Invoicing Clients: Common Problems and Solutions

Cover Image for Invoicing Clients: Common Problems and Solutions

| Courtney Price

With client-based work, getting paid on time without jeopardising your client relationship can feel like walking a tightrope. As simple as it sounds—doing the work and receiving payment—the journey is fraught with potential pitfalls that can upset your clients and put future collaborations at risk.

In How to Get Paid Without Losing a Client, Tracey Westell explains how to navigate these tricky waters, focusing on common ways you might inadvertently upset your client:

1. Sending an Invoice Before Completing the Job

Imagine expecting a delicious meal and receiving the bill before even taking a bite. Annoying, right? The same applies when you send an invoice before completing the job. This action signals impatience and unprofessionalism.

Solution: Always ensure the job is completed to the client's satisfaction before issuing an invoice. Confirm deliverables and milestones have been met, get final approval from the client, and then proceed to bill them.

2. Sending an Invoice That Is More Than Was Expected

Surprises are not always pleasant, especially when it comes in the form of a bill. An invoice higher than expected can cause mistrust and dissatisfaction.

Solution: Provide clear and detailed estimates upfront. If additional work arises, discuss and agree upon any extra charges before proceeding. Clear communication is key to preventing unpleasant surprises.

3. What You Have Provided Is Not to the Client's Satisfaction Nor What Was Required

Nothing frustrates a client more than receiving work that misses the mark. Whether it's due to miscommunication or lack of attention to detail, this can harm your reputation and delay payment.

Solution: Regularly check in with your client throughout the project to ensure you’re on track. Use draft submissions and feedback loops to make sure your work aligns with their expectations and requirements.

4. The Work Done Includes 'Out of Scope' Works

While going above and beyond can sometimes be appreciated, ‘out of scope’ work can confuse pricing and project boundaries.

Solution: Stick to the agreed-upon scope of work unless explicitly authorised to extend it. Any additional services should be discussed and documented, along with revised estimates.

5. The Work Done Was Not of a Quality or Standard Offered

Delivering substandard work undermines trust and can put your entire payment at risk.

Solution: Uphold the quality standards you promised. If there’s ever a gap between expectation and reality, address it promptly, offering revisions or improvements to align with initial agreements.

6. Invoice Sent to the Wrong Person or Entity

Sending an invoice to the wrong person can delay payment and frustrate your client.

Solution: Double-check the client’s details before sending the invoice. Having updated contact information and understanding the client’s internal processes for handling invoices can save everyone time and headaches.

7. The Terms of the Invoice Are Not What Was Originally Agreed With the Client

Changing the agreed terms on an invoice—whether it's due dates, amounts, or payment methods—can lead to disputes and loss of trust.

Solution: Ensure your invoice reflects exactly what was agreed upon in your initial contract or correspondence. Consistency is crucial to maintaining a smooth transaction process.

8. You Create a Dispute

Sometimes, conflicts arise. However, creating disputes over minor issues can sour relationships permanently.

Solution: Approach conflicts with a solution-oriented mindset. Negotiation and compromise are invaluable tools. Consider all options and aim to resolve issues amicably and professionally.

Successful project completion and timely payments are the result of clear, continuous communication, and professional integrity. By avoiding the pitfalls outlined above, you can foster strong client relationships, ensuring that invoice day is just another step in a successful partnership rather than a dreaded deadline.

After all, getting paid on time doesn’t have to mean losing your client; it can mean solidifying your reputation as someone who delivers excellence without unnecessary drama. Happy clients are returning clients, and returning clients are perhaps the greatest testament to your success.

In this webinar, Tracey Westell will cover the following topics:

  • How do I get paid without upsetting my clients
  • Effective Communication
  • Collection Techniques
  • How to make a successful call
  • How will working with credit management experts aid you and your clients.

The contents of this article are meant as a guide only and are not a substitute for professional advice. The author/s accept no responsibility for any action taken, or refrained from, as a result of the material contained in this document. Specific advice should be obtained before acting or refraining from acting, in connection with the matters dealt with in this article.

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About the Author

Courtney Price is a content creator for CPDStore UK. Courtney joined us during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been involved in the ever-evolving world of accounting ever since. Her passion for reading and writing, coupled with her degree in copywriting from Vega School has allowed her to channel her creativity and expertise into crafting engaging and informative content.


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