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Get Paid On Time, Every Time: A Guide to Invoicing as a Contractor in 2024

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Alivia Massimillo | April 9, 2024

“We understand the intricacies of invoicing, so we’ve put together a straightforward guide to help you streamline your invoicing and payment processing.”
7 min read
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    As a skilled handyman, you’re well-equipped to handle the endless list of repairs and projects that come with maintaining homes and commercial spaces. Your ability to address these challenges promptly and effectively is invaluable.

    However, one thing that may not come as naturally is ensuring timely compensation for your services. But it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems.

    We understand the intricacies of invoicing that’s why we’ve put together a straightforward guide to help you streamline your invoicing and payment processing. After all, a smoothly running business depends on steady cash flow as much as it does on your repair expertise.

    Why do professional invoices matter?

    Your invoice does much more than just signal it’s time for payment. They’re a reflection of your professionalism and a crucial tool for your contractor business. Here’s how a well-crafted invoice can make a significant difference:

    Prompt payments

    Nobody likes waiting for payments, and your invoice can help speed things up. By making your invoices clear and detailed, you remove any guesswork for your clients. They’ll know exactly what they’re paying for and when they need to pay it, helping you get that payment faster.

    Simplifying order tracking

    Well-crafted invoices make it easy for both you and your clients to track and refer back to specific services or transactions as needed.

    Fewer payment disputes

    When your invoices neatly outline every service and material cost, you drastically reduce the risk of misunderstanding or disputes over the charges, making for smoother client relations.

    Steady cash flow

    On-time payments are the lifeblood of your business, enabling you to cover overheads, invest in quality tools, and keep your operations running smoothly without a hitch.

    They build your professional image

    A smart-looking invoice stamped with your brand does more than just look good. It sends a message that you’re serious about your business, helping to build trust and confidence with your clients.

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    How to create invoices that stand out

    Knowing the importance of well-structured invoices, let’s go step-by-step on how you can craft invoices that are both powerful and professional.

    First, have these foundational elements added

    Before going over the nitty-gritty parts, let’s make sure your invoice has these essential components in place:

    1. Your Business Identity
      • Logo: Kick things off with a clear, recognizable logo that truly represents your contractor business. This is your brand’s stamp of authenticity.
      • Business Details: Don’t forget to include your business name, how to reach you (phone and email), and where you’re located (physical address or PO Box).
      • Invoice Number: Use a unique numbering system for keeping things organized. A tip? Blend in the year with a sequential number (like H24-001 for your first 2024 invoice) for easy sorting and referencing.

    2. Client and Job Info
      • Client Details: Make sure the client’s name and how to contact them are clearly listed.
      • Project Address: Worked somewhere other than the billing address? Add that too, for clarity.
      • Invoice Date: The date you’re sending out your invoice should be clear and prominent.

    Next, provide a detailed list of work done

    This part is where you detail the hard work you’ve done. Here’s what to include:

    1. Clear and Specific Service Descriptions Be as detailed as possible. Instead of “installed faucet”, try “Kitchen faucet installation, including the old faucet removal and disposal” for clarity. This ensures your clients know exactly what you did and what they’re paying for.

    2. Rates - Hourly vs. Flat Depending on the structure of your work, you will have to align your invoice to be either hourly or flat rate.
      • Hourly Rates: If it’s by the hour, show how many hours and the rate (e.g., “Drywall repair: 2 hours at $75/hour = $150”).
      • Flat Rates: For flat-rate services, list the task alongside its set price.

    3. Materials Used various job-specific materials? List what you used and its cost separately, making it crystal clear what’s for labor and what’s for materials.
      • Example: Sheetrock for patching: 2 sq ft at $5/sq ft = $10

    A few handy tips to nailing your invoice as a contractor

    Take advantage of templates

    Crafting pre-made templates with standard service descriptions can speed up your invoicing process, a lot!

    This way, for services you perform often, there’s no need to start from scratch each time. All you do is pick a template and tweak it to fit the current job. It saves you time and keeps the descriptions consistent across clients.

    Consider grouped vs. itemized services

    Say you’ve performed several small tasks for a single project. For example, maybe you’ve mounted several shelves in an office space. Instead of itemizing each one (which can get pretty overwhelming), it’s easier to group them under a collective header - like “Shelf Mounting” - and note down a total price.

    However, for larger or more complex projects, breaking down tasks into individual line items provides a clear snapshot of where costs are coming from.

    Be transparent

    It happens often — unexpected changes in a project’s scope or pricing. What matters is open, clear communication. Always keep clients in the loop about any changes before you finalize their invoice.

    Making sure everyone’s on the same page fosters trust and greatly reduces chances of disputes down the line.

    How to make the invoicing process simpler and easier

    We’ve given a straightforward and easy way to create invoices for your clients, but let’s be real, wouldn’t it be nice if it could be a bit more simple? Easier, even?

    If that sounds like music to your ears, then an automated invoicing tool could be just the thing you need!

    With such a tool, creating professional invoices doesn’t have to be a chore. It frees you from lengthy manual inputs, allows you to design and dispatch invoices promptly, and most importantly, it aids you in maintaining a steady cash flow - consequently, making those late-night number-crunching sessions a thing of the past.

    Adding to that, automated invoicing can significantly contribute to your contractor business by:

    • Saving time by automatically generating detailed and professional invoices.
    • Mitigating errors that naturally come with manual data entry.
    • Simplifying the process of tracking invoices and payment statuses.

    Want a taste test? Try Helcim’s Free Invoice Generator. It’s the perfect starting point if you want to give automated invoicing a try without the commitment.

    Try our free invoice generator

    Partner with the right payment processing solution

    In addition to easy invoicing, embracing integrated payment processing can further streamline your financial operations.

    The advantages? Not only can you issue an invoice professionally, but you can also accept payment effortlessly on-site, via phone, and online.

    With a payment processing platform, you gain the ability to manage invoices, handle recurring billing, and ensure payments are received without a hitch - all without detracting from your primary focus - providing first-rate service.

    Ready to power up your invoicing process?

    You work hard delivering exceptional services. Shouldn’t your invoicing and payment processing be equally diligent? Make the switch and let Helcim help you process payments, so you can get back to focusing on what you do best, running your business.

    Frequently asked questions

    1. What are effective strategies for contractors to ensure they get paid on time?

    Ensuring timely payments as a contractor involves various strategies. A top one is invoicing promptly after completing a job instead of bulk invoicing. Make payment terms clear from the start (usually within 14 or 30 days from the invoice date). Using automated invoicing tools can also help with dispatching invoices on time and handling follow-ups. To facilitate ease for your clients, you can offer different payment methods, and consider setting up recurring billing for long-term projects.

    2. How can automated invoicing help me in maintaining a steady cash flow?

    Automated invoicing is a game-changer when it comes to cash flow management. It allows you to reduce time spent on manual invoicing, letting you bill promptly and accurately. Automated systems can also send reminders for upcoming and past-due invoices and provide a complete real-time overview of your receivables. This, in turn, allows you to identify late payments quickly and take necessary actions promptly.

    3. What features should contractors look for in an invoicing tool?

    When selecting an invoicing tool, you should look for features that simplify the billing process. Key ones include the ability to quickly generate and distribute invoices, customization options to maintain your brand image, and automatic reminders, an easy-to-navigate dashboard for quick insight into your finances, and integrated payment processing for accepting payment seamlessly on-site, by phone, or online.

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