There’s nothing worse than chasing down a client to get that overdue invoice paid. Whether you’re a freelancer or a small business, keeping your cash flowing is essential, which is why creating invoices that get paid on time needs to be a priority.
Making an invoice isn’t difficult, but it’s easy to overlook crucial information that could make you look unprofessional. Writing comprehensive invoices will encourage customers to pay you on time.
You could use an invoice template, invoicing software, or even a blank document. Whatever you decide, this checklist will get you paid.
What Should Be on Every Invoice
Whatever profession you’re in, every invoice has essential elements that you’ll want to include. They are:
- Your company’s contact information
- Invoice number, issue date, and due date
- Contact information of the customer
- Detailed line items, including subtotal for each service
- Total amount due, including taxes
- Payment terms, including clear payment options
- Detailed note and/or short message
Your invoice’s overall look will differ based on your template or software, but at its core, an invoice communicates all of the information you need to get paid.
How to Write an Invoice
- Create a professional, straightforward layout
When you create a detailed, professional invoice, your clients will be more likely to pay you on time. If applicable, make sure to include the name of your company and your logo. This increases trust between you and your clients.
Another simple thing that’s easily overlooked is including a title that includes the word invoice. You want your clients to know off the bat that what they’ve received is an invoice.
- Insert your company and your client’s information
Every invoice needs both you and your client’s information. Under your company name, include your address, phone number, and email address. If there is any problem with your invoice, your client will have plenty of ways to get a hold of you.
You’ll also want to include your client’s name, address, and email. This will help keep your records organized, and if you’re sending out a physical copy, ensure it gets to the right person.
- If you want to get paid on time, add an invoice number, issue date, and due date
Near the top of your invoice, you’ll want to make sure the invoice number, issue date, and due date make an appearance. The dates will help you and your clients’ keep track of things, and it’s a polite nudge reminding them when they must pay. As for your invoice number, that’s purely for your records.
- Write detailed and itemized line items with descriptions
Your client will appreciate seeing a detailed, itemized list of items, so they know where their money is going. The more you break down what you’re charging, especially if you’re sending it out before you complete the work, the more likely you will get paid when the job is wrapped up.
Just make sure each line item indicates what they’re paying for.
- Add up the line items to come up with the total money owed, including taxes and discounts
If you’re creating your invoice manually, add up the subtotals for each line item. If you have taxes or discounts to add on, this is where you do so. Put the tax and discount amount underneath subtotal, then add up the total amount and bold it.
If you’re using an invoicing software, this process will be automated.
- Let them know your payment terms and options
To avoid disputes, clearly state your payment terms. That includes your payment due date, any late payment fees, and a money-back guarantee if one exists. Make sure your client knows the ways they can pay you.
- Include a personal note
Personalizing your invoice is a sure-fire way to increase trust and leave a positive impression. If you’re looking to build a long-term relationship with your client, this is a must.
It can be as simple as a brief thank you and a request for a review. Remember that this note closes out your invoice, so make it count.
Invoicing Best Practices
Now that you’ve mastered writing invoices, the entire process will become much less painful. To further simplify everything, here are some guidelines that will make billing a breeze.
- Use digital invoices. There is really no reason to use paper invoices nowadays. Digital invoicing is the best way to keep track of your accounting, your payments, and your clients will appreciate it. If you haven’t already, consider using an invoicing software.
- Give your clients many ways to pay. The more ways your clients have to pay their invoices, the more likely they will do it on time. Allowing your client to pay online is standard, but you could go a step further and enable credit card payments.
- Try out automatic invoicing. When you have stable, consistent clients where you’re doing the same work week in and week out, automatic invoicing will save you a ton of time. Use your invoicing software to send out invoices automatically.
- Consider late payment fees. If you still find that clients aren’t paying on time, late payment fees may be something you want to consider. You’ll want to navigate this carefully and consider the pros and cons.
With these best practices combined with a well-written invoice, you’re sure to get paid much faster.
Get Paid on Time, Every Time
Depending on your relationship with the client, you may want to send your invoice out as soon as the job is done or wait a bit. Either way, if you’ve followed the above steps, you should find yourself getting paid much quicker.
Writing invoices doesn’t have to be a drag. If you follow the above tips and best practices, you’ll find invoicing becomes less tedious, and you should get paid on time. With this process mastered, you’ll save time creating and chasing down payments, and your clients will thank you for it.