Good client relationships are crucial to the success of a business. However, the billing practices that are in place can sour a good client relationship if they are outdated. This is applicable to most kinds of business, including but not limited to professional services, trade professionals or the hospitality industry (for example).
Billing systems should be innovative and focus primarily on the needs of the client. For clients, it is not so much about the process as it is the result that they are paying.
Clients expect a total fee estimate of the service being provided. Once the fee is accepted, the client expects to pay this amount. Presenting an invoice that totals much more than what has been quoted without prior warning can trigger the client’s move to someone else who can offer the same service to them. Providing the type of fee and cost information in a quote before you start an engagement can help avoid “client invoice shock”.
Another common complaint is when the client does not understand the bill. Some bills either lack sufficient clarity or contain too much confusing detail. The client must be able to evaluate the work done for the fee charged and the bill must stack up with your original fee quote. If a bill does not match what was stated in the initial proposal, quote or engagement letter, then you have a serious credibility problem on your hands.
Essentially, there should be no surprises when it comes to billing your clients. Clients expect good service and reasonable fees based on sound professional practices. If you have delivered what you promised and your total billings are in line with what your original quote, the client will nearly always pay your bill without question.