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How to Invoice as a Freelancer: What to Include

by Paul

Invoicing clients is a key part of getting paid for your hard work as a freelancer. Whether you’re just starting out sending your first freelance invoices or have been freelancing for years, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about creating professional invoices to get paid exactly what you deserve.

Crafting Polished, Client-Ready Freelance Invoices

The most important purpose your freelance invoice serves is clearly communicating to clients what they are being charged for. This enables clients to review and confirm the completed freelance work, ensuring they can process your payment swiftly and efficiently.

When you write an invoice for freelance work, your invoice should include these fundamental details (create your free invoice here with Bloom’s invoice generator):

Include Your Business and Contact Information

This ensures the client knows precisely where to send the invoice payment. Be sure to include:

  • Your full name
  • Freelance business name or DBA (if registered) so payments reconcile
  • Complete address
  • Primary phone number where you can be reached
  • Professional business email address (no nicknames)

Specify Client Point of Contact and Billing Details

It’s essential that you send your invoice directly to the individual responsible for processing payments at the respective company. To make your invoice accurate, ensure you have and correctly include their:

  • Full name (avoid Attention: Accounts Payable)
  • Company legal name
  • Corporate mailing address (for invoice correspondence)
  • Accounts payable department email

These details guarantee that your invoice for freelance work is dispatched to the correct person without delay.

Describe Services Completed and Work Delivered

Avoid vague descriptions like “Freelance Services” when you create an invoice. Be specific about the project and include:

  • Type of services rendered
  • Project milestones achieved
  • Total deliverables created
  • Applicable deadlines or overall timeline
  • Next steps in the project (if applicable)

Providing clear details reminds them exactly what you already delivered under your agreement or contract.

Document Invoice Date and Unique Invoice Number

The invoice creation date helps both you and the client easily reference and track when this particular statement was sent for outstanding payment.

List the date using a consistent format like:

  • 03/31/2023
  • March 31, 2023
  • 31 March 2023

The invoice number enables simple identification and distinction of specific invoices over longer engagements involving multiple project billings and payments.

Best practice is to start numbering sequentially beginning with 001, 002 and progressing upwards from there:

  • Inv-001
  • #002
  • Invoice 003

This numbered labeling system will serve you well over the course of your freelance career spanning many years.

Define Payment Terms and Client Expectations

Clients require clear guidelines regarding deposit amounts or upfront payments needed from them before commencing work.

They also need explicit timelines informing them exactly when outstanding payments on invoices you issue are actually due. Commonly issued freelance payment terms include:

  • Payment due upon receipt (most aggressive option)
  • Net 15 (payment due 15 days from invoice date)
  • Net 30 (payment due 30 days from invoice date)
  • 50% deposit required to initiate project work (common for larger contracts)

Consider your client preferences and norms in your profession as you craft your personalized payment terms policies. You’ll want to make sure your client understands exactly when they need to clear the invoice. State precise final payment due dates on every invoice based on your payment terms so they can comply accordingly.

And remember you can always revise terms over time if you experience excessive delays in clients submitting owed payments. The goal is optimizing the probability of being paid fully and on time!

Provide Easy-to-Follow Line Itemization of All Charges

As a best practice, meticulously breakdown your invoiced charges across multiple line items including:

  • Total hours worked x hourly rate
  • Itemized list of key projects or tasks completed
  • Breakdown of expenses incurred you are passing through to client
  • Progress milestones achieved tied to associated contracted billing

Wherever relevant, incorporate the specific rates or unit fees on individual line items so the client can validate accurate math and totals.

Bloom’s simple itemization feature makes invoice creation a breeze

Clearly Specify Total Balance Due

At the bottom of the itemization section, sum up totals from all line items included on the invoice to provide one final total amount owed.

Double-check this matches any supplemental invoices or statements attached with the same exact total balances indicated. Avoid any ambiguity or discrepancy.

Many freelancers also include dedicated fields confirming:

  • Subtotal sum of all charges
  • Relevant taxes to be applied
  • Total after tax
  • Total amount due (matching attached invoices if included)

Note Accepted Payment Methods and Instructions

Instead of assuming client awareness around payment mechanics, proactively specify which payment methods you accept and prefer they leverage, including:

  • PayPal – Provide associated email account connected to your PayPal or invoice link
  • ACH bank transfer – Include account details and routing numbers
  • Mailed business check – List mailing address for physical checks

Optimally also reference your standard timelines for when payment submission is officially recognized after being transmitted using a particular method.

Additional Optional Invoice Sections and Inclusions

Beyond a standard baseline invoice template, some extras many seasoned freelancers choose to incorporate:

Specialized Terms and Conditions

Call attention to customized payment or client policies like:

  • Late payment fees incurred after due date
  • Discounts or incentives offered for early payment
  • Project change order or pivot processes
  • Reimbursement protocols

Expenses or Reimbursable Charges

If aiming to recoup miscellaneous expenditures supporting delivery on the agreed scope of work, consider breaking out or itemizing:

  • Project-specific software subscriptions or tools
  • Travel costs like airfare, lodging, or mileage
  • General office supplies directly tied to client project
  • Any other reimbursable line items

For substantial expenses, include scanned receipts as backup.

Milestone-Based Billing Landmarks

On large, multi-phase or long-term projects, tie invoicing to passage of key progress milestones across the project life cycle:

  • Mobilization fee when kicking off engagement
  • Initial research and discovery deliverable
  • Completion of production milestone
  • Delivery of final approved Closeout report

Schedule payout benchmarks judiciously to complete critical path items supporting your duties.

Invoicing Software Logo or Program Affiliation

If utilizing a reputable invoicing system like Freshbooks to create and manage your invoices, proudly display the logo and name. This lends additional credibility demonstrating your business and billing sophistication by leveraging dedicated software.

Your Personal or Business Branding and Logos

Alongside any invoicing platform insignia, incorporate signature graphics or logos associated directly with your freelance brand identity. Making professional-looking invoices will help your brand perception, and can help get you paid for your freelance work on time.

Photos or Samples of Delivered Work Product

Sometimes, when invoicing for unclear and and undetermined consulting services, it pays dividends to showcase examples or samples of work performed for that specific client. Provide tangible reminders and justification for invoiced services.

Fully customize your invoices with Bloom. 

Pricing Yourself Right – Determining Freelance Rates

When establishing what to charge per billable hour or per quoted project price, several key factors to assess include:

  • Your proficiency and experience level in this service area
  • Typical hourly rate or price range norms based on peers in your freelance industry
  • The unique value, outcomes and ROI your service delivery provides clients
  • Defining an hourly rate or fee margins that sustains your income goals and freelance business overhead

As you progressively garner more satisfied clients and positive references, you become empowered to incrementally increase rates over time. Just be transparent in communicating coming rate adjustments so customers do not receive unexpected pricing surprises down the road. Consider messaging like:

”Due to rising business costs and upgraded qualifications, my hourly rates will increase 5% across the board effective January 1, 2024 for new client projects.”

Best Practices to Send Your Invoice

If hesitant or postponing issuing that crucial first freelance invoice to collect payment, bypass any lingering reservations knowing that reliably getting compensated is imperative for operating an independent business.

As long as your invoice thoroughly delineates expectations, specifics around required work product, and clearly directs expected payment – then have confidence you compiled an effective document.

For fledgling freelancers, several recommendations to make first-time invoicing easier:

Leverage a Professionally Formatted Invoice Template

Boost perception by expertly formatting polished invoices using a free customizable online invoice generator.

Email PDF Invoices to Expedite Delivery

Emailing your invoice as a PDF file attachment supplies client billing contacts with the required inputs in one universally compatible, immediately accessible document.

Specify Available Payment Methods with Instructions

Elaborate on options like PayPal or bank transfers so clients fully comprehend next steps for smoothly paying your invoice.

Solicit Invoice Receipt Confirmation and Estimated Payment Date

Verify client stakeholders received your invoice intact. Gently ask when they expect remitting owed payment for planning purposes.

