The contract cleaning industry is worth $78 billion. And it’s expected to grow 6.6% each year.
These numbers seem promising for anyone looking to start a commercial cleaning business. If you’re thinking about doing the same or already have one, then there’s a big pie to take a slice from.
But in order to be successful in any business, you need to take care of the back-end work.
No matter how well you clean, it won’t account for much if you struggle with getting paid. One of the reasons businesses fail to get paid on time is because of their poor (or non-existent) invoicing system.
In many cases, cleaning service providers aren’t paid in advance or at the time of service. They send out an invoice and then they wait to receive payment. Then you end up sending countless emails trying to remind clients to pay you.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to make a professional cleaning invoice and the best methods for managing them. This way, you can enhance your chances of getting paid on time.
Let’s get started!
Designing a Professional Cleaning Invoice
Your invoice is an extension of your business. It represents your brand, shows your professionalism, and entices customers to not only pay you, but contact you again in the future for cleaning services.
How do you incorporate all of this into a simple invoice?
Well, you can start with the design.
It’s also important to include your logo—this can be an image or the name of your business with the tagline beneath it. Place this at the top of the page, either in the left/right corner or right in the middle.
Next to this should be your business details, such as the address, telephone number, fax number, website, and email address. This makes it easy for your clients to contact you in case they have any issues with the invoice.
Remember, your client likely has several other vendors they work with. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they have your contact details on file. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you and you’ll have a better chance of getting paid on time.
Ensuring the Accuracy of Your Cleaning Invoice
Now, it’s time to complete your invoice with accurate customer details.
This includes filling out their name, address, phone number, and a list of services provided. It’s best to do an itemized list so your clients know exactly what they’re paying for.
Transparency is key to getting paid on time, as it helps to reduce the chances of a dispute. So as a rule of thumb, include a description for each service provided.
The itemized list of cleaning services rendered should have accurate dollar amounts by the unit or hour. For example, if you charge hourly, then you can show floor cleaning at $60/hr for 3 hours, Totaling $180.
Showing how everything adds up will, again, help clarify what the customer’s paying for.
At the top of each customer’s invoice should be a unique invoice number to identify that particular bill. Also, don’t forget to put the date you’re sending the invoice, along with a due date for the payment.
Fourteen days is the recommended length of time to give customers to pay an invoice. You don’t want it to be too long of a time frame because you risk the customer forgetting to pay it.
Lastly, don’t forget to put the total amount due.
In this area, you can include taxes, discounts, and late fees that are tacked onto the subtotal. Be sure to include the payment methods you accept.
Using Your Cleaning Invoice to Promote Your Business
Now that your invoice is all set up, it’s time to include additional information you can use to boost customer retention. For example, at the bottom of your invoice, you can include a special discount.
Maybe you have a December Special coming up that you want them to know about that offers 15% off cleaning services. Or you can offer a unique discount for that particular customer if used within the next 30 to 60 days.
Don’t forget to include a call to action, such as “Call now to schedule an appointment” followed by your phone number. If you have a discount code system set up, you can provide a unique code tied to that particular customer.
They can use this at the time of their next cleaning service purchase. Another option is to offer a discount for referring a customer to your company.
You’ll find some businesses including customer testimonials and notices of new services now available. Don’t be afraid to cross-sell or up-sell as well.
It’s good practice to include a line at the bottom that thanks the customer for their business. If they appreciate your services as much as you appreciate them, they’re more likely to return.
Establishing Terms and Conditions
As a cleaning business owner, you don’t want to set yourself up for non-payment. Simply sending out an invoice won’t ensure it’s paid.
You’ll need to be proactive about how you handle your invoices, such as by creating terms and conditions. These terms and conditions should clearly outline what’s required of the customer.
For example, if they don’t pay by the due date, what will happen? Are you going to take legal action? What about adding a late fee?
Another good option is to offer an incentive to get customers to want to pay. For instance, you can offer a discount for early payments.
Whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to go over your terms and conditions prior to taking on a contract job. You can even go as far as to have them sign the document agreeing to the terms and conditions.
But even if you go this route, don’t forget to include the terms on your invoice.
In the event your customers renege on your agreement, you need to take the proper course of action. Consider the three-strike rule where you give customers three chances to pay.
After the third time of reaching out to them, you escalate the issue to a legal matter.
Using Invoicing Software
You specialize in cleaning properties, but your financial documents may not be as well-kept. This is an issue you can easily resolve by using invoicing software like Invoicely.
With invoicing software, you can easily create, distribute and track all of your invoices in one place. You can use the templates provided to develop your own unique cleaning business invoice.
It also enables you to store all of your clients into the database so it’s easier and quicker to send out invoices (without errors). You can deliver the invoices via email and allow customers to make online payments.
It’s best to opt for an invoicing platform that allows multiple forms of payment, including debit and credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, and Milllie. Then if the platform offers reports to show how well your finances are doing (based on paid and unpaid invoices), even better.
You’ll never have to worry about losing an invoice or forgetting about one. You work hard to keep your customers happy—this is one way to ensure you get compensated in return.
Send Invoices in a Timely Manner
The last thing you want to do is wait too long to send out your cleaning invoices. Your best bet is to either create invoices in advance or soon after completing the work.
Another way to ensure invoices are sent on time is to schedule recurring invoices.
This is a feature you’ll find in most invoicing platforms. Once you set it up, it’ll send out on the days of the month you specify.
It’s also a good idea to set up payment reminders to ensure your customers don’t miss or forget about your invoices. You can schedule it to send out every week, then every 48-72 hours as the due date nears.
Don’t Forget to Followup
This is recommended whether a customer’s late on a payment or not. Touching base with your customers helps to keep your business at the forefront of their minds.
When it comes to late payments, you can reach out to see what’s going on. Maybe a payment arrangement can be set up.
With invoicing software like Invoicely, you can even set up your invoices to accept partial payments. That way even if a client can’t afford to pay in full, you not completely out of luck.
Being flexible is great, but only do so if it won’t harm your business.
On the other hand, if you completed a one-time cleaning service for a customer, you can reach out to them a month or so later to see if they need the same or other services you may offer.
Chances are, they do.
Setting Up Your Cleaning Invoice System
All you need is the right tools and systems to ensure your cash flow remains fluid. With the above tips, you can make this happen.
Find an invoicing system that’s cloud-based so you can access, create, and send invoices from anywhere and on any device.
Ready to take your cleaning business to the next level? Give Invoicely a try for free!