You’ve just completed your first client project.
And the client has asked you to send an invoice.
Now you’re probably wondering what’s an invoice? Are you supposed to get one from a bookshop? Or how do you create an invoice that looks professional?
Well, if you’re asking these same questions, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there.
When I first started working with clients directly without using any freelance marketplaces, I was also faced with the same dilemma.
Since freelance marketplaces don’t require you to send invoices to clients, I had no idea what they were or how to create them.
In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about using and generating invoices. I also made a free invoice template for freelancers. You can download it too. So keep reading.
What Is An Invoice?
An invoice is a document that you create and send to your clients to request payment for the services you’ve provided. It’s how you confirm to the client that you have completed a project and it’s time to send the payment for your services.
Think of it like the receipt you get from a local shop for purchasing goods.
As a freelancer, issuing an invoice after finishing a job is very important. With the invoice, you can give your client a summary of the services you’ve provided and include all the details related to how you price your services. And finally a total due amount for the entire project.
With an invoice, you can also give your clients a deadline to make the payment. This way, you can always make sure you get paid on time.
Why Invoices Are Important
Invoices have many uses. They are especially important for keeping track of your clients and earnings. And they usually come in handy when doing taxes.
Invoices are also legally binding documents. If you or the client come across any disagreements and have to take your client to court, your invoice will be a strong piece of evidence to back your claims.
But, more importantly, the invoice is the document that finalizes a project or the work you’ve done for a client. It signals the completion of an order or a service.
When To Create Invoices
If you’re using freelance marketplaces, like UpWork or Fiverr, you don’t have to issue invoices. The platform keeps records of your projects and it will generate invoices for the clients.
If you’re working directly with clients, you will have to issue invoices.
You should create an invoice for every client and every project your work on.
If you work on multiple projects for the same client, you should issue separate invoices for each project.
If you’re working for a client on a long-term basis, you can issue an invoice for the client at the end of the month. This invoice should include details about the work you’ve done in the month.
If you’re charging per hour, include details about your hourly rates and the number of hours you’ve worked during the project period.
Main Elements Of An Invoice
An invoice can be as detailed or as minimal as you want. But there are a few important details that you should include in your invoice at all times.
- Your name/business and address
- Client’s name/business and address
- Invoice issued date and payment due date
- Invoice number
- Descriptions about the services with costs and a grand total
- Payment options and details
- Your contact details, social media handles
How To Make An Invoice
Creating an invoice is very easy and there are a few different methods you can use to make an invoice.
Before you choose a method to create an invoice, keep in mind that you will be using the same invoice design and template for a long period of time.
Changing your invoice design from time to time is very unprofessional so only change the design if you absolutely have to.
Use Invoice Generating Tools
Using an online invoice generating tool is the easiest way to create an invoice.
Tools like Zoho provide free invoice generating tools for you to quickly generate an invoice with just a few clicks.
The downside to using free invoicing tools is that they often include a watermark. This makes your invoice look a bit unprofessional. These tools also have limited design customization options.
You can also use a tool like Hectic to create your invoices.
Use Invoice Templates
You can also use pre-made templates to create an invoice.
This is the preferred choice by freelancers, including myself.
There are invoice templates that you can customize in MS Word, Google Docs, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more.
When using a template, you can use your favorite software to edit the template. And they give you more control over its design to customize the colors and branding to match your own brand.
I actually made a free invoice template just for freelancers. It’s completely free, no strings attached, no forms to fill, and no emails required.
Go over to this page to download the free template.
Make Your Own Invoice
If you’re a designer or have graphic design knowledge, I would highly recommend that you design your own invoice.
Put your Photoshop and Illustrator skills to the test and craft a professional invoice of your own. It will definitely help show off professionalism and wow your clients.
Invoicing is an important part of freelancing. When you create that first invoice and send it to your client, that’s when you truly feel like a professional. It feels like you’re actually running a real business. And you are!
If you’re new to freelancing, be sure to check out my how to start freelancing guide for more helpful tips.
Images via Freepik.com