If you’re a passionate freelancer, it’s likely you want to focus on what you do best to earn some money. But if you’re going to become a truly successful freelancer – and set yourself up with financial stability in the gig economy – creating and sending invoices promptly when you’ve completed a job is an essential skill to develop and perfect.
Accurate, professional invoices will help you get paid on time, monitor your accounts and client behaviour, and can enhance your reputation with your clients. This list gives you the lay of the land for all of your essential inclusions, but always check if there are any additional things that your local jurisdiction requires to keep everything in order.
Include all of the right details
Creating your first invoice can be intimidating, and the invoices most freelancers require are often unique to your niche. Here are some of the essential details to ensure are present on your invoices.
A company header
This could include a logo or other branding information. It adds a sense of professionalism.
Your professional contact information
This should be as complete as possible and include all your professional details.
Your customer’s contact information
Again, this should be accurate, typo-free and as complete as possible.
For example ‘Invoice #0035’. Make sure each invoice has a unique number for easy sorting and accounting purposes, and ask your client to use this as the reference number when they pay you.
Date (prepared date and due date) as well as payment terms
Make sure your preparation date is accurate. Be sure to include payment terms so your client knows how long they legally have to pay – depending on your industry, this may be anywhere from 14 to 90 days.
It should go without saying, but tell your client how they can pay you – is bank transfer the only option (don’t forget to include your bank details!) or do you accept credit card payments?
An itemized list of products or services
If you have more than one delivery date per invoice (on monthly invoices), you’ll want to pair those itemized deliverables with due dates for extra clarity.
The final, total (and clearly shown) amount
The amount should be clear and double-checked to avoid any confusion and ensure you are paid in full, and on time.
A personal note
It’s always a nice idea to add a personal note on the bottom of the invoice. Sometime like “Thanks for your business!”, or “Let me know if you have any questions or concerns”. Just something to show that you are a human and not a robot!
Pro tip: Build a template
If you want to create a freelance invoice but you don’t want to do all of that work every single time – we don’t blame you – consider putting together a freelance invoice template. This is a pre-formatted template that you will use to create each invoice from. Your professional details, the dates, the methods of payment and the note could be used over and over again. You’d just need to add in the customer’s information as well as the itemized list and amounts. It saves a lot of stress and time and it ensures you don’t miss something if you’re in a rush.
Getting familiar with how to invoice a client for freelance work doesn’t need to be a daily battle. It can be something that you do once, properly, and then rely on that work to save you time from then on.