January 9, 2024
10 min read

How To Invoice As A Freelancer in 2024: Tips & Templates

A comprehensive guide on how to invoice as a freelancer offering practical tips and insights into effective invoicing, covering topics such as invoice types, invoicing methods, and recommended software tools like Cone. It emphasizes the importance of professionalism, timely invoicing, and building client relationships for successful freelancing in 2024.
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Getting paid is an important matter when you're a freelancer, right? It is certainly the most important part of any contract. This is where the invoice for freelance comes in. Invoices act as a guarantee for your timely payment. Not only that, it also plays an important role in maintaining a highly professional relationship with your clients. Hence, it’s important to understand how to invoice as a freelancer.

Going into statistics, you must know that a recent survey reported that 59% of independent contractors owe late-paying clients $50,000 or more. As a result, it puts a drag on their finances and shuns their ability to expand. And certainly, we don't want you to be one of them. 

So we'll simplify everything related to invoicing and how to invoice as a freelancer in this article so that it's easy for you to grasp. We'll go over every aspect to make sure you're on top of your freelancing game and can send out those bills like a pro!

10 Types Of Invoices 

A freelancer's invoice is primarily a business document that describes a transaction. There are multiple types of invoices that are commonly used in business. Ten of the most common ones are:

Standard Invoice: A form that is issued to consumers following a sale and lists the goods or services rendered, their prices, any taxes, and the terms of payment.

Credit invoices: These are generated when products are returned or overcharged items are corrected, and they give the customer credit for additional transactions.

Debit Invoice: Documents additional charges or outstanding payments not included in the original invoice.

Mixed Invoice: Combines elements of both credit and debit invoices, adjusting for both returns and extra charges in a single document.

Proforma Invoice: A preliminary invoice offering a commitment for goods or services, providing pre-purchase details without financial impact until the transaction occurs.

Interim Invoice: Used during ongoing projects, it represents partial billings issued periodically until project completion.

Final Invoice: Marks the end of a project or service, detailing the total amount owed, typically sent after completion.

Collective Invoice: Consolidates multiple transactions into a single invoice, simplifying processing for both the issuer and receiver.

Recurring Invoice: Automatically generated at regular intervals for subscription-based services or ongoing contracts, ensuring timely billing.

Timesheet Invoice: Generated from recorded work hours, itemizing hours worked, and rates for services billed on an hourly basis, commonly used by freelancers and consultants.

Why Do Freelancers Need An Invoice?

Using invoicing is quite beneficial for freelancers. It's important to maintain professionalism, keep accurate records, and make sure that financial transactions go smoothly in addition to getting paid. Consider invoices as the cornerstone of a positive customer connection and your freelancer's mark of professionalism.

Formally speaking, invoices for freelancing work serve as concrete proof of the job done, clearly defining the terms of payment, and providing a polished framework for business dealings. They're essential for keeping precise records of earnings, taxes, and business operations, which enables independent contractors to effectively manage their finances.

Real-life scenarios highlight this importance. For instance, let’s assume a freelance designer completes a website project and does not raise an invoice. When the payment date arrives, the client might delay or miss the payment due to a lack of documentation, leading to miscommunication, stress and financial uncertainty. 

According to a survey, 74% of freelancers encountered payment issues, with late payments and non-payment ranking as top challenges. Freelancer invoices act as protective shields in such situations, reducing the risk of payment delays or disputes.

What Should Be Included in a Freelancer Invoice? 

The following information is necessary for appropriate documentation and clear communication and should be included in a freelancer's invoice:

Details of Contact: First and foremost, it is important to fill in personal details in the invoice for contact. This includes your complete name, phone number, email address, and business name. There are also options that may ask you to provide the name, contact information, and company name (if applicable) of your client.

Invoice Number and Date: For tracking and record-keeping, a distinct number and the date of issuance for every invoice.

Services Offered: Clearly state what services are offered or what work has been done.

Rates and Costs: Indicate the rate per hour, item, or project, along with the quantity. Present a breakdown of costs to provide transparency.

