Invoicing clients is the best part of being a freelancer.
Getting to requests funds for the work you’ve delivered feels great, but it can also be a hassle. Without a streamlined invoicing system in place, getting paid accurately and on time across multiple clients can quickly become a real pain.
However, implementing invoicing software for freelancers to simplify and automate billing and payments can directly increase revenue for freelancers and small businesses. In fact, a recent survey found that freelancers using dedicated invoicing tools earned 65% more annually than those relying on manual methods.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover:
- How utilizing the best invoice software designed for freelance business needs provides tangible financial returns and stacks up against alternative solutions
- You’ll discover what core features the best invoicing tools offer to alleviate invoicing headaches
- We’ll evaluate top-rated options to determine the right software for your freelance work
- You’ll learn how to leverage best practices around use invoicing tools to maximize earnings potential
Try our free invoice generator if you need to quickly send a customized, professional-looking invoice right now!
Why Invoicing Software is Essential for Successful Freelance Businesses
Before reviewing solutions, let’s examine why utilizing freelancer invoicing apps is an imperative investment:
Save Substantial Time
From creating individual invoices for each client, ensuring accurate project details, sending across multiple platforms, fielding questions, reconciling payments, and relentlessly tracking down late invoices, billing eats up valuable project time better spent servicing customers and securing new business.
Streamlining this fragmented process through dedicated tools delivers massive time savings critical to maintaining workload capacity as a solopreneur.
Present a Professional Image
The invoices you send also represent your brand. Typo-laden documents with inconsistent details and formatting undercut your position as an expert service provider.
Conversely, polished invoice templates with clearly outlined expectations align with showcasing high-caliber work and merit premium rates.
Get Paid Faster
Small business clients are notoriously slow payers, with over 80% paying freelancers late. However, clearly detailing payment terms upfront, implementing systematic reminders, and offering mobile-friendly payment options through billing software cuts invoice cycle times.
The bottom line? Invoicing and accounting software helps freelancers work smarter, not harder while accelerating cashflow.
Now let’s examine must-have functionality.
Essential Features Your Freelance Invoicing Software Should Offer
With countless software tools occupying the market, sifting through options to identify the best match for your independent contracting work is no simple task.
Ideally, your invoicing and accounting process should integrate seamlessly with your existing systems without demanding a steep learning curve yet still automate manual processes.
Here are 10 must-have features to look for in the best freelancer invoicing software in 2024:
1. Client Management and CRM Capabilities
Solopreneurs juggle multiple clients with varying payment procedures, budgets, and needs. Robust CRM functionality like that found in solutions such as HoneyBook lets you store each client’s preferences centrally to reference directly when creating associated invoices and documentation workflows.
2. Custom Branding and Template Design
Every communication with your client shapes their view of working with you. Utilize templates that align with branding guide sets the tone that you take your business seriously.
3. Secure Multi-Channel Invoice Delivery
Clients should receive invoices effortlessly via their preferred channel – email, snail mail, or directly through an online portal. Plus, access permissions ensure payment details remain protected.
4. Automated Recurring Billings
Recurring retainers or memberships should charge reliably without any manual interference through set automated transactions.
5. Time Tracking Integration
Accurately billing hourly and per project engagements relies on capturing associated time worked. Toggl, Harvest, and Hubstaff are commonly integrated tools.
6. Mileage and Expense Tracking
Bill direct costs incurred fulfilling client work, whether one-time expenses or standard charges like mileage, without additional data entry.
7. Mobile Functionality
Conduct billing tasks on the go through Android and iOS-supported apps linked to necessary client data.
8. Extensive Payment and Processing Options
Getting paid faster hinges on providing easily accessible options – that means going beyond physical checks to offer a spectrum spanning ACH transfers, credit cards, Apple Pay, and PayPal.
9. Accounting Software Integrations
Syncing invoices and financial data with small business accounting platforms streamlines reporting, reconciliation, and tax preparations rather than manually exporting and uploading data across distinct systems.
10. Automated Late Payment Reminders
Prompt follow-up increases on-time payments and cuts days sales outstanding metrics. Software reminders eliminate remembering and avoid uncomfortable conversations.
Now that we’ve covered baseline must-haves, let’s examine the top software contenders for freelancers.
9 Top-Rated Freelance Invoicing Software Solutions
With a crowded software market spanning basic online form creators to comprehensive end-to-end accounting suites, selecting your ideal freelance invoicing solution comes down to aligning features with functionality needed and budget.
