard within 10 days, we call them and send another email.”
How to collect payment for plumbing jobs
The invoice is formatted and sent – it’s time to collect!
The more payment options you provide, the easier you make it for your clients, and the more likely they are to pay on time.
Cash and cheques are still standard, but an increasing number of consumers now expect to pay service businesses online with their credit cards.
Accepting online payments is a win-win: not only are customers happier, but we analyzed millions of payment transactions and found that ePayments are hands down the fastest way to get paid.
Cody Loewen recently started accepting online payments through Jobber:
“It’s helped drastically with money coming in,” he says. “About half of our clients will now go through Jobber Payments, which saves time on my secretary calling and trying to get payment. It’s easier for our clients too. They don’t have to call in. If it’s in the email, they open and click, it’s done right away. The nice thing I like is on my emails is shows up that we got paid. We know right away.”
Happier customers means faster payments
How it Works: Jobber Payments
Just one more way Jobber can help you organize your plumbing business.See it Work
Next up: Now that you’re a real invoicing pro, why not brush up on some of the best plumbing apps in 2019?