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Invoices are part of any business, freelance or not. A PR company is no different. Whether you like crunching numbers or not, you will need a system for handling billing your clients and for monitoring cash flow. It is possible to find a painless solution for preparing your invoice for your client.
If you’re new in the freelance business, you’re probably wondering why you need to work with a public relations invoice template as a freelancer. Well, in case you didn’t know, most freelancers disagree with their clients during payment. Well, your client knows they need to pay you on time, but even then, they need you to give them a push and probably remind them during that time. After working so hard as a pr freelancer, you’d like to receive your payment without delay. You can’t do this by sending them reminders every time. That might ruin your relationship. The best way to do this is by having a detailed PR invoice in place.
In that way, your client will have an idea about what they need to pay you and at what time. Usually, a PR invoice template contains all the payment information in relation to the tasks you’ve carried out. Well, a client might remain with a copy of the same, but it’s not a bad idea to remind them. Sometimes they would want to compare their payment details with what’s contained on your invoice before releasing the payment. So, be sure to include all the details in your PR invoice. You can always check what other freelancers are having to be on the safe side.
A public relations or PR invoice will differ for the different types of work involved. The jobs include event management, consultancy, press releases and specialist activities. The type of billing will also vary depending on the kind of services; you can opt for direct costs, or you may choose to bill per hour.
Therefore, when drafting your public relations invoice, you need to consider all these factors. While a good public relations invoice template should ensure you get payment from your client, it’s always advisable to have the right invoice. In that way, your client can interpret the information included in the invoice. Remember, your client doesn’t have all the time to go dig information from your invoice.
It’s your responsibility as a freelancer to make your public relations invoice easy to interpret for the client. That’s why you need to get the right public relations invoice depending on the type of services you’ll be offering. So, how do you go about that? Well, just take the time to go through the services you offer and what’s required of you.
So, what billing options do you have before you create your first public relations invoice?
If you opt to bill per hour, you will charge them for the number of hours spent on their behalf. It's therefore important to note that different types of work attract different rates, regardless of the hours worked. This is because there are PR tasks that require more specialized skills than others (for example, the consultancy will attract more fees as compared to writing press releases). Thus, your PR invoice should reflect the task, charges per hour and the number of hours spent on behalf of the client.
Remember, clients, don’t take it kindly when you include charges that they’re not aware of. That is you need to be specific when it comes to your billing method. If you’re doing it hourly, then it should be indicated clearly on the public relations invoice. In that way, your client knows what they need to pay for at the end of the project. Even so, you always need to discuss this with your client.
Usually, you need to agree about this before you start working. In most cases, hourly billing is much more costly than fixed prices. As such, you need to agree on this before you start working for your client.
If you don't prefer hourly billing, you have the option of charging per individual project. Thus, you should know the estimated cost the project would cost, allowing your client to know what to expect before the public relations invoice from your office gets to them. Project billing is best applied in defined activities like writing a press release, managing a press conference or organizing company meetings. The PR invoice thus, therefore, should include direct costs like cost of hiring a venue, printing work that was required and the service charge (you can opt to include hours spent on that particular project).
While you’re working so hard to boost your income as a pr freelancer, be sure to include all the charges. Avoid having hidden costs as that will ruin your relationship with the client. Most clients would like to know the cost of the entire project so that they can plan accordingly. In case you’ll be offering some extra services, be sure to include all of them in the public relations invoice template.
In that way, the client will have an idea of how much they need to pay for the services offered. Avoid those charges that the client wasn’t expecting to have a smooth relationship.
It is possible to negotiate a monthly, quarterly or annual retainer fees for long-term contracts. Therefore, you should estimate the time you are likely to spend on behalf of your client and settle on a figure that is acceptable. This avenue calls for due diligence, as you should ensure that the client realizes the value for their money while they are paying the retainer. Since you should still make a profit from the venture, specify the scope of work the retainer will cover. The PR invoice thus will be a cyclical one whose figures will not vary considerably from time to time. Don't enter into retainer agreements where the unlimited use of your time is expected since it's not a financially viable option, regardless of how bad you want the business.
Billing cyclically is a bit risky, and so, before you enter into an agreement with your client, you need to weigh the available options. It can also be tricky on the part of the client, as you may not deliver as expected. So, in case you choose this billing method, be sure to deliver the services expected, and show maximum commitment. In case you’ll not be in a position to deliver as expected, you better opt for a different billing system.
Usually, the best way to do this is to divide the given tasks with the timelines. That is, what will you have achieved after the given cycle. In that way, your client can get what they’re paying for. And on your part, you’ll be getting the payment you deserve.
Another viable option is to bill management fees for buying services on behalf of the client. Such services include arranging press conference or distributing press releases. Managing PR services can have you incur costs like finding suppliers, supervising work and settling public relations invoices. These tasks consume a lot of time, and thus you should know how much your time is worth in this case. This mode of billing will have you cover the costs of such services and therefore, when setting the management fees, make sure the cost of acquiring the services are included on top of the service charge.
If you don’t take care of this in advance, you may end up making losses in case you have to pay on behalf of your client. Make sure you talk to your client about these costs in advance before you include them in the public relations invoice. In most cases, they’re aware of them, but just let them know how much it’s going to cost them so that they can suggest alternatively cheaper options. Keep in mind that they’re also trying to minimize cost, and, therefore, they may not be happy if you went for costly options.
This type of billing is solely dependent on the value your client is likely to realize from your PR services. Some tasks like writing press releases on products can take quite a considerable amount of time and research to boost their reputation. However, when they realize remarkable sales on the product, then they will have received value for their money. Thus, it will take quite many factors to consider before the value is determined; elements like the sales targets, the duration of time the campaign will run and expected returns for the client.
Depending on the type of PR services rendered, the public relations invoices will differ for different clients. Thus, the above guidelines should enable you to have a clue on how to go about the billing process for your clients.