fbpx November 2019 | Billdu

Many people considering starting a one person business know the daunting task that is ahead of them, but they believe the risk is worth the reward. How do you get your business off the ground, and how do you attract the big clients you need to grow?

Showing your prospective customers that you can deliver on your promises with your one person business is critical, especially if you’re trying to justify premium fees or prices for your services. When it’s just you, working in a one man business from your home, this can be challenging. The good news is that there are tricks you can use to make your business seem bigger than it is and polish your professional image.

Starting a One Person Business – The Essentials

No matter if you plan to add employees or work entirely by yourself, the following essentials can help you get your business off the ground.

1. Choose the Right Business Form

In a single person business, the IRS will treat you as a sole proprietorship. Choosing a different business form can make your one man business eligible for valuable tax and legal advantages. For example, many people find registering their business as a limited liability corporation (LLC) is the right choice.

Registering as an LLC protects your personal assets from being a liability if anyone were to bring a claim against your business or sue you. You can claim business losses and profits on your personal tax returns each year. This gets rid of a lot of the paperwork involved in registering a traditional corporation.

2. Write Your Business Plan

Just because you’re starting a one person business doesn’t mean you can do it without creating a business plan. It’s critically important that you set up a business plan that outlines your goals and how you’ll reach them to save money and time. A business plan can also help you see potential problems and take steps to fix them before they turn into enormous headaches.

3. Create Your Business’s Website

Your website is your business’s face. Essentially, it helps you present the best professional image possible to any potential clients. If you want to give the illusion that your business is more extensive than it is, this website can help.

For example, it’s easy to put contact information for different departments like accounting, sales, and customer service. These different department contact options give anyone who looks at your website the impression that you have several employees. In turn, this can build confidence in your capabilities.

4. Set Up a Bank Account For Your Business

Although there’s only one of you, you must keep your personal and business finances separate. This separation will save you a lot of hassle at tax time, and mixing the two can even get you in legal trouble.

Open a separate business bank account, checking account, and get at least one business-only credit card. It’ll save you from problems with the IRS, and it makes record-keeping much more manageable.

5. Start Managing Your Time Effectively

There are 24 hours in a day and one of you, so make the most of each hour you work. Break down all of your business goals into small steps to help you make steady progress. Figure out when you’re most energetic throughout the day. Are you a night owl or a morning person? Depending on your answer, this is when you want to schedule your most important tasks because you’re at peak performance levels during this time.

6. Take Advantage of Technology

Take advantage of the dozens of pieces of technology that can help your business run smoothly. For example, uploading all of your critical business documents into cloud storage allows you to access them anywhere you see fit. Software like Billdu can help you track your expenses, accept payments, generate invoices, and much more.

Depending on your single person business, you could even set up an app. If you walk dogs for a living, let customers book your services on their phones. An app adds a layer of convenience to your business that can draw new customers to you.

Starting a One Person Business with

7. Consider Hiring Help

Yes, your end goal is to be a one person business. But sometimes, help is required. There are two types of duties you can consider delegating. The first type is the low-value tasks relevant to the time they take, like sorting email, scanning documents and organizing them, or scheduling meetings. The second type is things you don’t excel at like bookkeeping, managing your SEO, or designing a logo.

If you decide to get outside help and delegate tasks, decide how much you’ll pay. To do this, you’ll have to know how much your time is actually worth. Say you’re starting a virtual assistant business that bills $100 per hour. It’s worth your time to enlist someone to do your bookkeeping and pay them $20 an hour because that gives you more time to work on billable tasks.

Tricks to Make Your One Man Business Appear Bigger and Look Professional

Looking professional and bigger than they really are present significant challenges for small businesses. However, there are simple tricks you can use to start building confidence with your customers from the first time they stumble on your website.

1. Update Your Logo

If you have an existing logo, take a good look at it. Is it compelling, accurate, and an attractive showcase for your business? Sometimes, a few minor tweaks to your typography, brand colors, or composition is everything you need to refresh and update it. If you don’t have a logo, it’s time to create one.

People who are still deciding on investing their resources and time into a logo, remember that this part of your business is so much more than a website or business card. You can’t send out generic invoices in Excel or Word if you want to look professional. Every form you send out to your business associates and customers should bear your logo because it helps establish trust.

2. Have Professional Billing

Your one person business should bill like a professional business. Billdu allows you to send out professional bills in single and recurring transactions. Once you create your account, look to the left side of your dashboard. If you click on “Documents,” you’ll be able to create and send out estimates, invoices, purchase orders, delivery notes, and more.

Track your One Person Business Invoces

Insert your information, and Billdu will generate a professional invoice. If you have a logo, you can insert it and save it, so it automatically shows up on every correspondence you send out.

Professional Invoices for Startup of one Person Business

You can set Billdu up to automatically share it with your accountant or an app. The dashboard keeps track of all of your invoices and expenses, so you can tell exactly what they are at a glance. Once your customer pays you, you can update the invoice accordingly.

3. Embrace Social Media

Some of the first places customers go to see how credible a one man business is are social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You want to create, manage, and update content for all of these channels along with filling in your business information. Since this can be time-consuming, focus on one or two at first.

If you’re offering a professional service, focus on engaging and updating industry groups on LinkedIn. For companies selling beauty products or fashion accessories, embrace Instagram, and striking visual content. Include links to your business in your platform profiles.

4. Collect and Showcase Testimonials and Reviews

Good reviews and recommendations are instrumental in helping any new business grow. However, happy customers are busy with their own lives, and they may need a small nudge to leave you feedback.

The goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to leave reviews and recommendations on your business listing or social media page. Check-in with them through email with a quick link to the review area. At the very least, make it a point to collect phone numbers and names of happy customers who are willing to vouch for your business if needed.

