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Are you working without a detailed retainer invoice as a freelancer? Well, you’re at risk of delayed payment or some serious payment conflicts between you and your client. Therefore, start working with a detailed retainer invoice to avoid brushing shoulders with your client during payment.

A retainer invoice is a critical aspect of a retainer agreement. The agreement guarantees you work and – most importantly, money. Money matters can be a little tricky, especially now that you’re working with a total stranger whom you’ve got no option but to trust. So, it’s important to state your grounds clearly concerning your payment, to be on the safest side.

Remember, your business needs money to remain afloat. The money can’t come in if you fail to prepare a retainer invoice on time. Well, your client knows they’ve got to pay for your project milestones, but they can’t just do it without a retainer invoice. Some of them are usually very busy, and, therefore, if you don’t prepare a detailed retainer invoice on time, you may end up receiving your payment late.

So, have one in place. The invoice needs to be ready to send without any delays, not unless you don’t mind payments that go late into the month. 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. So, why not do the same.

As a freelancer, you could already be having a freelance agreement, in place, but don’t leave out the retainer invoice. It’s equally important.

Now, what makes a good retainer invoice? Well, it’s not something out of the ordinary. With the retainer invoice samples and templates available online, you can always design a perfect one. You just need to check one and you’re good start.

To help you understand why you need a retainer invoice as a freelancer, we’ll look at some of the benefits of having one. But before then, take a look at the image below to get an idea of how a retainer invoice looks like.

Image Credits: smdlab.co

1. Perfect for Improving Quality

A retainer invoice is great for a freelancer – or business owner – who is intent on improving the quality of service offered to the client. The truth in, you’d like to maintain a good relationship with your client so that he can hire you for more projects in future. That’s only possible if you’re always striving to improve the quality of your services. 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.

Since winning a freelance project isn’t that easy, why not take advantage of this and maintain a lasting relationship with your client. Who knows, they may refer you to other clients who may be interested in the services you’re offering.

Giving clients value for money is one of the many ways of getting them to pay you faster. After all, who would like to spend on services that don’t improve their business? So, get it right with your retainer invoice.

2. Acts as Insurance

Did you know that the retainer invoice also acts as an insurance? Somehow, it offers you a bit of protection by guaranteeing you work and money on a regular basis. Therefore, as a freelancer, apart from working on the client’s project, make sure you’ve got an invoice to spell out the amount you’re supposed to be paid at the end of every stage.  Most 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. So, why work without a retainer invoice. However, it’s important to treat the work – and the client who offers it – properly and professionally lest you lose everything. Just as we mentioned earlier, how you relate with your client determines whether they’ll continue working with you. So, take care of the relationship.

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.

Use the retainer invoice templates and samples available to make sure you’re on the right track. At least with these documents, you’ll have an idea of how to go about writing a retainer invoice.

3. Evaluate Yourself

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.

Remember, the client has already proven to be trustworthy and professional by making the advance payment. Therefore, don’t ruin this trust. It could cost you future projects or you may end up losing the project. The least you can do is to reciprocate by delivering what’s expected. That’s just what the client expects you to do.

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.

As a freelancer, it’s important to prioritize the needs of the client. So, if the client isn’t happy, go the extra mile to win their trust again. That may not be easy, but the client is human enough to notice some little actions after turning them down. So, go ahead and do something before it’s too late.

Image Credits: timesolv.com

4. Maintain Proper Records

Keep good records of the payments you receive from the invoices sent to clients. Most clients have other commitments and, therefore, the clients may or may not keep a record. It’s not their responsibility to keep the retainer invoices. So, don’t be shocked if your client doesn’t have all the invoices you’ve been sending them.

Remember, 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. Again, make sure you include all the necessary information in the retainer invoice to avoid conflicts during payment.

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