Schedule Recurring Invoices for Long-Term Projects

For ongoing multi-month engagements, setup seamless recurring monthly invoices that automatically deliver like clockwork.

Scaling Your Invoice Processing as Freelance Operation Grows

Once continually creating multiple invoices across an expanding book of retained clients, imperative to architect sustainable systems enabling frictionless invoicing at scale over the long-term.

Employ Specialized Invoicing Software

Robust applications like Bloom empower creating, automating and streamlining high volumes of polished invoices programmed to recur quarterly, annually or whatever duration you customize.

Such tools automatically track payments, provide reminders on outstanding invoices, and can follow-up with clients to resolve any delays. This saves immense administrative workload over manual processing.

Architect a Central Invoice Tracking Datasheet

A dedicated spreadsheet tab acts as mission control to monitor all invoices distributed. Capture metadata like:

  • Invoice numbers
  • Recipient details
  • Date issued
  • Due dates
  • Date payment received
  • Job details

Update this source of truth hub religiously to always know outstanding payments owed.

Standardize Numbering for All Invoices

Use consistent sequential nowhere like Inv-001, Inv-002 throughout years long freelance career to easily segment unique invoices.

Calendarize Recurring Due Date Reminders

Schedule monthly or weekly draft invoice generation tasks on your calendar to prevent forgetting to compile and issue timely statements to clients.

Stay organized dispatching invoices like clockwork on the same day each period. Your financial planning depends on it!

Enable Invoice Auto-Delivery Through Invoicing Platform 

Sophisticated applications can fully automate sending recurring invoices on precisely the precise schedule and cadence you pre-define so draft creation never slips through the cracks.

Incorporate Late Fees or Policies

Clients tempted to delay payments respond well to incremental late fees accumulating the longer an invoice goes unaddressed past predefined due dates in your terms and conditions. Enforce payment expectations.

Best Practices to Get Paid Faster and More Consistently

On top of airtight invoicing protocols, several additional proven tips will have payments consistently flowing into your business:

Require Deposit as Down Payment Upfront 

Collecting 30%-50% of project total fees before kicking things off builds client “skin in the game” and commitment to your partnership.

Scrupulously Document Delivered Work and Outcomes

Clients fully understand what specific efforts they are financing, which smooths approvals clearing payments owed.

Send Friendly Payment Reminder Notices

If payment lapses beyond net payment terms, send polite email reminders noting outstanding balance due.

Forge Long-Term Client Relationships

Consistent repeat business with loyal clients deeply appreciative of your contributions prioritizes paying invoices immediately.

Consider Early Payment Discounts

Sometimes clients just need extra motivation to pay more quickly. Knock off 5% for clearing invoices in 7 days instead of 30.

Confidently Invoice as a Freelancer with Bloom

Embrace efficiency in your freelancing journey with Bloom. Our platform offers an intuitive way to send invoices, ensuring you spend less time on paperwork and more on what you do best. With diverse payment options available, Bloom makes it easier for your clients to pay promptly, supporting your cash flow.

Bloom’s freelancer invoice system is designed to streamline your invoicing process. From customizable freelance invoice templates to simple, free invoice templates, we provide the tools you need to create clear, professional invoices. Each invoice you send to a client reflects your professionalism and attention to detail.

Choosing Bloom means choosing a platform that understands the nuances of freelance work. We’re here to make invoicing straightforward and efficient, so you can focus on your projects and clients. If you’re looking for a way to enhance your invoicing process, consider giving Bloom a try. See how our effective invoice solutions can support your business goals.

Bloom’s Free Freelancer Invoice Template

When you use an invoice template designed for freelancers, it streamlines the process of billing your clients. A well-crafted freelancer invoice template ensures you include all the essential information, making it easier for clients to understand your charges and for you to get paid on time. 

Remember, the key to an effective invoice is clarity and completeness. Every piece of information on your invoice serves a purpose, from the invoice details to the due date. By using an invoice template and carefully crafting each section of the invoice, you make the process payment process more efficient and professional. This not only helps in maintaining a steady cash flow but also strengthens your relationship with your clients. 

Try our free invoice generator and template here!

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