How to create a professional invoice for freelance work

  • May 4, 2020
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If you’re thinking of setting up as a freelancer, or you’ve recently started working for yourself, it’s important to know how to create professional invoice to send out to your clients.

Whether you’re self-employed or thinking of setting up a small business, an invoice that looks professional and includes all the necessary information is a must. Professional invoices impress clients and gives a good impression of you. An amateur looking invoice won’t instill the greatest confidence in you. You may even find that sending clients invoices that look professional can help you get paid quicker.

I’ve been freelancing for about 7 years now and I cringe a little bit when I look back on my very first invoices! I had no idea what they needed to look like and just knocked something up quickly in Excel. If you need to create your first freelance invoice, or maybe give your existing invoice template a bit of a makeover, this post will help you learn how to create an invoice that looks professional and helps you to collect payments from your clients.

Read on to find out how to create a professional invoice for your freelance work or small business…

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn  a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through one of these links.

Use a template

You can of course use Excel to create your own invoice template as I mentioned above. However, I found that this leaves you open to errors as your invoices are only as good as your Excel skills. Using pre-made invoice templates means that not only can you easily keep track of your invoices, but most of the set up work is already done for you.

FreshBooks makes life so much easier by making billing and invoicing clients really simple. Using one of the free printable invoice templates you can create and customise an invoice to suit your business style. You can add your logo, personalise your thank you emails, and even send automatic reminders for unpaid invoices. There is also an app so you can send invoices from anywhere, view past invoices, and keep on top of your accounting even when you’re not at home.

It’s like having someone to help with your accounts, without actually having to pay an accountant’s fee! When it comes to filing your tax return you just need to log into your FreshBooks account and you will have access to all income information in one place.

FreshBooks is totally free for new users wanting to create their first invoice.

I couldn’t recommend this more, it’s been a massive time-saver since I started using it for my freelance accounting.

Choose an invoice style

Play around with the invoice templates until you find a style that suits your business. You can add your own logo as well as include your brand colours and fonts. A bespoke invoice will make your business look much more professional, even if you are only a freelancer working by yourself.

Create an invoice numbering system

Before you start, have a think about how you will number your invoices. You could simply start at 0001 for your very first invoice and go from there, or you could use the company name plus a number or date. I prefer to use a name and number format for each client, that way nobody would know whether you’re on invoice number 5 or 500!

It’s up to you how you do it, but a well organised invoice numbering system will help your invoices to look more professional, as well as helping you to locate invoices and have something to refer to when speaking to clients about them.

Include the correct billing contact details

It might sound obvious but it’s important to use the correct contact details when sending invoices to clients. Not only does it look more professional but using incorrect details could make a difference on when you get paid. Addressing invoices to the right company but the wrong department could mean that your invoice gets passed around the houses before it reaches the right person.

Include a date of issue

Don’t forget to date your invoices! Include the date that the invoice has been sent to the client as well as the date of payment. This will clear up any confusion should a client claim they weren’t aware of what period the invoice was for.

Add payment terms

As well as a date of payment, it’s a good idea to include a note in the footer about payment terms. If you expect to be paid within 30 days of the invoice date, add a note to this effect. You should always discuss terms of payment upfront with a client before you start work – ideally in writing so you can refer back to it if needed.

Don’t forget to include all essential information

Make sure you’re aware of all the information that an invoice must include and that it is all there on every invoice you send out.

If you are wondering what information a professional freelance invoice should include, here’s a quick list…

  • Your business name, address, and contact details
  • Your logo
  • The contact name and details of the client
  • The date of issue
  • The due date
  • The invoice number
  • Invoice amount
  • VAT amount (if applicable)
  • Terms of payment
  • Your bank details

This will vary from country to country so make sure you’re aware of anything else you need to add to your invoices to make them legal.

Don’t forget to preview your invoice example before you send them out to clients, and make sure everything looks ok once the invoice is printed.

Hopefully these tips have helped you on how to create a professional invoice for your freelance work. Good luck!



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