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Pricing and Payments

When to Send an Invoice to Customers

December 22, 2023 6 min. read
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In most instances you should send an invoice as soon as you’ve finished work for a customer. Sending invoices right after the job is done is the best way for service businesses to keep cash flow consistent, cover business expenses, and grow.

Depending on the type of services you provide and your relationships with your clients, you can also choose to send an invoice a few days after the job is done or at the end of the month.

We’ll explain the best times to send invoices for different situations—and when you should adjust your invoicing strategy.

Invoice customers on the spot

For most one-off jobs, you can issue an invoice at the job site right after your work is done. Invoicing on the spot can get you paid faster and help your business stay profitable.

Who it’s for:

Many plumbing, HVAC, and handyman businesses invoice clients on the spot because their clients are often on-site during the job.

How to invoice customers on the spot:

  1. Before starting a job, let the client know that you expect payment immediately after you complete your service. Include payment terms on the quote that state your preferred payment methods and any late invoice payment fees.
  2. Have a professional invoice ready in advance. You can send an invoice faster when you create it before the job is done. To save time, use an invoice template that you can quickly fill with your job and client details.

With Jobber you can personalize a customer-friendly template with your company branding, contact information, and payment terms or disclaimer. When the job is complete, you can instantly generate a professional invoice that’s ready to send to your customer with one click.

Option to invoice now or later when you mark a visit complete in Jobber

Invoice within 48 hours of finishing the job

Sending your invoice 48 hours after the job gives you time to ask if the client needs any extra work or rework before you ask them to pay. By confirming that your client is satisfied before sending an invoice, you’ll avoid disputes, prevent overdue payments, and inspire trust in your business.

Who it’s for:

Invoicing within 48 hours is a good option for jobs that need longer and more complex invoices, like large-scale landscaping. 

How to invoice within 48 hours of completing the service:

  • When the job is done, send a customer follow-up email to ask if your client is happy with your work. If the client isn’t satisfied, call them to find out what you can do to make it right.

Or, use Jobber to schedule follow-up emails to gather client feedback after every service.

Client feedback survey sent from a service provider through Jobber
  • After the client confirms they’re happy with your work, send an invoice for the job up to 48 hours after the service is complete.

Pro Tip: Give clients the option to pay online directly from the text or email sent with the invoice. Jobber automatically generates a link your clients can use to view and pay their digital invoices.

Service invoice being paid with a 20% tip added in client hub through the Jobber mobile app

Send a monthly invoice

Monthly invoices are ideal when you have clients with multiple visits per month. Sending invoices monthly reduces your paperwork throughout the month and can help you get paid on a more consistent basis.

Who it’s for:

Many home service providers send monthly invoices for recurring jobs, including lawn care, house cleaning, tree care, and pool service businesses.

How to send monthly invoices:

  1. You can choose to send each client an invoice right after you’ve finished their last job of the month. Or, use the last week of the month to issue all your client’s invoices at the same time.
  2. Jobber’s batch invoicing lets you convert all of your completed jobs into invoices at the end of each month. Simply select the jobs you’d like to create invoices for, and send them to customers with a couple of clicks.
Alt text: Selecting multiple jobs to invoice as a batch in Jobber

Can you send an invoice before the work is done?

You can invoice before the work is done if you require payment before the job starts or at a midway point to maintain cash flow.

You should send an invoice before the jobs starts when:

  • You need a deposit. If you need to collect some payment upfront, invoice your client for a deposit before you start the job. Many businesses ask for a deposit to cover job expenses or to secure working capital early on for large projects.
  • You have pre-planned project milestones. You might request payment at major steps throughout a large project (e.g., after an installation) to improve your cash flow. Letting clients pay in installments can also make payment easier for them. Put those milestones in writing and tell your client how much is due at each one.
  • The client has a history of not paying on time. If you have clients that delay payment often, invoice them for a deposit before the job starts. This way, even if a customer won’t pay for services days or weeks after the job is done, you’ll still have some cash flow from that first payment.

What should you include on an invoice?

Every invoice should include:

  1. Invoice number for record-keeping purposes 
  2. Invoice issue date and the payment due date
  3. Company info, such as business name, logo, phone number, email, and address
  4. Client details, including name, address, and phone number
  5. Line items with product and service descriptions
  6. Costs associated with each line item such as, labor costs, materials and quantities, hourly rates, overhead costs, any special discounts)
  7. Subtotal before applicable taxes, discounts, and service fees
  8. Total amount owed, including applicable taxes and discounts
  9. Personal note to show the customer you appreciate their business. You can also use this section to add your payment terms, including payment instructions, accepted payment methods, and late fees

Here’s what that looks like:

invoice template example with markup

How to follow up on invoices

Following up on an unpaid invoice acts as a friendly reminder for clients and helps prevent late invoice payments.

You can send a follow up email or try giving your customer a call to make sure your invoice was received, answer any questions, and remind them about your accepted payment methods.

You can also use automated invoice follow-ups to remind customers to pay their outstanding invoices—without lifting a finger.

Automated follow-up text sent from a field service provider reminding a customer about an outstanding invoice

The best time to send an invoice will depend on the type of service you provide and the agreement you have with your client.

In most cases, the best time to send an invoice is after the job is done. When you need a deposit from your client, invoice before the job so you can get that payment upfront.

No matter when you send your invoices, create professional, detailed invoices with payment terms—and follow up on your invoices with overdue payment letters.

Originally published in June 2019. Last updated on December 20th, 2023.

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