As an artist, do you send invoices to your collectors?
Well, here’s why you should:
First, creating invoices is a surefire way for creatives running small businesses to get paid, both quickly and on time.
Second, invoices help keep your finances in order so you can run your art business (and handle tax season) more smoothly.
Finally, not only will you look more professional to your art buyers, but you’ll be able to provide them with a better customer experience. Much like a Certificate of Authenticity, invoices foster trust by providing collectors with exact details and documentation of what they are paying for. And, collectors like coming back to artists they can trust to deliver good work, from start to finish.
That being said, creating your own invoice can be daunting, to say the least.
How does anyone who didn’t go to business school know what they are doing? From the description of the total costs to the right contact information, there are so many important details you need to include. A small misstep and your payment could be delayed or *gasp* too little.
Yes, an invoice template can make things easier. But the ease of using Artwork Archive to create your invoice is like night and day! It pulls from the information you’ve already recorded for your art business and links directly to your PayPal, so with the click of a few buttons, your invoice is created and on its way to being paid fast.
Use Artwork Archive to create your invoice, send it straight to clients, accept payments online, and record this income instantly in your art biz hub, so you can stay organized and get paid. Ready to get started?
How to create an invoice:
Step 1: Hook up your PayPal account
Getting paid online is super easy for small business owners these days, especially with a PayPal account. It’s free and easy to make, and when you link your PayPal account to your Artwork Archive, you can accept online payments for your artwork!
All you have to do is click “Setup Paypal Integration” at the top of the Invoices tab, then enter the email address you use for your PayPal account. Easy peasy! This will allow us to process payments for your Invoices. The payments will go directly to your PayPal account and will be recorded as payments on your invoices on Artwork Archive.
That means Artwork Archive takes no fees from the payments! But just a note, standard PayPal fees do apply and will depend on your currency and location.
Step 2: Select your client
Tired of wasting time digging through paper piles to find that one business card? Or scouring email chains to see exactly what that collector wanted to buy?
Logging Contacts and Sales in Artwork Archive is something you need to do anyway to stay organized and on top of your business, but it will also make sending invoices a breeze and help you get paid faster. Here’s how it works…
After clicking “New Invoice” from the top menu, select the Contact to whom you’ll be sending the invoice. From the drop-down menu, you’ll see all of your Contacts saved in Artwork Archive (along with their contact information stored without a second thought).
You can always add a new collector by going to Contacts in the left-side menu, and then you’re ready to create your invoice.
Step 3: Pick your payment schedule
Now we are getting down to the good stuff! In other words, when do you want to get paid?
Typically, it’s best practice to send an invoice before you start any commissioned project or your client receives any artwork—as an assurance that you will get paid for your hard work, and that the client will pay you faster in order to get your artwork in their hands faster!
But it depends on the sale, of course. For instance, when purchasing artwork from your website, you can bill the clients in full and ask for payment immediately, so you can send the artwork to eager buyers ASAP.
On the other hand, it’s customary to ask for an initial deposit upfront for projects like commissions, so clients don’t suddenly back out and you're left without compensation for the hard work and time you’ve already put in. Then, you can develop a schedule for future payments based on how much of the project you’ve completed, time intervals based on the expected completion date, twice a month if you’re charging by the hour, etc.
Again, every sale’s payment schedule might be different. It’s a lot to keep track of mentally and physically (and oftentimes why it takes so long for artists to get paid), but with Artwork Archive’s invoicing feature, you no longer have to worry! Just enter these key dates and our system will keep track of everything for you.
For the Invoice Date, simply select the date you plan to send the invoice. This should always be the date you send the invoice, not the date it’s created.
For the Due Date, use the drop-down calendar to pick which day you want to get paid by. Fun fact: even if it doesn’t really matter to you, giving clients a firm deadline will call them to action more quickly than if there is no deadline. Art buyers won’t mind, but your bank account will love it!
Are you allowing partial payments on the total amount due? Just check the box at the bottom yes.
