Why freelance designers should send professional invoices
As a freelance designer, invoicing is not simple. You provide a special combination of technical skills and creativity. On top of that, each client has different requirements and desires.
So while you need to make your invoice simple enough to understand, it must accurately detail the scope and expertise of your design work. And since every touch point with your client reflects on your talent – your invoice should be as well-designed as the work you provide!
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 wide selection of elegant templates in different designs and colors, and pick the one you like in the format you use – Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets
- Download the FREE invoice template
- Add your freelance design business name and contact information
- Insert your gorgeous logo and any other amazing design graphics that show off your talent
- Insert your client’s name and contact information
- Create a unique invoice number and add it to the template, as well as a job number, if needed
- Insert the invoice date and payment due date
- List all the design work you have provided for your client, and the price for each deliverable based on your hourly or flat rate. Make sure your client understands how much work was involved by including descriptions
- Add lines for additional information or take lines out – you can customize the format to meet your exact invoicing needs for each client
- If you are including a discount for an ongoing, regular client, make sure you add a line or two explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting a great deal for your design services
- Calculate the total price of the project, including applicable tax, and enter the total at the bottom of the invoice
- Include your payment terms, such as the methods of payment you accept
- If you like, you can add lines for a personal note, such as thanking the client for their business, or asking them to email you with any comments on your work that you can post on your website. Client testimonials are a great way to increase business!
- Save the invoice for your records, and send it to your client!
When is the right time to send a freelance design invoice to your clients?
The time to send an invoice really depends on what kind of freelance design you do, and how long, or complex the design process is. If you are working on a relatively small project, usually payment is received upon completion.
To make sure you are paid as soon as possible, it’s a good idea to send your invoice along with the finished product. That way your client can see exactly what they are paying for. If your design process spans a longer period of time, you have options.
You can ask for a percentage of the estimated cost up front, with the remainder upon completion, or you could send in monthly invoices.
Whatever payment cadence you choose, make sure it’s clearly noted on each invoice, and clarify what portion of the final ‘cost’ has been paid to date.
Quick invoicing tips for freelance designers
Always include a ‘payment due’ date
Include a clear indication of when you expect payment without sounding too aggressive – it really can encourage on-time payment!
Send your invoice to your client contact
If you are doing a freelance design project for a large company or organization, make sure you add an “Attention to:” line on your invoice so it is sent to the right contact person. Don’t let a misdirected invoice get in the way of you being paid in a timely manner for your hard work.
Keep a record of your work with numbered invoices
This will help you keep track of how much money is coming in, and shows clients you have an organized system in place. You might also consider giving large freelance design projects a job code if it is going to be spread out over a long period of time, or involve several invoices. A job number will keep track of all the invoices you have going out for that particular design project, or client.
If you can – accept a variety of payment methods
Make it as easy and convenient as possible to get paid by accepting several payment methods. E-Transfers, debit cards, and other online payment options will help keep your revenue coming in!