One Person Business Ideas

There are hundreds of ventures and niches you can use to start your new one person business. You want to love what you do, so doing research and founding a company that aligns with your goals and likes is critical. A few one person business ideas include:

1. Virtual Assistant 

With technological advances, it’s easy to do secretarial work from the comfort of your home. Virtual assistants are more economical for businesses to hire than on-site, full-time employees. You can book travel, perform receptionist duties, and handle everything your customers may need from your home office. Depending on the industry and your experience levels, you can earn between $20 an hour up to $100 an hour.

2. Pet Sitting or Dog Walking 

If you have a love for animals, pet sitting or dog walking is an excellent one person business venture. When people are at work or on vacation, you can take care of their pets. Make sure you get your pet CPR certification and pet first aid certification so people know they can trust you with their pets. Dog walkers charge around $20 per hour, but it depends on your location. Pet sitting is typically about $30 per day.

3. Consulting or Freelance Work 

If you excel in one particular area, you can use your knowledge to work as a consultant or a freelancer. Many businesses can’t or don’t want to commit to full-time employees for copywriting, social media management, or web design and development. If you have past experience in these areas, you can sell them your knowledge. What you charge depends on your speciality, but freelancers who excel in their niche can make a great living.

4. Residential Cleaning Services 

Cleaning other people’s homes or businesses can be lucrative. Many people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a clean house. It’s hard work, but your startup costs are relatively low. As you start to take on more and more clients, you can hire new cleaners to help expand your company. You’ll need the right equipment like a vacuum and a host of cleaning supplies, but you won’t need to invest in office space.

5. Food Trucks

Food trucks have exploded in popularity in recent years. Many of them drive around and sell things like ice cream, souped-up grilled cheese, speciality sandwiches, and comfort foods. If you love to cook and share your food, investing in a food truck is a great way to start your one person business.

6. eCommerce Shop

It’s extremely easy to start your own eCommerce shop today. You don’t even have to be able to code your website. There are platforms that do it for you. You can sell knick-knacks, crafts, t-shirts, or jewellery. Dropshipping is another one person business idea where you don’t even have to have the items on-hand to sell them.

Running a Successful Business of One eCommerce shop

7.  Tutor

Tutoring people is an excellent way to make a good amount of money from your home office. Most websites require you take and pass a knowledge test before you can tutor anyone. Once you do, you get so much per hour tutoring on subjects you know and understand. You can tutor around your schedule at any time that makes sense for you.

Register for a Free Trial with Billdu Today!

When you’re starting a one person business, you must start on the right foot. Billdu can help with our innovative software. We’ll help you track your expenses, create professional invoices, and give you access to your documents from your phone with our app.

Start running a successful business with Billdu

Try Billdu today to start creating professional invoices and tracking your business expenses via our user-friendly online dashboard and mobile apps. You can register for a free trial below.

Start for free

Looking for Downloadable Invoice Templates?

We have them ready for you, select your format and get your invoice template now

There are many challenges when you start your small business and begin managing it daily. How do you strike the balance everyday between incoming and outgoing cash flow? Many small business owners have money concerns at the top of their list.

The good news is, there are many ways you can give your business a positive financial overhaul and improve your finances. They don’t have to be large-scale changes to be effective, either. The following tips and software ideas represent practical small business money management tips you can adopt right now.

Why Having Solid Finances for Small Businesses is so Important

Small business money management is the process where you handle the daily finances associated with your business through setting goals, creating a budget, tracking income and expenses, and investing. If you have a solid plan in place for your small business, you can avoid having negative cash flow.

Another essential reason to keep an eye on your finances for small businesses is to ensure you stay on track to turn a healthy profit. You’ll avoid common money problems like making late payments, not collecting your accounts receivable, and falling short with money for your expenses. Additionally, it helps you locate and keep funds that keep your business afloat in slow seasons or months.

12 Small Business Money Management Tips

To keep your business running smoothly, you need enough money coming in to cover your business’s expenses. Put these tips to use to learn how to effectively manage your small business’s money effectively.

1 – Before Your Sign, Negotiate with Your Vendors

Sometimes, you have to work to get a good bargain. When you make purchases from specific vendors or contract suppliers, don’t sign the contract right away. See if they’re open to negotiating a lower price. Also, remember to take a good look at the purchase terms like grace periods and penalties for paying late. In some circumstances, getting an extra 30 days to pay is better than a 5% discount upfront.

2 – Don’t Mix Your Personal and Business Expenses

Second of our money management tips – for a good reason! There are dozens of reasons why you want to keep your business and personal accounts separate like personal liability, tax issues, and mixed up accounting records. If things get tight with your business finances, don’t use your own funding to secure your business finances. Doing this can lead to a mess you’ll pay for later.

The easiest way to keep these expenses separate is to create a budget. Use this budget for your personal funds and to create a budget for your business. Follow them and ensure that business loans or credit cards don’t end up on your personal expense budget and vice versa. You’ll make your accountant happy that they don’t have to try and untangle your finances.

Dont Mix Your Personal and Business Expenses Finances for small business

3 – Be Frugal

While you don’t have to obsess over coupons to save money on your everyday business expenses, frugality is a must. If you get mail-in rebates, follow through and send them in. Buy your equipment and furniture secondhand or rent it. Go green and install LED lighting to help cut down on your utility costs.

4 – Don’t Make Late Payments

Just like your personal finances, you want to pay all of your business bills on or before the due date. Loan payment and credit card fees can add up very fast, but so does paying constant late fees on vendor bills. The same line of thinking goes for your taxes, but taxes have much more severe monetary penalties.

