A retainer invoice is a critical aspect of a retainer agreement. The agreement guarantees you work and – most importantly, money. Your business needs money to remain afloat. The money can’t come in if you fail to prepare a retainer invoice on time. The invoice needs to be ready to send without any delays. Businesses that prepare and send it in good time are assured of doubling their sales and revenues. It’s easier for such businesses to be profitable too.
A retainer invoice is great for a freelancer – or business owner – who is intent on improving the quality of service offered to the client. For example, let’s assume that you are a web developer. Clients hire you to design and develop their websites. Use the retainer agreement and invoice to offer the client a better product than the original one. This way, the client feels obligated to pay. In fact, clients who receive value for money look forward to retaining you for the long haul.
Giving clients value for money is one of the many ways of getting them to pay you faster.
The invoice also acts as an insurance. It offers you a bit of protection by guaranteeing you work and money on a regular basis. Freelancers and business owners who are not on retainers have to do more to get paid. They have to put in more effort into finding consistent work. You are already miles ahead of the rest of them. However, it’s important to treat the work – and the client who offers it – properly and professionally lest you lose everything.
Let’s return to the example of the web developers. These professionals have to ensure the client’s website never goes down. They also have to put in better security features to protect the data from being compromised. Therefore, take the retainer you get from the client after sending the invoice as evidence of the client’s satisfaction with your input. If anything interferes with this, probably because of your failures, you could lose a fortune in guaranteed income.
Before sending a retainer invoice, you should evaluate your ability to provide the service the client needs. The invoice is a commitment from which you cannot or should not escape. Never provide excuses regarding the inability to meet your end of the bargain. The client has already proved to be trustworthy and professional by making the advance payment. The least you can do is to reciprocate by delivering what’s expected.
If any of your clients with whom you signed a retainer agreement expresses displeasure at your inability to do what you promised, find ways of turning that disappointment to opportunity. You could offer a discount. Indicate the discount on the invoice to avoid losing this client. Failure to do this could expose you to huge ramifications, which could include losing clients and gaining a negative reputation.
Keep good records of the payments you receive from the invoices sent to clients. The clients may or may not keep a record. Your role is different from the client’s. You get paid for services you are yet to render. The client probably pays you each month even when you have nothing to do. The least you can do is to ensure your record of all these payments is up to date. Impress the client with your record-keeping skills.
In summary, remember to treat the retainer invoice well. Be careful with the payments. Interpret the invoice as a sign of commitment on the side of the client. Reciprocate the commitment with your own display of dedication and professionalism. Deliver your work on time. Confirm that you give each client value for money. Never allow the quality of your work to diminish for whatever reason.