Dealing with invoice disputes are not fun for two reasons. First, getting into a dispute with a customer can be frustrating. You may not agree on how much work was done or time spent, causing a small riff in your relationship. Second, you’re staring down the fact that you may not get paid fully for all the work you just did.
When it comes to dealing with invoice disputes, there are some easy ways to get as much money out of the work you did as possible. These 5 tips will ensure that you’re not getting duped into doing work for a client for free.
Keeping your cool is the golden rule of invoice disputes. If you immediately jump the gun and accuse your client of trying to get out of paying, it’s guaranteed you’ll lose that client. The most important part in dealing with invoice disputes is making sure you get out of it with a client relationship unscathed. Even if you may lose some money in the process, it’s better than losing a client altogether.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR FACTS
Once a client disputes an invoice, double check what they’re saying to ensure you have your own facts correct. You wouldn’t be the first person to accidentally charge the wrong price on an invoice. Check for accidental double charges or duplicate bills. Writing down everything as you go when working on a job, from time spent, to employees used and jobs done can help to eliminate some of these types of disputes.
COMMON DISPUTES AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM
“IM NOT HAPPY WITH THE WORK/PRODUCT”
Often times what a client envisions and what you envision are two very different things. Try to come up with a compromise to decide how the situation could be resolved. Ask the client what exactly they were expecting to receive and how you can fix it. Sometimes what the client signed on for in the beginning changes from their end result. This is where recording everything charged for comes in handy
“WHY AM I BEING BILLED FOR THIS TIME?”
Your time is precious. All the time you spend with one client is time you’re not spending with other potential clients, so billing for your time is important. Make sure that you tell your clients up front that they will be billed for time, signing a contract stating so. Further, make sure that you write down all the time you spent with them and the pricing so when they do dispute it, you have a recorded time sheet.
“I CAN’T PAY FOR THIS”
Sometimes you do all your homework and follow every step to a “T”, but you still don’t get paid. If a client tells you that they simply can’t pay the bill, try to come up with a resolution day to extend their credit. If you simply can’t come to a solution, it may be time to move that invoice to a credit collector.
USE AN ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE SOFTWARE
Accounts receivable software doesn’t just take care of how much money you company is owed. It can also help to manage invoice disputes. Using a workflow, the software helps you work through your prioritized list to uncover disputes faster. From there you can fix the problem or escalate the issue to someone else when you get the “I can’t pay this” dispute. An accounts receivable software can also prevent disputes by flagging customers that don’t pay or dispute often, helping you to discern which customers are worth the hassle.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Sometimes the best way to handle a dispute is coming to a compromise. Is that 10 percent of the dispute worth losing a client over? However, sometimes you have to stick with your gut feeling and go for it. If you feel like a client is simply giving you a run for your money, stand your ground and get what you’re owed. Further, standing your ground occasionally can send a message to clients that you’re willing to stand up for your work and get paid for it.
Having to deal with invoice disputes is probably the worst part of the job. You’re either disagreeing with a customer or losing out on some hard earned money. It’s important to recognize when you made a mistake, but it’s also important to stick to your gut feeling and receive what you’re owed. Finding a middle ground can help you to win on every invoice dispute.