tl;dr We strongly recommend that you use FreshBooks.

Let's face it: invoicing is a pain. Time spent on invoicing is time you could spent on repair (or, for that matter, time spent not working!). But, every repair business must invoice clients. So, let's make the best of it. Repair businesses can maximize the benefit and minimize the time required for invoicing by considering a checklist of best practices and using an invoicing template or program.

Introduction to Invoicing ¶ 

Invoices serve both as a receipt of services provided and as a definition of terms between the service provider and client. Here is a sample invoice that includes best practice elements. If you want to build you own invoice or use an invoice program, be sure to consider the components of the sample. These best practice elements can be broken down into two groups:

Invoice as Sales Receipt ¶ 

Every invoice should have the following sales receipt elements:

  • Date of invoice
  • A unique reference number
  • Itemized list of services
    • Cost breakdown (where applicable): cost of service, cost of parts, cost of tax
  • Contact information for client
  • Contact information for business
    • Business identification number (license number, tax ID, etc.)

Invoice as Contractual Agreement ¶ 

Every invoice should include the following contractual elements, outlined clearly and concisely:

  • Limitation of liability concerning accidental damage done to the hardware by the service technician
  • Limitation of liability concerning client data
  • Terms relating to sales tax collection
  • Terms of payment
    • Accepted payment methods
    • Intrest to be charged if payment is delinquent
  • Terms of parts and/or labor guarantee
  • Space for signature of client agreeing to terms

Invoicing Programs ¶ 

Now that you know the job an invoice must accomplish, it's time to find the program that is up to the task.

A quick online search will yield countless invoice stationeries that can purchased in bulk and filled out at the point of sale. But don't use them. The most basic problems are that you can't customize them and they aren't digital.

Excel ¶ 

With a little time and even less Excel skill, you can build your own invoices (and other handy business tools). Even if you don't decide to use Excel or a simple spreadsheet to build your invoices, take a look at our Excel sample invoice. If it meets your needs, use it. If it doesn't meet your needs, modify it.

If you use our sample, your customer will get a printed invoice that looks like this.

FreshBooks ¶ 

A video introduction to FreshBooks.

FreshBooks is a complete accounting solution built around invoicing. Items that you add to an invoice for the first time can be saved for later invoices. This means you'll save lots of time by never needing to enter client or product information a second time. What does that mean for you? A repeat customer asking for a repeat fix will require less than a minute to produce an invoice sent by email.

The best thing about FreshBooks is that it makes getting paid easy. You can print invoices or send them by email. An emailed invoice also contains a link that will bring the client to an online customer profile that gives the current status of that invoice (and a history of all past invoices). From this page, the client can use various payment options.

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FreshBooks Customer Profile

Nifty FreshBooks features:

  • Everything is saved! The first time you add a client, product, or service; you have the option to save it for easy use with future invoices.
  • Online customer profile with payment options is automatically created for each client when an invoice is sent to them.
  • Pay to have FreshBooks send a paper invoice (with self addressed stamped return envelope) to the client.
  • Invoice history is automatically tracked in extreme detail.

We built samples of their invoices so you don't have to register just to peek at the end product:

The above documents were created from this interface:

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FreshBooks Invoicing Interface

QuickBooks ¶ 

QuickBooks is the most comprehensive business software that is accessible to users unaccustomed to accounting software. It is such a comprehensive business solution that the user-unfriendliness of the online invoice builder is astounding. That being said, after several tweaks and a little patience, we were able to build a satisfactory template that should be hassle-free in the future.

Nifty QuickBooks Online features:

  • Everything is saved! The first time you add a client, product, or service; you have the option to save it for easy use with future invoices.
  • Optimized for both online invoicing and printed invoices.

We built samples of their invoices so you don't have to register just to peek at the end product:

The above documents were created from this interface:

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QuickBooks Online Invoicing Interface

One Comment

I also highly recommend Zoho invoice (for small business) and Zoho Books (for business that have 1+ employee).

They are simply to use, all online!

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