Creating your first freelance invoice can be challenging and confusing at the same time. What’s the best freelance invoice format? What should you include in an invoice as a freelancer? When should you send the invoice to ensure you can get paid for your hard work as quickly as possible?
It can be tempting to just open a Word document and create an invoice from scratch. But, there are too many disadvantages of creating invoices from scratch, starting with how much time it takes. It can also become difficult for you to track down previous invoices and pending payments. Most importantly, when you finally have to compile the invoices together to pay taxes, you might not be able to find them anywhere.
The solution? Using a freelance invoice template or an invoicing tool to help you stay ahead of things. Personally, for me, invoicing is now the fastest task thanks to freelance writer invoice templates and invoicing apps, which allows me to focus more on my core responsibilities instead of worrying about which columns and rows to add in an invoice.
In this article, we take a look at how to create freelance invoices that can fuel your business growth.
What is a freelance invoice?
A freelance invoice is sent by freelancers to their clients which includes the details of all the work done by the freelancer along with their banking/payment details where the amount should be transferred. In other words, it gets freelancers paid for all the services that they provide. A freelance invoice can be for an advance payment before the work starts or for services already delivered to the client.
By having a system for freelance invoices, you will be able to:
- Keep track of every sent invoice
- Calculate the total monthly income automatically
- Save invoices in one place for tax season (Take a look at how tax filing as a freelancer works in India)
- Get paid quickly
- Look more professional in front of your clients
- Save time
What are the different types of invoices for freelancers?
The following are different types of invoices for freelancers:
This is the most used and known type of invoice sent by freelancers at the end of the project to request payments.
Pro forma or prepayment invoice
This can be considered as an advance payment invoice which can contain an estimate or quotation asking for payment in advance.
Freelancers working on an hourly basis can share timesheet invoices to bill clients according to the hours they spent working.
Past due invoice or memo invoice
There can be times when a client forgets the due date of the payment or is late in paying. In such a case, freelancers can confront the situation by issuing a past due or memo invoice. The information in the invoice will be a reminder of the total due and any late fees charged due to the late payment.
If you work with clients on a fixed price basis, for every week or every month, you can just send a recurring invoice to them whenever it’s time for payment.
How to invoice as a freelancer
One of the most confusing questions new freelancers face is – How to invoice a company for freelance work? There are many ways of preparing and sending an invoice to a company. You can use a template or an invoice generator to prepare a professional invoice.
The invoice should contain a breakdown of your services along with the charges for your services. You also need to include an invoice number, client details, and your own account details.
You can use a freelance invoice generator to make invoices quickly and then share the invoices with clients through email.
Which format to choose for your invoice?
The format for an invoice can be in PDF, Word, or Excel. Read along to understand how each format is used.
- Word and Google Docs invoices
Word and Google Docs are the common options for creating invoices. You can create freelance invoice templates of your own or download one. If your invoices are pretty straightforward and do not involve a lot of calculations, using Word or Google Docs invoice templates can be helpful.
- Excel and Google Sheet invoices
Excel or Google Spreadsheet are more preferred formats for invoices when you have a lot of calculations in your invoices which the client would want to cross check. For instance, if you are creating a freelance design invoice, you might want to include a section outlining the cost of raw materials.
Excel invoice templates provide you with the opportunity to use the built-in calculator. You can use a freelancer excel template to calculate the total amount due and taxes. This not only saves time but also ensures your calculations are always accurate.
- PDF invoices
Sometimes when you send invoices in Word or Excel format, the overall formatting of the document can get disrupted if the client is using a different version of the editor. Sending a PDF invoice means your invoice will always be seen in the exact same way as you formatted. That is because PDFs cannot directly be edited without a specific PDF editor.
This also helps to ensure that clients do not make changes in any way when a freelancer sends the invoice.
Best practices for sending freelance invoices
The best practices for sending freelance invoices include:
- Provide multiple freelance payment methods
- Mention extra charges such as sales tax and late fees
- Double-check the content of your invoice before sending
- Make a duplicate of each invoice and save it for your own record keeping
- Send reminders and follow up in case payments get delayed
- Add a unique and sequential invoice number to each invoice to make it easier to search for any invoice
Things to include in your freelance invoice
A freelancer invoice contains the following information:
Your personal information
Add contact details such as email address and telephone number. You can also add your company name and the company logo. This makes it simple for the client and their financial department to know who has sent the invoice.
Client’s personal details
Client’s details can be mentioned under the ‘Bill To.’ These details include the client’s name, contact information, and address.
The date that you send the invoice is the invoice date.
An invoice number is for reference. It’s preferred to keep these numbers sequential for each invoice to make them easier to track.
