Billing is one of an electrical contracting business’ most vital tasks, as you depend on client payments to fulfill employee wages and other overhead costs. The problem with traditional invoices is that they involve human error. By knowing the most common billing pitfalls, you can take measures to ensure accuracy and timeliness.
Billing Mistakes that Electricians Make
- Neglecting estimates: One of the last things you want to hear from a customer is, “I never agreed to pay that.” In a perfect world, a handshake is enough to conduct business. In reality, you must create an estimate, or bid, for every single job, complete with payment terms that both parties agree to.
- Not enough details: Double-check with customers regarding the need to list purchase order or employee ID numbers to increase your chances of receiving a prompt payment.
- Non-specific charges: Itemize each charge on a bill so customers always know what they are paying for.
- Waiting to send an invoice: The longer you wait to bill a customer, the longer it will take to receive a payment. As a rule of thumb, give your client an invoice as soon as you complete a job. In today’s world, it is simpler than ever to email invoices to clients and even receive payments online.
- No way to track an invoice: Tracking an invoice without a designated invoice number is nearly impossible. Failing to provide an invoice number will also make it easier for a client to deny that they received it, thus making audits more difficult.
- Not double-checking for accuracy: Don’t let a mistake get in the way of getting paid. Always take a second look at a customer’s contact information, account numbers, costs, quantity of products, decimal points, and other small details before sending an invoice.
- Not penalizing late payments: Encourage clients to pay on time by listing a late fee schedule on estimates and invoices. In general, this fee is a percentage of the bill. In addition to listing the fee, indicate when it will apply (e.g., after 30 days) so clients are aware of your expectations. Similarly, you can also give your clients an incentive to pay early, such as a credit or future discount.
- Filling invoices by hand: In the field service industry, many workers still work with carbonless copy invoices that they must fill out by hand, especially for smaller jobs. Filling out the paperwork is time consuming and not all workers have good penmanship (i.e., “Is that a 4 or a 9?”). When you create invoices by hand, there is a greater risk of accidentally writing down the incorrect costs and making mathematical mistakes. The old way of creating invoices is simply inefficient, has a lot of room for errors, and creates a lot of paperwork that employees must manage.
How Field Management Software for Electricians Improves Billing
360e’s field management software for electricians makes creating accurate invoices simpler than ever. Custom fields allow you to input specific job information so nothing is overlooked when it comes time to bill. Because you input the rates for different products and services in advance, the program does the math for you, further eliminating the risk of human error. Plus, its timestamp capabilities ensure you know exactly how many hours of work your field workers performed, further taking the guesswork out of creating invoices.
Field management software puts an emphasis on customer service. 360e is software built for electricians and has been built with all of your pain points in mind. Our intuitive program simplifies many of the administrative aspects of running an electrical contracting business. See for yourself by contacting us to schedule a free demonstration.