How to create a cleaning invoice for your business

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by Tom Watson on October 20, 2012

I don’t know about you, but for me the best part about the cleaning business is “getting paid” for all that work.

To get paid you will need to bill the customer somehow. This is normally done by creating an invoice and delivering it to them one way or another.

The invoice serves as a receipt for the service you provided. Depending upon what type of work you perform, you will either get paid right away or within an agreed upon time frame.

For instance, in the house cleaning market many of you will get paid at time of service. This means you’ll leave an invoice when finished and the customer will pay you right then and there.

This type of arrangement is real nice as you won’t have any collection issues, other than the occasional time a customer forgets to leave you a check (which hopefully doesn’t happen all that often).

Over in the commercial market you generally don’t get paid at time of service. In this scenario you will perform the work and mail the customer an invoice that will be payable in a set time-frame. I’ll cover that in more detail in a moment. For now lets start building a cleaning invoice…

Cleaning Invoice Example

I’m going to start at the top of the invoice and work my way down to the bottom. I’ll explain each section in detail, then at the very end you will get to view it all as a finished invoice. I will also make a template available for you to download if you need one.

1 -  The upper section of the invoice will have your company name and slogan, address and other contact info. Look at the image below to get a feel for how it lays out…

Example of a invoice header

2 - Next up comes a few more bits of information. First, take notice of the “date”. This will be the date the invoice is printed. Then comes the “PO” (purchase order). Many times this will be left blank.

The purchase order is normally how large companies approve expenditures. For instance lets say you bid a big construction clean-up for an office building. If you were to get the job, they would give you a PO in many cases.

This PO number is usually some combination of numbers and even letters sometimes. This PO would need to be on the invoice in order for you to get paid. You generally won’t run into these when you first get started in the cleaning business.

Next up is the “terms”. This just spells out how soon the customer must make payment after the work is compete. The most common ranges are below…

  1. Due upon receipt - This means due immediately.
  2. Net 15 – This means they have 15 days to submit payment.
  3. Net 30 – They have 30 days to pay.

This section covers invoice number, purchase number, terms and date

 3 – The “Bill To” section is easy. This is the section that spells out who is paying for the work to be performed and their address. Take a look at the image below to get a feel for it.

This is where the billing info goes on the invoice

 4 - The description part of the invoice just boils down to creating a brief summery of what service you performed, then just add a price for that service. Do this as many times as needed to describe the work performed. See the example below…

This is where you describe your serve on the invoice.

5 - Now you need to total all this so that the customer (and you for that matter) know how much is owed. This really just involves adding everything up and calculating in the sales tax (if any) for your location.

This is where you total up the costs for the customer.

6 - The next area is for promoting a special offer of some kind for your business. This is not required by any means, just a suggestion. I have used this area for offering all types of specials every now and then.

At other times I just created a separate flyer and inserted it into the envelope. What you do is your call! This is how it would look if you added it to the invoice.

This is where you throw in a special offer if you like.

7 – The last section is used to THANK the customer for their business. This is highly recommended, as without them you would be out of luck. You could just say just about anything here to thank them for their business (the more personal the better).

This is where you say thanks to the customer on the invoice.

It’s not as big a deal as you thought huh? Like I said earlier, it’s nothing fancy! Anyway… let’s take a look at how this invoice appears in its entirety…

This is an example of a cleaning invoice you would use in your cleaning business.

What you just saw was a run of the mill invoice in the cleaning business. The ones I use in my company look very similar. If you wanted to spruce them up a little you could add your logo (either in color or black and white).

I am making this template available as a download below. As usual it will be in OpenOffice format (.odt). If you don’t have the free program you can find it at www.openoffice.org

This download will give you something to work with if you are just starting out. Keep in mind an accounting program such as Quickbooks will automatically create invoices for you once you set up the program.

Download Invoice


Download3787 downloads

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Francisco October 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Grate post Tom!

2 Tom Watson October 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Thanks Francisco!

3 Lidia October 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Hi Tomm,
Thank you very much for your Cleaning 4 profit. So helpfull! Very much appreciate it.
I have a question to you. I have a cleaning business for four years and I have some of my clients since the begining. I would like to raise the fee for the cleaning. How to do it, I mean how to explain them why I want to change the fees. What is the best way to do it: letter, talk personally. How offen to raise the fees. Thanks in advance.
Looking forward to hear frrom you.
Lidia

4 Tom Watson October 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Hi Lidia!

I LOVE hearing you are making use of the site! Now to your question…

I don’t know if there is a right or wrong way. Go with what you are comfortable with. If you are in regular contact and have a good rapport with the customer then maybe a personal conversation would work fine. Otherwise you only have the letter option.

