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Invoice design for photography business

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Thread started 03 Aug 2005 (Wednesday) 22:35   
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JK
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I'm in the process of designing an invoice "template" at the moment and was wondering if anyone could post some sample invoices or links to samples that might help me with design ideas, layout and content.

Another thing that might be useful would be generic samples of wording for "photographic services rendered". E.g. wording for a wedding or model shoot, portraits / whatever else.

Any help appreciated! :)

Post #1, Aug 03, 2005 22:35:17


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ryno4youth
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There are several books will all kinds of photography business forms. Check them out. The one that I use, was just put together in Microsoft publisher and looks pretty good.

Post #2, Aug 03, 2005 22:55:42


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EricKonieczny
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If You have Microsoft Office, go to THe Microsoft website and look up templates. That is what I use. But I am going ot be switching to QuickBooks, soon. It will help keep everything organized from invoices to receivables, and other debts, purchases.

Plan now, so when you do grow, it will be easier. Plus a older version of quickbooks is cheap. you only really need the basic stuff, and can get more in deprth later.

Post #3, Aug 04, 2005 06:43:01 as a reply to ryno4youth's post 7 hours earlier.


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Harry ­ Settle
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I use the one in Microsoft Office also, customized for my use. Now if I can figure out how to get it to subtract payments. I also use quickbooks, but it gets a little frustrating to me.

Post #4, Aug 04, 2005 22:13:14




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SWPhotoImaging
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I'm not sure if I can post an Excel document, but I have a quote and an invoice that I cobbled together in Excel. They ain't fancy, but are functional, and I even built in a formula to calculate a 10% discount if item count is more than 2 ( I mainly sell matted, framed work). I'd be happy to e-mail it to you. PM me with your email address.

Post #5, Aug 05, 2005 13:51:57


SWPhoto-Imaging

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EricKonieczny
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SWPhotoImaging wrote:
I'm not sure if I can post an Excel document,

Yes you can, It is easy. Put it on a webserver and put a link to it, just like this. just make sure the estension is .xls

http://www.ekreating.c​om/images/test.xlsexternal link

Post #6, Aug 05, 2005 18:53:28 as a reply to SWPhotoImaging's post 5 hours earlier.


EKREATING photography - capture the feeling!external link
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DaveG
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JK wrote:
I'm in the process of designing an invoice "template" at the moment and was wondering if anyone could post some sample invoices or links to samples that might help me with design ideas, layout and content.

Another thing that might be useful would be generic samples of wording for "photographic services rendered". E.g. wording for a wedding or model shoot, portraits / whatever else.

Any help appreciated! :)

My invoicing is in the form of a letter and on letterhead. I have the word INVOICE in
36pt type or I'll get "Is this an invoice?" from the client.

The first paragraph starts: "Please regard this document as an invoice for photographic
services. For your reference it was for photographing ... on June 23, 2005 at your offices
on ...". Then I break down the invoice into line items for shooting fees, computer time,
taxes and so forth.

A year later, and for repeat customers, the “For your reference ...” isn’t for THEIR
reference, it’s for mine! After awhile the jobs blend together and this is a device that
reminds me about that specific job.

I think that it's incredibly important to make the invoice detailed and clear. The payment
could get held up until the account payable person has some stupid question answered.
Except for when I've made dumb arithmetic errors I've never had an invoice questioned.

I use Microsoft WORKS for this. I've built a spreadsheet that I call Receivables 2005 and
I can simply enter the price and everything else (taxes, totals & so on) are calculated. My
invoice numbering system is very simple, and it occupies a cell on the spreadsheet next to
the client's name. An example would be 5-7-12v and that stands for 2005, July, and the
12th invoice of the month. The key is that I name the Invoice document 5-7-12v.

Say a client calls a year from now and asks me to shoot this year's event. I can find their
invoice number in seconds looking at the 2005 receivables and then open up their invoice
to see the details.

This system also lends itself to boilerplating invoices. If it's a repeat customer I'll "Save
As" to the new invoice reference number and then change the details. If it's a new client
I'll still use someone else's invoice as a template.

The client’s copy is printed on high quality letterhead. I figure that the more you work
out of your basement, the more that your communication with clients needs to look like it
doesn’t. I then make a copy of the invoice on regular bond paper for their files. Since I’ve
gone digital I keep the CD/DVD’s from the shoot in the paper envelopes and I staple that
to my copy of the invoice.

