One trait of a professional freelancer is a reliable and easy-to-understand invoicing system. You never want to make a client guess how much to pay, when payment is due, or what methods of payment you accept. Using a professional online invoice maker to quickly create invoice templates can answer all of these questions – and ensure that there is no confusion on payment terms – it’s no good if the invoice confuses the client.
That’s why many beginning freelancers often ask what is an invoice and how to send an invoice to a client by email, rather than by postal mail. We have you covered step by step with tips and our 5 template pack which you can rely on when sending invoices by emails, so you can get paid on time.
There are a few methods you can choose from when emailing an SEO invoice template, or any invoice for that matter. Some are much more effective and secure than others. Read on to see what preferred solutions are available for freelancers in every industry.
You can always create your own invoice using an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets. Just make sure that your invoice includes the essentials of an invoice, including:
You also need to include information on how to get paid. If you accept a digital, third-party payment provider, such as Stripe or PayPal, include the payment address to ensure money gets delivered to you. Be very careful not to make typos or include the wrong information. Your payment could get sent to someone else!
Now that you’ve created your project management invoice, for example, go ahead and save it as a template with the client name as part of the file name. You can re-use this same invoice for this client each time you bill. For each new client, you can change the important info to reflect the services provided.
To email, the invoice, first save it as a PDF. This makes it so that none of the information can be changed. It’s also a good format for emailing. Attach the PDF file to an email to the accounting department at your client’s company. Include a note, such as “Attached is the invoice for my services in May. Please remit payment to the address included on the invoice. Thank you.”
Now, you can email it! It may be helpful to include a read-receipt so that you know the email has been received and opened.
To help you out, we're sharing the 5 email templates we rely on to invoices clients over email.
Unfortunately, because it’s a very manual process, there is the potential for typos, miskeys and missed invoices. If a client doesn’t pay in a timely manner, you are responsible for setting a reminder to follow up and ask for payment again. Since 29% of invoices are paid at least a day late, it creates more work for you to have to take note of due dates on every single invoice you send out, then try to track it down and ask for payment again.
(Remember, it’s never a good idea to send personally identifying financial info in an unsecured, unencrypted email. If you’re asking for payment to a bank account via Direct Deposit, this should not be done as an emailed invoice. Some emailed invoices will not meet requirements for certain industries or project types.)
Pros: Cheap, available to everyone.
Cons: Time consuming, prone to errors, no automated invoice reminders, not secure.
One other way to send an invoice to a client by email is to use an invoicing software. This takes quite a bit of the work out of the process, as it has a template already created that you fill in with relevant info about your client and the work you did. Invoicing software usually has much of the language pre-filled, including how you’ll handle late payments, and will save each client as a template automatically so that you don’t have to go through the effort.
Another benefit of invoicing or billing software is that it can integrate with expense tracking, helping you manage your cash flow as a small business and helping you to know if you are making a profit. By monitoring invoices sent, you can see how much you are owed, along with what freelance bills you need to pay. It’s an incredibly effective tool for seeing if you’re “making it” as an independent contractor and can alert you to the fact that you may not be charging enough, especially after factoring in costs such as PayPal fees.
With Bonsai, you can easily send an invoice to your client by email. To start, just go to your dashboard and click on "send an invoice".
Now you'll see a pop-up which lets you choose your client and project details (or create both), and select the invoice type. Once done, just click on "create invoice".
You reached the invoice template editing phase. Feel free to add and double check your client and personal details and add items to the invoice. When everything looks good to go, just click on "send now" and wait for your client to pay.
That's it! Simple, right? If you'd like to give Bonsai a try and experiment with invoicing and the other integrated components, go ahead and sign up for a free trial.
Perhaps the best part of most popular bookkeeping, invoicing, and payment services, however, is the integration with payment providers. Many have made it incredibly simple for clients to click a button and pay via PayPal, Stripe, Chase Pay, or even Zelle. By having this functionality built-in, you don’t have to worry about typos sending your money to the wrong person, and you can get paid quicker than by requesting checks to be sent to your home address.
These services can be expensive for an individual freelancer with just one or two clients. They do not include the other aspects of freelancing, such as freelance contract management or freelance proposals.
Pros: Integrated with other financial tasks (such as expense tracking), can remind clients for payment automatically, able to create individual client profiles and settings.
Cons: Can be expensive for the solo freelancer.
With a complete freelancer solution suite (such as Bonsai) you get all of the perks of dedicated billing software. You can set up individual invoice templates per client, send invoices securely, get paid quickly, and track where the money is going. Since most freelance management tools know that you are not a Fortune 500 company with hundreds of clients, they have set a more reasonable price for the independent contractor model.
Even more exciting, freelance management solutions that incorporate other aspects of the freelance business can help you make more money and be more professional. Bonsai includes contract templates to create the right expectation of what you charge and when you get paid – from the start. There is the option to create proposals for services from inside the dashboard, as well. Time trackers, expense management, and project milestones can be managed for each client, making it much easier to see the entire scope of a client project – including the invoicing. There’s no longer a reason to know how to send invoices to a client by email because Bonsai allows you to bill a client at any time, at your agreed-upon rate, with the click of a button. You can even include a late fee (if your contract specified one) any time you do not get paid promptly.
Unpaid invoices will trigger an alert to you, so that you can choose to follow up with a courtesy reminder at any time. The entire freelancer solution suite is available for the same price as just the bookkeeping services of other companies! Get onboard with a free Bonsai trial and see what's it all about.
Pros: Affordable solutions that handle all freelancing needs, not just bookkeeping.
Cons: A freelancer with just one or two clients may not use all the tools right away.
The bottom line is that there is more than one way to create an event invoice template, or any other type of invoice, and deliver it to a client via email. Your best choice depends on what your needs are and what expectations you want to set with clients. Most freelancers find themselves short on time, and learn quickly that a good invoicing process can save precious hours each month that can be spent on training, marketing, or creating the work that gets them paid! If you’re finding it’s been hard to scale your business, you may be spending too much time in administrative duties – such as invoicing!
Finally, remember that you can’t be too safe regarding client communications. Sending an invoice, via unsecured email, could present a security risk to you and your customers. Depending on your industry, that may not be a risk you are willing to take. Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions on the market now to help prevent the most dangerous invoicing mistakes made today.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?