RAL Startup Tips: Making Life Easy with Invoicing Software

It is incredible to know that most people are uncomfortable with requesting payment from another individual. The money is rightfully owed, sometimes deferred in its receipt, yet the legitimate debtor is bashful to ask.

This is also true with residential assisted living homeowners. The money can be owed, the expenses of caring for a resident spent, and yet so many businesses struggle to request payment for services rendered. Why?

It is the hope of all service personnel that those in receipt of their services relish and respect them for delivering said service. As such, service professionals, who tend to lead with their heart, hope their blessed recipients will simply pay them accordingly. Not so.

We will explore some of the most efficient ways and methods to request, collect and keep track of residential assisted living payments. Many who start out in residential assisted living need assistance in this area. It is vital not only to the operation of the business, but it also helps with record keeping for tax purposes.

BEST BILLING AND INVOICING SOFTWARE

Collecting payments from clients and customers can be challenging. Without an effective invoicing system. It can also create serious cash flow problems for your business. However, this is an unnecessary problem.

Mailing invoices through the US Postal Service is an antiquated method. It is also one that has proven to be unreliable, depending on the number of invoices mailed, it can become very costly.

For RAL owners, billing and invoicing software can simplify your payment collection process. How so? It is proven that electronic invoicing has a much higher reception and collection rate than the postal service. Payments are received quicker, and the software provides residents and their family a variety of ways to pay.

Some of the most beneficial software comes equipped with features such as:

  • Follow-up messaging
  • Expense management
  • Receipts generation
  • Tax management intelligence

These tools can simplify your accounting system and make it easier to track receivables without the discomfort of demanding payment for services rendered. Also, by using an online billing solution, it adds a level of professionalism to your business.

The families of residents respect your operation when they see the enhanced tools utilized to operate your RAL. Besides, it is simply an altogether better level of service for not only the resident but for those who may have control of the finances of your resident.

THE TOP 7 BEST BILLING AND INVOICING SOFTWARE

The selection of an appropriate billing software can be crucial to your future RAL business. The software chosen must resemble the quality of care rendered in your home. (The RAL Academy does not specifically endorse any of the companies mentioned, we have simply compiled a list of the most popular options out there to get you started.)

Below are 7 choices that are slightly different and share some similarities that may very well “make the cut” upon completing your research.

  • Fresh Books
  • Xero
  • Zoho Invoice
  • Wave
  • Square
  • Invoicely
  • Sunrise by Lendio
  1. FreshBooks: The most popular billing and invoicing software.
  • Starts at $15
  • Online payment capability
  • Automated billing tools
  • 50% off the first 3 months

FreshBooks is an all-in-one tool for invoicing and accounting software. It’s a top choice for small businesses, self-employed individuals, firms, agencies, and consultancies. The cloud-based software is trusted by more than 24 million people in different industries and pairs well with residential assisted living businesses.

It’s easy to create a professional invoice in just a few seconds. Just use the invoice generator to choose a template, add your logo, and personalize an email. One need not be a technologically advanced photoshop specialist.

FreshBooks has an integrated payment solution as well. All major credit cards are accepted and ACH payments are an option for quicker receipt of payment.

Another top feature from FreshBooks is the ability to collect deposits as a flat amount or percent of the total invoice. Sometimes, RAL bills can be a challenge for families, so deposits against an outstanding invoice are a nice feature.

Use FreshBooks to customize payment terms, add due dates, automatically calculate taxes, and so much more. As an all-in-one accounting solution, you’ll also have tools for time tracking, expenses, payments, projects, and reporting.

  1. Xero: Commonly referred to as the best invoicing software for small businesses.
  • Starts at $9
  • 800+ integrations
  • Automated recurring invoices
  • Send bulk invoices
  • Automatically set up repeat invoices
  • Send bulk invoices
  • Mobile invoicing
  • Instant payments with “Pay Now” button
  • On-charge billable expenses
  • Replicate previous invoices

Xero is another all-in-one accounting tool designed for small businesses. As cloud-based software, it’s easy to manage your invoices and financials from anywhere.

