Why you should send professional invoices to your clients
Every small business owner and freelancer has their own style of working. That means you need a truly flexible invoice template that you can work on any time of day or night. A Google Docs invoice template nicely fits the bill.
Not only is it easy-to-use and fully customizable – you can work on it anywhere you have internet access. If you have an accountant or business partner who needs to review the invoice, they can also have access.
On top of all that, Google Docs invoices are attractive and professional looking, which helps reinforce your outstanding reputation. However, no free invoice template can ever compare to a professional invoicing software full of free and powerful invoicing features that will enable you to take control of your finances today.
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 the stylish Google Docs invoice templates we offer in different designs and colors, and select the one that fits your specific business
- Download the invoice template. It’s fast and easy to do – and best of all – it’s absolutely free!
- Insert your business name, phone number, email address, and your area of business
- Add in your fabulous logo, your business website address, and any professional qualifications and certifications that add to your outstanding reputation
- Insert your client’s name and their up-to-date contact information
- Generate a unique invoice number, and if needed, a job or client code to keep all the invoices from that particular client organized and together
- Put in the invoice date, and if appropriate, the time period for which you provided your services, and the payment due date
- List all the products sold and services rendered, along with the respective prices, hourly rate, or flat fee. The Google Docs template is fully customizable, so you can add descriptions of each product or service
- List any materials or supplies you provided, including a description of each, with the quantity and cost per unit. Also list any miscellaneous charges you incurred that are billed to the client. You can add lines to make sure the Google Docs invoice covers all your costs
- If you are including any discounts for long-term or new customers, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting a great deal
- Calculate the total price you’re charging, including the applicable tax, and enter the total
- Include your payment terms, such as the methods of payment you accept
- How about adding a personal line at the end, especially if you’d like to make this a regular client? Thanking them for their business, or including a note about an interesting aspect of the job, helps you stand apart from the competition
- Save a copy – and send the invoice
When is the right time to send a Google Docs invoice to your clients?
The best time to send your invoice depends on your business and what you have provided to the customer. If it is a one-time purchase or service, invoice at the time of ordering.
But if it’s a complicated project that will span over a long period of time, or a large product order, use your Google Docs invoice template to specify a partial payment up front, or a percentage of the payment. After all, you need to keep the revenue coming in.
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 Invoice tips before sending your first invoice
Shorten your payment terms
People are accustomed to paying for products and services right away, especially when they shop online, so you might want to consider shortening your payment terms. You could even offer a discount to customers who send in their payment before the due date. A small percentage off the bill is often enough to spark your customers to submit their payment ahead of time.
Accept the latest electronic payment methods
Make it easy and convenient for customers to do business with you by being flexible on the payment methods you accept. If you can, include up-to-date electronic payment technologies, such as e-Transfers, debit cards, and online payment methods that can be done right on the spot with a smartphone.
Keep in touch
Ask your customers if you can periodically email them with updates on the products or services you provide. That will help keep you top of mind, and let them know you appreciate their business and want them to return.
Prepare a detailed proposal or proforma invoice
Make sure your clients know in advance how much you will be charging by sending them a proposal or proforma invoice with your agreed-upon terms and expectations. This can help prevent misunderstandings that can delay your payment after the job is completed.