Why contract workers should send professional invoices
As a professional, you bring experience, skills, and knowledge to every contract you work on. You need clear, itemized invoices that include details of all the great work you have provided, as well as show your clients the advantage of hiring you on contract again, and refer you to their business associates and friends.
An orderly, well-designed invoice also instills confidence and credibility in your reputation and excellent work. You are an expert in your contracted field – make sure your invoice reflects your skill and professionalism.
Once you've downloaded your free invoice template, you'll need to customize it to fit your specific business. Here are the 10 key things to include on your invoice:
- Title and Description: Name the project and briefly describe what type of work your client is being invoiced for.
- Company Details: Add your company name, address, phone number, and logo to the top-right corner.
- Customer Details: Under "Bill To", add your customer's name, address, and contact information.
- Invoice Number: Include a unique invoice number to help you track down this invoice in the future. You can format this based on sequence and customer. For example, if you're sending your very first customer their first invoice, the invoice number could be 001-001.
- Dates: Include the date when your invoice has been issued and the date when payment is due.
- Line Item: Add individual line items for each unique good or service you provided. For each line item, include a brief description, quantity, individual unit price, and total price.
- Subtotal: Add up the subtotal of your goods or services, before tax has been applied.
- Tax: Indicate the tax rate applied to the subtotal. This is legally required to provide on invoices, and your rate may differ depending on where you run your business.
- Total: Outline the total amount due from the customer, after tax.
- Notes: Include any additional info your customer should know, including terms of service and payment terms (for example, payments are due 30 days after the invoice has been issued).
- Look through our great selection of invoice templates in different designs and colors created especially for contract work, and pick the one you like best in the format you usually use – such as Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets
- Download the invoice template. It’s fast and it’s free!
- Add your business name, address, phone number, email address, and your area of expertise
- Insert your beautifully designed business logo, along with your website, and any graphics you use to represent your business
- Add in your client’s name and correct contact information
- Generate a unique invoice number and add it to the template
- Include the date of the invoice, contract start and finish dates, and the payment due date
- List the contract work you’ve done, including the price you charge based on an hourly, daily, or flat fee
- Add lines to include any extra charges you incurred while on contract, such as travel, research, and materials and supplies
- If you are including a discount for a regular contract customer, or an agency client, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting an extremely good price for your expert contract services
- Calculate the price, including applicable tax, and enter the total
- Include your payment terms, such as the methods of payment you accept
- Make sure you add a personal note at the end, such as a thank you, or to tell your client how much you enjoyed working with them. It may lead to another contract or a valuable referral!
- Save a copy of the invoice – and send it off!
When is the right time to send an invoice to your contract clients?
The right time to send an invoice varies with the type of contract services you provide. If it is a short job or project, some contract workers invoice at completion.
As an independent business owner you need to keep the revenue coming in, so for longer contracts, many contract workers ask for a percentage of the payment up front, with the remainder on completion of the contract, or send in bi-weekly or monthly invoices.
Whatever payment time period you choose, make sure it’s clearly noted on each invoice, and clarify what portion of the final ‘cost’ has been paid to date.
Invoicing tips for contract workers
Include professional recommendations
If you have been hired on contract to provide expert services, take the time to include a few lines to describe any future services you think would be helpful for your client. It reinforces your image as a professional and expert in your field, and it lets your clients know you are thinking about their best interests. It could also encourage another great contract assignment!
Keep a record with numbered invoices
Numbered invoices help you keep track of how much money is coming in, which is important for your business finances. It also shows your clients you have a professional, organized system in place.
Always include a ‘payment due’ date
Always clearly indicate when you expect payment. It pays to be polite, but firm.
Don’t be shy about following up
If a payment is late, follow up immediately. Be friendly and polite and your clients should appreciate the reminder. You have provided a valuable service and you deserve to be paid in a timely manner while on contract.