Why self-employed professionals should send great invoices
You are an expert in your field. You are also ahead of the curve in the latest advancements in your area of business.
You need an invoice that looks just as modern as your up-to-date thinking, but is also flexible enough to include all the details so your clients understand exactly what you are charging for.
A sophisticated, well-organized modern invoice instills confidence and trust in the products or services you provide. Make sure your invoices reflect your skill and cutting-edge knowledge.
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).
- Take a browse through our wide range of modern invoice templates in attractive styles and colors, and select the one you like in the format you use – such as Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets
- Download the invoice template. It’s free!
- Add your business name and contact information. If you provide specialized services, mention it here where your clients will notice
- Insert your wonderful business logo, website address, and any professional designations or qualifications you have
- Add in your client’s name and up-to-date contact information
- Insert a unique invoice number and add it to the template
- Include the date of the invoice, and if applicable – the dates your services started and finished – and the payment due date
- List the products or services provided, and the prices based on your hourly or flat rate
- Add lines to customize the invoice format to meet your exact billing needs. The modern invoice template can be tailored for any customer
- If you are including a discount, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting a great price for your leading-edge expertise
- Calculate the total price of the project, including applicable tax, and enter the total at the bottom
- Include your payment terms, including the latest electronic payment methods
- While you want to impress your clients with the modern look of your invoice, make sure you add a few lines at the end for a good old fashioned personal note, such as a thank you for the business, or to tell your client how much you enjoyed working with them. Being warm and polite never goes out of style!
- Save the invoice – and send it off!
When is the right time to send a modern invoice to your clients?
The right time to send your modern invoice depends on the type of business you do. If you are selling a product, invoice at the time of purchase. If you are working on a short-term project, some self-employed professionals wait to send an invoice at the end.
As an independent business owner, you need to keep the revenue coming in, so if you are invoicing for your work on a job or project that will take several weeks, or months, you can invoice for a percentage of the estimated cost up front, with the remainder on completion. If you have been retained for an extended period of time, you may want to invoice monthly.
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.
Modern invoicing tips for self-employed professionals
Include professional recommendations
Include a few lines on your modern invoice to describe any future services you think would be helpful for your client, or to promote some of your upcoming products and services. It lets them know you are thinking about their best interests and have an eye on future trends. If you write a blog, include a link, as well as links to other articles on the latest developments in your field of business.
Keep a record of your work with numbered invoices
Numbered invoices help you keep track of how much money is coming in, and shows clients you have an organized system in place. You can also assign a job code if your services for that client are going to be spread out over a significant period of time and involve several invoices.
Mix the old with the new!
While your modern invoice highlights your cutting-edge work, don’t forget tried and true business practices such as adding a personal note on your invoices. Customers appreciate a personal touch in this world full of automated, impersonal services. Make sure you stand apart!
Accept the latest payment methods
You use the most up-to-date thinking in your business, so make sure you accept all the most up-to-date electronic payment technologies, such as e-Transfers, debit cards, and online payments.