Why creative professionals should send professional invoices
As a creative professional, you bring a unique combination of creative talent and technical skill to every project you complete for your clients. You deserve to be paid for your creative process just as much as your technical skill; clear, organized invoices that explain how you created the original work, as well as the fees for the final product, are important, too.
An orderly, well-designed invoice instills confidence and credibility in your reputation and personal brand. Your imagination is a valuable asset, but so is your skill and professionalism; make sure your invoice reflects both. It's important for creative professionals of all types - graphic designers, artists, musicians and painters.
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 attractive selection of invoice templates in different designs and colors, 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, and email address
- Insert your beautifully designed business logo, along with your website, and any graphics you use to represent your creative business
- Add in your client’s name and the correct contact information
- Generate a unique invoice number and add it to the template
- Include the date of the invoice and the payment due date
- List the creative services you’ve provided, and the price for each based on your hourly or flat rate
- Add lines to customize the invoice format to include any extra charges, such as for travel
- If you are including a discount for a regular customer or agency client, or to encourage future work, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting an extremely good price for your creative talent
- 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. Add a creative touch so they will be excited to work with you again!
- Save a copy of the invoice, and send it to your client!
When is the right time to send an invoice to your clients as a creative professional?
The right time to send an invoice varies with the type of creative services you provide. If it is a small writing or design project, invoice upon completion.
As an independent business owner, you need to keep the revenue coming in. Ask for payment upfront, or for a percentage of the estimated cost upfront, if the project will span many weeks and/or involve a lot of materials or supplies.
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 creative professionals
Include a little promotion
If you are an actor or performer, include a few lines to list your future performances. If you are an artist, include information on upcoming art displays. And if you are a writer, include links to your work. Let your invoice do double duty as a great way to highlight more examples of your talent.
Follow-up on outstanding invoices
f a payment is late, follow up immediately. Be friendly and polite and your clients should appreciate the reminder. After all, just because you do creative work for a living, that doesn’t mean you don’t have your own bills to pay!
Keep a record with numbered invoices
Numbered invoices help you keep track of how much money is coming in, which is important for the financial health of your creative career. It also shows clients you have a professional, organized system in place.
Always include a ‘payment due’ date
Always clearly indicate when you expect payment. You have supplied a great product or service – you deserve to be paid in a timely manner.