Should the due date be different from the invoice date? Also, if I have a clause in the contract that all payment should be done within 30 days from the invoice sendout, should I have the "date+30days" as due date or the "date"?
The term "due date" is for stuff you get at your house (phone bill, electric bill, etc).
In business, the standard concept for when bills are to be paid is known as "payment terms". You don't specify a due date on each invoice. You specify payment terms in your CONTRACT, and may wish to also print the terms on each invoice.
- Net 10 = due 10 calendar days from invoice date
- Net 30 = due 30 calendar days from invoice date
- Net XX = due XX calendar days from invoice date (replace XX with whatever number you like)
- Net on receipt = due upon receipt of invoice
Note that I specified "calendar" days in my description? Why? Calendar days is not the same as business days.
Every accounts payable department will instantly recognize "net" terms. And just for the record, here's more info on common payment terms.
When you are setting up your contract, you MUST ask if the client can support whatever payment terms you desire. If you don't ask, and you don't specify in your contract, then you'll be in a guessing game as to when you're going to get paid. If you are specific, you take a lot of potential stress out of the equation.
As an independent, I always work Net 10 or shorter. Net 30 is a very long time to wait:
- If you bill weekly at Net 30, that means if you start working January 1, you don't see any money for that week until February 10.
- If you bill weekly at Net 10, that means a check is sent out around January 17 instead.
Big difference, eh? Lock in that payment term IN WRITING before you start.
Whilst you should always include the date of issue on the invoice (i.e. the day the invoice was created), the due date should not be the same date as the date of issue, unless this is outlined in your payment terms.
If you have a contract with specific payment terms which specific how long a client has to pay, you should set the due date according to the payment terms in this contract. Like Xavier mentioned, you can also add the payment terms to your invoice to clarify the due date.
We have a blog post explaining the importance of due dates on invoices: Invoice due date: why it’s important, you can check this out if you want to find out more!
I hope this helps! :)
Kate from Debitoor invoicing software