Anatomy of the Perfect Construction Invoice

Tips + Trends

A residential home builder once told me, “Every time I send an invoice, my name is on the line.” 

Invoices may catalog hours of labor, decisions made, materials purchased, and services rendered…and considering the large volume of money typical on construction invoices, many clients will pore over it with a fine-tooth comb. This is not usually due to any amount of distrust, it is simply a client attempting to understand how their hard-earned money is being applied to their project. 

The invoice is a crucial touchpoint in the build process between builders and their clients; one that creates a fantastic opportunity to build an immense amount of trust in the stewardship of your client’s money.

A well-constructed invoice is key to communicating what your clients are paying for and when they’re paying for it. Fortunately, CoConstruct makes it easy to generate accurate financial summaries in a consistent format with just a few clicks. But, what else should be included?

Here are a few tips and tricks for creating invoices that will leave no questions unanswered, maintain clear record-keeping, and get clients to click Pay Now fast.

  1. Create and stick to a solid numbering and naming convention. Using invoice prefixes is an easy way to distinguish invoices for different projects at a glance and you can take advantage of CoConstruct’s auto-numbering system as you create additional invoices.
  2. Provide a clear and concise invoice summary. This will give a clear picture of what the invoice is for.
  3. Provide line item descriptions of the goods and services on the invoice. Percentages on progress invoices are helpful for understanding job progression, and adding a short description of what the line items cover can provide additional helpful information.
  4. Include important files relevant to the invoice. Depending on the level of visibility you give to your clients on the project costs, you can include receipts, bills from trades, and other important documents your clients may need to review.
  5. Over-communicate with additional notes. This is an opportunity to tell the “Story-so-far” for your client’s project. If there are any questions that you could imagine your clients asking about the invoice, this is the place to preemptively answer.
  6. If you have common language consistent on every invoice for a single project or all your projects, make sure to take advantage of Default Notes. In CoConstruct, enter your text in the Notes field, then select Set as Default for this project or all projects. You can continue to hone and improve your Default Notes any time, simply by clicking to set as default again. Here are three ideas for Default Notes:
  • Include instructions for paying the invoice. 
  • Add payment terms, legal language, and other important invoice terms.
  • Provide a link to project financing through our partnership with Lightstream. Take an active role in helping your clients secure up to $100,000 in financing for their project with no home equity requirements or appraisals. Simply copy the link from your project setup page and paste it in the default notes for your project. 

Implementing these tips and tricks will give you happy clients ready to pay you fast and give you confidence in your digital paper trail that will leave you sleeping soundly at night. Have you ever looked forward to invoicing your clients? Now, you might.

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Michael Macfarlan
Michael Macfarlan

Michael focuses on business grow for builders + remodelers. He creates content geared towards implementing CoConstruct effectively and efficiently.