Invoicing is an essential part of freelancing, regardless of what industry you’re in. After all, your clients need to pay you correctly and on time for all your hard work! But how do you make an invoice as a freelancer?
To make an invoice as a freelancer, you need to include:
- Your name and information
- Client’s name and information
- Invoice date
- Invoice number
- List of services provided
- Total amount due
- Payment details
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what you need to include on an invoice, along with the best free and paid invoicing tools. Then, we’ll give you a few invoicing tips and tricks to make your invoices stand out. But first, let’s look at the invoicing process in more detail.
What Is an Invoice?
An invoice is a detailed list of the products or services you have provided to a client that notes the costs and details for payment. Depending on your preferences, tax status, and location, an invoice may also include taxes, dates, your business address, and tax identification numbers.
A professional invoicing system helps you (and your clients) keep track of your payments and finances. So, let’s take a closer look at how to make an invoice as a freelancer.
How to Make an Invoice as a Freelancer
Every invoice should have a title to notify the client what the document is. It can be as simple as using the word “Invoice”.
2. Your Name and Information
Your name should be at the top of the invoice so that the client can quickly identify who sent it. If you have a freelancing business, then you should use the name of your business and its logo.
Also include your contact details including a phone number, address, and email. This allows the client to easily contact you if they have any questions or discrepancies.
3. Client’s Name and Information
Also list the client’s name, address, and contact information.
4. Invoice Date
You should include the date you sent the invoice. This is especially important for freelancers who have contracts requiring payment within a certain number of days after sending the invoice. More generally, it helps you keep track of payments and follow up on any outstanding amounts.
5. Invoice Number
A unique invoice number is a tax requirement in some countries. It’s also just a useful way to manage your invoices. A simple way to create an invoice number is to combine the date when it’s created with the client’s initials. For example, if you’re sending an invoice on 11th October 2021 to John Smith, the invoice number could be #101121JS. Or, you could number the invoices in order, with the first one for that client being JS001 and so on.
6. List of Services Provided
Your invoice should include an itemised list of the products/services you provided to the client and the cost of each of them. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, you would list the title of the piece you wrote, the word count, your rate per word, and the total cost of the article. This way a client knows exactly what they’re paying for.
7. Total Amount Due
In this line, you should add up all the individual charges and let the client know how much they need to pay you in total. You should also add any additional charges such as taxes or apply any discounts you might be offering.
8. Payment Details
Let the client know how you accept payment. Include any bank account details or PayPal information, depending on your and the client’s preferred payment method.
To make the invoice official, you should have a designated area at the bottom for your signature and your company seal, if you have one. You may also wish to include a short thank you note.
When Should You Send an Invoice?
You can decide when to send your invoices. For short-term or one-off freelance projects, invoice the client as soon as you’ve completed the work. This way you’ll be fresh in your client’s mind, and they’ll be more likely to pay the invoice promptly.
For long-term projects, you might set a regular invoice schedule. You can send weekly, monthly, or quarterly invoices.
Invoicing for Larger Projects
For large or expensive projects, freelancers often require a partial payment before work commences. For example, you might issue an invoice to a client for 40% of the total project fee to start working. Once you deliver the project, you then issue an invoice for the remaining 60%.
Ultimately, you decide how and when you issue your invoices (taking into account any regulatory requirements). Just make sure your invoicing process is transparent and clear from the start of the client relationship to avoid any issues. The good news is you don’t need to start from scratch! There are plenty of online tools available to help you create invoices.
Invoicing Tools for Freelancers
There are many ways freelancers can create and personalise their invoices. Here are a few online invoicing tools:
- Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and Excel are all free (if you already use the Office suite of tools) and straightforward to use
- You can download customisable invoice templates online
- PayPal’s invoice feature allows you to quickly create and directly send an invoice to a client
- Invoicing and accounting software like Freshbooks and Square simplify the creation and management of invoices
Best Free vs Paid Invoicing Tools
There are many free invoicing tools at your disposal. But while they may be accessible choices, as your business grows you might find they’re not enough to manage your invoicing. Some free tools also charge transaction fees, so keep that in mind when looking for the system that works best for you.
Note that the links below are not affiliate links. These are just some of the top companies we think are worth checking out.
Square is an online invoicing software that allows you to create invoices for free. It also offers features like digital estimates, recurring invoices, and auto-reminders. It supports PayPal, Visa, V Pay, Mastercard, Maestro, and Amex. There are no monthly charges when using Square’s invoicing services, but there are processing fees for card payments.
If you own a bigger business and need to generate a large volume of invoices, the extra features offered by paid invoicing software may be necessary. Freshbooks is a very popular invoicing tool. Depending on the size of your business, you can sign up for different packages ranging from $7.50 (£5.50) to $25 (£18.35) per month.
It has a scalable model that can suit your business as it grows. It also offers unlimited invoices, estimates, expenses tracking, automated invoice features, and allows clients to pay with a credit card or via bank transfer.
Check out our guide if you’re interested in learning more about the best invoicing systems for freelancers. Now that you know more about the tools you can use to create an invoice, here are some final tips to help you appear even more professional when it comes to invoicing.
How to Make an Invoice as a Freelancer – Final Tips
Clear and Detailed
It’s important that your invoices are clear and detailed. Clients need to know exactly what they’re paying for. Be sure to include the necessary details in your invoice, but keep it simple.
Organisation Is Key
Organise your invoices clearly so they’re easy to read. This way, at a quick glance, the client knows whose invoice it is and what work it’s for. Paying bills is bad enough – the last thing you want is a client feeling overwhelmed when looking at your invoice!
Finally, thank your client for choosing your services and trusting you and your work. You want to give them all the reasons to come back in the future or perhaps refer you to other potential clients.
Invoicing as a Freelancer Is Simple!
As a freelancer, invoicing is an important part of your business. It allows you to keep track of your income, but it also plays a role in your relationships with your clients.
There are lots of tools out there to help you create your invoices. Make sure you check what details you need to include in them. Keep the layout of your invoices clear and simple. By making it as easy as possible for your clients to pay you, they’re more likely to pay you correctly – and on time!