Information on services charged
A breakdown of the specific services you have offered is crucial. It provides a description of your work. Mention each service in a separate line.
The majority of freelancers are liable to pay taxes in one way or another to the government. That is why you should clearly include the tax rate and the amount due in the invoice to avoid any confusion later.
Goods & Services Tax is one form of tax implemented by different states. Look into the guidelines for GST for freelancers in India to find out whether you should be charging 18% GST on your invoices or not. In most cases, if your income is less than 20 lakhs a year as a freelancer in India, then you wouldn’t have to charge GST.
If your client will be charging TDS over the invoice amount, you will also be required to provide your PAN number
Total amount due
This is the total price of the whole project, including the tax amount.
This includes the payment methods that you prefer. You can share your bank account number, Google Pay QR code, payment gateway link, or even your PayPal email. Knowing how to receive payments as a freelancer in India is incredibly important to get paid quickly.
Mention your preferred payment method in the invoice first, followed by other methods . In case you get charged a small fixed fee or percentage for using the different payment methods, decide on whether you will be bearing the extra charges or making the client pay for it. It’s also a good idea to incorporate the extra charges on your total amount.
Freelance writer in India or any person issuing an invoice should sign it. When creating an invoice, freelancers should thus consider leaving a designated space. This is where they can either place the company seal or the signature. This is most likely to be at the bottom of the invoice page. You can also use an E-signature by writing your name in full.
When is the right time to send a freelance invoice?
Sending an invoice at the correct time encourages clients to make timely payments. The type of freelance service helps to determine the best time to invoice.
It is common to send the freelance invoice immediately after the completion of work. This is especially preferable for freelancers with small stand-alone projects. The duration of the project plays a part in determining the right time to invoice.
For instance, if you are a content writer who is working with a client on a fixed monthly fee, then you would send the invoice at the end of every month. Remember the sooner you can invoice the clients, the quicker you will receive payments.
10 free invoice templates for freelancers
Here are the top 10 free freelance invoice templates you may find useful:
1- Freelance Invoice by Wave Apps
Freelance invoice template by Wave Apps is simple, straightforward, and flexible. It works for all types of freelance services that you offer.
2- Consulting services invoice by WaveApps
This one is a consulting invoice template by WaveApps which is suitable for freelancers offering consulting services like IT consulting, management consulting, and business strategy.
3- Freelance Invoice Template by Jotform
This template is perfect for freelancers that offer graphic design services. It can take a lot of effort to prepare different invoices for clients. Using a freelance graphic design invoice sample can help you save energy and time.
4- Invoice Template by Canva
This template by Canva is a minimal and straightforward invoice template that you can use for just about any type of service. In case you are a freelance content writer working on a per word payment basis, you can keep the rate as your per word fee and change the ‘Hours’ column to ‘Number of words’
When you are done editing, you can download the invoice as a PDF file.
5- Freelance Invoice Template by Canva
Any freelance writing business will find this beautiful template by Canva useful. While the invoice template design is still minimal, its use of colour makes the whole design more elegant.
6- Custom template by Ruul Blog
Web designers tend to find invoicing as an extra task that requires a lot of work. This template reduces the work and the time spent finding the right invoice sample.
You can bill your web design contract by page, hour or project. This template helps you to customize your invoice details with ease.
7- PayPal invoice
If you use PayPal to receive payments, you can also use its free invoice templates to create invoices and get paid quickly. The biggest advantage of using PayPal invoices is that it makes payments super easy to track. You can create an invoice and get paid through the same platform.
8- Invoice Simple
Keeping track of things such as expenses and taxes is important. It is crucial, especially when starting out your freelance business. These invoices help you stay organized as you keep track of expenses and taxes.
9- Fiverr Workspace
Fiverr offers a clean invoice template in different formats such as PDF, Word, or Excel. The templates are free and easy to print. They offer templates depending on what your freelance business needs.
10- Hourly Freelance Invoice Template by Jotform
An hourly invoice helps freelancers track hours spent doing a project. This template gives you the opportunity to add or remove information or images.
How to send your invoice to the client
So how to invoice a company for freelance work? What is the proper way to go about it?
You can send your invoice to the client through a variety of means.
One of the common ways is attaching the invoice document in an email. An alternative to get paid to write is by using free invoicing apps that give you the opportunity to email your invoices directly to clients.
You can also create a link to your invoice and share the link with clients so that they can access it.
Any freelancer who works with multiple clients may find it difficult to manage payments. If done manually, it is a lot of work and requires time. With freelance invoice templates, it becomes easier to quickly create invoices and focus on more important parts of your business.
How do you prefer to send freelance invoices? Is there a tool that you use? Let us know in the comments.