Set up monthly reminders for all of your bills to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. You’ll have a skinny profit-loss margin when you first start. Avoiding multiple late fees could mean the difference between ending the year in the black or red.

5 – Take an Accounting Class

Just because you have a small business doesn’t automatically make you fantastic with money, but you have substantial financial decisions on your plate. Even if you hire an accountant or bookkeeper, you want to understand business accounting basics. Take an Introduction to Accounting course either in-person at your local community college or online. Learn how cash flows in and out of your business.
The more you know and learn about small business money management, the better you’ll prepare yourself to make smart money decisions. No matter how large or small your financial challenges are, nothing can replace being hands-on and proactive.

6 – Monitor Your Spending

Do you know how much you spend with your business every day? How about every week or month? If you don’t carefully monitor your spending, you could end up with bills you don’t need or can’t afford. Overspending can lead to massive issues like the misuse of funds.

It’s common for business owners to have several business-related accounts like a credit card account, savings account, and checking account. Monitor all of them to see how much you withdraw from each one. This monitoring will help you to keep on top of your account balances.

It’s deceptively easy to use your business checks, debit card, or credit card to cover several small expenses. A new coffee machine here or lunch for the staff there, it all adds up relatively quickly. If you don’t keep tabs on your spending, you could end up with a hefty bill or an overdrawn account with fees.

7 – Don’t Neglect Your Accounts Receivable

If you have credit options for your customers, you’re aware that you may not get the money owed for services or products until the due date or after it. After a week or month goes by, it’s easy to neglect your accounts receivable. Remember the money customers owe you and pursue payment from them.

To help you keep your accounts receivable in the front of your mind, record them. Send out regular invoices and late notices to customers, and keep doing it until they pay you. If you need the money sooner than the due date, offer an early payment discount.

8 – Time Every Purchase

You want to avoid instances where you have low cash flow, and timing your purchases can help. Resist the urge to make unnecessary purchases until you pay all of your bills for the month. Also, wait until you have enough cash in your accounts to cover any new expenses that may come up.

Timing your purchases can decrease your business’s tax liability, as well! Before the end of the year, it’s a good idea to consider stocking up on tax-deductible items like business supplies. You can claim these on your tax return and reduce the amount you owe.

9 – Create and Stick to a Budget

Sit down and put in some time creating a budget, and plan to keep up with it. This can significantly simplify the way you manage your business’s finances. A budget will help you set clear revenue and expense goals.

The budget will outline the expenses you incur while operating your business. When you know exactly how much you can spend, it’s easier to manage your spending habits. A budget can also forecast your future business revenue. If you see that your revenue forecast is lower than you budgeted for, start looking for ways to cut expenses and increase your income.

Track your Business budget

10 – Manage Your Inventory

Do you have a habit of ordering too much inventory that sits and collects dust in your stock room? Or, are you on the other end of the spectrum, and you’re always running out of in-demand products that cause you to turn away customers? Improving how you manage your inventory can help you balance your small business’s finances.

Start tracking how much inventory you have and avoid going over the fine line between not having enough and having too much. Record your inventory sales and purchases in your software and take time to monitor how much you have in stock before you order more.

11 – Cut Your Costs and Increase Your Revenue

These two small business money management tips are relatively straightforward, but people struggle with increasing their income while decreasing their expenses. If you’re having trouble finding the balance every day, make it a point to find ways to cut your costs and increase your revenue.

Do you know how to control business expenses? To cut your costs, find and take a hard look at your expenses. When you get an idea of your spending areas and how much you spend, you can start cutting out frills. Shopping for new vendors can also cut costs.

You can work on increasing your business’s revenue by promoting your products through email marketing, offering discounts, adding new products, or setting up a referral or loyalty program to gain and keep your customers.

12 – Set Aside a Cash Reserve

While putting small business money management tips into everyday practice can dramatically improve your cash flow management processes, having a cash reserve is a good idea. The unexpected can happen, and you don’t want to scramble for funds to cover an emergency.

To start your cash reserve, open a business savings account. Make a point to regularly deposit money into the account, and don’t dip into it unless you have no other choice. This will help you in a pinch, and it can give you peace of mind.

How to Set Up and Track Expenses with Billdu

Billdu lets small business owners manage their finances by helping them set up and track their expenses. You can monitor your payment schedules, cash flow, invoices, expenses, and more all in one dashboard. Our step-by-step guide will tell you how to get started and use Billdu to your most significant advantage.

Step One – Create an Account

The first step you take is to go to Billdu.com and create an account. Click on the “Registration” button located on the top of the screen. A new tab will open that prompts you to fill in your information and create your account.

Step One Create a Account

Step Two – Fill in Your Personal Information

When the new tab opens, you’ll fill in your business name, email, and password. Once you get everything in these fields, click on the “Create Account” button.

 

Step Two Fill in Your Personal Information

Step Three –  Your Dashboard

Billdu will send you a link to validate your email. Go to your email, find the link, click where it tells you to, and it’ll bring you back to your dashboard. Once you get here, take a little time and explore it to see what options you have available to you.

Step Three Your Dashboard

Step Four – Find Your Expenses Tab

If you look to the left side of your dashboard, you’ll see an “Expenses” button with a small white arrow next to it. Click it to open a cascading menu. Clicking here will bring you to your expense dashboard, where you can see one-time and recurring expenses.

Step Four Find Your Expenses Tab Monitor everyday balance

Step Five – Set Up Your Expenses

If you look to the right, you’ll see a blue button with a + sign that says, “New expenses.” Click on it. A new expense form will open that you can fill in to help you track everything. You can fill them in manually or drag and drop documents to auto-populate the fields.

Step Five Set Up Your Expenses

Step Six – Fill in Your Expense Information and Save It

The next step is to fill in the expense information for a one-time expense. You want to fill in the name, price without tax, tax amount, vendor, created, due date, currency, whether or not it’s recurring, reference number, and a symbol if it has one.

Step Six Fill in Your Expense Information and Save It

Step Seven – Monitor Your Expenses and Recurring Expenses

You’ll create your expenses as you need them for your business. We set Billdu up so it’s easy to keep your one-time and recurring expenses separate. If you go to your dashboard, you’ll be able to tell at a glance what your costs are.

Step Seven Monitor Your Expenses and Recurring Expenses

Register for a Free Trial with Billdu Today!

If you need comprehensive small business money management, use Billdu. You can sign up for your free trial and see how easy it is to use today!

Start tracking your business money with Billdu

Try Billdu today to start creating professional invoices and tracking your expenses via our user-friendly online dashboard and mobile apps. You can register for a free trial below.

Start for free

Looking for Downloadable Invoice Templates?

We have them ready for you, select your format and get your invoice template now

Contractors and many self-employed people give job estimates to potential clients to detail their prices. This helps the client decide whether or not they can afford the workers’ rate for the project they have in mind. But what is an estimate, and how do you write one? We’ll outline all of this information for you and more below.

What is a Job Estimate?

Before you know what goes into an estimate, you have to know what it is. An estimate is an educated, rough guess of what a job may cost. You typically give estimates before you know all of the details involved in a specific project. An example would be during an initial call with a new prospective customer or during a quick site visit.

Job estimates are your first thoughts on the potential costs, and they can drastically change when you get complete information. Unexpected complications can come up during the work that are outside the scope of what the customer initially asked, and this can cause cost increases.

Key Piece of Information – An estimate is only an informal idea of cost based on minimal information. It’s a starting point that can rise or fall. Clients cannot use estimates as a legal price standpoint.

For example, let’s say a client asked you to plaster what they said was an average-sized bedroom. When the prospective client calls you, they don’t have the exact room measurements. They mention that the room has some older wallpaper you’d have to remove before you do anything else. You’d send an estimate that showed your starting costs, say $200 for the room and $50 for the wallpaper removal.

NEVER label your estimate a quote until you have all of the information you need because quotes are legally binding.

Is a Written Estimate a Quote?

No. A quote is an exact price you’ll charge for completing the job. It’s fixed, and you can’t change it once the customer accepts it. The only exception is if the customer changes the type or amount of work required or you find out the job is totally outside of the original scope you agreed on and wrote your quote for.

You’ll only issue your customer a quote after you complete a thorough onsite visit when you have confidence that you established precisely what the job entails.

Key Piece of Information – You present your quotes formally, and the quote represents a contract between the customer and your business. If a price dispute comes up, the customer has a legal standpoint.

In the previous example involving the estimate for the “average-sized” room, you’d take a visit to your customer’s home. You find that the bedroom is significantly larger than average, and the walls have layers of old wallpaper that will take longer to remove.

Your quote would consider this, and you’d send one that showed it would cost you $225 to plaster the room with $100 for extensive wallpaper removal. So, a quote is an exact price and legally binding, and an estimate is not.

Tips for Writing a Work Estimate

Price may play a significant role in winning a job estimate, but it’s not an automatic guarantee that the client will pick you. Customers will usually be happy to pay more for peace of mind or quality work. If it’s the first time you’re working with a customer, you have to convince them you’re the correct choice. This is where a professional job estimate comes in, and we’ll give you tips to write one.

Use a Professional Template

Your written estimate should have a professional template you use to impress your potential clients. It should be a direct reflection of the image you want to display. Take the time to customize your work estimate template to include your brand colors, logo, and industry accreditation logos in the header. These things will show potential clients you’re interested, serious, and the real deal.

Be Quick When You Issue an Estimate

Time is money, and you want to be quick when someone requests an estimate. Sending them online is usually the most professional and fastest way to get it done. Once you meet with the client, go back to the office and write out your estimate. You can send it to their inbox in mere minutes, and beat your competition.

Make it Extremely Clear

You don’t want any confusion at all with your estimate. Itemize everything required for the job. Price out and list each production step or part separately. This high level of transparency breeds trust and tips the hand more favorably in your direction. It’s also vital that your written estimate lays out your payment terms. Use simple wording to get your point across, and make sure to discuss it further when you first meet with the client to go over the estimate itself.

Put a Deposit Request on the Estimate

As a self-employed or small business owner, one of the smartest moves you can make is to ask your clients for a deposit upfront. This deposit can help pay for out of pocket job expenses, reduce your risk of having unpaid invoices, improve your cash flow, and help you start the job sooner. You can vary your deposit amount depending on the scope and size of the project.

Make Payment Easy

The nature of your written estimate gives you the chance to open the lines of communication regarding how your payments work before you even start a project. You don’t want to risk losing out on the project because you don’t have payment plans that suit your customer.

Show that you can be flexible and offer all or most modern ways people expect to pay. With Billdu, you can set up a broad range of payment options, and you can even accept payments right from the app or online.

Give More Reasons to Say Yes, and Fewer to Say No

No matter how competitive you may keep your pricing, there will always be one or two customers who aren’t ready to commit to your pricing scale. Being able to offer financing helps reduce the project cost’s sting because your customer gets monthly payment options. It also makes it easier for customers to commit to bigger projects. It’s a good idea to offer financing early in the project discussions, and many people choose to have it right on the written estimate.

How to Create a Professional Job Estimate with Billdu

Billdu offers the chance for people to create professional work estimates and track each one. This tracking capability helps small business owners monitor their cash flow, payment schedule, estimates, invoices, and more. We’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to start with Billdu and how to write an estimate next.

