Tips on Invoicing for the Freelancer
If you do freelance work, chances are you are going to need to know how to invoice your clients in order to get paid.
An invoice should always include the following:
- Your name, address, email and phone
- Your clients name, address, email and phone
- The date of the invoice
- The timeframe you are billing for (Ex: “for August,” “for Sept. 1-15”)
- The billing terms
- A description of the work done
- The name that should be on the check
An invoice may need to include the following:
- Client’s purchase number
- Your invoice number
- Hours worked
- Your invoice should be in .pdf form. Here’s a good (and free) invoice creator.
When it comes to terms (how quickly you get paid) there are no absolute standards. If you are hired as freelance “labor” you should negotiate how frequently you get paid, and how often you should invoice prior to starting the gig. Generally speaking, your terms for this kind of work will fall in the 7 to 30 day range–meaning you’ll get paid a week to a month AFTER you submit your invoice.
If you are hired to complete a project on a freelance basis you can often ask for half, or more, of the total project fees up front–before the project starts–with the balance due upon completion of the project. You should negotiate project payment terms prior to starting the project. Political gigs are their own animal and are notorious for not paying invoices. Always get paid 100% upfront when working on political gigs.
Once you’ve created the invoice and sent it to the client, you’ll need some bookkeeping system to keep track of which invoices have been paid, which have not and which are overdue. Depending on how many clients and invoices you generate bookkeeping systems can range from the simple (a running list on a piece of paper) to the formal (Quickbooks, Zoho, etc.)
You’ve worked hard for your money. Make sure you stay on top of collecting it.
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