Based on capabilities that specifically address solopreneur requirements around managing multiple billings, clients, and milestone-based work, these solutions lead the pack:
Pricing: $6-$16 per month
The self-proclaimed “#1 accounting software in the cloud for small business owners” earns high marks for an intuitive interface, flexible recurring invoices, timed project tracking, and fast setup. Freshbooks software allows integration with major platforms like Basecamp, Stripe, and Gusto smooths data syncing.
However, the lack of preview customization is a drawback along with clunky reporting.
Best For: Small agencies and consultant teams who bill major project milestones.
Pricing: $14-$39 per month
This client management hybrid melds estimating, invoicing, accounting, and CRM capabilities in one system aimed squarely at solo entrepreneurs who offer client services. Automations streamline workflows while collaboration tools facilitate stakeholder access.
Expect a learning curve and somewhat pricy scaled subscriptions. But if an integrated hub is appealing, HoneyBook warrants consideration.
Best For: Solo consultants who require centralized business coordination.
Pricing: $15 per month
Minimalist freelancers and small business owners who want straightforward, simple invoicing will appreciate InvoiceSimple’s affordability and frictionless setup process to quickly create, track, and reconcile billings. Add-ons like payment links and accounting imports offer flexibility.
Best For: Independent contractors who sporadically handle billing themselves.
4. Invoice Ninja
Pricing: Free – $12 per month
This open-source platform attracts developers and technical solopreneurs with code-level customization potential, useful integrations, and robust reporting. Users can self-host data or leverage the cloud. A client portal facilitates invoice access and approvals.
Expect a relatively steep learning curve to leverage advanced functionality – but flexible access makes this tool scalable and a good choice for freelancers looking for very advanced invoicing needs and invoicing capabilities.
Best For: Developers and consultants with complex data needs.
5. PayPal Invoicing
Pricing: Free (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction)
Leveraging existing PayPal business accounts offers easy mobile invoicing without downloading software or paying monthly subscription fees beyond small transaction charges. Clients recognize the trusted brand that securely stores payment information for streamlined processing. You can also export data to share with an accountant.
Customization is limited however and automation requires Zapier workarounds. Yet the convenience factor appeals for on-the-go contractors.
Best For: Solopreneurs who regularly utilize PayPal and want minimal invoicing.
6. Quickbooks Invoicing
Pricing: $25+ per month
Intuit’s market-leading accounting software offers standalone Invoicing packages or integrated billing when you upgrade to QuickBooks Online Plus. Generating recurring invoices, tracking sales taxes, and syncing payment details into accounting reports saves significant time. Integration with the larger QuickBooks ecosystem allows scaling complexity as your freelance business grows.
However, advanced features carry a hefty price tag, especially if you require inventory management or payroll. Yet for established freelance accountants, the tool is hard to beat.
Best For: Financially-complex freelance businesses.
7. Invoice Berry
Pricing: $15 – $25 per month
Demonstrating consistent user experience across web and mobile apps makes this solution attractive for font-end constituent usability. Integrations like Stripe Billing bring advanced custom subscription and metered billing options to solopreneurs along with secure bank-level data encryption.
Expect rates on the higher end for more limited-scope sole proprietors though. And migrating off the platform warrants consideration before buying in.
Best For: Freelancers with recurring membership offers who bill on usage.
8. Zoho Invoice
Pricing: $9 – $35 per month
Part of a larger business suite, Zoho Invoice separates itself through accommodating both one-time and recurring invoices using 40+ templates while integrating with other critical platforms like Zapier and Zoho Books for data sharing with accountants.
Between somewhat rigid design functionality to limitations grouping certain client projects, Zoho requires heavy process orientation for smoothest adoption. But helpful inventory management tools appeal for product-based freelancers.
Best For: Product-based freelancers like ecommerce consultants
Wave nails the independent contractor sweet spot: subscription-free and straightforward yet still accommodating automated billing reminders, recurring invoices, multi-currency transactions, transaction reconciliation, and plenty of customization potential.
Receiving payment still requires external processing through PayPal, Stripe, or similar. So users with high complex processing flows might prefer direct integrations elsewhere. But frugal freelancers appreciate Wave’s practical simplicity.
Best For: Budget-minded solopreneurs wary of monthly fees.
How to Use Invoicing Software to Increase Profits
With the abundance of software options available, spanning general accounting to specialized and customizable invoicing, independent contractors must identify solutions tailored to their unique workflow needs and client profiles at a reasonable cost.