Step One – Create an Account

The first step you take is to go to Billdu.com and click on the “Registration” button on the top of the screen. Clicking this button will open a new tab where you fill in your information and create your account.

Create an account to start creating job estimates

Step Two – Fill in Your Information

A new tab will open and ask you to fill in your business name, email, and password. Fill in those fields and click on the “Create Account” button.

Billdu App Login screen

Step Three – Explore Your Dashboard

Billdu will send you a link to validate your chosen email. Go to your email, find the link, click where it tells you to, and it’ll bring you back to your dashboard. Once you get here, take a little time and explore it to see what options you have available to you.

Dashboard with overview of your activity

Step Four – Find Your Estimate Area

The way Billdu’s dashboard works is that there are menus on the left side of your screen that you can click. When you click the menus that have a little arrow by them, they open and cascade downward. To get to the job estimate area of your dash, click on “Documents” first, and then click on the “Estimates” button.

This part of your dash will show you your accepted, invoiced, issued, and outdated estimates. You can also filter by date or search for individual estimates.

Finding the estimates section on your dashboard

Step Five – Open Your New Estimate – Fill in Client Information

If you look on the right, you’ll see a blue square with a + sign and “New estimate.” Click this box to open your new estimate template. The first thing you’ll do is fill in the top half of the estimate with your client’s information. Put in the client name, issue date, and how many days the estimate is valid for.

Start creating a new work estimate

Step Six – Fill in Your Payment Information

The next step is to click the “More Options” menu on the right side of the dashboard right below the “valid until” box. This section is where you input a reference for the estimate, currency you want to use, preferred language, and a discount if you’re going to apply one.

Payment information in the estimate

Step Seven – Fill In Your Estimate Items One By One

The only thing left to fill in at this point is your salutation or introduction, estimate items, quantity, unit, price, item code, and the tax number. Billdu will automatically total everything as you go along to give you a final price. You want to have every service and product clearly listed here to keep your transparency levels high with your potential customers. When you finish, click “save.”

Adding estimate items

Step Eight – Carefully Review Your Estimate

Billdu will automatically populate your estimate on a neat, clean, and professional template. It’s critical that you take the time to carefully go over it to ensure everything is in, accounted for, and correct. Along the top of the written estimate, you’ll have buttons you can click to edit, duplicate, send, copy an online link, download as a PDF, or discard it.

Review the created estimate

Step Nine – Send Your Estimate to Your Customer

The sooner your estimate goes out to your customer, the better. You can send your estimate straight from Billdu to your customer by clicking the send link. When you click it, you’ll have to fill in your customer’s email, subject, and message. Billdu will automatically attach the estimate to your email, and you can request a duplicate copy to go to your email.

Sending the estimate to the client

Step Ten – Keep Track of Your Written Estimates

If you click on your “Estimates” dashboard, it’ll keep a running tally of all of the invoices you have. The one you just made and sent will update to “Issued.” If your client accepts your estimate and gives you the job, you can update the invoice accordingly. You can also send them a finalized quote with all of the relevant information on it.

Overview of estimates created and sent

Step Eleven – Track Each Change You Make to the Estimate

Billdu has this really neat feature where it automatically keeps track of every action you perform with your job estimates. If you click and open your estimate back up, scroll to the bottom. You’ll see a timeline for that specific estimate. It’ll date and time stamp everything you do, and it’ll keep a running list.

Who Choose Billdu for Your Written Estimate Software?

Billdu gives you the chance to take control of your business’s finances. Since it’s so essential that you know how to track and monitor incoming and outgoing cash efficiently, you want all of the tools in one place.

Billdu’s dashboard gives you this centralized location. The dashboard lets you click to see your balance, expenses, and invoices. You’ll get a chart that enables you to see how your business does from month to month and spot patterns, and you can see your outstanding revenue and expenses. In turn, you’ll be able to plan for your business’s future.

Start creating your job estimates with Billdu

Try Billdu today to start creating professional estimates via our user-friendly online dashboard and mobile apps. You can register for a free trial below.

Start for free

Looking for Downloadable Invoice Templates?

We have them ready for you, select your format and get your invoice template now

Business in the 21st century increasingly relies on digitalization and automation. Companies in most fields have found that expanding efficiencies through the use of technology has created additional competitive advantages for them.

One area where technology has advanced rapidly in the past generation is invoice software – or software apps using for invoicing.

Why Do You Need Technology for Invoicing?

Keeping track of the sales process has always proved challenging. In pre-digital days, businesses faced challenges in keeping track of invoices, inventory, and other aspects of getting goods to customers while charging them properly.

Traditionally, businesses used a paper-based invoicing system. Many still do. Using paper-based invoices alone offers one benefit to businesses, that of familiarity. Owners and staff remain comfortable with the system that they have used for decades. If it ain’t broke, they reason, don’t fix it.

The challenge for these businesses comes when the competition adopts the use of invoice generator software, which includes mobile invoicing capabilities. Invoice generator software eliminates the need for hours of repetitive tasks related to manual invoicing. It frees up staff to focus on other core business functions, boosting productivity.

Invoice maker software also moves billing and other communications online, saving businesses in postage costs. Now that business has an advantage over the one that declined to adopt new technology.

Adopting a new software system takes time and resources. In the long term, increased productivity helps it to pay for itself in saved time and money.

A European study demonstrated the increased level of efficiency enjoyed by companies using invoicing software. A clerk reviewing 6,000 invoices per year in the traditional, manual fashion could review 90,000 in the same period.

Additionally, invoicing software can make records easier to use when compiling taxes.

Finally, invoicing software and related applications make needed information available anytime, anywhere. When on business trips, you can track billing on your own without tying up staff by having them track down information.

enerating invoices manually vs invoicing software

What Is Invoice Generator Software?

