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Creating and Sending Customer Invoices

For many businesses, such as contractors and medical offices, you have to ask to get paid. That is, instead of customers paying directly when they purchase something from your website, you send out invoices after the fact for products sold or services rendered.

PayPal facilitates sending out invoices via Online Invoicing. This is an option with all PayPal payment solutions, or a service that can be used separately. You pay nothing for the invoicing service, only the typical PayPal transaction fees when your customer pays.

Creating an Invoice

If you only do occasional invoicing, you can create and send single invoices with relative ease. Follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account and click the Request Money tab.
  2. Select the Create Invoice subtab.
  3. When the Create a New Invoice page appears, it uses the default template. To change this, use the pull down to select another template. (If you have not set up any templates yet, we'll get to that shortly.)
  4. Confirm your contact information, and enter your recipient's email address—which can be selected from your Address Book.
  5. Enter the overall attributes of the invoice (invoice number, date, and so forth as shown in Figure 4.16).
    Figure 4.16

    Figure 4.16 Enter overall invoice information.

  6. Further down on the same page (shown in Figure 4.17), select the appropriate currency and start entering items for your invoice. Enter the item ID, date, quantity, unit price, and optional description for each item billed. You should also select if this is a taxable item. Use the plus sign to add additional items as needed.
    Figure 4.17

    Figure 4.17 Adding line items and other details to the invoice.

  7. Enter any applicable discount, shipping, and tax information. Add your terms, and any desired notes to recipient. The memo field is available for your internal notes which will not be seen by the customer.
  8. At the bottom of Figure 4.17, you can see five options for next steps:
    • Send, to send the invoice to your customer
    • Preview, to see what the customer will be able to see
    • Save Invoice, to keep for sending later (perhaps after additional editing)
    • Save as Template, to conveniently send similar invoices later
    • Close, to exit from the screen without saving

The customer now receives your invoice via email. The invoice includes a PayPal payment button; to pay the invoice, the customer simply clicks this button and is taken to the PayPal site where payment can be made via credit card, bank account, or the customer's PayPal account.

Creating an Invoice Template

If you do a lot of online invoicing, it helps to create templates for your most common invoice types. This speeds up the invoice creation process over time.

As noted previously, you can create a template based on any invoice you send. You can also create templates from scratch. The process is similar to creating a new invoice. Follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account and click the Request Money tab.
  2. Select the Invoice Settings subtab.
  3. When the Invoice Templates page appears, click the Add button.
  4. When the Create Invoice Template page appears, select an existing template on which to base this new template, and then click the Continue button.
  5. When the next page appears, enter all necessary information about the invoice recipient and items to be billed, and then click the Continue button.
  6. When the Preview Invoice Template page appears, click the Save Template button.

This invoice template now appears in your list of saved templates.

Managing Your Invoices

You can track your invoice activity from the invoice History page. Access this page by going to the Request Money tab and then clicking the Manage Invoices subtab.

As you can see in Figure 4.18, the History page lists all recent invoices you've sent. Each listing includes the date sent, type of invoice, recipient's email address, payment status, and PayPal fees due on this transaction. You can filter the invoices by payments sent, payments received, and the like; just click the More Filters list and make a selection.

Figure 4.18

Figure 4.18 Managing invoice activity.

To perform an action on a given invoice, select an option in the Order Status/Actions column for that item. You can, for example, send a reminder notice or cancel a transaction. To view the complete invoice, click the Details link.

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