Creating an invoice for freelance work: A complete guide (2024)

As a freelancer, getting paid can be a hassle. In this guide, we'll explain how you can easily create an invoice for freelance work to help you get paid on time.


As a freelancer, getting paid can be a hassle. In this guide, we’ll explain how you can easily create an invoice for freelance work to help you get paid on time.

Regardless of what freelance work you do, it’s essential to get paid for your work. In most cases, this involves sending your customers an invoice. 

In this guide, we’ll give you with a brief introduction to what you should include when creating an invoice for freelance work and how to create one, step-by-step.

How to create a freelance invoice

As a freelancer, you have a few different options for creating invoices, each with its own pros and cons. Here is a brief overview of the most popular alternatives when creating an invoice for freelance work:

  • Custom invoice template: Many freelancers create their own invoice template in Google Docs, Microsoft Excel or Word. When creating a template, you can tailor your invoice to your needs and you have complete control over the design of the invoice. The main downside, however, is that it can be very time-consuming.
  • Online invoice template: Some websites offer free invoice templates that you can use to create and send professional-looking invoices. These templates are available in a variety of formats and can be customized to your needs quickly and easily. There are, however, several limitations to using such templates. The main downside is that invoice numbers are not assigned automatically, which is illegal in some markets.
  • Invoicing software: With cloud-based invoicing software (such as our free invoicing software for freelancers), you can create, send and track invoices directly from your browser. In most cases, invoicing systems are easy to use, with smart features such as recurring billing and automatic payment reminders. Another benefit is that previous invoices are safely stored and available at all times. A limitation, however, is that they may charge a small monthly fee, and you may not have as much control over the design of your invoices.

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5 things you should include in a freelance invoice

To ensure prompt and accurate payment, your invoice for freelance work should include all relevant information. There are five key elements that should be included in the invoice:

1. Contact details

Ensure that the invoice clearly identifies both the sender and recipient by including the following information for both the seller and the customer:

  • Company name
  • Business address
  • Contact name
  • Phone number
  • Email

2. Invoice number

All invoices should have a unique identifier for accounting and tax purposes. In many countries, this is required by law.

This number can be produced for you automatically using invoicing software. As an alternative, you can start with a low five-digit number and add 1 to it to manually increase the number for each invoice and credit note you send.

3. An itemized list of goods and services

Clearly state what the customer is paying for in the form of a detailed list of the goods or services, along with the quantity and price of each item

4. Payment terms

Explain how you want the customer to make the payment and when the payment is due. Also remember to mention other payment terms, such as late payment fees that will be added if the customer does not pay on time.

5. Total amount due

It is important to include the total cost of the goods or services being sold along with any applicable taxes or fees.

An example of a freelance invoice generated in Conta’s free invoicing software.

What is the best way to send an invoice for freelance work?

The most popular and quick method of sending an invoice is by email. You can send it directly from Conta or download the invoice as a PDF-file and attach it in an email to your costumer or print and send via post.

With invoicing software, invoice emails and payment reminders are sent automatically. Alternatively, you can use the following email template when invoicing for freelance work:

Subject: Invoice for Services Rendered – [Invoice Date]


Dear [Customer],


Attached to this email, you will find the invoice for the services that were provided to you on [Date of Service].


The invoice includes a breakdown of the services rendered, the total hours worked, and the hourly rate. The total amount due is indicated at the bottom of the invoice.


In case you have any queries or issues, kindly study the invoice and contact us. We are happy to address any questions or offer further details if necessary.


Thank you for your business! We look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.



[Your Name]

[Your Company Name]

Useful tips when customers don’t pay on time

As a freelancer, you must ensure financial stability while still maintaining good client relationships. When a customer fails to pay on time, the balancing act can be daunting.

However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of customers not paying, and to handle the situation in a professional manner when it does happen.

One way to reduce the risk of nonpayment is to clearly communicate your payment terms and expectations before beginning work, in the form of a contract with the total cost of the work, payment schedule and consequences for late payments. 

If a customer doesn’t pay on time, it’s important to follow up promptly via email or phone. If the customer is still unable or unwilling to pay, you may need to consider offering a payment plan, hiring a collections agency to assist you or taking legal action.

Quick tip! Conta’s invoicing software gives you an overview of overdue invoices. It’s easy to keep track of your finances and follow up with your customers. Sign up for our free invoicing software.