As to “how”… Everything goes up over time. Customers know that, so don’t be too worried about explaining things. If you need reasons anyway… gas, supplies cost and employee wages.

As to how often, no more then yearly (provided the work load is the same). Just keep in mind raises will bring increased scrutiny of your invoice, so keep them fair (to both you and the customer). I have customers who get raised maybe every other year and those that are a little longer. I tend to bid higher than most, so I keep my raises to a minimum.

5 Cassy October 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

Do you know how to get it to automatically generate your invoice # and date each time? The current invoice we use changes the date each time for us, but I don’t have a clue how to get it to change the invoice #.

6 Tom Watson October 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

What program are you using?

7 Fania October 22, 2012 at 7:58 am

Good morning Tom,

I just started my cleaning business about 5 months ago, I finally got my first client and I’m extremely nervous because I want to do a great job. At this point it’s about building a foundation for my business. I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading books and blogs just to get different ideas. My biggest concern is how do I go about hiring people and how do I determine how much to pay employees as I get more accounts? Is it per jobs or hours? Please help and appreciate all of your advices. Have a lovely day.

8 Tom Watson October 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Hi Fania!

That’s good news.. Now you got someone to invoice! Plus I see you want to educate yourself as much as possible, that is great. As to your questions… they are BIG questions that can’t be summed in a paragraph or two. With that said, the “how much to pay” is determined by the going rate in your area. You need to pay enough to get good folks BUT not too much so that you are overpaying. As to pay scales (per hour vs by the job), that will be something you need to determine based upon how you structure things.

9 Lilly October 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hello,

Love this site!!! I just started my own commercial cleaning business. I am doing everything possible to market my company with Flyers, Business Cards, using websites.. Hopefully we will get our first customer soon! our biggest fear though is, once we have customers, how do we price the cleaining? is there a standard rate? is it per cleaning? per contract?

Anything on this will be appreciated!
Thanks!!!

10 Tom Watson October 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Hi Lilly!

It’s nice to have you!! Anyway, pricing (how much to invoice) is not something I can cover in a paragraph or two. I have a whole chapter dedicated to that in my courses (http://www.cleaning-4-profit.com/start-your-own-cleaning-business/). With that said, do your best to figure the going rate for your area (everyone is different, there is NO standard rate), then split the difference if need be to get a going rate. That is not the best way by any means, but it’s a start.

Generally with houses you invoice them each time you clean them (price it per cleaning). In commercial work it may be a one time invoice if the job was a single event type of cleaning (construction clean-up for example), but otherwise you invoice them monthly (generally).

11 Christy B October 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Hi Tom,
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, it’s like having a coach!
I started my cleaning business over a year ago. Domestic mostly, although I do have two apartment complexes that I have been cleaning for the last couple of months. They really love my work, they have another complex under construction and want me to do those as well. I would like to accommodate them but worry about staffing. I have one lady helping me that has been with me for a few months, but she takes off at least 2 time a week for her kids. I do understand about being a Mom, but worry when the work comes will she be dependable??
The economy is not to good in my area, so to get the work I cut as much as I can. Don’t know if I can afford another person to work for me?
Do you have any suggestions???
Confused :/
P.S. I have 10 Domestic clients a week + the apartments.

12 Tom Watson October 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Christy!

I can’t really give specific advice, because I don’t know enough about your situation. What I can say is that you need to bid ALL JOBS as if YOU AREN’T CLEANING THEM. This is HUGE. If you follow this, you will always be able to hire someone to do the job because YOU BID IT THAT WAY. When you go the other way and bid low, then you place yourself in a bad spot, because there isn’t enough money to go around. This advice will help you going forward I think.

13 Lindy November 2, 2012 at 6:58 am

Thankyou so much for this Tom! I downloaded and edited it yesterday for my first ‘real’ client, a local real estate in town. Made my invoicing a breeze… yay!! :-)

14 Tom Watson November 2, 2012 at 8:21 am

Wow… congratulations on that first paying customer!

15 Shanay November 4, 2012 at 8:42 am

Hi tom , I just started a cleaning company and I have to submit my invoice tomorrow, It’s due on the Fifth of every month , I started the job on the 25th of last month should the invoice be from the 25th of October up until the 25th of November , or should it be from November 5-December 5 with a partial amount for October? Also Can you explain Net 30 It’s still a Bit confusing . Thanks!!

16 Tom Watson November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

This is how I would invoice in your situation…

If you start a customer in the mid month like you did (and this customer is a regular account that you will invoice every month) then I would have just added that little amount of time to the NEXT month.

I ALWAYS invoice on the 1st, as this keeps all customers the same. So if you started the 25th of last month than I would have added the cost of last month to the NEXT months invoice.

For instance…you start Jan 25. I would added the cost of WHATEVER I did in January to February invoice. THEN I mail February invoice on Feb 1 due net 30 (net 30 means they have 30 days to pay from the date of the invoice). This keeps it simple and uniform for all accounts. Why invoice EVERY SINGLE account differently? When you have 20, 30, 40 or more accounts will be be driving yourself crazy!!

Any yes…if I start an account Feb 1… I send them the invoice Feb 1 (net 30). Why? Because once the month of cleaning is done, I get paid right away!! You are not risking too much! If you do the cleaning all month THEN SEND them a invoice net 30 you will technically wait 60 days to get paid for the work!!! That is no good!!

17 Ashton November 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Is it mandatory to charge taxes?

18 Tom Watson November 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm

It is in New Jersey. You’ll have to check with your state goverment (in the USA) to be sure.

19 Ashton December 3, 2012 at 10:17 am

Hi Tom I have a client who’s payment is due in two days, I have yet to hear from them . Is it rude to send a payment reminder? if not are there any good templates to use?

20 Tom Watson December 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hi Ashton!

If they are not late, then I wouldn’t send a reminder. Also… don’t get too worked up if they are late. The vast majority of people pay a few days early to a few days late. Once they get 7 – 10 behind, then send them a reminder.

I have no templates ready to go on that. With that said, just write a note reminding them their payment for ??? was due on ???. Then finish by thanking them for their help on the matter. That’s it!

21 Ashton December 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Thanks for your response Tom. The company who’s payment was due on the 5th finally contacted me and said they mailed the payment on the 4th and I should receive it on the 10th. I’m not happy about that because I’ve tried to contact this company on multiple occasion and their communication is horrible. They are now saying they separated the payment and the first check was cashed. Problem is I never received the check so i couldn’t have possibly cashed it . What should i do ? I have yet again tried to reach out to them and no one returns calls or emails

22 Tom Watson December 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Most companies are pretty easy to deal with. You send one invoice and they send one check, not so hard! With that said, some are a PAIN. Without knowing details, I can’t give advice. What I can say is get all your proof together, lay it out in front of you and craft a letter that summarizes it and send it off (or call).

23 veronica January 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi,
how do i charge taxes?

24 Tom Watson January 15, 2013 at 10:13 am

1 – Check with this list to see what the sales tax is in your area (http://www.salestaxinstitute.com/resources/rates)

2 – Multiply the rate against the charge to the customer. For instance NJ has a 7% rate. So if the invoice for the cleaning was $462.50, then you just multiply that number times 7% (which would come to $32.375 which you would ROUND UP TO $32.38). You then add the two numbers together to get the total with tax ($494.88).

25 Jenn March 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Hi Tom, great invoice!
Do I have to charge tax?

26 Tom Watson March 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Hi Jen! I’m only an expert for NJ, and here it’s required that I add 7% to a customers invoice. You will need to check online with your division of taxation for your location to see if you do have to add it and how much.

So for example in NJ… a one time job that I invoice $125.00 will have $8.75 added for a total of $133.75 ($125.00 X 7% = $8.75). The same is true on a monthly invoice… a $400.00 monthly charge adds $28.00 to the tab, bringing it to $428.00.

27 LAD May 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hi Tom, I am cleaning as a self- employed person. Do I need to charge taxes for the offices that I clean? I already pay self-employment taxes.
Thanks!

28 Tom Watson May 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

Hi! I would think so, but to be sure you need to contact your local division of revenue (at the state level). In NJ, I must add 7% to all invoices (then submit that to the state each month).

29 charity April 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hi Tom, I just finished reading your post and I love what you do to help cleaning companies. i have just started a cleaning company and I tried to download your invoice template without success. please what have I done wrong? I really need all the help I can get.
thanks for anticipated response.

30 Tom Watson April 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

Hi Charity! I just emailed you the file with some instructions.

31 Jo-Anne Sali August 10, 2014 at 10:16 am

I have submitted a bill for services and received payment. Do I need to submit a receipt?

32 Tom Watson August 10, 2014 at 11:50 am

Hi Jo-Anne! No… they will just mark the invoice you sent them as PAID.

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