Total Amount Due: The most important section of the invoice includes your payment details. Carefully calculate and display the total cost before taxes or additional fees. It should ensure the client of the exact amount owed.

Payment Terms: Clearly state the payment deadline or due date. Include accepted payment methods (e.g., bank transfer, PayPal) and any late payment penalties if applicable.

Taxes and Discounts: If taxes are applicable, mention them separately. Include any discounts or credits offered to the client.

Terms and Conditions: Specify any specific terms regarding revisions, ownership, or additional fees. Clearly communicate your policies for revisions, payment schedules, or intellectual property rights.

The above components should provide a concrete foundation for how to invoice as a freelancer.

10 Tips on how to invoice as a freelancer

You might be in the freelancing field for a long time. Or you might be new. Whatever your situation is, here are the top 10 Invoicing Tips that you can make use of.

  1. The Precision Principle: Transform your invoices into clear, concise documents that are precise and error-free. Every detail, from service descriptions to due dates, should align flawlessly, ensuring a seamless payment process.
  2. The Art of Timing: Master the timing game. Issue invoices promptly after completing a project or according to agreed milestones. Timeliness not only demonstrates professionalism but also expedites payments.
  3. Visual Appeal: Infuse visual appeal into your invoices. Incorporate your logo, subtle color schemes, or elegant formatting, making your invoice stand out while retaining professionalism.
  4. Clarity Rules: Embrace the power of clarity. Break down costs, specify services rendered, and articulate payment terms in a manner that even a normal person would comprehend effortlessly. Crystal-clear communication eliminates misunderstandings.
  5. Send Reminders: Use gentle reminders, nudging clients politely but persistently as the due dates approach. A well-timed reminder ensures your invoice is not forgotten in an inbox.
  6. The Early Bird Effect: Offer incentives for early payments, creating a win-win situation. Emphasize the benefits of prompt payment, building goodwill, and encouraging clients to settle dues ahead of schedule.
  7. Leverage Tech: Leverage technology harmoniously. Explore user-friendly invoicing tools or software, to ensure efficiency in invoicing, tracking, and accuracy in financial records.
  8. Set Clear Payment Terms: Explicitly state payment terms on the invoice—whether it's Net 30, due on receipt, or any other agreement—to manage client payment expectations.
  9. Double-check Details: Ensure accuracy in your invoices. Double-check amounts, calculations, and client information to avoid errors.
  10. Automate Where Possible: Apart from all the points mentioned above, one can also use it to automate recurring invoices, reminders, and payments. It saves time and minimizes manual effort.

How To Send An Invoice To The Client?

Sending an invoice to a client is an important part of getting paid for your services or products. Here's a breakdown of the different ways to invoice and why automated invoicing should be considered.

Types of Invoicing

Manual Invoicing

This involves creating invoices using tools like Microsoft Word or Excel, or even crafting them manually. You fill in details like client information, services provided, costs, and payment terms.

Here are the steps:

  • First, use a spreadsheet or Word to draft an invoice. Make sure it has all the information you need, the client's details, a breakdown of the goods or services rendered, prices, and terms of payment.  
  • Save the invoice as a PDF or printable format. 
  • Next, attach the file to an email or print a hard copy to mail.
  • Include a polite message requesting payment, mention any due dates, and specify payment methods.
  • Finally, send the email or deliver the invoice, ensuring it reaches the client securely and promptly.

Automated Invoicing

Automated invoicing simplifies sending invoices. These systems often allow you to create, send, and track invoices electronically. Sending invoices can be hassle-free with automated invoicing tools that handle various aspects seamlessly.

Invoice Creation:

Automated invoicing allows you to easily generate invoices directly from quotes, saving time and effort. You can also automate recurring invoices, ensuring regular billing cycles with essential details picked up automatically.

Automated Reminders: 

Set up automated reminders, reducing the need for manual follow-ups and ensuring prompt payments.

Payment Links:

It simplifies payment processes by embedding payment links within invoices, allowing clients to make payments swiftly.

