Whether you work for a large firm or you run your own private practice, getting your billing right is absolutely crucial. After all, your business can’t thrive without steady payments.
Bad billing habits can lead to confused or frustrated clients who may delay or outright refuse to send in their payment, so it’s in your best interest to keep clients happy in order to keep your cash flowing.
Keep this list handy to ensure your billing process is as client-friendly as possible.
3 Legal Billing Dos
- Do record your tasks as soon as you complete them.
Enter tasks into your billing or timekeeping software as soon as you finish them, or as close to completion time as possible. If you delay, you may get distracted by another task and may not accurately remember the details.
- Do use descriptive but easy-to-understand language.
You don’t have to outline your time to the minute, but use separate line items for the larger tasks and include a brief summary of the work you did on each invoice. As much as possible, avoid legal jargon. If you use too much technical language, your client may end up with even more questions.
- Do send bills on a predictable schedule.
Plan a consistent time and date to send your bill out every month. This will give your clients a reasonable idea as to when they will receive your bill and minimize the chance that your bill’s arrival surprises them. It also ensures your client can budget for your bill in advance and pay it more promptly.
3 Legal Billing Don’ts
- Don’t wait too long to send your bill.
Remember: the longer you wait to send your bill, the less likely it will be paid on time (or at all). The best time to send out your bill is as close to Day Zero as possible. This way, the case is still fresh in their mind and payment for your services feels appropriate and warranted.
- Don’t keep your clients in the dark.
Sometimes you might find yourself in a bit of a holding pattern and won’t have anything to bill for one month. In those situations, try to still send some sort of note to let your client know their case hasn’t fallen by the wayside. When a client feels appreciated, they are less inclined to be oppositional when it comes to payment.
- Don’t restrict how your clients can pay
When you give your clients multiple payment options, you eliminate the chances of payment becoming difficult for them. By using an online payment solution designed specifically for the legal industry, like LawPay, your clients will always have an easy bill-paying experience.
Unfortunately, there will likely be instances where you make the payment process as easy as possible and clients still don’t pay. While unpleasant, collections are part and parcel of running your own business. However, if you take some steps throughout your case, you can certainly reduce the incidence of non-payment.
LawPay wants to help you take charge of your payments and get paid faster. Sign up for LawPay by March 31 to receive a free wireless charging notebook and three months of no monthly program fee! Get started at lawpay.com/texasbar.