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How To Write An Invoice For Freelance Work

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 8 minute read

If you value independence and the opportunity to choose your own hours, freelancing might be a good fit for you. However, there is a learning curve associated with freelancing, just as there is with any other occupation.

Having in-depth knowledge in your field is no guarantee that you can handle the business end of freelancing successfully.

Invoices prepared by pros are a fantastic place to begin. If you know how to correctly charge your clients, you can ensure that you are paid promptly and in the way you desire. Documenting your earnings and maintaining tabs on payments from particular clients can help you stay on top of your freelancing finances.

What Should Your Freelance Invoices Contain?

While the specifics of an invoice may be unique for each professional freelancer, there are a few universal requirements that all bills must meet.

  1. Getting in Touch

You and your client’s contact details are required on every invoice. Don’t leave home without these necessities!

  • Your customer’s company’s name and physical location
  • Please include: firm name, address, phone number, and website

There are a few reasons why it’s important to include contact information on your invoices:

  • Maintaining data in a client-centric manner is facilitated.
  • It provides several channels via which the customer may reach out to you with comments or issues.
  • Knowing where your client is located might help you determine how much tax to charge them.
  1. Account Number

You need to use a different invoice number for each invoice you send out. Each and every invoice you send to a client, whether it’s the first time you’re billing them or whether you bill them on a monthly basis, should have a unique number. Among the many possible methods to arrange invoices are:

  • Simple, consecutive invoice digits, such as 001 for the first invoice, 002 for the second, and so on. Invoices that include a year or month in addition to the digits (2022-001 or 2022-01-001)
  • Using a combination of letters and numbers (such as GS-001 for Greg Smith’s first invoice) to identify a specific customer with an invoice number.

With the help of invoice numbers, you can easily keep tabs on which bills have been paid and which customers need a kind reminder.

Spend as little time as possible stressing over a system to number your invoices. Keep things plain and uncomplicated if you simply send out a handful of invoices each month. If you obtain a new customer or think of a better way to do things, you may always revise or upgrade your numbering system.

  1. Payment Specifics

Invoices are created to be paid, thus it only makes sense to contain payment details. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get paid on time and in the manner of your choice. Get sure to include the following details to be paid when and how you prefer:

  • Date of invoice submission
  • The Date of Invoice
  • Methods of payment available to the customer
  • What email address to use for electronic transfers, who checks should be made out to, etc.

Doing so need not be difficult. The message doesn’t even need to be long; just something like, “Please make payment via PayPal to [email protected] within 14 days.”

Invoices are far more likely to be paid if the client can easily see the date they were delivered and the terms under which they are due. Also, by specifying your preferred payment method and linked business account, you increase the likelihood of being paid in a timely manner and in the manner you desire.

If you don’t include a due date for payments, you won’t need to remember to change it every time you send an invoice.

  1. Cost and Service Description

In most bills, the section in which you outline the services performed and their related fees takes up the most space and contains the most information. How you break this down for your customers will be very situationally and service-specific. A typical column on an invoice might be:

  • A number, such as the number of articles or web pages you published; a brief explanation, such as the title of a blog post or a client phone conversation; and any relevant links to the content or web page in question;
  • Method(s) used in determining the final price, such as an hourly rate or a price per unit.
  • What each line item adds up to in price
  1. Additional Fees or Savings

Take into account all applicable fees, taxes, and reductions before arriving at the final payment amount for your customer.

  • Taxes
  • Client-agreed-upon deposits for subscriptions, goods, or supplies
  • Promotions
  • Payments that are still owing from prior invoices
  • The customer will cover your travel expenses.
  • Fees for independent contractor work you outsourced

Just like you would for your services, please detail these billable numbers and their associated costs. If you want your invoice to be easily understood, group all additional fees together.

  1. The total amount owed

The entire amount owed should be included after all line items. Your total includes all taxes, fees, and surcharges, as well as any extra charges or savings for which you qualify. Clients are obligated to pay the whole sum owed for the current billing period.

Invoice amounts should be specified in the appropriate currency, such as Canadian $2,000 or United States $4,000 if you have international clients. If a client pays you in a currency other than your own, be sure to record the equivalent amount in your own currency so that your books are always up to date.

