The article, “How to Collect from Anyone (Even Enron)” found in Inc. Magazine, has been very helpful for these blog posts. Here is my fifth blog post covering the subject of getting paid by your customers.
Way to get paid #5: Be Consistent. Make sure that the language on your invoice is the same as the language on the contract that your customer has signed. Suppose you are a furniture supplier and you were awarded a contract to furnish a new hotel in your city. In your contract you are providing chairs for the lobby, chairs for the guest rooms, and chairs for the restaurant; and each of these has a different price. If you deliver the chairs for the restaurant and follow it with an invoice, make sure that the invoice does not just state “200 chairs at $100.00 each” or worse, the invoice states “chairs $20,000”. The invoice should state “200 dining room chairs (model ABC 2000) at $100.00 each; total for this invoice is $20,000.” Otherwise, when your customer gets the invoice, they won’t know “what chairs”, and very likely they will start an internal inquiry as to what was delivered, when it was delivered, who counted the chairs and inspected them, etc. All in all, this will certainly delay you getting paid.
“When the General’s orders (communication) are not clear, soldiers will not be consistent in following commands?” — from The Art of War by Sun Tzu.