If you don’t watch the details, they will back up on you! It’s important to follow through on every detail to effectively communicate value to your clients. A lot of people skip over focusing on the value of their work on the invoices they give to clients. It’s important to have the value of your work fully demonstrated – starting with your technicians all the way to the invoice they leave behind. Most people will go to their local office supply store to get a very generic, cheap invoice to give to clients. These invoices do not effectively communicate the value of the work you do. As a general rule, a well-designed invoice should have these four components: 1. A detailed explanation of the job you’re going to perform 2. A detailed description of the job you’ve completed 3. A detailed description of the warranties you offer 4. A description of the value of your services vs. the price Your technicians should be trained to always communicate value, value, value! Proper training is essential to the success of your business. Create mock invoices to train your technicians. Make sure they can communicate the value your invoice should portray. Your technicians should fully understand how to demonstrate the value they are bringing to the table and that the cost of your services is an investment, not an expense. Your warranties should be higher than your competition’s. I offered re-pipes on lifetime warranties, as long as the client owned the house. In the 30 years I was in business, I probably went back on maybe 5 or 6 of them. Don’t be scared to give warranties. If someone is quoting against you, the warranties you offer will supersede the price. The warranties outlined in your invoice can also increase ticket sales, even while your tech is still at a job. It can be something as simple as a client seeing you offer a five-year warranty and wanting the tech to fix the toilet while he’s there. Warranties can be a great way to add on sales. You must have a pre-authorization signature prior to doing the job, and a signature after the job is completed. Never surprise your client with a price afteryou’ve performed the work. Clear communication before and after a job is completed is essential is creating a positive experience for your client. Eliminate Client Complaints with Your Invoice If you ever get a complaint about the job you’ve performed, listen to your client. Don’t suggest how much you will take off the ticket, ask the client or customer how much they feel is fair. Ninety percent of the time the client’s suggested amount is less than what you had in mind. Don’t give money away. If it’s more than what you were thinking, then meet them half way. If for whatever reason you see you can’t satisfy an unhappy client, don’t argue with them. You will get nowhere. You’ll always loose that way – they’ll end up firing you and telling their friends about their bad experience. It should be in your best practices to do what you can to satisfy your client. When a complaint arises, it is an opportunity for your company to shine and to go above and beyond what your client expects you to do for them. You can eliminate a lot of complaints if your invoice thoroughly communicates the extent of the work you’re doing for your client – here’s how. The majority of the time, your technicians are dealing with Mrs. Jones or Grandma. So, the key to having a professional and effective invoice is to communicate the value the wife or client saw with the technician in person. Mrs. Jones saw how well the tech is dressed, his shoe covers and Trust Me™ ID Badge. She saw that he was courteous, professional and cleaned up. She’s happy with the price given. But Dad didn’t see all that. When Dad comes home all he sees is the invoice, and that’s what he’s going to judge the price on. If that invoice does not reflect the value of the work you did, you’re getting a phone call. So make sure your invoice is as detailed possible. Put descriptions of the different jobs you do on your invoice. That way, when Dad comes home, or if you did work for Grandma and her son comes home to look at the invoice, you have clearly communicated the work you did. If you get a complaint, you have a reference to some of the things the client doesn’t always see; like insurance on your vehicles, material costs, labor costs, vehicle maintenance costs, advertising, dipatchers, etc… Explain what it all involved. After you start to explain this more to your client, they see there’s more involved than just labor and material costs. If the worst-case scenario happens and an unhappy client turns you in to the Better Business Bureau, and you have a detailed invoice, you have a strong leg to stand on. The Better Business Bureau will see your client signed in agreement before you did the work, as well as after the work was performed. With these signatures, the Better Business Bureau will be more inclined to lean in your favor. Your Investment for Increased Profits Yes – you’re going to pay a little more when going from a generic invoice to a custom one but your complaints will go down. If you’re making your clients happy, you’re increasing profit. Your happy client is now telling their friends and family about their great experience, increasing your return calls and new business. Also, clients usually don’t complain to the techs, they complain to the owners. So having a more detailed invoice only makes your life easier. Would you pay a little more to make life easier? And remember, the client pays for everything. You can always include the price of your invoices in what your client is paying.