  1. Payment Terms

Payment conditions, if applicable, will appear at the bottom of your invoice. These are the terms related to receiving money from the customer, and they are often mentioned in the initial contract that you have with the client, such as:

  • Paying interest or a late fee for a payment that was late is a late payment.
  • Credit cards, bank transfers, and checks are all acceptable methods of payment.
  • Scheduled payment dates for most invoices
  • If there are any incentives for paying early

This part of the bill shouldn’t be too lengthy. Without getting into specifics or legalese, it should only restate the payment conditions from your initial contract.

Each invoice should contain a quick reminder of your payment conditions so that your clients always know what is expected of them in terms of prompt payment and the repercussions of partial or late payments.

This data serves as a point of reference in case of any payment problems and serves as a gentle reminder to your customers to pay you on time and in full.

  1. Optional Invoice Enhancements

After putting together the aforementioned parts for an invoice, you can make a few tweaks to your invoice template to increase your professionalism and make the most of your invoicing system. To give only one example:

Make use of a logo and branded colors.

There is no better location to put your company logo than on your invoices as a freelancer. Just as it is important to utilize consistent brand colors throughout all of your business materials (including your website, contracts, and quotations), so too should you use those colors consistently across all of your marketing materials.

By distinguishing you from other freelancers who utilize stock, cookie-cutter templates, well organized records will demonstrate that you mean business.

Make and Send Electronic Copies

If you’re a freelancer, sending invoices online is a must. Invoices sent digitally have several advantages over paper versions, including reduced likelihood of loss and improved record-keeping simplicity.

You should always save a PDF copy of each invoice you make, both to deliver to customers and to keep on file locally or in the cloud. Keep a digital duplicate of your invoices even if your customer insists on paper copies. If you do this, you won’t have to worry about losing your lone copy and having to start from scratch if you misplace it.

Include a Thank-You Message

Add a human touch to your freelance business with a simple “thank you” message at the bottom of your invoice. Incorporating a heartfelt expression of gratitude into a payment request shows clients you value their business. In this context, for instance, you may say:

  • Thank you for your patronage!
  • Thank you for your help with freelancing!
  • Thank you for supporting small businesses in your community!

If you send bills in the mail, consider handwriting or signing them to provide a human touch.

Making a Freelance Invoice Template

You may create your own invoices in a number of ways. Invoicing can be done manually or with the use of software.

If you are currently using a platform to manage your finances or process payments, you should see if it also allows you to create invoices. The following resources provide free invoice templates that may be used with an invoice generator:

  • Bonsai
  • Wave
  • FreshBooks

You may also make your own by utilizing a blank freelancer invoice as a starting point.

  • Google Docs
  • Office 365 (Microsoft Word or Excel)

Save time no matter what approach you use by always using the same template for your invoices. Make sure that the right line items, total amount, and payment due date are included on each invoice for each billing cycle.

Why Should Freelancers Use Professional Invoices?

Using professional invoices is a great way to set yourself apart as a freelancer.

  1. They assist you in being paid on time.

Receiving pay is one of the most frustrating aspects of freelancing. Customer prompt and complete payment allows you to meet financial obligations and plan for the future. On the other hand, if they don’t, you may find yourself struggling to pay your bills.

There is less chance for misunderstanding if the total amount owed, the due date, and the acceptable payment options are all clearly stated and explained to the customer. If you own a small business, sending detailed and correct invoices is a great way to establish yourself as a reliable and trustworthy vendor.

  1. They make excellent accounting records.

Invoices serve as excellent records for a number of different bookkeeping functions. These items can be helpful in a variety of situations, including:

  • When it comes to tracking client payments or delinquent bills,
  • To determine your total income during tax season
  • If a conflict arises and legal action is required,
  • Knowing how much you may expect during a billing cycle is useful for budgeting.
  1. They Give You Payment Control

In the freelancing economy, certain forms of payment are more practical than others. Accepting payments in cash or by check, for instance, might be inconvenient since you either have to wait for the money to arrive in the mail or arrange to see the customer in person.

Setting and enforcing payment terms, such as the payment methods you accept and the date you require money by, may greatly improve your experience as a freelancer and save you time and stress. Having regular payment conditions mentioned in your invoices leaves less space for interpretation, however you may need to make exceptions for specific clients.

Bottom Line

As a freelancer, you can’t go wrong by utilizing invoices. Invoices provide a plethora of advantages, like improving your credibility and professionalism and raising the probability of prompt payment.

Make sure your freelancing invoices are clear, consistent, and tailored for each customer whether you use accounting software like FreshBooks or build your own templates.

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