While it’s something seasoned freelancers barely think about, creating an invoice always seems to be a daunting task for beginners. It’s understandable! Not only is it a document explicitly asking for money (which you’ll get used to), it’s also a formal way to present yourself as a business in a visibly professional way (which you may never get used to).
We’re here to help! Let’s break down what makes a great resume in 11 easy steps.
1. Your logo – This is the first place on the page (Western) readers’ eyes will naturally go, so it’s where you should put your logo. Not only does it immediately convey who this invoice is from, but it’s also your opportunity to put your personal brand in their mind. Keep it simple, keep it memorable. Don’t have a logo? Not to worry. You can just put your name there as well.
2. Your company information – A handy place to put all your contact information, and especially important if your clients are paying you by check. We’ve also seen this information in the footer of invoices, but this is the classic position and easy for your clients to see at a glance.
3. Invoice details – We can’t stress enough the importance of writing the word “INVOICE” in big, bold letters. This tells the client exactly what the document is, and why they’re looking at it. Don’t put any barriers to getting paid on time! Include the invoice number (001, 002, etc) and the date (month of, week of, specific time period) for your and their reference. This is an important detail so you can keep track of what’s incoming.
4. Client information – So you and your client can be sure you didn’t send the wrong invoice, write down at least the company name (address is optional). If you’re working for an individual, use his/her name. Also, make a mental note to check this region before you email it out. The last thing you want to do is send the wrong invoice to the wrong client.
5. Payment notice – “Payment Due Upon Receipt” lets the client know not to dilly-dally with your dough. If you want to get more descriptive, you can write “Payment Due within X Days Upon Receipt”. It’s where you can use natural language to describe your payment terms (as opposed to section 10 below) if you’d like.
6. Item descriptions – Spelling out what your projects were helps your client understand exactly what you’re invoicing for. Keep the item name itself short, maybe 2-3 words (eg. “Marketing Consulting” or “Video Editing”) and use the description line to expand on each item as necessary.
7. Numbers – Don’t give your client extra work to do. Itemize the cost of each job or your hourly rate under Unit Cost (eg. “$100/project” or “$30/hour”), and the quantity (number of projects, or hours), so you can do the math for yourself. Writing everything out ensures that there are no mistakes. Note: The sections under Subtotal (Tax and Discounts) are optional. If your rates are hourly and pretty basic, you can remove these sections from your invoice.
8. Remarks – Does anything need extra explanation? Was this a shortened time period? Is there a late fee incurred? Anything that is out of the ordinary with your invoice should go into this textbox. Bullet points are best for legibility and for brevity. Anything that needs more explaining than what fits in this small box is probably a conversation to have on the phone with your client.
9. Payment methods – While your accepted payment terms should have been previously set in either your conversations with your client before the project began, or via a freelancer’s agreement/contract, it never hurts to remind them here. After all, your client’s accounts receivable may not have been privy to what you discussed.
10. Terms & Conditions – The technical explanation of #5 above. Here you spell out when your money is due (eg. Net30, Net60, etc) and if there will be late fees incurred if their payment doesn’t arrive on time.
11. Footer – It never hurts to be polite!
There you go: a crash-course into what an invoice should look like and contain. Like this template? You’re in luck! We’ve saved it as an editable Google Doc for you to use, completely free. Click here to access the Invoice Template
For Billy users, you can do this too. Click here for instructions to make your Billy invoices look just like this.