Invoicing is something you, as a business owner, should know how to do. After all, if you don’t invoice your client then you won’t get paid!
So whether you are a full-time freelance writer, or write on the side, you need to have the ability to create and send invoices.
So, where do you start?
Personally, I created a simple template in Microsoft Word when I first started out. However I am looking at transitioning to invoicing software in the near future. I am currently researching all the different options out there, so will post at a later date what I found and which ones are worth looking into.
For now, below is a guide as to what to include on your invoice and some other basic tips.
What should your invoice include?
A professional header:
You should include your business name, or your full name, in a header on your invoice. This is so your client can easily identify whom the invoice is from.
Within this header I also included my contact details (phone, email, website and my ABN).
The clients contact details:
Below the header, and to a side you should enter not only the clients’ details but also the date you are sending the invoice. This helps with your records, but also your clients.
Make sure you personalize the invoice with the person’s name you are sending it to.
It is important to put in a due date for your invoice. The due date is usually up to you, and should have been agreed upon prior to starting the project (is it payment upon receipt, 30 days after invoiced, 45 days after etcetera).
On the invoice I created I put the due date on the right hand side in line with my clients’ contact details, and also put a coloured box around it to make it stand out. This is so you can ensure it doesn’t go missed by your client.
I also include an invoice number. This is important for my records, so I can keep track of invoices, and their status.
List of Services:
Below the invoice number, I write a sentence or so addressing the person, and then quoting the project. For example:
To Mr Smith:
Please find attached my invoice for the eBook “How to successfully train your dog”.
Then I will add a breakdown of services.
|QTY||DESCRIPTION||UNIT PRICE||LINE TOTAL|
You should obviously personalize each invoice for your client, and what the writing project was.
Some will be as simple as one line, others will be a lot more involved depending on the scope and length of the assignment.
Specify payment options:
This is where you let your client know how you prefer to be paid. Whether it is cash, a cheque, credit card, or an online service like PayPal.
Usually if you have completed work for a big company they will have a preferred method, so ensure you check with them before starting the project.
When to Invoice:
I like to send my invoices to my client as soon as they have accepted the final project, unless otherwise stated in our contract. For example, if it is a large ongoing project I may have negotiated to send a bill on the first of each month, or biweekly. I will be posting more on writing contracts next week.
Once you have sent your invoice then you need to keep track of it.
This is where I use my trusty excel spreadsheets.
You can easily monitor if you have received deposits, partial payments, full payments or even no payment. This is vital for you to know as you don’t want to miss out on getting paid. It also helps you keep track of income. You are after all running a business.
Just as important is ensuring you back up all this vital data! Whether it is on something like the cloud, or paper copies, it is necessary to have copies of it all.
You need to determine if you will include policies such as:
- Will you charge late fees?
- Are you going to offer discounts?
- Do you require a deposit, and if so how much, before commencing a project?
If you do have these policies, then it is vital to discuss them with your client before accepting the project. They should form part of the contract between you and your client.
Using Invoicing systems to make it simple:
I did say earlier that I was looking into transitioning to an invoicing software system.
The reason for this is they offer more in depth features then my Microsoft Word invoice, and excel spreadsheet.
Some of them even offer invoice tracking, automatic follow up emails, and time and project tracking. This will save a lot of time and effort then doing it all yourself. I will do some research and create a post about invoice software later.
Grab a copy of a FREE Invoice Template to help get you started today!
I would love to hear how you invoice your clients.
Do you use a word template? Do you use online software?