Freelancer invoicing does not have to be difficult. However, freelance designers must set up a system to ensure that invoices are completed, tracked, and followed.
Create your own invoice or use a free invoice template to ensure you’re billing in a professional, consistent manner that will impress your clients.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Choose an Invoice Template
- Consider a Deposit
- Double Check Details with the Client
- Add Important Details
- Follow Up
Choose an Invoice Template
Select an invoice template or an invoice generator, such as invoicing software to initiate.
Free freelance invoice templates for Word, Excel, Google Docs, PDF, and other popular formats are available online.
Obviously, you’ll want to show off your design skills. Include your logo or a custom header if possible. Change the font and pick a theme colour that matches your brand. Remember that your invoice should be simple to use and easy enough for the client to read and understand.
Consider a Deposit
Try to ask new clients for a deposit. You have no idea when they will pay you or if they will ever pay you. To reduce risk, request a deposit before beginning work.
Discuss your payment terms with the client as well. Most invoices are due in 30 days, but this can be shortened or extended depending on your cash flow situation and how urgently you require the funds.
Depending on the client’s needs or payment cycle, you may need to be a little more adaptable. Some businesses, for example, only pay after 60 days.
You should also be clear about whether you provide final files or work after it has been completed or after payment has been received.
Double Check Details with the Client
Before you initiate filling out your invoice, check with the client to ensure you have all the necessary information. This will help to avoid payment delays. According to Vandelay Design, clients who find anything on an invoice ‘surprise’ are likely to pay late or not at all.
Inquire whether the client requires a specific company name on the invoice and whether they must first issue you a purchase order. Inquire about the contact name that should appear on the invoice and to whom it should be sent (and who else should be copied in). In addition, inquire whether they accept emailed invoices or prefer faxes or snail mail.
Add Important Details
If your state requires you to collect sales tax, freelancers should include their name or company name, their address, the client’s name, and address, and a sales tax number.
Other important information includes:
- Invoice number
- Client’s PO number, if applicable
- The word “invoice”
- Services, descriptions of services, and prices
- Terms and conditions, such as payment due date
- Late fee policy
- Payment details: business name for checks, bank account name and number, etc.
- Make a note if this is a partial payment i.e., you already received a deposit
- Total amount due, including tax and other factors like late fees
Vandelay Design recommends keeping track of payments as soon as possible. You’ll need a simple way to keep track of which payments have arrived, which are due, and which are still pending—invoicing software can help you with that.
You don’t want to chase clients for the money you’ve already given them. Start following up with the client right away if you don’t get paid by the agreed-upon deadline. The email reminds the client that the invoice is due. If you haven’t received a response, call your contact and politely request an update.
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