Your business is built on providing timely, efficient shipping services. Whenever your clients need to move their freight quickly, you spring into action, getting their freight where it needs to be on time and without a hitch. You’re the shipping and logistics hero that gets their cargo from A to B on time, every time.
But for your business to keep running like a well-oiled machine, you need to get paid for your services quickly and efficiently, too. And that’s where shipping invoices come in.
A shipping invoice is a document that records the details of a shipment, including the description of the goods, the dates of shipment, the method of transportation, and the charges for your services.
Here are all the details you need to make a nice shipping invoice template.
Why Invoicing is Important for Your Shipping Business
Invoicing might seem like a tedious task, but it’s actually an essential part of running a successful business. Here’s why:
Helps you track payments
Once you send out an invoice, you can track when the payment is due and follow up accordingly. This helps you keep on top of your finances and ensures that you get paid on time.
Helps you track shipments
By recording the details of each shipment in an invoice, you can keep track of what was shipped, when it was shipped, and where it was shipped to. This helps you stay organized and efficient in your shipping operations.
Can help you build relationships with your clients
By keeping track of your clients’ shipments and invoices, you can develop a better understanding of their shipping needs. This knowledge can help you develop more efficient shipping solutions for them and build stronger relationships with them over time.
Helps you monitor expenses
By recording the cost of each shipment in an invoice, you can keep track of your shipping expenses and budget accordingly. This helps you keep your business finances in order and makes it easier to file taxes.
The Elements of a Great Invoice Template
A good shipping invoice template should include the following elements:
Company name and logo
Include your business name and logo at the top of the invoice so the client knows who they’re dealing with.
Your contact information
Make sure to include your contact information (phone number, email address, website) so the client can easily get in touch with you if they have any questions about the invoice.
The client’s name and address
Ensure that you include the name and address of the person making the purchase.
Each invoice should have a unique invoice number for easy reference. This invoice number can be used to track payments and shipments.
A clear description of the goods shipped
Include a clear and concise description of the goods that were shipped, as well as the quantity and any special instructions in your invoice templates.
Date of shipment
Include the date that the commercial shipment was made so you can track when the goods were shipped. This is especially important if you offer time-sensitive shipping services.
Be sure to include your preferred payment method and terms in your commercial invoice so the client knows when and how they need to pay you.
Finally, include a breakdown of all charges for the shipment, including any discounts or surcharges. This helps the client understand the unit price and total price of the shipment and prevents any misunderstandings later on.
Tips for sending shipping invoices
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when sending professional invoices (also read our article on how to properly invoice clients).
Get creative with your invoicing
There’s no need to stick to a boring, plain-text invoice. Get creative with your invoicing and use a carrier invoice template that’s eye-catching and easy to read. This can help you stand out from the competition and make it more likely that your invoices will be paid on time.
Send proforma invoices
If you’re shipping goods for a freight customer, be sure to send a proforma invoice. A proforma invoice is a preliminary invoice that you send to your freight customer before the job starts. It helps set expectations and ensure that both you and the client are on the same page from the start.
The proforma invoice can include the total cost of the shipment, the expected delivery date, and any special instructions. This way, there are no surprises and the customer knows what to expect.
Track your invoices
Keep track of your invoices so you can easily find them when you need to. This can be done by creating a system for organizing and storing your invoices. For example, you can create a folder for each month and store all of your invoices from that month in that folder.
Or, you can use invoice tracking software to keep track of your invoices for you. Invoice tracking software can help you organize, automate, and store your invoices, as well as track payments and shipments. This can make it easier to manage your shipping business and stay on top of your finances.
Offer different payment options for shipping customers
Make it easy for your clients to pay you by accepting a variety of payment methods. This includes traditional methods like check and money order, as well as newer methods like PayPal and Venmo.
Offering a variety of payment options can help you get paid faster, reduce the risk of late payments, and improve your cash flow.
It can also help you attract new clients who may prefer a certain payment method. For example, some clients may prefer to pay with a credit card so they can earn rewards points. If you don’t accept credit cards, you may be missing out on business from these clients.
Try Bonsai's Free Invoice Template
You invest a lot of time, money, and effort into ensuring that your clients’ freight is moved quickly and efficiently. You probably don't have the time or energy to chase down late payments.
Bonsai can help you get paid for your hard work with our simple, easy-to-use invoicing system. With Bonsai, you can create and send unlimited invoices in minutes, track payments, and automate your billing.
You can also use our free shipping invoice template to save time and create professional-looking invoices. Our template is designed for shipping professionals and includes all of the necessary information that your clients need. All you have to do is fill in your information in the free template and send it off -- there's no need to spend your time editing endless Google Docs and Google Sheets.
Bonsai is free to try, so sign up today to get access to more templates and see how easy it is to get paid for your shipping services.
Try our shipping invoice template today for free.