How to Write an Invoice for Freelance Work
Learning how to set up your freelance business for success.
Freelancing is a liberating way to make a living. Although, getting paid for your work can sometimes be tricky to navigate. Having a professional, straightforward invoicing process in place is essential to create a thriving freelance business. That means understanding how much time the project you’re working on requires and what kind of tasks your clients need to be completed—and being able to communicate those details clearly in an invoice. In this article, we will explore how to write an invoice for freelance work.
State your payment terms
You should always include the payment terms in your invoice. For example, if you are an hourly freelancer and charge $100 per hour, then you would state something like “30 hours net.” If you require a down payment upfront before beginning work, then you can say so in the statement section of your invoice: “50% down payment required with order confirmation; total balance due upon completion.”
If you’re billing by the project rather than by time, be sure to specify how long it should take for a project to be completed. For example, if one of your projects takes two weeks but another takes six months because it’s more complex in nature (and therefore requires more hours), then make this clear on your invoice so that both parties know what’s expected from each other.
Include the right information on your invoice
The essential information is:
- Business name, address and contact information.
- Date and invoice number.
- Client name, address and contact information.
- Description of the work you’ve done for that client—this should include any relevant details about what exactly you did for them, if it’s not obvious from the description of your freelance service (e.g., “I wrote your blog post”) or from previous invoices if someone is already familiar with what your services entail.
- The amount owed by the client to date in this invoice cycle; payment terms (e.g., net 30 days/hours). Make sure that this amount is accurate! It’s a good idea to double-check with clients before sending out an invoice; in some cases, they may have forgotten something or need additional time to pay their bill because of extenuating circumstances beyond their control.
Review the math
After you’ve written your draft invoice, review the math. Calculate how much money is owed, who owes it and how much tax each party should be paying.
To calculate the total amount owed by the client:
- Add up all of your costs, including materials and equipment. Subtract any discounts or refunds you may have received from vendors or clients.
- Calculate 20% as a withholding tax to account for your income taxes (if applicable).
Protect yourself with a late payment fee
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of charging a late payment fee, that’s okay! You don’t have to do it when you are just starting out. However, if you do decide to take this approach, make sure that your fee is reasonable and well-communicated. You want your clients to feel satisfied when they’re paying their invoices so that they’ll send your invoice next time around without any hesitation.
Here are some general guidelines as a reference:
- Your late payment fee can be 5% of what is owed on the invoice. So, if your client owes $1,000 and does not pay on time, they will pay $50 in late payment fees.
- Make sure this policy is clearly communicated upfront in your contract or agreement with clients so there aren’t any surprises later on when it comes time for payment.
Send your invoice as soon as you’ve finished a project
It’s important to send the invoice as soon as you’ve finished a project so that you can get paid as soon as possible. The sooner you send the invoice, the more likely your client will be able to pay it without delay.
If you’re worried about sending an invoice without knowing whether they’ll pay on time, I recommend following up and asking them if they’ve received your documents.
Stick to one method of sending your invoice
You can send your invoice in a variety of ways, but the most important note to remember is that you should always stick to just one method. That way, your client will always know where to find the latest version of their invoice and what payment options are available.
How to write an invoice for freelance work largely depends on your preferences. You can choose to create an invoice using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, or you can use a third-party application.
Make sure you’re getting paid what you’re owed
The best way to ensure that you’re being paid what you’re owed for your freelancing work is to make sure all the details are clearly written in the contract. This is important for both you and your client.
The more details that are included in the contract, the less room there is for error.
Creating and sending invoices is an important part of being a freelancer, so be organized and confident about the process!
Creating an invoice is a necessary part of your freelancing business. You need to get paid for the work you do, and clients want to know they’re paying a fair amount for the services you provide. So, it’s a good idea to have a well-formatted invoice that includes all the information you need when sending it out. Not only will this help ensure that your client pays on time, but also that they pay what they should for services rendered.
It’s always easier said than done! But once you get into the habit of creating an invoice, it quickly becomes second nature and people will start expecting one from you on a routine basis.
So, there you have it! A quick guide on how to write an invoice for freelance work. We hope this has been helpful and that now when you’re ready to send off an invoice, you’ll know exactly what information needs to go where and how to do it professionally.
Before you go
This article was all about how to write an invoice for freelance work. If you found these tips helpful, be sure to check out How to make a Client want to work with you again as the following step in your freelancing career. Looking for more tips on what to include in a contract? Check out this recent article on What to Include in Your Contract as a Freelancer.
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer