So you’ve become a freelancer. Congratulations on choosing a career solution that allows for plenty of flexibility to set your own value, work on your own timeline when signing new contract templates, vary your own work and tasks, and choose your own “office” environment. Bonus points awarded for the fact that as a freelancer working from home, pants are typically optional. It’s no wonder, then, that freelancers report being happier than traditional 9-5 workers.
While the seeming wealth of options as a freelancer is enough to make most of us giddy, the sheer amount of choice and independence also poses its own unique hurdles. From getting started out as a freelancer in the first place to navigating health care options or getting invoice templates paid on time, there are a host of not so obvious freelancer-specific stresses that come along with the obvious benefits of your status.
One of the most common topics, for obvious reasons, revolves around collecting your paycheck for freelance work. Before you can get paid for that gig, however, you need to develop a firm grasp of invoicing terms (what is an invoice) and request payment from your client. Sure, it may have been tough to ask your parents for money when you needed to cover your rent in your college years, but getting paid for your independent work shouldn’t fill you with the same level of dread.
Here we break down our top five tips on how to write an invoice template for freelance work.
Before you start prepping your first freelance invoice template for that new client you found through hours of perusing freelance job websites and listings, you’ll need to review your freelancer agreement, contract, or work offer. Keep in mind that up to 58% percent of freelancers have experienced not getting paid for their work. One of the most common delays in payment for freelance contracts is due to the request for payment not quite matching up with the original contract terms.
The first step in writing an invoice for freelance work should begin with pulling out your freelance contract and carefully reviewing the terms. You should ask yourself...
While much of this should have been dealt with when drafting your original freelancer agreement, if you have multiple clients, terms can vary greatly or you simply may have forgotten key elements.
While you may cherish your relationship with your freelance clients, we hate to break it to you that they’re probably seeing other people on the side. Just as you manage multiple accounts, projects, assignments, and contracts, the uptick in attractiveness for freelance work means that your client is most likely utilizing numerous individuals to create content, manage websites, and more.
This “let’s see other people” relationship has a significant impact when it comes to how to write an invoice for your freelance work. Providing a detailed description of the assignment including the original assigned date, due date, internal contact (if any), invoice number, and key contract characteristics will allow your client to easily identify the individual work. This, in turn, will speed up payment of your recurring invoice template and get your well-earned cash burning a hole in your pocket. Need help remembering those key terms on your end? Bonsai’s host of products, including freelance time tracking and project dashboards, allow you to easily document and recount critical elements of your freelance career on demand.
Another thing that drafters often overlook when thinking how to write an invoice for freelance work has to do with pricing. The first step of accepting any freelance contract should be a clear communication of potential fees, followed up with a written or otherwise documented, agreement between client and contractor. If you have somehow managed to miss this important step, it’s never too late to have the hard conversation about pricing. Open up a dialog before sending out your invoice to avoid delays in payment or potential hard feelings.
Another handy tip when it comes to pricing and freelance invoices is to be sure and clearly list outline items for individual projects. Rather than writing one large description for “work performed” create a new invoice line for each individual assignment, in some cases breaking down the task into component parts, if appropriate. If you are maintaining multiple contracts for a single client organization, consider invoicing out individual projects rather than grouping together. A clear price for each task makes it easier for the client to route to multiple approvers or double-check their records to ensure the work was performed and approved.
Pricing isn’t the only money detail that is important when it comes to writing up an invoice for freelance work. Complicated, multi-part contracts will often require out of pocket expenses or fees on behalf of the freelancer. If there were fees in addition to your freelancer service cost, be sure to line those items out for easy reference.
Another critical element that is often overlooked in writing invoices is the inclusion and clear separation of any applicable taxes. Most freelancers have a basic understanding of the unique tax rules and regulations that affect non-traditional jobs. Uncle Sam likes his money just like the rest of us and in some cases tax may be added directly to the printable invoice template to be paid by the client. If listing out these details is sounding a bit...taxing...you’re in luck.
Bonsai’s freelance expenses & reporting tool makes tracking and calculating the add-ons in your freelance invoice a breeze. Nobody likes talking about money, but making contract pricing clear is a sure fire way to help avoid any delays in your monthly invoice template payment.
Speaking of communication, our last, but certainly not least, tip on how to write an invoice for freelance work focuses on keeping the lines of dialog open, even after you’ve sent off your initial invoice draft for payment. When writing your initial invoice request, keep things as clear and succinct as possible to help make your request for payment as understandable as your freelance work product. A professional invoice template for hours worked will clearly list your terms and potentially even the repercussions of non-payment, including additional fees.
Also important to note is that your perfectly crafted invoice is only as good as your method for getting the document into the client’s hands. Delivery of your invoice, along with a friendly cover letter, email, or another brief missive will go over much better than a simple attachment with instructions to “please pay”. Including a thank you note in the body of your hourly rate invoice itself is always a great extra touch and is also a great way to let the payor know that you’re open to more work in the future.
Hopefully, these tips on how to write an invoice for freelance work have given you inspiration for sprucing up your payment process. If you’re looking for a little more assistance in the invoicing department, we have a final tip in mind: Bonsai’s service for freelance contract management and invoicing provides a streamlined method for payment processing and more.
With an integrated suite of products designed specifically with the freelancer in mind, Bonsai’s intuitive and easy to navigate platform can not only assist in drafting your next Adobe Illustrator invoice template, it can also track all aspects of individual contracts and even entire freelance portfolios.
Sign up today to give Bonsai a try and find out why freelancers everywhere are relying on us for writing invoices and beyond.
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?