Why you should send professional invoices to your clients
No matter what you do for a living, you need clear, organized invoices that include all the details to help you get paid accurately and on time.
A PDF invoice template is flexible so it can include all the right details for each customer, while also looking clean and professional. It also can help cut down on unnecessary payment delays since it can be viewed on any operating system.
Security is another advantage. PDF documents are hard to modify unlike Google Sheets invoice or Excel invoice, so there’s less chance of your invoice getting inadvertently altered. An attractive, well-designed PDF invoice also reflects your skill and professionalism, and creates confidence and credibility in your business.
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 wonderful selection of attractive PDF invoice templates in different designs and colors, and download the one you like. It’s fast, and best of all – it’s free!
- Add in your business name, address, phone number, and email address
- Insert your beautifully designed business or personal logo, along with your website address, any professional qualifications, and if you like, any graphics you use to represent your brand or business
- Enter your client’s name and their correct contact information
- Generate a unique invoice number and add it on
- Include the date of the invoice, and the payment due date
- List the products and/or services you’ve provided, along with the appropriate prices and fees. The PDF invoice template is easy to customize for each client, so you can add lines to include extra charges, such as for travel, or for rush jobs or emergency services
- If you are including a discount to encourage repeat business, or to reward long-time customers, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are getting a wonderful price
- Calculate the price, including the applicable tax, and enter the total
- Include your payment terms, such as your accepted methods of payment
- It’s always nice to add a personal note at the end. Thank your client for their business, or mention how enjoyable it is to work with them. If you are self-employed, a personal touch sets you apart from large, impersonal companies
- Save a copy of the invoice – and give it to your client!
When is the right time to send a PDF invoice?
The right time to send an invoice depends largely on the type of business you are in. Many self-employed people or small business owners invoice at the time of purchase, or at the end of a job or project.
You need to keep the revenue coming in, so if your services are required for a long period of time, or if the customer has made a large order, use your flexible invoice template to bill for payment up front. Or, bill for a percentage of the estimated cost up front.
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.
Handy Invoice tips before sending your first invoice
Send your invoice to the right person
If you are providing products or services to a large company or organization, make sure you add an “Attention to:” line on your invoice so it is sent to the person who pays the bills. You don’t want your invoice getting lost in the mailroom, or in the wrong person’s email inbox.
Accept a variety of payment methods
Let your customers pay in the way that is most convenient for them – after all, it can only help you get paid faster! Customers appreciate the ease of using an e-Transfer, debit card, or direct bank deposit to pay – especially if it is for a large job or order.
Send a pro forma invoice before the job starts
Prevent any misunderstandings that can delay your payment by sending your customers a pro forma invoice before you start work with your agreed-upon terms and expectations.
Add some professional recommendations
You are an expert in your field, so include a few lines on your customizable PDF invoice to describe any other products or services you think the customer might be interested in. You could also add in a few client testimonials, or a coupon for the next time the customer uses your services.