Creating professional and personalized invoices is simple. Choose a template, add your branding, upload your logo, and you’re ready to start sending professional invoices to clients.

  1. Zoho Invoice: Best known for their Automation Features.
  • Free for 5 customers
  • Starts at $9
  • Workflow automation
  • 30 day money back guarantee

Zoho Invoice is a cloud-based software that allows you to create professional invoices, send payment reminders, and get paid quickly online. Nothing new here.

However, unlike some of the other tools on our list, Zoho Invoice is not an all-in-one accounting solution. But Zoho has everything you need to automatically send and manage your invoices online.
Zoho Invoice has an extensive catalog of invoice templates for different categories, including retainers and estimates.

It’s easy to create detailed invoices with custom fields while staying organized and emulating professionalism. You’ll also be able to manage all of your company’s tax compliance with the appropriate tax charges on every invoice.

One of my favorite features of Zoho Invoice is the recurring billing profile. It’s easy to set up automated payments for repeat customers.

This is ideal for RAL owners. Zoho will even let you know when clients have viewed an invoice, so you won’t have to guess if it was received. This is nice. It’s amazing how many people “did not receive your invoice.” This alleviates the floating invoice problem.

In addition to basic billing features, you’ll also benefit from tools for managing payments, time tracking, and expenses. Simply integrate with your payment gateway to get paid online.

Depending on your experience in the industry and software utilized by your accountant, this could be ideal for your residential assisted living business.

  1. Wave: Best Free Billing and Invoicing Software
  • Free unlimited invoicing
  • Integrated payment processing
  • Recurring billing
  • Tax calculations
  • Invoice in any currency
  • Send estimates
  • Turn estimates into invoices once approved
  • Follow-up with overdue accounts
  • Automatic payment reminders
  • Recurring invoices
  • Drag-and-drop line items
  • Custom payment terms
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Track partial payments
  • See when invoices were viewed
  • Cash flow insights

Wave is a 100% free billing and invoicing solution. It’s a great option for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses that want to improve their billing procedures.

With Wave, you’ll be able to create and send an unlimited number of invoices to as many clients as you want—all for free. It’s easy to use, and the templates are fully customizable.

You can manage your invoices from anywhere with the Wave iOS and Android mobile apps.
Accounting tools and receipt scanning are both offered for free as well. Wait, all of this for free?

Can’t be? What’s the catch?

The only time you’ll pay is if you use Wave’s integrated payment solution, which is billed on a per-use basis. Alright, here it is. However, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

Credit card processing costs 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. American Express payments cost 3.4% + $0.30 per transaction. ACH payments are available as well for a 1% fee. If you are just starting and are operating a small home, this could still be an ideal option.

  1. Square: Best known for low-volume invoicing.
  • Unlimited free invoices
  • Integrated payment processing
  • No monthly fees
  • Card on file transactions

Square is best known for its POS software and payment processing solutions, but it’s also a viable option for billing and invoicing. With Square, it’s easy to send digital invoices to your clients from anywhere online.

More than 100 million invoices have been sent via Square. The platform has facilitated $20+ billion invoice transactions from 40+ million customers worldwide.

This shouldn’t be such a shock – square is everywhere.

Square lets you save customer cards on file for auto-billing and recurring invoices. They also have a wide range of invoice templates for industries like client services, retail, field service, and freelance.
The main advantage of Square is the built-in payment processing.

It’s easy for your clients to pay invoices from anywhere with just a few clicks. Not a bad option for a residential assisted living owner or operator.

Often, the family members tasked with managing the resident’s finances are busy. This flexibility could prove beneficial.

There’s no monthly fee, and you can send an unlimited number of invoices and estimates. You’ll only pay a processing rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per invoice paid online. That rate jumps to 3.5% + $0.15 for card on file transactions. Yikes! Convenience comes at a cost, here.