The other thing that I think that’s very important to do is to deliver the invoice with the
product. If the client is local I ALWAYS hand deliver it even if I’m invited to use their
courier. We spend lots and lots of money to get in front of a client, and there at the
moment of triumph we shlep it off by courier. I want to bask in the glow of victory, or
start fixing a problem right away; depending on what’s happened! I can also take the
invoice out of the envelope, and hand it to the client (“Oh, here’s my outrageous
invoice.”) so that it doesn’t get overlooked.

Post #7, Aug 06, 2005 07:34:06


"There's never time to do it right. But there's always time to do it over."
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shoenphoto
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Central Michigan, USA
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I have been using this system to keep track of my customers for about a year. It is pure html and works in your web browser. It has an Invoice included. When making edits I use FrontPage.

I'm not selling anything. It's free. There is not, and never will be, a charge. Feel free to tweak and pass it on.

You can download it here. Instructions are in the help.htm page.

http://www.shoenphoto.​com/your_web.zipexternal link

Steve

Post #8, Aug 11, 2005 18:57:32 as a reply to DaveG's post 5 days earlier.




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robertwgross
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One extra thing that I must emphasize:

On the invoice, somewhere right after the "bottom line" money figure, print the payment terms. For example, if it is due within thirty days, then print "NET 30." Some customers will ignore that anyway if they think they have clout and can pay it slowly. Another commonly used phrase is "2% NET 15." That means that the customer can take a 2% discount if they pay within 15 days.

On one original invoice, I printed "NET 15" and gave that to the client. Then about fifty days later, I received the payment with a photocopy of the original invoice. They had scratched out "NET 15" and wrote in "2% NET 30," and took the discount. I thought that was pretty cheesy of them, so I called. The accounts payable department claimed that the 15 or 30 days begins when the invoice makes it to their department, not when I gave it to the client. When I heard that kind of crap, I immediately cashed their check and promised myself never to do business with that company again.

---Bob Gross---

Post #9, Aug 11, 2005 19:31:20 as a reply to shoenphoto's post 33 minutes earlier.




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DaveG
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I've found that most clients will ignore any "penalty" for late payment so I don't even bother. I had one client - an agency - who would pay (get this) 180 days after the invoice was submitted. They represented some really large companies too, so they were being paid within 30 days. And of course they had trouble hiring a photographer.

My contact there, who I knew from before, was ashamed of this practice. I told her that it was OK and that I still wanted their business, but that my prices would be doubled. Then six months after the event a cheque would roll in, which I looked at as money from heaven. So my idea is to increase my prices if the client wants to play games. If they won't pay on time, or pay more, then I don't want them as a client.

Post #10, Aug 13, 2005 07:27:53


"There's never time to do it right. But there's always time to do it over."
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robertwgross
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David, I feel your pain (to quote Bill Clinton).

I wonder if there is any other good way to get clients to pay quickly. You can motivate them with a carrot or with a stick. If they ignore the stick, then get a bigger carrot.

---Bob Gross---

Post #11, Aug 13, 2005 13:36:04 as a reply to DaveG's post 6 hours earlier.




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IndyJeff
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I have dealt with this for years, it is of the utmost urgency to get you out there ASAP to do the job, then paying you, well that will come when they get around to it.
My solution was same as DaveG, I doubled my pricing. I also on several occasions told them I couldn't get to it until next week. They paniced because they didn't have anyone else who could do it. When asked what they needed to do to get me out there this week, I said a check when I show up for $xxx would get me there tomorrow. When I got there, they gave me the check and I did the job. If the check wasn't in my hand, I got back in my vehicle and drove away and would never do any work for them again.

The thing you have to watch out for is if they are into you for a lot of money, you can't just walk away or quit working for them. They might not pay you what they already owe you.

As far as a company changing terms on your invoice and giving themselves discounts, that is illegal in most states. I had one home builder do that to me. He gave himself a 10% discount, when I called him on it he told me to cash the check and he would send the rest. My attorney told me to return the check and gave me a letter to send with the check. Basically that letter said that deducting 10% from my bill was not acceptable and if the full balance was not paid within 10 days of the date of the letter we would pursue collection thru the court system. The builder called me and asked if I was willing to spend attorney fees and court costs to get $250 or accept $25 less. I explained that on the invoice he signed, he agreed to pay all costs involved in collection of the bill so it didn't matter to me. He would also have his attorney to pay. So his $250 bill would be over $1000 by the time it was all said and done.
His response was he would pay the bill, which he did. Then had the nerve to call me again about 2 months later for another job. I told him I would meet him at the job site, tell him how much and he could write me a check on the spot. He agreed, then when I get there he is a no show. His employee was there and told me the builder couldn't make it, for me to do the work and they would cut a check and mail it tomorrow. I said find someone else to do it, and left.

