Invoicing is a crucial part of the freelancing process. After all, you need to be paid for your hard work! And how do you get paid as a freelancer? By issuing your client an invoice. You may not have any previous experience with invoicing, especially if you’re new to freelancing. But it’s a relatively straightforward process and there are various free invoicing software programs available.
The 7 best free invoicing software for freelancers are:
- Google Docs
- Wave Accounting
Things to Bear in Mind With Free Invoicing Software
It’s worth noting that, when it comes to free invoicing software, you get what you (don’t) pay for. Free programs and online platforms like Google Docs are widely accessible. However, they do offer the most basic solution. It can initially take more time to generate invoices using these programs if you haven’t done so before, and they don’t offer any integrated features like invoice tracking.
But manually creating invoices can give you a better understanding of invoicing, particularly if it’s something you haven’t done before. You also have plenty of room for customisation, and can make some truly unique invoices this way.
Free invoicing software like PayPal or Crunch offer more intuitive invoice generators and extra features, but there are transaction fees to think about. So, it’s not always a case of just creating an invoice for free, as there are sometimes latent costs to consider.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best free invoicing software out there. If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, have minimal invoicing needs, and want to limit your outgoings, these options might be the best invoicing software for you. We’re going to discuss generating invoices via Word, Excel, PayPal, Google, Square, Crunch, and Wave. But first, let’s take a quick look at the main differences between these options.
A Note on Word and Excel
Bear in mind that while we refer to Word and Excel as free invoice generators, you do of course need to pay for the Office suite to access these programs. However, as freelancers may also have access to this program for their work, they already have access to an invoice generator.
We will therefore keep calling them free, as they don’t require any additional paid, dedicated invoice software to use. If you don’t use Microsoft Office, it’s a similar system to using the free Pages and Numbers apps on Mac, and there are of course free word processors out there too.
Free Invoicing Software for Freelancers – A Comparison
|Additional Charges||Where Can You Use It?||Additional Invoicing Features||Integrated Payment System|
|PayPal||Transaction fees, depending on location/currency||Anywhere||Invoice scheduling||PayPal|
|Square||1.9-2.9% transaction fees for online card payments||Anywhere||Digital estimates, recurring invoices, auto-reminders, and deposit requests. Online store and POS options also available.||Visa, V Pay, Mastercard, Maestro, and Amex|
|Crunch||No||UK||Invoice and expense tracking, recurring invoices, accounting software||You can link your existing business bank account|
|Wave||Transaction fees between 1-3.4%||USA & Canada||Recurring invoices, invoice and payment tracking, accounting software||Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, ACH transactions|
7 Best Free Invoicing Software for Freelancers
Crunch is a cloud-based invoicing software specifically designed with freelancers and small businesses in mind. Crunch’s basic software package is free and is a good option for freelancers who are starting out or have basic invoicing needs. Crunch’s basic package is comprehensive, including features like a free invoice generator, the ability to record and track expenses and payments, and auto-reminders. You can create unlimited invoices and save unlimited expenses on the basic plan.
Crunch’s point of differentiation is that it offers accounting and other business services in addition to its invoicing software. But this is only available to those based in the UK on the paid Pro and Premium plans (starting at around £70 per month).
Microsoft Word has a range of templates you can use to generate invoices for your business. Go to File > New from Template and search for invoices. Choose the template you want and fill in the relevant fields on the template. Once you do this, save the document as a PDF and it’s ready to email to your client!
If you already have access to Microsoft Word, there’s no cost to generate invoices this way. However, it does take a bit more time to create an invoice on Word, at least initially as you figure out the program and the best way to invoice for your business. There’s also no built-in function to keep track of your invoicing and payments, so you will need to do this separately.
If you use an Apple device, you can use their free Pages app in a similar way. There is only one built-in invoice template, but you can download lots of different ones online.
Like Word, there are several invoice templates available on Excel, or you can create one manually. The advantage of using Excel to generate your invoices is that you can use Excel’s functionality to build automatic calculations into your invoice. But, like Word, it is trickier than more comprehensive invoicing software and you will need to keep track of invoices and payments manually.
Once again, if you have an Apple device, Numbers is a free Excel alternative. There are lots of Numbers invoicing templates out there too.
4. Google Docs
If you’re a Google user, Google Sheets and Google Docs both have a range of easy-to-use invoice templates. Simply log in to your Google account, go to Sheets or Docs and search the template gallery. Google Sheets is a good choice because, like Excel, these templates have built-in functions to calculate your invoice figures.
Go to your Google Sheets > Template Gallery and find the invoice template you want. Fill in the information relevant to your business, save it as a PDF and send it to your client. You can also download invoice templates from other sources and use them within Google Sheets.
PayPal offers an invoice generator which is handy for freelancers with a PayPal account. You can also use this feature without an account. We’ve taken a detailed look at how to create an invoice on PayPal here. If your clients pay via PayPal, PayPal invoicing will keep track of your invoices as you issue them and payments as you receive them. You will need to manually enter any payments not received via PayPal.
While it’s free to use PayPal’s invoicing feature, transaction fees apply depending on the location/currency of the person making the payment and the person receiving the payment. PayPal’s fee structure is quite complex and so the fees can add up. Depending on the circumstances, the transaction fee can be up to 5%.
Square is another invoicing software option that offers a lot of additional features depending on the needs of your freelance business. In addition to its free invoice generator, you can also use Square to send digital estimates, recurring invoices, auto-reminders, and deposit requests.
While there are no monthly charges to use Square’s invoicing services, like PayPal, there are processing fees when accepting card payments. The current online payment transaction fees are 1.9% (for European cards) and 2.9% (for non-European cards).
Square has an integrated payment system with Visa, V Pay, Mastercard, Maestro, and Amex. It also has an e-commerce platform where you can set up and run an online store. It even provides Point of Sale equipment if you need it, although there are fees for this feature.
7. Wave Accounting
Wave is a cloud-based invoicing software that’s ideal for freelancers based in the US and Canada. The main benefit of Wave is that it offers a comprehensive suite of invoicing and accounting tools. These include a free invoice generator, invoice scheduling, and payment and expense tracking. Wave offers all these services for free, although there are transactions fees on any direct payments made by clients, ranging between 2.9-3.4%.
Wave is specifically designed for small businesses and is easy to use. When it comes to preparing invoices, it offers various templates you can customise. Unfortunately, it’s currently not available outside of the US or Canada. It was previously more widely available, so keep an eye on any changes to this in the future.
Which Is the Best Free Invoicing Software for Your Business?
Hopefully this article is a helpful starting point to the world of free invoicing software for freelancers. As you can see, there are plenty of options available, including several that offer additional invoicing-related features. It’s worth thinking about your business’ specific invoicing requirements to figure out the best option for you.