Why video producers should send professional invoices
As a video producer you know how to shine the best light on your subjects. It takes a combination of technical expertise and artistic sensibility, along with great management skills. After all, you are in charge of a whole team, and it’s your responsibility to make sure they are all working toward the same vision.
Many clients have no idea of all that goes into the making of a three-minute promotional video, let alone a feature length production. That’s why you need an invoice that clearly explains everything you do, along with the associated costs, so your clients understand what they are paying for.
Besides being polished and professional, your invoices should also look as good as your work. A well-designed invoice reflects your image as a creative and instills credibility and confidence in your reputation.
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 variety of templates we offer in different designs and colors, and select the one that fits your specific video project
- Download the free invoice template in the format you like, such as Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets. It’s free!
- Add your business name and contact information – this is important for getting paid, but also so clients can easily contact you for future work!
- Insert your logo, website address, and if you like, links to your work
- Add in your client’s name and contact information
- Generate a unique invoice number and add it on at the top
- Add the date of the invoice and the payment due date
- List all services provided and descriptions of each, along with the appropriate hourly or flat rate
- Add and subtract lines to customize the format to your needs. Every video project is different, so don’t forget to add in any additional services needed for this job
- If you are including a discount for a loyal repeat client, or as an incentive for a new client, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are receiving an exclusive, lower price
- Calculate the total price of the project, including applicable tax, and list the total at the bottom of the invoice
- Include your payment terms, such as the methods of payment you accept
- Always add a personal line at the end – it shows you were totally invested in the project and enjoyed working with the client
- Save a copy of the invoice – and then send it off to your client!
When is the right time to send an invoice to your film production clients?
If it’s a small project, some video producers ask for payment upon completion, especially if it is a regular client. If you do this, send your invoice along with the final video to make sure you are paid as soon as possible.
But if the video will take several weeks, or even months to complete, it’s not unreasonable to request partial payment up front. After all, you are running your own small business and have a lot of technical equipment to maintain, people to pay, and materials to buy. You can ask for a percentage of the estimated cost up front, with the remainder due upon completion, or you could send in monthly invoices.
Whatever payment cadence you choose, make sure to reflect that on each invoice, and clarify what portion of the final “cost” has been paid to date.