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How to create powerful invoices for your plumbing service

plumbing services

Key ingredients of a professional plumbing invoice

Finishing a plumbing service for your customer does not necessarily mean that the job is complete. It is equally important to invoice the work you’ve done. Delayed invoices and missed inclusions mean that you’re incurring a major revenue loss for your business. Likewise, accidental additions mean loss of reputation and customer dissatisfaction. Starting with a pen and paper at the launch of your business, you’ll have to eventually evolve your invoicing process as your business grows.

Read this blog to understand how you can create and send a professional plumbing invoice, and overcome the invoice creation challenges that you face:

What are the key ingredients of a professional invoice?

An invoice is a demand for payment. Legally, it creates an account receivable. Include the following information to convince the client:

1. Start the invoice with the following information:

  • The name, address and contact information of the plumbing service company, with the logo. Placing the logo on the invoice increases the chance of getting paid three times!
  • The name of the technician/ plumber who attended the work, along with a phone number.
  • The name and address of the client, and contact details of the persons engaging with the company.
  • The location of the worksite, if different from the client’s address.
  • The invoice number, with the date and time of the invoice generation.

Related Reading: 7 Smart Ways to Set Up Your Plumbing Van

2. Mandatory inclusions in a professional invoice:

  • A clear title
  • Itemized description of the services provided, along with their individual costs:
    • Describe the exact works completed
    • Items purchased for the job, including the quantity and price per unit
    • Description of the labor, including the number of hours, and hourly rate
    • Keep the descriptions short and simple. Your clients may not understand technical trade jargon.
  • Any spares or materials used for the work outside the work contract, or agreed as separate inclusions as per the work contract.
  • Any tax information. Depending on the local tax laws, it may be necessary to add service tax or municipal/local tax to the amount.
  • Any discount, deducted from the gross rate.
  • Details of any advance paid by the client, deducted from the total bill. Include any other payment to the client, such as reversal of payments, or referral bonus.
  • The due date for the payment. The standard payment due date for commercial or contractor clients is 30 days from the date of the invoice, but this depends on the service contract. Mention a specific payment due date rather than a generic “due within x days” or even “due upon receipt.” A specific date conveys a sense of urgency and firmness without appearing rude or offensive.
  • Specify payment options. Most clients still pay by cash or cheque, but online payments are increasing in popularity.
  • Any other payment terms, such as installments or part-payments. This again depends on the relationship with the client and any pre-agreed commitments. Specify any late fees for bounced checks.
  • Any money-back-guarantee or service warranty, if offered. Specify the situations that qualify. Clarity is essential to avoid disputes.
  • Any important disclaimer information. Some invoices have an E&OE disclaimer, which means “errors and omissions expected.”

3. Optional inclusions in a plumbing invoice:

  • Before and after photos. These photos, included as attachments to the invoice, reassure clients.
  • Personal note. A brief personal note seeking feedback or referral, or even a simple “Thank you for your business” message adds a personal touch to the invoice.

Invoice Best Practices

A professional plumbing service invoice lists out everything the client needs to know about the work and what he has to pay. The best invoice lists line items, complete with dates, and offers no scope for confusion.

The best time to send the invoice is right after the work is complete, and the details are fresh in the client’s mind. Even if the terms of the agreement allow for delayed payment, there is no reason to delay the invoice.

Make sure the invoice design is simple and readable. Highlight or mention in large font the final amount due and the due date.

The Need for a Field Management Suite

Many plumbing service businesses start with pen-and-paper invoices. The daily routine makes it hard to give invoicing the attention it deserves. Plumbers and even support staff focus on serving customers and marketing the trade. But ignoring billing leads to delayed and lost revenues. The sooner the enterprise migrates to an automated suite, the better.

Top field management suites allow auto-generating invoices. The system tracks the work done, allows the technicians to log their daily work, and helps generate invoices at a few clicks. 

A field service management suite:

  • links to the quote, to identify the correct rate
  • syncs with the work order and inventory to determine the spares used
  • generates a PDF of the invoice
  • sends copies of the generated PDF to the client and the accounts team

Related Reading: How Standardized Work Orders Can Boost the Growth of Your Plumbing Business

Adopting ReachOut’s FSM suite in your plumbing business spares you from the hassles and costs associated with managing several administrative tasks, including plumbing. Get in touch with us to know more.  

ReachOut: Inspection & Work Order Management Software

Do you still use paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage your service business? ReachOut is a web and mobile solution for companies to schedule, dispatch and deliver inspections, work orders, ticketing and more.