The Value of the Zero invoice

Updated: Jan 26



One of the challenges we all face in business is the request for the little extras. It is particularly difficult when you have just completed a large project and the request is for something with a perceived small value but is costing you time or money or both. This issue now escalates when there is a second, third or even fourth request and the expectation by the client that you will throw these in for free because of the nice project that was given to you.

We are now dealing with perceptions which must be managed. In relation to the client the perception that their request is small, costs little and it would be petty of you to charge them for it. Your own perception that if you charge you may jeopardise future work and the relationship you have with this particular individual. This is where the Zero invoice comes in to play.


My solution is to send an invoice showing the cost of what has been requested and then put in 'Less sone off discount' for the full amount leaving the total at zero. The purpose of this is to show the client/customer the real value of what they are getting free and to remind them that there is a cost associated with these additional requests.


The benefit of this course of action is threefold.

1. The client/customer is made aware of the real cost involved and stops asking for freebies, knowing that one day the discount may not apply.

2. You have a bargaining tool when negotiating future work. The client may ask for a discount or a reduced price and you can produce these invoices showing how much they got for free in the past.

3. It makes you appear professional rather than petty.


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