Integration with Accounting Systems:

Seamlessly integrate invoicing with accounting systems, ensuring invoices are automatically synced for accurate financial records.

Automation streamlines the payment process for clients and freelancers alike by ensuring fast and accurate invoicing while lowering manual labor. Further, with tools like Cone's Proposal, Invoicing and Billing Software, invoices can be created from proposals ensuring efficiency in your workflow. 

Hire an Accountant

The third method is to outsource the invoicing process to an accountant or a bookkeeping service. They handle invoice creation, sending, and sometimes even follow-ups for payment.

Here are the steps:

  • Hiring an accountant to handle invoicing involves providing them with necessary client and project details along with service descriptions. 
  • The accountant then prepares the invoice manually or via accounting software. 
  • Before submitting the invoice to the client electronically or by mail, they check its accuracy against the project conditions and agreements. 

By relieving freelancers of the burden of invoicing, this approach guarantees precise and effective billing management while freeing up the freelancer to concentrate entirely on their work.

How To Create An Invoice For Freelance Work?

Creating an invoice template involves several steps. These include:

Step 1: Select a tool or software according to your needs. For templates, one can use word processors or spreadsheet software like Microsoft Word and Excel respectively. Furthermore, specialized invoicing software like Cone’s proposal-to-payment software can also be used for more templates.

Step 2: Next, one must determine the essential sections your invoice should include. These can include business details, client information, services provided, costs, payment terms, along with a thank-you note.

Step 3: Now it is time to do the branding elements. You can incorporate your logo and brand color to personalize the template.

Step 4: Arrange the sections in a clear, easy-to-read format. Use headings, fonts, and formatting consistently for a professional look.

Step 5: If using spreadsheet software, set up calculations and formulas for automatic calculations of totals, taxes, or discounts to ensure accuracy.

Step 6: After creating the template, it is time to test it. Fill in the sample data to ensure everything aligns correctly. Now, save the template in a format so that it can be accessed and edited easily in the future.

By following these steps and utilizing the right tools, you now know how to invoice as a freelancer.

You can skip all these steps if you use pre-built templates offered by software like Cone’s proposal-to-payment software.

Freelance Invoice Template

If you are searching for a freelance invoice template, check out the freelance invoice template that we have created for you to learn how to invoice as a freelancer. You can simply download it, edit and use it as you like!

Benefits Of Creating Invoice Templates

Creating invoice templates offers numerous advantages for freelancers and businesses, streamlining the invoicing process and ensuring consistency. Here are the benefits:

Consistency: It is essential to maintain consistency through your templates. One must maintain a standardized format for all your invoices. Doing so, ensures uniformity in branding, layout, and information across clients and transactions.

Time-Saving: In order to save time, one must also have pre-designed templates as backup. It'll prevent you from wasting your time. One can also input specific details for each client while keeping the overall structure intact.

Professionalism: Well-designed templates enhance your professional image. Consistent branding elements, clear layouts, and professional formatting contribute to a polished and credible appearance.

Efficiency: Templates simplify the invoicing process. Fill in the client's details, services rendered, costs, and payment terms, minimizing errors and expediting the creation of invoices.

Customization: While maintaining a standard structure, templates offer flexibility for customization. You can add or remove sections, include your branding elements, and tailor details to suit different client needs.

Software For Creating and Sending Invoices As A Freelancer

The best method of how to invoice as a freelancer is to use software. To help you out in your search for the best one, we have given you the top 3 Software For Creating invoices for freelance work.

Cone

Cone’s Proposal, Invoicing and Billing Software offers a free, all-in-one platform for automating proposals, invoices, and payments. Cone's array of features is a freelance powerhouse, empowering you to close deals faster, save time, automate invoices, streamline payments, and ensure a steady flow of revenue without breaking a sweat. 

Features:

Cone’s Proposal, Invoicing and Billing Software offers you these features that make the best invoicing software for freelancers:

Free tier: Provides a generous free tier that meets the needs of most freelancers.

Create and send invoices: Provides an ability to create and send invoices for one-off or recurring monthly services.