Yet simply adopting software alone won’t guarantee increased profitability at scale. You must actively utilize these tools’ capabilities to realize substantial bottom-line growth.
Invoicing software goes beyond just sending invoices. You can leverage key capabilities to boost your earnings directly with the right freelance-focused tools.
- Set Up Recurring Invoices for Retainer Clients
Many freelancers have retainer fee structures with clients, charging an agreed monthly or weekly rate for a minimum level of service or availability.
However, chasing clients to pay ongoing fixed fees sucks up time. The solution? Set up automatic recurring invoices.
With just a few clicks, quality invoicing software for freelancers enables creating invoices that automatically bill on whatever interval you specify – weekly, monthly, etc.
Now your retainer gets paid on autopilot without you needing to send a unique invoice every period. You look professional with a consistent payment process and avoid payment delays from forgotten invoices.
- Use Time Tracking to Bill Accurate Project Hours
Getting paid for every hour worked is critical. Yet keeping detailed track of time across multiple clients is tough without the right systems.
Integrated time and invoicing software solves this challenge. Simply turn on time tracking linked to specific projects and client accounts. Then all tracked hours get synced right to the associated invoices for billing. No double data entry needed!
This ensures you have precise records of time worked to send accurate invoices rather than guessing billable hours. The result? Getting paid for all time invested, rather than doing free work or undercharging due to poor estimates.
- Charge Late Fees to Ensure Timely Payment
Even with regular clients, invoices sometimes go unpaid simply because they get forgotten or pushed aside for accounts payable.
Adding late fee charges puts accountability on clients and provides financial motivation to pay you on time. Invoicing software for freelancers tools allows setting up automatic late fees at X% on unpaid invoices after Y days overdue.
Charging these incremental fees eliminates situations of clients paying invoices 60 days late simply due to lack of reminders or repercussions. Apply a 5-15% late fee to incentivize on-time payment from your customers.
- Offer Online Payment Options
What’s more annoying than going through the work of finally getting an invoice fully signed off, just to have a client say “Can you send me your bank details again for the wire transfer?”
Make payment easy by providing quick online payment options for your clients:
- Link PayPal, Venmo or payment buttons directly on the invoice
- Allow credit card payments and store card details for next time
- Highlight your banking details prominently on the invoice footer
Remove all barriers and friction from actually getting money in your account.
- Use Reports to Refine Rates and Identify Unpaid Invoices
The robust reporting and analytics included in quality invoicing software for freelancers provide incredible business intelligence to help your freelance profitability.
Access real-time dashboard views of:
- Unpaid invoices aging
- Average time invoices go unpaid
- Which clients pay quickest/slowest
Leverage this data to:
- Follow up with slow-paying customers
- Renegotiate rates on unprofitable projects
- Get visibility month-over-month on earnings
The insights uncovered will directly inform smarter business decisions and more profitable client engagements.
The Bottom Line
Getting serious about invoicing software for freelancers and fully utilizing capabilities around recurring invoices, time tracking, payment reminders/fees, online payments and reporting delivers game-changing results, with better invoicing meaning a better freelance business income.
Why Bloom.io Is The Best Invoicing Software for Freelancers
As we have covered, there are many excellent invoicing software options for freelancers to choose from in 2023. However, bloom.io stands out from the competition as an exceptional all-in-one invoicing solution. Here’s why bloom.io should be your #1 invoicing tool for freelancers:
- All-in-one functionality – bloom.io combines estimates, contracts, invoicing, time tracking, and online payments in one integrated platform designed specifically for freelance needs.
- Visually stunning invoices – Create professional, polished invoices using beautiful, modern templates that make you look your best to clients.
- Easy customization – Easily add your logo, color palettes, and brand kit to invoices to onboard clients seamlessly. No more starting from scratch.
- Range of billing options – Bill clients hourly, per project, retainer, or automatically recur bills. Handle all client arrangements with ease.
- Simplified tax management – Never miss a tax deadline again. bloom.io calculates and files quarterly estimated taxes for you automatically.
- Robust client dashboard – Delight clients with a client dashboard to view invoices, make payments, manage projects, and communicate simply.
- Outstanding automation – Automate invoicing, payment reminders, late fees, and follow up for a hands-off system.
While solutions like PayPal, Wave, and Freshbooks have strengths in certain areas, none match bloom.io as the premier all-in-one freelancing invoicing system. We highly recommend bloom.io as the software that will truly help freelancers maximize earnings.