If your billing rate isn’t matched by your collection rate, you may have a problem with your billing. Here are five tips that can help you send out bills that get paid promptly in full.
1. Offer your client the choice of when to receive your bill. Some clients prefer the beginning of the month, others prefer the middle. Nothing says you care like asking your client for what works best for your client’s budget.
2. Use your bill’s physical space to convey how much effort you have expended on your client’s behalf. If you have only a few items listed with an amount owed on a big 8 ½ by 11 piece of paper, your efforts appear minimal. For example, “revocable living trust -- $3,200.” Consider using a smaller piece of paper, such as 5 ½ by 7.
3. Use action verbs to convey you have expended effort. For example, “Telephone call” conveys little whereas “conducted conference call with client to review deposition procedures and recommended attire to wear” refreshes your client’s memory and conveys your effort to ensure the client was prepared for the deposition.
4. Adopt a billing narrative in a large block using semi-colons between entries, followed by the amount owed, followed by a personal note. For example:
Amount due for legal services $3,200.00
Refunded to client $ 300.00
5. A handwritten note at the end of your bill tells your client that you have personally reviewed the bill and appreciate your client. For example:
“Thank you for allowing me to help set up your business structure. I wish you success in opening Canby Garden Center, LLC for business! Jim”