In its most basic form, the best invoice software programs help your business by automatically generating billing for goods and services provided. Generally, invoicing software creates a list of services and products, adds their cost along with any discounts, and issues the bill through email or other electronic delivery as an invoice.

The invoices come as ready-made templates, reducing time spent while also providing a professional level of consistency in billing.

Online and cloud-based invoicing systems make the process of billing, collection, and recordkeeping more automatic and simple for your business.

What Does Invoice Maker Software Do?

An invoice maker software solution has three main functions that can help to speed the process of billing.

First, it creates and customizes invoices. Invoicing software allows you to quickly populate a premade field with the necessary information, then send it online. No need to create a bill from scratch or even leave your desk to mail it. Invoicing can also be done on your mobile phone when away from the office. You can also make custom changes to bills when appropriate.

Available templates help your invoices look more professional and consistent, helping you to get paid more quickly.

Another time-saving feature in invoice generator software lies in its incorporation of estimates into the process. You can easily shift an estimate for service into an invoice and rely on the system to keep your data organized. Those using the system can also customize how clients or customers receive their invoices. Some prefer delivery, but others require to pick up from an online portal.

Second, invoice software makes both billing and payment much easier to process. Invoicing software usually offers the capability of creating an online portal to allow for automatic payment, including using credit, debit, or electronic checks. It also can automatically accept and translate foreign currencies into US dollar equivalents and interface with payment apps such as PayPal.  Offline traditional payments can be noted and tracked, as well.

Invoice software can also be customized to work from a platform and connected to your business’s mobile phones. You can get invoice software for iPhones, iPads, Androids, and other Mac/iOS platforms.

Finally, invoice software can provide more than fast processes. You can also set it up to generate reports and even analysis. It can examine, for example, which clients pay on time and which habitually pay late. Invoicing software can help you create a database with information that can help you adapt more efficient billing and payment practices.

Invoicing software serves almost like additional staff in that it performs traditional billing functions much more efficiently while offering data analysis.

What Is the Difference Between Invoicing and Accounting Software?

Sometimes even business owners get confused about the differences between invoicing and accounting software. This happens often with small businesses and startups run by individuals without a lot of business administration experience.

Invoicing software has a different function than programs designed for accounting. While invoicing and payment represent a key part of accounting, accounting must keep track of the larger picture.

Additionally, accounting software usually does not provide all of the helpful features that elevate invoice maker software solutions above traditional manual practices.

Happily, accounting and invoice software can work in an integrated fashion. When used together, they can serve as a comprehensive picture of your accounts for tax purposes.

Differences between accounting and invoicing softwarePros and Cons of Using Invoicing Software

Invoicing software can offer several advantages and disadvantages, depending on your business.

Disadvantages of Using Invoicing Software

First, invoicing software sends out automatic bills to email in most cases. You have to inform your customer to watch his or her spam feed. Automatically generated invoices will often end up in these files, making them difficult to notice when they come in.  Many late payments occur because the client never saw the bill.

Using online invoicing exclusively to the exclusion of other systems can prevent you from engaging your full customer base.  Depending on your market, some may not have access to consistent internet with any quality. They may also choose to not pay or receive information online. In this case, you should have a manual billing system that works alongside and with the software.

Also, there is no global standard for invoice software.  Those who have learned one system in another capacity may have to relearn invoicing over again when they come to work for you.

Advantages of Using Invoice Software

The advantages of using invoice software far outweigh issues that its use might lead to.

The disadvantages have easy fixes that offer little or no additional cost.  First, notify the customer that the invoice may end up in his or her spam folder. Follow up phone calls can be made after a reasonable time with no response.

Second, identify customers that have issues with online invoicing or using the internet in general. You can generate traditional bills, but also need to make sure that information gets entered into the system properly.  Most businesses will have few customers who find this form of invoicing problematic, unless in specific fields that have an older market or target people in remote areas.

You will also see an advantage in its ease of use. Once you and your staff master the system, which is easy for those of all levels of experience to learn, you will find it easier than hand-writing and mailing bills.  You will also save the cost in postage by using email or pay portals.

Another advantage lies in the reliability of delivery. Even if the invoice ends up in a spam folder, it still almost always gets successfully delivered. Confirmation of delivery is simple. Traditional delivery through the postal service brings a much higher chance of the bill getting lost in the mail.  Also, even when bills reach their destination, disorganized customers may lose or misplace the bill.

With invoice software and apps, you will know the exact time and date of delivery.  You may also be able to receive messages when the bill gets opened.

Most importantly, using invoicing software saves money. You use less postage, and your staff invests fewer work hours into getting your business paid.

Pros and cons of invoicing software

Other Helpful Features of Invoice Software and Applications

Invoice software offers several helpful features that make the process easier and more productive. These include several options that can enhance even the professional appearance portrayed by how you bill.

Most invoice software offers a range of invoice templates reflecting different professional style designs, each appropriate to different types of businesses. Graphic designers who put these together understand that a construction contractor will want a different look to his font and other elements of the invoice then a pastry shop, for instance.

Many invoice programs offer easy quote conversion. The program will submit a quote to the client or customer. If they click that they approve the quote, it can automatically transform the quote into an invoice to be sent at the proper time.

Invoice software also contains your full range of prices, if inputted. It can quickly figure a total cost for goods and services, replacing the need to manually look up needed pricing information.

Use your invoicing software to help you keep track of inventory.  You can set up the program to automatically deduct inventory from your stock list once it gets marked as shipping out.

Invoice software gives you multiple options when it comes to making a customer aware of their bill.  Although most prefer to send out invoices via email, you may set up an invoice portal with the software. Instead of sending an invoice, you message them a link where they can come and make a payment.  This option enables you to know when the customer accesses the page and pays for the product or service. Also, you can more easily correct errors in the invoice in a portal under your control.

