Whether or not you love what you do, the most important part of working is getting paid – and as a freelancer, it’s up to you to ensure you get paid fairly and on time.
A self-employed invoice template is the best way to start creating a professional and successful payment system with your clients. Whether you focus on a single gig per month or if you’ve developed a full-time freelancing business, calculating your time and work for proper billing is vital.
In this article, we’ll outline what your invoice template should include and why. We also include the ultimate freelance invoice template so you can begin setting up your payment system ASAP.
Invoices don’t need to be fancy – they just need to provide all the information required so your clients know how much to pay you, when to pay you and what system to pay you through.
Let’s look at some must-have self-employed invoice template sections.
As obvious as it sounds, your full name or logo should be the first thing your client sees on the invoice. Make sure the logo of your front and/or logo is bigger than the rest so that it stands out (as you do!)
Include a date that shows when the invoice was submitted to your client. This is an important section as you may need to refer back to it if a client is late on a payment.
(We’ll get deeper into late payments in the payment terms section below.)
Again, another basic section to have – but it’s all about including everything for that professional approach, right?
Make sure you include your phone number, mailing address, email address and website (or LinkedIn if you don’t have a site yet) directly underneath your business name.
You can include your contact info on either top corner of the invoice, however, our template below will sort this out for you.
The recipient’s contact information is important for your own records. Include the same information you did for your own contact section to help “future you” if you ever need to track down payments for tax purposes.
Underneath the contact information on your self-employed invoice template, you should include the invoice number. This helps you keep track of invoices, so make sure you number them in sequential order to stay on top.
For instance, if you’re making your first invoice, you may start with #0001. Then, the next invoice will be $0002 and so on. This can help you track which clients have paid and which ones haven’t.
This is a big one.
Make sure you specify when the payment is due – exactly. The length of time is totally up to you, however, most freelancers request payment within 30 days or “due upon receipt” so that the client pays the invoice as soon as the invoice has been received.
Make sure you talk about payment due dates well before your client receives your invoice – hopefully through a signed contract. While verbal agreements may be convenient, they can lead to issues down the line, especially when it comes to payment.
If your client doesn’t pay you on time, you can use the invoice to refer back to the due date.
Invoices should make payment easy for clients to complete. One way to support this is by specifying your payment options.
Do you prefer getting paid via cash or cheque? If you use a direct payment system such as Paypal or Transferwise, make sure you include your deposit information such as PayPal email address or bank details – whatever your preferred system requires for deposits.
Include a section that outlines what will happen if the payment is late. Will you charge a late fee for invoices paid pas the due date you’ve set? If you’ve had issues chasing clients down for payment in the past, this may help enforce on-time payments for the future.
Typically, freelancers will include a 20% late fee. If you do choose this route, it’s recommended you remind the client of the payment a couple of times before enforcing the fee. This will help strengthen your relationship.
Make sure your client knows exactly what you’ve done and what they’re paying for. You can include different services on separate lines if the month’s work included more than one project. Then, beside each service, you can include the price.
Ah, now we’re onto the good stuff. If your breakdown of services includes a list of items from the month, display how much you charge for each item. This can be either the cost of a service or an hourly rate.
Add these items up and display a full amount at the bottom including taxes or PayPal fees if applicable.
Studies have shown that gratitude helps you connect with others better while earning their trust. Being thankful for the work a client has provided will help improve your working relationship while supplying confidence in your daily life.
Below the total amount owed on your self-employed invoice template, consider adding a personal note to the client – this will benefit you in more ways than one.
As quoted in Forbes:
“The next generation of freelancers will simply know freelancing as an attractive, legitimate, career path.”
One of the reasons why this career path has become increasingly legitimate and reliable is because of the way freelancers take professionalism and success into their own hands. As simple as it seems, a professional self-employed invoice template is one of the many steps to get you there.
By using a professional self-employed invoice template, ensuring all your professional information is set up and developing a routine to get you paid on time while keeping your clients happy, you’ll be well on your way to carving a thriving freelance career.