What are payment terms? Invoice and payment terms for small businesses

what are payment terms on an invoice

Accounting software that lets you create professional recurring invoices will streamline the invoicing process. It doesn’t matter how short your invoice payment terms are if you don’t send the bill on time. Whether you give 30 days to pay, or just seven – the clock doesn’t start ticking until the invoice is in their hands. Some customers may expect longer payment terms for bigger bills, but you may be able to negotiate with them. If they ask for a discount, for example, consider requesting faster payment in return.

  • This can make your work preparing, managing, and storing invoices much simpler.
  • However, it can also mean 30 days after purchases are made, goods are delivered, work is complete, and so forth.
  • Trade references will give you a further indication of the customer’s trustworthiness and financial state.
  • Clear payment terms — with penalties for late payments and discounts for timely ones — can reduce this stress and ensure that your business can perform well and grow.
  • Disputes, the customer knows who to contact, and you can resolve the problem quickly.
  • No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation.

Late invoice payments are a key cause of cash flow issues for small and mid-sized businesses. In fact, nearly half of all B2B invoices in the US are overdue, and almost all B2B businesses in the US (93%) have reported receiving late payments. Allowing a discount for early payment can motivate customers to prioritise your bills over others and pay them ahead of time. It is a common practice to offer a 1% or 2% discount on the total invoice amount if the invoice is paid within a specific term that is ahead of the due date. This is a win-win for both as the client can enjoy a discounted rate while the supplier can benefit from on time payments.


Payment terms should aid understanding, not make the invoice more confusing. Think about whether the customer will understand the terms or if some additional explanation is needed. It’s important to agree on when and how you’ll be paid before any work starts.

  • This will help you identify potential late payments so that you can initiate timely follow ups to elicit payments on time.
  • You can also change Net D for a particular customer by navigating to their details page and using the Change Customer Details button.
  • Use a “free of charge” invoice even if you’ve provided a product or service to a customer for free.
  • This guide explores what payment terms are, and how enforcing them helps drive financial efficiency and boost your cash position.

This process is much more common today than it was in years past, for good reason. It leaves no room for confusion and lets your customer know exactly when their payment is due. You can base your decision on their credit history, while you may choose to have new customers pay a deposit. Part of writing an invoice properly is including the appropriate payment terms on the invoice. Payment terms specify the exact terms and conditions of the sales agreement including when the customer must pay. This will safeguard you from potential losses and also improve your cash flow.

Tips to effectively make invoice payments on time

While the most common term is Net 30, it’s also important to know the standard for your industry. For example, the most common payment term in the construction industry is Net 90, but in the landscaping industry, it’s Net 7.

  • The latest product innovations and business insights from QuickBooks.
  • Some businesses offer discounts to customers who pay in full upfront.
  • There are usually third-party fees involved in transactions of this type.
  • Recurring invoices guarantee cash flow for your business, makes forecasting a breeze, and save you time from having to invoice clients each month.
  • Sign up today, and you’ll gain access to our free 30-day trial offer.
  • No one likes to be the reason a payment is delayed, so here are our top 5 tips on how to make invoice payments on time – every time.

Before you start charging late fees, make sure to check your state’s government website to ensure you’re within your legal rights. In general, small businesses should evaluate each situation and consider a fair policy on late fees. In some cases, this might affect the relationship you have with your client, invoice payment terms but charging late fees is standard practice. This represents a cash discount of 2% if the payment is made within 10 days of the invoice date. Otherwise, the full amount is due within 30 days of the invoice date. It’s up to the business to determine how much of a cash discount they’re willing to provide.