For a small-business owner, waiting weeks to receive payment from a customer can greatly reduce cash flow and has a direct, negative impact on their bottom line. From finishing the job, mailing the invoice, the customer receiving it, re-keying information and waiting for payment to come through, this process takes too long for companies that need payments to fund their daily operations. In addition, paper-based manual processes are prone to errors and omissions. However, there are faster ways to receive revenue through invoicing solutions like billing technology and field service automation. Here are five ways to improve your estimate and invoice process for quicker payments:
1. Clearly communicate estimates to customers
Successful companies build relationships with customers based on trust and the ability to fulfill promises. To avoid surprises in billing, which can lead to disputes about the cost of the job, communicate estimates clearly to customers and come to an agreement before accepting the job. Companies can choose to advertise their prices on their websites with a note that estimates may change depending on the equipment needed and complexity of the work order, or they can discuss prices with customers on the phone or through live chat software.
2. Go paperless and choose electronic billing
The fastest way companies can receive their payments is by employing electronic billing. Invoicing electronically provides companies with quick payments instead of worrying about bills getting lost in the mail or having to wait for mailed checks to be processed and delivered. Switching to a Web-based billing system saves money on postage and materials used for traditional mailing while simplifying the process for customers. Through electronic billing, companies can ensure confirmation of bill delivery and timely payments.
3. Maintain accurate asset management
Through a mobile app that displays customer service history and data, you can ensure the accuracy of your asset management. Track customer assets and link them to specific locations and contacts for faster dispatching and job completion. To have full control of your assets, information can also include equipment manufacturer name, model and serial number and warranty. After work is finished, workers can instantly send one invoice listing assets line by line.
4. Streamline operations with service automation
Field service automation software can reduce bottlenecks in service operations including streamlining payment workflow and speeding up job time. Estimates can be turned into work orders, which can then be turned into invoices, all via a Web-based, secure application and none of it requiring paper or clipboards. In addition the time field workers spend on the job is reduced as everything they need for each job is all available on their mobile device. This included detailed tasks, notes, photos, customer data, work history, parts inventory and more. No calls back to the office or confusion about the work to be done.
5. Automate employee timesheets
Field service software not only benefits customers by informing them of how much they will be charged before appointments, it also saves employees time by automating timesheet data. Record precise data of when jobs were completed and by whom by using time stamping features. Having access to detailed information will allow companies to quickly accept payments in the field for faster cash flow and better grow their business for the future.