Discussing your clients investment, deposit and terms can be stressful enough on it's own, but realizing you forgot to include something on an invoice after the fact is the worst.
These topics are not typically talked about when starting your business, but don't you worry, I've got that here for you!
Regardless if you use an editable template or a platform that generates invoices for you, the invoice needs to include these bare minimum items. You don't want your invoice to be a novel, but including the right information can help immensely should a dispute arise. And, I tell you the one item you MUST have that 99% of us assume it's not needed. I learned this the hard way. Don't be me.
Your information, like obvs!:
Business contact information (at minimum an email address)
Clients information, another obvs!:
Address the invoice to your client directly and/or Accounts Payable (this may vary depending on your client & if they have an accounting department)
The clients contact information & their address
Why do you want their address if it's a virtual client you ask? If a legal situation occurs with your client, they can easily block you on every virtual platform and you will not be able to send demand letters, collection letters, court documents - by having their address on the invoice will ensure that even if you are 100% virtually blocked, you can still reach them.
The details will vary from niche to niche and client to client, but these are the standard items that should be included.
Service(s) provided during the invoicing period
Any specifics about the project that may be important (If the invoice is for a deposit, note that information, if it's payment #1 of 4, note that)
Quantity/Amount; if you are selling a physical product
SKU/Product code; if applicable
Sales tax; if applicable
Date of Services; if applicable
Discount amount; if applicable
Hours; if applicable
Days/Months the hours were worked
Date the invoice will be sent to the client
Date the invoice is due (upon receipt, within 7 days, net 30, net 60)
Memo & Footer:
These two are the perfect place to say thank you, remind clients about your referral program, offer a discount on other services and so much more. Depending on the type of invoice I always include "Thank you for your payment" and information about my referral program. If it is the clients final invoice I will personally write a brief thank you. Ex. "It was a great pleasure having the opportunity to partner with you and XYZ business for your organizational needs. I can't wait to be able to partner up again!" I try my best to personalize anything and everything that I can. It helps you stand out from the rest. If you have not realized yet, but I am BIG on personalization and treating my clients like humans and not just another "paycheck". I didn't start my own business to operate that way.
If your client will be providing a deposit or paying in full, send their invoice right after you receive a signed contract. If the client will be making payments or if it is an ongoing retainer type project immediately set up recurring invoices to be sent automatically.
I didn't use to do this until I realized I was broke because I was forgetting to invoice! Like how!?! Now I set everything up on a recurring cycle. Even if there will only be 2 invoices (a deposit and final payment), I don't want to forget to send that final/second invoice or send it late.
Aside from getting paid on time, it streamlines your processes, allows you to focus elsewhere and not have to do as much maintenance. Time is important in the freelance world. Need an invoice template? Grab one from "The Shop"!
tl;dr This post goes over the ways to invoice our clients and ensure best practices for payments and invoicing.