Invoicing Guide for Freelancers, Contractors, and Vendors
Learn what you should include in every freelancer, contractor, and vendor invoice plus how to simplify freelance invoicing and get paid faster.
So you’ve finished your project and are ready to get paid by your client. For freelancers, contractors, and vendors, creating and managing invoices can be very cumbersome and time-consuming when handled manually. Plus, it’s easy to make a mistake, which can result in delayed payments. Learn the essential items to include in every invoice, how to simplify invoice management, and get paid faster.
Why use invoices
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You should always have a signed independent contractor agreement and a Work Order (WO) or Statement of Work (SOW) for every freelancer project. These documents provide legal protection and specify when and how the client will pay you, along with any payment terms. To get paid for your work, you must make a payment request. Payment requests are made by creating and sending an invoice, which specifies all the critical details required for payment.
An invoice provides more detail than a bill, so it ensures that your clients know exactly what they are paying for and provides a detailed record of the transaction (also helpful for any audits or accounting reconciliations).
What to include on every invoice
Ready to create and send invoices for your projects? We break down all the essential items you need to include on every invoice, whether you are a freelancer, contractor, independent consultant, or vendor.
Your Company’s Branding
Your invoice should reflect your branding and have the same professional look as your freelancing work. Always include your logo. If you are using a freelance invoicing system, you may also be able to customize your invoice further to incorporate your brand elements (e.g., the company’s color scheme and font).
Always include the contact information for both you (the issuer) and your client (the recipient) on the invoice. Your information should include:
- Business name (if applicable)
- Your name
- Website (if applicable)
- Phone number
The client contact information should include the following:
- Name of the primary contact
- Invoice reviewer contact (if different)
- Business name
- Business address
Including all this information makes record keeping easier for both you and your client as well as making sure that it’s easy to contact you if there are any questions about the invoice.
Using a unique invoice number for every invoice helps you to organize your records. Organized invoice records are essential for helping you to keep track of payments (or late / missing payments), maintain your accounting, and answer any client questions about invoices. Invoice numbers also simplify accounting and payment management for your clients.
Issue Date and Due Date
The invoice should always reflect the date it was created — this date is known as the issue date. The invoice due date must be based upon the payment terms, such as net 30, that were agreed upon before the work commenced. Your freelancing invoice should include these terms and conditions.
Project Line Item Descriptions and Total Due
A common mistake made by freelancers, contractors, and vendors when generating invoices is not including project / service details within the invoice. If you have multiple projects, more than one deliverable, and / or more than one payment for a particular project, not providing details within your invoice can create confusion. And client confusion can lead to late payments.
Always itemize your invoice with details that reflect the products and / or services delivered. Each component should be listed as a separate line item, reflecting the project details that were specified in your Work Order (WO) / Statement of Work (SOW). For example, you might note the project work, the date(s) delivered, and hours associated (if applicable).
Depending on how the project’s fees and deliverables were structured, you may also note the cost for each service and / or the associated rate (for each item, list either the fee or the hours, rate, and hours x rate). Itemizing your invoice also helps you and your client maintain project payment summary records, making it easier to keep track of what work has been paid for to date.
Finally, make sure to list the total amount due, so the client knows exactly what needs to be paid. If you are located in a different country than your client, ensure that the total amount due is listed in the agreed-upon currency.
Depending on your state / country’s laws and regulations, you may need to include other items, such as VAT and a VAT registration number or other applicable tax-related information. If you need to include taxes, make sure to list this cost separately and include the total payment amount.
Include details on how payments can be sent to you. If you are using an online vendor invoicing system like Liquid for freelance invoicing, invoices have payment integration built-in. Clients will automatically be provided with the available payment options (ACH, credit cards, bank wires). Your customers can pay directly from the invoice and schedule payments for automated processing after approving invoices.
Other Optional Items for Invoices
You should also include any other relevant information and notes that provide helpful clarification and context, such as discounts for early payment, fees for late payment, or any agreed upon incremental costs.
If you have an Employer Identification Number (EIN), you can include your EIN on invoices, but that is not required. Your client will already have your EIN if you completed a W-9 form prior to starting the project. The information you provide through the W-9 is required for your client to issue a 1099 form to you at the end of the tax year (required if your client pays you $600 or more in total during the year).
Easy, customizable invoicing with Liquid
With Liquid, you can get paid faster and streamline your invoicing tasks with automation. You’ll spend less time on accounting and more time generating revenue.
Smart, Automated Invoice Creation
You can rapidly generate invoices in less than a minute with just a few clicks. Our customizable invoice template automatically pulls in your details (contact information, logo, etc.) and that of your client. Also, by using our built-in time tracking, all the tracked line items for tasks / deliverables and hours for the project are automatically integrated into the invoice.
Plus your invoice will automatically set the Invoice Number, Issue Date, and Due Date for you — all invoices are linked to the respective independent contractor agreement and WO / SOW. Before you click Send, Liquid’s proprietary invoice matching logic will check the invoice against the WO / SOW and flag any errors that might be causing unintentional overbilling. This helps you catch errors in advance that could otherwise cause delays in payments.
You can also upload an invoice that you created separately and send it to your client through Liquid’s platform. In addition, you can also send invoices without first creating a Work Order, if that is your preference.
Automated Reminders and Status Notifications
Liquid will automatically remind your clients of invoice status if the invoice remains unpaid. Once your invoice has been approved for payment, you’ll receive a notification. You can view the status of your invoices at any time in the dashboard. Plus, you can easily compare invoices by project. Everything is securely stored online, but you can also save PDF versions of invoices to keep additional records.
You can resend an invoice to your client at any time with just one click.
Fast Payment in 175+ Countries
Liquid makes it fast and easy for your clients to pay you no matter where you are located. Paying invoices in 175+ countries takes just 3 clicks. Liquid’s partnership with global banks ensures that clients can make secure, online payments from your invoices via ACH, credit cards, and wires. And you’ll get paid quickly — your payments will arrive in your bank account within 2-3 days of payment processing by the client.
Make freelance invoice management easy
Now you know what you need to create invoices — whether you are a freelancer, contractor, consultant, or vendor — as well as how to avoid some of the most common invoicing mistakes. With Liquid, you can make invoice management a breeze, freeing up your time for more project work. By making payments fast and easy for your clients, you’re reducing the likelihood of late or missing payments, and you’re getting paid faster.
Ready to grow your business with Liquid? Try Liquid today!
Category: Freelancer Tips Finance and Accounting
Updated: February 23, 2021