As a freelancer, getting paid can be a hassle. In this guide, we will explain how you easily can create freelance invoices that get paid on time.
Regardless of what freelance work you do, it is essential to get paid. In most cases, this involves issuing an invoice.
In this guide, we will provide you with a brief introduction to what you should include in a freelance invoice 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:
- 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 invoices to your needs and have complete control over the design of the invoice. The main downside, however, is that it can be time 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 customised 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 and quotes 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 freelance invoice 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 person
- Phone number
2. Invoice number
All invoices should have a unique identifier used 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 itemised list of goods and services
Show what the customer is paying for in the form of a detailed list of the goods or services being purchased, 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. Do also remember to mention other payment terms such as late payment fees, and other expenses that might occur if one 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.
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.
With invoicing software, invoice emails and payment follow-ups are sent automatically. Alternatively, you can use the following email template when invoicing for freelance work:
Subject: Invoice for Services Rendered – [Invoice Date]
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 Company Name]
Useful tips when customers do not pay on time
As a freelancer, you must protect your financial stability while still maintaining good client relationships. When a customer fails to pay on time, that can be a daunting task.
However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of nonpayment and to handle the situation effectively when it happens.
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 does not pay on time, it’s important to follow up promptly via email or phone. If the customer still is 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 can be set up to automatically send payment reminders to customers who fall behind on their payments. Sign up for our free invoicing software.