How to bill your international clients

Want to learn how to bill international clients when you’re based in the Philippines? In this article we spoke to three leading business owners who shared their tips to working successful international work. Learn how they collect payments and more below.

how to bill your international clients

Billing best practices with three of the Philippines’ leading business owners.

Introduction

Knowing how to bill your international clients is one of the pillars for running a successful business. As well as sending clear invoices, you need a good payment system. When you can offer your clients a secure, simple, and cost-effective way to send payment, you’re more likely to get paid on time. It also makes you a more attractive prospect to new clients.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down and talk with three of the Philippines’ leading business owners. We asked about their approach to billing clients and what they do to help payments come in on time. Join us to learn from their experience.

Note: The following interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Daryl Becera

Daryl is a passionate advocate of job development in the countryside, through meaningful employment that uses the internet and technology.

In 2016, Daryl founded Orangehub.ph, an outsourcing social enterprise that aims to provide sustainable work from home for countryside-based freelancers. Daryl works together with hundreds of international clients in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia Pacific. His latest initiative is Project Bahagian, which offers one year of financial assistance to underprivileged junior and senior high school students in remote areas of the country. Recipients also get a year of leadership and entrepreneurial training from skilled Orangehub freelancers.
Daryl bills all Orangehub international clients directly through Payoneer. He uses a free, online invoice generator to convert a webform invoice into a PDF, and then attaches that to the Payoneer payment request. He sends payment requests very frequently – weekly or bi-monthly – because his remote workers are paid weekly.

  • What are your payment terms?
    “Orangehub’s payment terms are flexible, to make things as easy as possible for the client. We collect a security deposit from every new client, which we hold until the last project is completed. We use it as a final payment at the end of the contract or project.”
  • Have you ever had trouble collecting payment from a client?
    “Once, we had a client who only paid through Western Union. It was quite inconvenient for me because it only gave me a limited amount of time to get to the right store and claim the remittance. One day, I introduced this client to Payoneer. He was very happy to switch because Payoneer’s fees are lower than those of Western Union. It’s better for me too, because it has a higher conversion rate, which means more money for our business.”
  • Are your rates in line with those charged by the rest of your industry?
    “Yes, absolutely. We take care to stay competitive against other global service providers. Our services are classified as virtual assistance. We charge between $5 and $8 per hour.”
  • Who pays for the payment processing fees?
    “Our clients cover payment processing fees. We write that into our contracts.”
  • What is your collection process? What challenges do you face? And how do you solve them?
    “We bill all our clients on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. It’s part of our contract that all invoices need to be paid within 1-2 business days from the date the invoice was sent. Once, a client complained about having to manually re-enter his credit card details to the Payoneer platform every time he made a payment. Thankfully, the Payoneer team responded to him and explained how to store his payment information securely in the site so he wouldn’t have to reenter his details for every payment.”
  • How did you decide which payment partner to use?
    “Convenience and good value. Payoneer has a very user-friendly portal that makes it easy for me to send an invoice link to the client. Payoneer’s higher currency rates also give better value than other payment solutions, so I get more pesos for my USD. My clients like Payoneer because it has lower fees, so they can spend their extra dollars on more billable work hours.”

Marge Aviso

Marge (Marjorie) Aviso is the CEO and founder of Telework PH. She began Telework PH in 2014, with the goal of revolutionizing the way that business processes are outsourced to the Philippines.

Marge is also a resource trainer for DICT’s RISTT program, which is an initiative that aims to create jobs in the Philippines’ countryside. In her spare time, Marge is into music and cats.

Marge uses FreshBooks to create invoices for her clients.

  • What are your payment terms?
    “For project-based contracts, we require a 50% deposit upfront and the remaining 50% upon completion. For hourly contracts, we allow Net 15 to Net 30, depending on the client. We are very strict about clients meeting our payment terms.”
  • Have you ever had trouble collecting payment from a client?
    “Sometimes. We bill most of our clients after we have delivered the services. But when we have a client with a history of late payments or billing issues, we ask for a security deposit, use an escrow service, or bill them in advance.”
  • Are your rates in line with those charged by the rest of your industry?
    “We’ve done some research into our competitors’ rates, and we’re more or less in line with the industry standard. But our pricing is fluid because we always strive to deliver more value to the client. We believe that each customer has different needs. We try to make our budgets work for the client, especially when we find a client who is a good match.”
  • Who pays for the payment processing fees?
    “We always include processing fees in our pricing. We’re transparent about this in our contract.”
  • What is your collection process? What challenges do you face? And how do you solve them?
    “We are slowly switching over to automated payment collection, offering our clients the option of paying by debit or credit card as well as by ACH or wire transfer. We use the FreshBooks reminder feature for clients who are late with their payments. We’re also working on a subscription model which automates payments – it’s easier for us and for our clients.”
  • How did you decide which payment partner to use?
    “We were looking for several criteria. We needed a payment partner with reasonable payment processing fees, that is globally accepted, and is reliable and convenient. Payoneer met all these requirements. We’re very happy with Payoneer and expect to keep using it for the long term.”

Raymond Jamin

Raymond Jamin is the president and co-founder of KDCI, specializing in providing creative, web, digital marketing, backoffice, and other outsourcing solutions for clients in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
Raymond has over 15 years of experience in research and technology consulting, web development, project management, marketing, and business development. Before he founded KDCI, Raymond held senior management positions for technology outsourcing companies. He worked on numerous projects, including many for the United Nations. He was also a contributing writer for a consumer tech publication, and taught IT courses at the country’s premier university, the University of the Philippines.
Like Daryl, Raymond bills his clients directly, using templates to create PDF invoices. He sends them to his clients each month through email, together with his Payoneer payment request.

  • What are your payment terms?
    “We usually require clients to pay within 30 days.”
  • Have you ever had trouble collecting payment from a client?
    “We’ve been fortunate that most of our clients pay in a timely manner.”
  • Are your rates in line with those charged by the rest of your industry?
    “Our industry is quite diverse, with many types of services and ways to engage. We believe that our rates are competitive, and clients see us as a very cost-effective partner.”
  • Who pays for the payment processing fees?
    “We absorb payment processing fees. We consider them as part of our final invoice amount. We find that this is simpler and that it gives our clients fewer surprises.”
  • What is your collection process? What challenges do you face? And how do you solve them?
    “We have firm schedules for sending out invoices and for reminders that the payment due date is coming up. We have set protocols for following up in case payments become overdue. Communication and being organized has often been the key to ensuring we overcome any challenges such as late payments.”
  • How did you decide which payment partner to use?
    “We looked for reliability, simplicity, and ease of setting up.”

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