Don’t try to introduce new changes to your office practices all at once. Instead, incorporate a couple every quarter, starting with the most important fixes.
We’ve surfaced some problems (obvious and not-so-obvious) with respect to bad billing practices, and we’ve offered up some specific suggestions on how to improve your own practice. But there’s a lot of material to consider. “Where do I even start?” a lot of people think.
Here’s a possible way to narrow it down a bit:
When we say “get your bills out on-time,” that can be somewhat subjective. So, for purposes of coming up with a testable action plan, let’s deem “on-time” to mean “at the beginning of every month.”
Generally, bills for work you performed in January should be in your clients’ hands no later than February 10th. Bills for work you performed in February should be in your clients’ hands no later than March 10th, and so forth. I’m suggesting that time period because it generally corresponds with how many other vendors bill – and that’s a good thing, especially if you have business clients.
Of course, your particular practice may require a different tactic (e.g., bankruptcy lawyers might be subject to the Court’s rules), but if that’s the case, get as close as you can to monthly.
If you find the volume of suggestions overwhelming, just pick one or two and commit to implementing them over a 90-day period; that is, one quarter.
Your official implementation date will start on the first day of the month after the month during which you’re reading this. Whatever time there is left in the current month, use it to prepare. Use it to get whatever you need in place to move forward with your own “get my bills out on-time” initiative. For example, if you don’t already have one, get your practice management tool and take a little training. If you already have one, make sure you’re proficient with it – remember, the quality of your tools has a significant impact on your ability to succeed.
Try it out, and let us know what worked and what didn’t. We would genuinely love to hear your experiences. We are big believers in sharing information and experiences; it makes us all better and is super easy to do these days.
This post is an excerpt from the free e-book, Ridiculously Remarkable Legal Billing. Better billing practices improve your law firm and your life.
Legal Billing Rule #1: The Longer You Wait, The Less You’ll Get Paid
Legal Billing Rule #2: Clients Won’t Pay a Bill Unless They Receive One
Legal Billing Rule #3: Not Billing In A Timely Fashion Sends A Message
Legal Billing Rule #4: You’ll Poison Relationships And Scare Away Business
Legal Billing Rule #5: Don’t Cause Problems For Your Client & Screw Up Her Budget
Legal Billing Rule #6: Delaying Billing is Like Giving Away Free Money
Legal Billing Rule #7: Avoid Communication Breakdown
Legal Billing Rule #8: Predicting Your Future Income
Legal Billing Rule #9: Capture Time With Easy, Modern Tools
Legal Billing Rule #10: Beat The Procrastination Monster
Legal Billing Rule #11: Get a Bill Buddy
Legal Billing Rule #12: Standardise the Tools
Legal Billing Rule #13: Make Small Improvements Each Quarter
Legal Billing Rule #14: Rolling Out Changes and Letting Your Clients Know