Automated Invoicing: Provides an ability to create recurring invoices, so no more manual invoicing at regular intervals. Don’t want to create an invoice manually every time after the proposal is signed? No worries  - Cone’s Proposal and Billing software ensures timely invoicing based on Proposal payment schedule. 

Invoice tracking: Provides visibility into due invoices, and automates payment reminders. 

Payment follow-ups: Effectively manage payment follow-ups to ensure timely collection and improve cash flow.

Payment Gateways and Integration: Cone integrates with payment gateways like Stripe to make it easier to collect money. 

Flexible payment options: Supports multiple payment options including credit and debit card payments, direct debit, and ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers to provide the best experience to your customers, thus helping get paid faster.

Pricing methods: Cone also supports different pricing methods well suited for freelancers like one-off, milestone based pricing(like part of amount in advance) or recurring(like monthly) making it one of the best invoicing software for freelancers.

Reporting Tools: Access to robust reporting tools to gain insights into financial data, aiding in informed decision-making and performance analysis.

Accounting Integrations: Seamlessly integrate with QBO, Xero, and Zoho Books to automatically sync customers, invoices, and payments.

CRM and Sales Pipeline Management: Cone’s proposal-to-payment software organizes and manages your client interactions and project progress in a centralized Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This enables you to track leads, manage prospects, and visualize the sales pipeline, enhancing your efficiency in converting leads to projects.

Proposals Creation: Craft stunning proposals using a flexible editor and a library of premium freelance invoice templates, customizable to suit your style. Cone Proposal-to-Payment software allows you to create and add videos making your proposal memorable to your clients. 

Templates: Cone provides over 10+ templates for freelancers like Freelance Graphic Design Proposal Template, Social Media Management Template, Digital Marketing Proposal Template, etc., curated for freelancers. 

Pricing: Cone’s proposal-to-payment software is FREE! The free invoicing software for freelancers covers a comprehensive range of features, making it an attractive choice for freelancers looking to streamline their invoicing and billing processes.

FreshBooks

One well-known freelancer invoice program is FreshBooks, which combines strong invoicing features with an accounting-focused methodology. It provides an extensive feature set designed with independent contractors and small enterprises in mind. In addition to handling spending and producing invoices that may be customized, FreshBooks is excellent at project management, time tracking, and producing other financial reports such as income statements and balance sheets. 

FreshBooks is a top option for individuals looking for a comprehensive accounting solution because of its user-friendly interface and array of features, which simplify the invoicing process and provide tools for in-depth financial management.

Zoho

A cloud-based billing and invoicing tool called Zoho Invoice was created to simplify financial processes for companies of all kinds, from small startups to major multinational corporations. With its extensive customized freelance invoice template, customers can make expert bills for freelancers that accurately represent their brands. The software gives users complete control over financial operations by enabling them to effectively track spending, monitor payments, and manage billing cycles. 

Zoho Invoice for freelancers also has reporting capabilities that offer insights into financial data, supporting performance analysis and well-informed decision-making. Zoho Invoice's intuitive interface and ease of use enable it to be used for a variety of business needs, including easy invoicing and effective financial management.

If you want to learn more alternatives on invoicing software for freelancers, here is the great resource.

How to send your invoice to the client with Cone?

There are 4 simple steps how to invoice as a freelancer to the client:

Step 1: Choose a one-off or recurring invoice.

Step 2: Fill details like services rendered, price and tax rates.

Step 3: Choose when you want to schedule an invoice.

Step 4: Track invoices whether they are paid or not. 

When Should You Send Invoice as a Freelancer?

When you finish a project with a set scope or milestone, you should usually send the invoice as soon as the last piece of work is delivered. By signaling that your portion of the contract has been completed, this strategy encourages the client to complete their payment responsibility.

The Agreed Milestones state that you should decide on particular project milestones at which you will send bills, especially for larger projects with several phases or milestones. Invoicing at certain set times (e.g., upon phase completion, on defined deadlines) contributes to consistent cash flow and keeps track of project advancement.

