The secret to legal invoicing success isn’t about invoicingIt starts with a solid foundation with clear billing practices. Your clients don’t know, what they don’t know. As a part of your initial client intake, you should create process of communicating your billing process. Clearly laying out what your clients can except to pay, when payments are due and payment options will diminish any push back once the invoices start rolling out. Here are three strategies you can use to increase your firm’s realization rates and the odds that clients will pay you on time.
Secret #3: Determine your client’s expectationsDuring client intake, ask strategic questions that open the conversation to what your client expects out of the services you provide. This “screening” process will help you connect with and build a relationship with your client but it will also assist you in:
- Protecting your clients best interest
- Determining if you can meet their expectations
- Finding solutions to opposing expectations
Secret #2: Clearly outline your law firm’s billing and invoicing policyNo matter if it’s a new client or one you’ve worked with for years, you should always make it a best practice to breakdown your law firm’s billing and invoicing policy. It’s not the responsibility of the client to decipher this information along the way. Not only will this lead to confusion, it will likely end with your invoices not being paid on time.You don’t necessarily need to get into the weeds of how legal billing works. However, your communication to the client should highlight:
- Scope of work and anticipated fees: this should be discussed during client intake but should be outlined again
- Important billing due dates: verbal and written communication of when your billing cycle runs will assist the client in meeting your expectations and paying on time
- Available payment options: having multiple payment options is attractive to your clients because it gives the option to pay you in a way that they’re comfortable with. Having options like online payments or an accessible client portal, will enhance your clients payment experience.
- What to do and who to contact if they can’t pay on time or have issues with payment: it’s important to remember that your clients are human and things come up. If they ever need anything, providing them with the proper avenue to communicate mishaps will save you a headache in the long run.