How To Write An Invoice
If you’re one of the freelancers out there who gets asked for an invoice and doesn’t know how to make one - don’t panic! You are definitely not alone. Writing one of these was an early lesson for me, but I meet and work with talented folks all the time who haven’t yet mastered it, so this quick and easy post is for you.
STEP ONE - GET A FORM/TEMPLATE
Some companies will accept your invoice in the body of an email, but do yourself a favor and make a professional looking invoice you can attach - it will speak volumes and is 100% worth the small amount of energy it takes to make.
If you have Word or Pages, they each come with a template which you can easily use. Or, feel free to download my free version here. You can also type this out in google, or just about any other word processing situation.
Now - if you are switched onto an accounting software like Quickbooks, you won’t need the above forms as you can make an invoice directly in the program, and if needed, download it as a PDF to send to your client.
STEP TWO - INCLUDE ALL THE DETAILS
You’d be amazed how many invoices I’ve received over the years missing the most basic information needed to actually get you paid. Some companies will require additional information that’s not listed - it’s always best to get that information at the time of booking so you’re not waiting on money only to find out they won’t pay you until you’ve re-submitted with the correct information.
Your Legal Name(s). This should be the name you do business as and most importantly, the name your bank account is under. So if you have a DBA (‘Doing Business As’) name of Penny’s Penguins, but your bank account is only in your legal name, make sure to highlight in BOLD that all checks should be payable to Penny Pierre / your legal name.
Their legal name(s). The company (or individual as the case may be), address and contact details of the person you’ve been working with.
The date, description and rate of service. Essentially when you worked, what you were doing (or how long you were working for), and how much you are owed. This is easiest typed out in a 3-4 column table. When you’re discussing payment for a job (which should ideally always be done before you accept it), ask if there’s any specific job numbers required for the invoice. These would be specific codes that the accounting department uses to speed things up and help simplify their intakes.
Your address, phone number and email. Address is for legal purposes and for sending checks. The other contact details are necessary in case someone in accounting needs to get in touch (often this will not be the same person you submitted your invoice to).
How you want and can be paid. If you have a preference, such as ACH or Wire, make sure to state that and include all the details including your bank account number, routing number, and bank details (and IBAN for international invoices). It never hurts to include multiple options, as you never know for a first time client what might be easiest, including venmo, paypal, etc. Just make sure you’re keeping track of where your money is coming in for tax time!
Terms. The harsh truth is that freelancers don’t usually get to set the terms, but rather have to adhere to them. That said, it’s always a good idea to try and set your own. If you need to be paid within 10 business days, 30 days, etc, make a note here - but always try and discuss before you take the job so there’s no confusion. Some larger companies for example won’t end up paying you for closer to 60 days as standard protocol.
A logo and website, if you have one, though this isn’t necessary.
Thank you! It never hurts to be polite :)