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Why consultants should send professional invoices
Whether you are consulting on a continuing basis for a company, or completing one-off consulting projects – you need an invoice that clearly details the services you’ve provided.
That means a cookie-cutter invoice won’t do, as your consulting clients can have wildly different needs and challenges. Your invoice needs to be flexible enough to capture the unique work you have done for them.
Besides being clear and understandable, your invoice needs to be polished and professional. Every point of contact with your client reflects on you and the quality of the consulting you provide – so make sure your invoice adds to your stellar reputation.
- Look through the variety of consulting invoice templates we offer in different designs and colors, and select the one you want in your preferred format – Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets.
- Download the template for free!
- Insert your business name, phone number, email address, and other contact information
- Also insert your logo, website address, and any other graphics or promotional images
- Put in your client’s name and contact information
- Add a unique invoice number
- Add in the date of the invoice and the payment due date
- Include a detailed list of the consulting services you provided along with a description of each service and the billable hours or flat rate
- Include a list of miscellaneous products or services you used for your work that are billed to the client
- Add or subtract lines to ensure you include all the pertinent details. The template is easily customized to make sure your clients know exactly what they are paying for
- If you are including a discount for a high volume of work, or to woo a first-time client, make sure you add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting a great deal for your consulting expertise
- Calculate the total price, including all applicable taxes, and list the total prominently at the bottom of the invoice
- Include your payment terms, such as the methods of payment you accept
- As a consultant, you’ve likely formed a close relationship with your client, so add a special line at the end to say how much you enjoyed working with them, and thank them for their business
- Make sure you save a copy – and then send the invoice to your client!
When is the right time to send an invoice to your consulting clients?
Send your invoice as soon as you finish a consulting project. If you have been retained for an extended period of time, discuss the option of invoicing monthly, or at certain significant milestones in the project.
As an independent consultant, you need to keep the revenue coming in, so you might even want to ask for a percentage of the estimated cost up front, with the remainder upon completion of the project.
If you are in sales, send your customers a beautifully designed sales invoice.
Quick invoicing tips for consultants
Add a timesheet
Many consultants bill by the hour, so keeping an up-to-date timesheet can help you accurately track your billable hours. Include your timesheet as an attachment to your invoice so you client can see the amount of work you put into helping them reach their goals.
Include an expense report
If you need to travel for your consulting work, or incur expenses on-site at a client’s company, include an expense report along with the applicable receipts when you send in your invoice. Make sure there’s room on the report to explain exactly what the expense was for so clients know why they are being billed.
Be clear about the payment due date
A payment due date really does encourage on-time payment. It reinforces your professionalism, and acts as a gentle, but clear, indication of when you expect to be paid.
Accept a variety of payment methods
Technology is changing our world, and has also changed how we pay for goods and services. Make it super convenient for clients to pay you by including electronic options such as e-Transfers, direct bank deposits and other online payment methods. It also shows you are up-to-date with technology.
Send your invoice to the attention of your client contact
If you are doing a consulting project for a large company, make sure you add an “Attention to:” line on your invoice so it is sent to the right person. That way it won’t end up getting lost on someone else’s desk and cause a payment delay.
Personalize your invoices
A great way to show how much you understand your client’s business is to add some personal touches to your invoice. When listing your services, include descriptions or details that the client specifically requested to remind them that you successfully met their needs. A personal note at the end is also always a good idea.