Create a regular billing plan (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) for ongoing or retainer-based services. Maintaining a regular billing schedule guarantees that the client and you have clear expectations about

Refer to the terms outlined in your contract or agreement. If there are specific guidelines about when invoices should be sent and when payments are due, adhere to those timelines.

Send invoices for freelance work with enough time for clients to process payments before the due date. This gives them ample time to handle any internal approval processes or payment schedules they might have.

Tips On Getting Prompt Payment From Clients

To get prompt payments from clients, follow these tips:

Clearly Stated Payment Terms: Establish payment terms upfront. Make sure the terms of your agreement or contract include payment schedules, deadlines, and acceptable payment options.

Deposits and Partial Payments: For larger projects, think about asking for an upfront deposit or dividing payments into stages. This guarantees commitment and consistent funding for the duration of the project.

Encourage Early Payments: Provide discounts or other rewards for paying freelancer bills on time. Promote the advantages of early payment to clients in order to get them to pay their bills on time.

Send Expert Invoices: Make use of expert, meticulously organized freelancer invoices that precisely detail the services provided, associated expenses, and terms of payment. Make it simple for customers to comprehend and handle the payment.

Follow Up Quickly: If payments are overdue, send polite reminders a few days in advance and follow up right away. Kindly and persistently reminding them about your invoice can help encourage them to pay it first.

Create Relationships: Before you begin sending out freelance invoices, cultivate a solid rapport with your clients through open communication. Having a good rapport can help to promote timely invoice settlement and payment conversations.

Automate Invoicing: Make use of invoicing software that supports recurring invoices and automatic reminders. This guarantees uniformity in the delivery of reminders and invoices while also saving time.

Effective Communication: Quickly address any worries or problems. Payment delays can occasionally be the result of miscommunications or unanticipated events. Prompt communication can help to quickly fix these problems.

Penalties for Late Payments: Consider including late payment penalties in your contract. While this might be a last resort, it can encourage clients to pay on time to avoid additional charges.

Send Invoices Confidently 

We hope you now know the basics of invoicing as a freelancer, including how to use the finest software for the job. Invoicing is essential to the success of freelancing because it facilitates seamless transactions and builds trusting relationships with clients. Cone is the best software choice available because of its all-in-one proposal-to-payment platform, which smoothly streamlines the invoicing process. Cone allows independent contractors to concentrate on their work by streamlining proposals, handling signatures, and guaranteeing on-time payments in addition to automating billing.

Allow Cone to be your dependable partner in revolutionizing the invoicing process and guaranteeing more seamless transactions. Why wait? Learn about Cone's and how to improve your freelance career!

FAQs

We have gathered a few of the top questions asked by freelancers about invoices for freelance work and answered them here. 

  1. Why do freelancers need to send an invoice?

An invoice for freelance serves as a formal request for payment, documenting services rendered or products delivered. It helps track income, ensures clients understand payment details and provides a record for tax purposes.

  1. Should you add tax to a freelancer invoice?

Depending on your location and tax regulations, include applicable taxes in your invoice. Some freelancers might add taxes separately if required by law or if agreed upon with the client.

  1. How to invoice for the first time?

Use invoicing software or templates. Include your details, services/products provided, costs, payment terms, and due date. Clearly communicate payment methods and send it promptly upon completing the work.

  1. Do I need a separate invoice for every client?

Yes, create individual invoices for each client to maintain accurate records and clarity in transactions. Each invoice should detail specific services or products provided to that client.

  1. Can I invoice as self-employed?

Absolutely, self-employed individuals can send invoices for their services. Independent contractors and freelancers often invoice their clients for completed work.

  1. Which format is recommended for creating invoices PDF, Word, or Excel?

PDF is often preferred for invoices as it maintains formatting across devices and is more secure against alterations. However, Word and Excel are also used. Use the format that best suits your needs and client preferences.

  1. How to invoice as a freelancer for free?

As a freelancer, you can invoice for free using word documents or excel sheets or using free invoicing software like Cone.