What should your freelance invoice include?

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Wouldn’t it be great to complete a freelancing task, get paid for it and move right on to the next client without worrying about invoicing? Generating and sending invoices for your work can appear time-consuming and maybe even unnecessary. However, invoices safeguard your best interest and provide you with legal protection against erring or non-paying clients. Moreover, a visually-appealing invoice seals your reputation as a seasoned freelancer.

When preparing an invoice, remember to include the following information:

Name and contact information: Ensure that you include your name, phone number and address. If you have a business name and logo, make sure you incorporate that too, as they tend to make your invoice look more professional.

Client’s name and contact information: List your client’s business name and address, along with your point of contact and/or the project manager. Without including this last piece of information, there’s a high likelihood that your invoice will stay in the accounts department, without anybody from the client’s end following up on your behalf or pushing for payment.

Invoice number: Invoice numbers help you stay on track and eases the process of organising invoices. Some people invoice with a numbering system, others with alphabets and many others with a combination of both. Whichever mode you prefer, remember to remain consistent.

Date of issue and due date: Make sure you include the day of raising the invoice as it can help you keep track of the payment timeline. Often, freelancers tend to number invoices wrong and should this happen, you’ll still be able to track the right invoice if it has been dated correctly. Payment due date will also need to be added as it holds clients accountable to release your payment within a stipulated time frame. Several invoicing software automatically project due dates depending on the rules that you’ve set—for instance, as a standard, you may raise invoices with payment terms that ask the client to pay within 15 days of invoice receipt. The software will set down this date automatically. Payment terms could change from client to client, so make sure you’re clear about the payment terms before you begin the project.

Line item descriptions: Explain clearly for which project you’re seeking payment; more so, if you have a few parallel projects running with the client. Details will serve as an important reference point in the future when you suddenly wonder if you were paid for x piece of work. If there are a few items for which you are raising the invoice, list each item separately with a description, rate, quantity and the subtotal amount.

Total amount due: After you’ve listed each item separately with the corresponding sub-total, clearly call out the total amount due in both numbers and words. If you’re working with international clients, mention the amount in their currency and yours. You may also want to consider adding the conversion rate for future reference.

Payment mode: If your client is based out of India, you could accept payment via check or electronic transfer. You can also accept payments via your credit card or through a PayPal account.

Terms and conditions: Do include this where pertinent. This could contain interest charge for late fee, demand for advance or any other agreement that you had with the client.

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