Card Payments

Using invoice software makes it easier to accept credit cards and debit cards or perform ACH withdrawals. Importantly, it also enhances your data security. When automated systems take payment information, they can lock it away in a secure silo or delete it as soon as it is no longer necessary to have. The system can also restrict access to sensitive personal information. With industry guidelines now spelling out consequences for data breaches, it is vital that your payment systems be secure. Invoice software can serve as a part of that process.

When fully integrated into the full range of in house and mobile devices, invoice software can enhance convenience.  Tradespeople, for example, can send a bill from their mobile phone directly at the close of a job. This helps to ensure that the vital step of billing

Invoice software can go a long way toward helping your business manage its accounts receivable. When bills get paid, the software can automatically incorporate the information into the system and give you an up to date account of current payments.

Invoice Alerts

Additionally, you can instruct the software to set up a system of alerts on each invoice. You can set them for any period, but normally they alert business owners after 30, 60, or 90 days. Once non-payment has hit the preset stage, the system can alert you as to which accounts are overdue. Alerts can also go out to clients and customers, reminding them of due and past due bills without involving your time.

Billdu Set up alerts for unpaid invoices in your invoicing software

Financial Forecasts and Projections

Most businesses make the creation of financial forecasts and projections part of their standard operating procedures. Financial forecasts tend to envision business performance over a year’s time, while projections run from at least a year. These statements are related in that they can be used for internal or external purposes in predicting business performance in the future. Internally, companies use them to inform the team of expectations. With those outside of the company, they are most often used to attract investors or other stakeholder support. Much of the information that invoice software collects and organizes would help in the production of these statements.

Invoicing software can also work seamlessly with automated debt collection systems for accounts too long overdue. They can also serve as reliable records for when accounts get turned over to official collections agencies.

Register today with Billdu for a free trial. Find out why Billdu has the easiest and most effective invoice software systems.

Easiest and most effective invoice software system – Bildu

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Invoicing represents the most important task that a business performs. Even above that of providing quality goods and services, a business must efficiently and effectively collect and keep track of payments. That’s why it’s important to issue professional invoices and avoid invoicing mistakes.

A business that does not collect payment eventually disappears.

The most important aspect of collecting money owed to you lies in the invoice itself. This serves as the statement of goods and or services provided, as well as money owed for them. Invoicing seems basic but involves a large range of important details. Omitting these can result in late payment or, in extreme situations, the voiding of payment altogether.

Unfortunately, because invoices contain more needed details than most realize, small errors are common.

Your invoices need to be complete, accurate, professional, and understandable. They do not merely represent a request for payment. Clients and customers will judge the capabilities of your company based on problems related to the invoice. Even worse, poorly crafted invoices could give dishonest clients and customers grounds to try to evade paying some or all of the bill.

Generating the invoice right each and every time, especially in a traditional manual system, can present a challenge. You need to, however, overcome it to maintain the image of your business.

Errors in Sending the Invoice

The first major, and most important, error that businesses commit during the invoicing process is…not sending the invoice.

Forgetting to mail out the invoice happens often. Billing departments that still use traditional manual billing will see more mistakes here than others. It normally happens when a delay or a break in the routine has prevented the bill from getting sent promptly after the goods and services were provided.

Not sending out an invoice promptly also causes problems. If the bill comes out too long after service was completed or goods delivered, it could get lost. Undisciplined customers or clients might even spend the money budgeted for the work.

The most embarrassing common mistake when sending an invoice lies in sending it to the wrong location. Errors of this sort make a business look imprecise and unprofessional. Worse, the unintended recipient may choose to ignore it or throw it away. Meanwhile, the client or customer may receive no word from you for months, compounding the potential problems.

When sending an invoice to a large organization, make sure to take some care. Get the correct contact person’s name and information and send the invoice care of that person. Businesses that have thousands of employees and branches across the globe do not have time to get your wrongly addressed invoice to the correct person and department.

Errors in sending the invoice

Forgetting or Neglecting Necessary Elements to the Invoice

One of the most common problems in invoicing happens even before your company provides a good or a service, particularly a service.  Many business owners, being honest and trustworthy themselves, do not like to impugn the credibility of others. They make mistakes by negotiating “handshake” deals rather than laying out contracts for signature. This issue ends up in invoice problems because this is where many handshake deal problems occur.

Another problem, almost as bad as never sending the invoice, lies in the failure to provide any kind of back up. Clients and customers dispute invoices regularly. Not having a backup copy leaves your business vulnerable when disputes happen.

Failures of Communication

Most invoice problems centre around the failure of communication. The primary purpose of an invoice lies in communicating what your business has provided and what the recipient must pay.

The invoice must, however, start with an essential that has nothing to do with payment and everything to do with good business practice. Every invoice should include an element of courtesy.  After all, the client or customer chose your business over competitors. It need not involve anything elaborate. A simple thank you for your business will usually suffice to show gratitude.

Studies actually show that an invoice containing appropriate pleasantries has a five percent better chance of payment.

Another problem commonly found on invoices lies in the failure to provide an itemized list of charges, discounts, and other information pertinent to calculating the final bill. Many customers reassure themselves by reading carefully through an invoice to make sure they were not overcharged. You should also restate any relevant terms in the invoice that could have a bearing on the final tally.

If you think that your invoice has too much information, consider the amount of detail and information put on an invoice for auto repairs.