These rates are a bit high for payment processing, in general. But it’s fine if you’re not doing a high volume of monthly invoices.

Evaluate the volume of your RAL and see if this makes sense. Some RAL owners operate other businesses and integrating Square is easier for them.

  1. Invoicely: Advertised as the best simple billing and invoicing software.
  • Free for basic use
  • Starts at $7.99
  • Bill in any currency
  • Recurring statements

Invoicely is trusted by 100,000+ businesses. It’s a simple solution, which makes it a popular choice for small businesses.

Don’t let its simplicity fool you.

Invoicely is powerful and easy to use. You can create a professional invoice in less than 60 seconds. This is nice for the RAL owner who also doubles as CFO and/or Controller.

The software isn’t quite as feature-rich as some of the other solutions on our list. With that said, it has everything you need to manage basic invoicing. Sometimes simplicity is best, especially when starting your RAL business.

You’ll benefit from features like recurring statements, the ability to bill in any currency, send estimates, and accept payments online. Invoicely also has tools for tracking time, miles, and expenses for invoicing.

There’s a free plan for individual users, but it is free for a reason. The RAL owner will want to vere clear of it. It is not too professional. However, the other packages are good to go. The plans are largely based on the number of team members you have. Each one can accommodate up to 2, 10, and 25 users, respectively.

If you want an all-in-one accounting solution, Invoicely is not for you.

However, it is a viable option for simple online invoicing tools. Again, simplicity could be the best option for a new RAL owner.

Sometimes, it’s best to operate first and then see what would make the process easier. By doing this, if a change is needed, it will be a one-time occurrence not unwanted annual drama.

  1. Sunrise by Lendio: Often referred to as the best complete bookkeeping service.
  • Free unlimited invoicing
  • Dedicated bookkeepers
  • Financial reports
  • Expense tracking
  • Free unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited bank transactions
  • Cash flow reports
  • Expense tracking

Sunrise by Lendio is a bit unique compared to other solutions on our list. In addition to basic billing and invoicing, they provide complete bookkeeping services.

Getting started is easy. Just create an account, sync your bank account, and start sending invoices. This is nice.

The self-service plan is 100% free. Credit card processing costs 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, and ACH transfers are 1%.

But for those of you with advanced needs, Sunrise by Lendio has outsourced bookkeeping services as well. You’ll get a dedicated bookkeeper to record your transactions and close the books on a monthly basis. You can reach your bookkeeper by phone, text, or email.

This is ideal if you are just starting your RAL and may not have the time nor the wherewithal to balance all of the tasks on your plate.

The pricing for bookkeeping services is based on the number of transactions you have per month.
If you’re not interested in the bookkeeping services, you can still use Sunrise by Lendio for free unlimited invoicing.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST BILLING AND INVOICING SOFTWARE FOR YOU

While seven options are listed here, the number of invoicing software available in the market is immense. How does a new residential assisted living owner or operator find the right software?

First, be mindful that you needn’t be alone in this industry. Joining with the RAL Academy can make the biggest difference in your business. Why guess about what others have already figured out? While aligning with the Residential Assisted Living Academy, you may evaluate tools using some very basic information pertaining to your business.

Here are four criteria you will definitely want to consider:

  • Number of Clients
  • Automation
  • Payment Collection
  • Accounting Tools

RAL ACADEMY KNOWS WHAT YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS

Knowing what you need to run an efficient and effective RAL business does not have to be a mystery. Professional training and a cohort of supportive owners will land you in prosperity as a RAL owner.

What’s the best billing and invoicing software on the market today for a new RAL owner?

What software will support your RAL the best?

The answer to these questions is, whichever works best for you and your RAL.

Don’t favor what feels good – favor what does the most good. Knowing what invoicing software will best support your business may require help.

The professionals at the Residential Assisted Living Academy will be your best support in this decision and others. Some software is full of bells and whistles that do not make the music you need to operate your RAL business effectively.

For help with invoicing software and more, contact us today.