Post #12, Aug 14, 2005 10:22:38 as a reply to robertwgross's post 20 hours earlier.


On shooting sports...If you see it happen then you didn't get it.

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DaveG
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IndyJeff wrote:
I have dealt with this for years, it is of the utmost urgency to get you out there ASAP to do the job, then paying you, well that will come when they get around to it.
My solution was same as DaveG, I doubled my pricing. I also on several occasions told them I couldn't get to it until next week. They paniced because they didn't have anyone else who could do it. When asked what they needed to do to get me out there this week, I said a check when I show up for $xxx would get me there tomorrow. When I got there, they gave me the check and I did the job. If the check wasn't in my hand, I got back in my vehicle and drove away and would never do any work for them again.

The thing you have to watch out for is if they are into you for a lot of money, you can't just walk away or quit working for them. They might not pay you what they already owe you.

As far as a company changing terms on your invoice and giving themselves discounts, that is illegal in most states. I had one home builder do that to me. He gave himself a 10% discount, when I called him on it he told me to cash the check and he would send the rest. My attorney told me to return the check and gave me a letter to send with the check. Basically that letter said that deducting 10% from my bill was not acceptable and if the full balance was not paid within 10 days of the date of the letter we would pursue collection thru the court system. The builder called me and asked if I was willing to spend attorney fees and court costs to get $250 or accept $25 less. I explained that on the invoice he signed, he agreed to pay all costs involved in collection of the bill so it didn't matter to me. He would also have his attorney to pay. So his $250 bill would be over $1000 by the time it was all said and done.
His response was he would pay the bill, which he did. Then had the nerve to call me again about 2 months later for another job. I told him I would meet him at the job site, tell him how much and he could write me a check on the spot. He agreed, then when I get there he is a no show. His employee was there and told me the builder couldn't make it, for me to do the work and they would cut a check and mail it tomorrow. I said find someone else to do it, and left.

Since I started my business ten years ago I've had exactly one bad debt, a small sports newspaper that went out of business. So I've been very very lucky. There are two situations where I insist on payment when I arrive and the first are "band" shots. These guys/girls have no money and will have changed drummers before you can deliver the proofs, so the new one won't want to chip in, and so forth. So I tell 'em that the money is all up front. Subsequently I've never photographed a band without being hired by their agency first.

The other group that I trust as far as I can throw them are "modeling agencies". These are the small fly-by-night agencies that suck in little girls and their mom's. They always want to give me an "opportunity" to make some money which of course is complete fiction.

I've never had a problem with weddings. My particular payment schedule is that the final payment - about 90% of the fee - is due on the day of the wedding. Once or twice a year I'll ask at the reception - in as friendly a way as I can - "So are you going to pay me?" if they haven't already. And then I'll see a look of horror creep over their faces as they realize that they've forgotten about me, or that the cheque book is home.

Now the last thing I want is for them to take up a collection at their receptions, so I'll say "Don't worry. I can get the cheque when I deliver the proofs next week." (an advantage of quick turnaround by the way). But when the proofs are ready I'll call and tell that they're in and that the balance owing is XXX. At this point they would have no excuse concerning the money and I just wouldn't give them the proofs. "Oh we won't get paid until Friday." "Then I'll be there Friday." But it's NEVER happened.

Post #13, Aug 14, 2005 17:06:26 as a reply to IndyJeff's post 6 hours earlier.


"There's never time to do it right. But there's always time to do it over."
Canon 5D, 50D; 16-35 f2.8L, 24-105 f4L IS, 50 f1.4, 100 f2.8 Macro, 70-200 f2.8L, 300mm f2.8L IS.

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Jon, ­ The ­ Elder
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Dave G - practical fair and businesslike. Hope the 'noobs' listen, it will save them relearning your experiences.

Post #14, Aug 15, 2005 07:03:02 as a reply to DaveG's post 13 hours earlier.


A 40D, a 30D, some nice glass and a great Shooting Partner.
"...As in music, so in life."

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Dead ­ Cell
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I been recently trying to come up with an invoice from scratch. After first I thought it had to look very unique and such which is why I was frustrated at first. After doing a search on the web a lot of the photography invoice is pretty basic.

I found this invoice example which works perfect for me:
http://answerground.co​m ...for-photography-business/external link

Post #15, Apr 24, 2013 04:47:08




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