Make sure that your invoice at least has all of these important details:

  1. Business name, phone number, and other relevant contact information
  2. Business’s physical address. Include home office address if necessary
  3. Name of the client or customer along with their contact information
  4. Invoice number, or another unique identifier, and date
  5. Payment due date or details of negotiated payment arrangement
  6. Applicable tax number information if necessary
  7. Itemized list of goods or services delivered
  8. Additional fees charged and taxes collected
  9. Unique message to customer or client
  10. Payment due date

Think of your invoice as a legal document laying out specific terms for you, the business owner, and the client or customer. Leaving out important details could jeopardize your ability to fully collect payment.

Another critical failure of communication occurs when unpaid invoices receive no follow up. Sometimes clients and customers misplace invoices and forget to pay. While you have no obligation to send a payment reminder (and many businesses do not), doing so will help you to leave the best possible impression on clients and customers.

Watch the language used on the invoice. It should stick to facts and figures while leaving no doubt as to the meaning of the information provided. Vague language can lead to challenges to the invoice that could hinder payment.  If your business still uses handwritten invoices (although one may wonder why at this point in history), make sure the language is legible, and that backup copies get created and filed.

Failure of communication on invoices

Issues Involving Fees

Sometimes companies charge a range of extra fees that did not appear in the original agreement for the good or the service. While sometimes, these reflect reasonable charges, most often, they frustrate customers and clients, particularly if they assumed a lower price.

The invoice should never contain fees charged that your company did not mention from the beginning. These should have been clearly described and presented in writing so as not to sow confusion. This kind of mistakes cannot be explicitly called invoicing mistakes but they, for sure, have a significant negative impact.

In some cases, a company will charge an interest fee if the client or customer pays late. As with other fees, good business practice requires a thorough explanation before your company provides the product or the service.

Invoice As a Statement of Marketing and Professionalism

Many businesses forget that every piece of information that issues from their company should leave the recipient with not only what they requested, but also the right impression.

Like anything bearing the company name, the invoice should reflect professionalism and the need to build the brand. Therefore invoices should always contain the company logo and language that reflects well on the business and its mission.

Some of the most egregious issues that can undermine the image of your company lie in common mistakes. Poor spelling, incorrect math, messy writing, and other issues on an invoice can work against your efforts to craft the best possible image for your company.

The sending of an invoice also provides a marketing opportunity. After all, your business wants clients and customers to either bring more business or refer others to you. Take the opportunity when sending out an invoice to include targeted marketing materials designed to attract old customers or win new ones.

If you know that the client or customer enjoyed a particularly positive experience, you should request from them a testimonial to share with others.

Marketing approach and professionalism on invoices

Other Invoicing Mistakes

Some mistakes made in invoicing do not directly fall under a convenient category.  For example, a common billing mistake that has little to do with the invoice itself and more to do with the business policy is providing overly generous terms regarding payment.  Giving a much longer than standard payment window can reduce your chances of getting paid. He or she may spend money earmarked for your payment or forget about paying entirely.  You should, however, maintain the flexibility to make private, case by case payment options for good and trustworthy customers who may have difficulty paying in the allotted time frame.

One important part of billing lies in knowing about client and customer pay cycles, particularly when doing business to business work. Many businesses have a monthly pay cycle and payout on one selected day every month. Knowing the pay cycle helps you to create a reasonable window for payment.  Some companies have a standard 45-day payment window that covers this issue.

If warranties and guarantees apply to the sale, you should include mention of them in the invoice. Providing these makes your business look more dependable because you stand behind your product or service. They also reassure the customer or client that they will receive quality from your business.

Entering into invoice factoring arrangements can bring your company cash quickly in the short term, but cost tremendously in the long run. Invoice factoring occurs when a business sells its uncollected invoices for cash. Typically, they receive 80 percent of the charge up front, with the rest coming when the bill gets paid. Of course, the collection company will charge fees that come out of the 20 percent. When entering into these arrangements, always make sure that you understand the entire agreement or you could get stuck paying more than you bargained.

Data security dominates the headlines. Criminals, however, understand that small businesses can provide lucrative targets for breaching and stealing personal financial information. New regulations and industry guidelines surrounding the use of card payment information have transformed the way companies do business and use such data. Most businesses delete card information as soon as payment gets confirmed. Invoicing software can do this automatically and dependably. Keeping card information, especially on business computer systems, can open your business up to liability in case of any data security issues.

One reliable way to encourage prompt payment lies in including an incentive on the invoice for early payment. This could take the form of a rebate, a coupon or discount, or some other item of value that you will provide upon early payment. This practice can also help to boost your brand perception among customers and clients while helping to ensure repeat business.

Invoice factoringAvoid Invoice Errors With an Invoicing Software/App

One way to avoid most commonly committed errors on invoices lies in using invoicing software. When your office uses invoicing software, it helps to eliminate most commonly committed mistakes. While you will never remove the human element from invoicing, you will see a reduction in mistakes, as well as the time and money cost involved.

Invoice software programs allow your company to standardize the billing process. They follow protocols and processes laid down by management.

An invoice software system ensures that the process becomes regular and predictable. Most programs allow you to choose from a wide array of invoice template designs. Template designers usually understand that the appearance of a construction company’s invoice should have a different look than that from a small gift card shop.

Using invoice software also automatically takes care of problems that sometimes crop up in the traditional manual billing system. For instance, it can impose a numbering system or other protocol to ensure that invoices do not get confused. It can also back up all invoice information not only on in house computer systems but also on the cloud.

Finally, having a reliable invoice software management system serves as the best way to consistently produce accurate, professional, and understandable invoices each and every time.

Register today to access a free trial with Billdu’s popular invoicing software services. Find out why many are leaving old-style manual billing behind as they discover the convenience and ease of putting billing online.

Start billing online with Billdu

Try Billdu today, avoid invoicing errors and start creating professional invoices via our user-friendly online dashboard and mobile apps. You can register for a free trial below.

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