If you have a transportation business or provide trucking services as a freelance worker, having a strong invoicing process is vital for a good cash-flow and to keep your business going. When it's time to request payment for your hard work, you need a professional document that helps you provide enough details of the freight service provided while encouraging prompt payment from your clients.
You probably already have a lot on your plate, and don't have much time left to write and proofread your carrier invoices to make sure they're perfect every time. But don't let that be an excuse to keep sending faulty invoices that just leave your customers blindsided and cause delays in payments. Instead, create a carrier invoice template that already includes all important business information and you can fill in with minimal effort.
Read on to find out what you should include in your template.
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Essential Elements of Freight Invoice Templates
When creating your freight/trucking invoice template, you want to make sure all important details are clearly covered and you leave no room for misunderstandings when billing your clients. You also need all business-related information in place so you can keep your accounting records well organized and ready for tax season.
For flawless invoices every time, include the following essential elements on your template.
Start your invoice template with a section for your freight business information. Include your full name (and company name if it's registered differently) and contact information such as phone number, street address, email address and website. If you offer any special services like emergency delivery, overweight cargo, or hazardous materials transportation, etc., add a few lines to this section to mention them.
For more professional invoices, include your business logo, registered trademarks and any other industry-related imagery that can make your trucking invoice stand out and be easily recognizable for your clients.
Next, include your client's information starting with their full name (or corporation name), phone number, billing address and email address if you send digital invoices. If you are providing services for a large business, make sure the invoice gets to the right person by addressing it to whoever is in charge of their accounts payable department. If you have a database you may also include a client ID number to help you keep track of their payments.
Invoice Number and Date
Make sure all of your invoices have a unique invoice number assigned which will help you keep your accounting records well organized, not to mention, your clients might not accept unnumbered invoices. This also makes it easier to refer back to the invoice in case of any clarifications or refunds needed. Additionally, include the date when the invoice was sent out, to easily determine the invoice due date (usually 30 days after invoice date) and apply any late fees accordingly.
Add a section to specify the relevant shipment information such as pick-up address, final destination, and the dates of the service provided. If the shipment is traveling across borders, include the necessary customs information along with the commercial invoice.
Freight Services Provided
Your invoice template must have enough space for a detailed list of the freight services provided. Include a short description of the goods transported along with the appropriate measurements such as weight, volume, etc., and the number of packages, specifying the unit price and total freight costs for each. Make sure to include separate lines for each different type of good in the shipment.
If there are any extra freight charges such as unloading services, special packaging or other additional services, add a separate line as well to provide a short description along with the unit price and total costs. Including all of this information will avoid confusion for your clients and help you get paid on time.
On the totals section of your invoice template, include separate lines to provide the total cost of services provided before taxes (subtotal), then add the applicable taxes and specify the final amount due. This is also the ideal section to highlight any special discounts for recurrent clients, seasonal promotions, high volume, etc. Make sure you subtract the discounted amount from the subtotal before adding the taxes and provide a short description for added impact.
To encourage prompt payments, make the payment process as clear and easy to understand as possible. Include a section to list all of your accepted payment methods such as checks, cash, ACH transfers, credit/debit cards, or online payments like Stripe or PayPal. Don't forget to add the corresponding account numbers, mailing address for checks, and even a payment link to give your client an easy way to pay.
You also want to disclose your payment terms, starting with the invoice due date, late payment penalties, partial payments and any payment arrangements available. You can also mention any incentives or discounts provided for early payments.
Include a small section at the end of your freight invoice template to leave a thank you message or a personal note for your clients. Let them know you appreciate their business and look forward to working with them again. This simple addition can help you strengthen client relationships and may even lead to valuable referrals or more business from them in the future.
If you have enough space you can also use this section to further advertise your business by letting your clients know about new services available or future promotions.
Use Our Free Invoice Template For Your Trucking Company
If you don't want to spend hours creating your own invoice template, simply download Bonsai's fully customizable free invoice template. With just a few tweaks you'll have a personalized template that fits your trucking business needs, and be ready to send out professional unlimited freight invoices in minutes.
Our invoice templates also allow you to integrate multiple payment options and even link your business checking account to have instant access to your funds as soon as the invoice is paid. But why stop there? Use Bonsai's complete invoicing software to automatically send payment reminders, apply late fees to overdue accounts, receive partial payments and even get viewing notifications to make sure your clients never miss an invoice.