Step 4: Choose the right sale
Are you ready for more of the magic that comes with an all-inclusive inventory site like Artwork Archive? Now all you have to do is select the Sold Piece or Pieces from the drop-down menu that you want to bill for. You’ll see the Original Price, Discount (if any), Sale Price, and Tax information pop up that you’ve already recorded in Sales, and in seconds you’re ready to go!
No more typing these numbers for the hundredth time and risk getting them wrong in your invoice. Instead, you’ll save valuable time that could be better spent in the studio.
And, you can always edit this sale info if anything has changed, or easily add a new Sale for this collector. Artists need to log their sales for things like taxes, sales insights, and art marketing efforts anyway, so now with this easy invoicing feature, it’s like killing two, three, maybe even four birds with one stone!
Step 5: Fill in the last remaining details
All that’s left for you to input in the invoice template are shipping costs you want to charge for based on the size and weight of the work (this expense typically falls on the buyer) and any notes you may have for the buyer (instructions for your payment schedule, types of payment you accept, etc.).
Everything else pulls from what you’ve already recorded! The invoice number updates automatically for clients with each invoice. You’ll see the payment totals spelled out so both you and your client know exactly what is being paid for. The payment status is set to pending and can be updated as necessary.
Step 6: Accept online payments
The true secret to getting paid faster? Make it as easy as possible for your collector to pay you!
With Artwork Archive, your buyer can pay you directly from the invoice, all you have to do is check the bottom box YES to “Include Payment Buttons.”
When they receive the web invoice, they’ll be able to review all of the invoice details and pay with the click of a button using either a credit/debit card or a PayPal account. Since your own PayPal account is linked and ready to go, the money will go straight to you and your artwork can go straight to a happy buyer.
It’s not only the fastest way to get paid these days, but it’s also secure and provides an easier buying experience for the customer, which doesn’t hurt if they ever want to do business with you again!
Step 7: Send using Artwork Archive
One of the last steps, but also one of the most important! And it can take up quite some time if you’re not using Artwork Archive.
Once your invoice has been created, you can edit any details, preview what the client will see, and send it onwards to your client. Again, the beauty of sending a web invoice is that you can get paid online right away with a debit/credit card or PayPal!
Here are your options:
1. Send it directly through Artwork Archive - Using Artwork Archive to send your invoice is just like regular email, but skips the middle man! You’ll have a chance to choose a Contact stored in Artwork Archive, enter new email addresses, and include a message to your clients.
2. Copy the URL of the web invoice - If you’d need to, paste the online invoice link into your own email and send it yourself.
3. Generate a PDF of the invoice - With this option, you can then view the PDF of the invoice, download it to your device, copy and paste its URL, or share the PDF through Artwork Archive like in option one. (Just note that you won’t be able to accept online payments in this form, so keep in mind that you may not get paid as quickly as the online options.)
Step 8: Track your invoice’s payment status
Say goodbye to the days of forgetting which invoices have been paid and which buyers you need to track down! On the Invoice page, Payment Status shows on each invoice and will update automatically when the invoice is paid online.
Invoice payments processed through PayPal will be organized neatly for your viewing pleasure in the Processed Payments section, as well as appear in your Revenue and Expenses section for you to have a complete picture of your income as an artist.
Another cool feature?
You can see any requests to buy your artwork from Artwork Archive in the Purchase Requests tab. Because there are a LOT of ways for collectors to get in contact – your Public Profile on Discovery, embedding this profile on your own artist website, Private Rooms—this way you can make sure you never miss a request.
See which piece they are curious about, and you’ll be able to easily create a reply message and send an invoice when the deal is finalized.
In the end…
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get paid for your creative talents, time, and hard work. But for many reasons, artrepreneurs often feel uncomfortable asking for the money they deserve for their passions. But making a living doing what you love requires you to do exactly that, and the right buyers will understand and value this creative gift. As a small business owner, you just have to make it as easy as possible for yourself to get paid.