If you’re a freelance writer, you know the gig. Meetings, briefs, proposals and quotes, emails, writing, edits, another round of edits, proofreading, the list goes on…
But the cherry on top is the moment you can send out that freelance writing invoice and get paid for a job well done. The only problem is, creating and sending invoices feels like just another chore, and not a fun one at that! Writers like dealing with words, not numbers. That’s why you need an efficient invoicing solution that does the important work you don’t want to do.
These days, more and more freelancers, including writers, are throwing out the hand-written invoice pad and using online systems that automate much of the invoicing process. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
For starters, there is certain information that needs to be included on every invoice in order for it to be valid by law. Here are the essentials for a freelance writer invoice.
Freelance writer name and address
The business name and address of the writer must be included, usually at the top of the invoice. It should match the name and address the business is officially registered to.
Every invoice issued must have its own unique number. An online system will generate the correct invoice number automatically.
The name of the client must appear on the invoice too, whether a private individual or company name. Some countries and states also require the customer’s address to appear.
Date of issue
The date that the invoice was created and issued must appear prominently. This is important for accounting and tax purposes for both the writer and the client.
Every invoice must include a list of the items the client is being billed for. For example, “Writing & editing 500-word article” or “Proofreading 15-page insurance document”.
Cost per item
The amount owed for each item should be listed separately.
Any taxes or special discounts must be included so the client can see exactly how the total amount owed was calculated.
Total amount due
The final and total amount the client must pay should be displayed on the invoice. This is the most important figure on the page, so it needs to appear clearly and prominently, usually at the bottom of the invoice.
What Should You Add to Your Freelance Writers Invoice?
Invoicing for freelance writing is not the same as charging for a coffee and bagel. Many writing jobs are more complex than that, and so is the invoicing. For example, writing projects can be charged in different ways. Many writers like to charge per word, others prefer to charge by the hour, and it is also common to charge a flat fee for a complete project. In addition, an invoice may include several projects, with different payment structures and amounts owed for each item.
In other instances, a writer may be working on a monthly retainer fee, in which case this needs to be noted on the invoice. The freelance writing invoice must be able to handle these variations and more.
Why You Should Use a Freelance Writers Invoice Template
A huge advantage of online invoicing is that it comes with a built-in template, so you don’t need to create a new invoice every single time. Rather, the invoice template has the flexibility to cater to different projects and payment structures, even within the boundaries of the template design. When using a freelance writer’s invoice template, you can keep the static information that never changes, like your company name and logo, and let the system automatically generate other important details, like the date of issue, due date, and invoice number.
All that’s left for the writer to do is enter the customer’s name and details of the project, and the freelance writing invoice template will create the invoice for you. Any high-quality invoicing system will enable you to fit the appropriate payment structure into the template. Usually, it’s just a matter of adjusting the figures in the “Cost per item” and “Quantity” fields. Then the total amount owed is automatically calculated, with no chance of human error.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
When using your freelance writer invoice template, here are some mistakes that are commonly made and best avoided.
Not including enough information
An invoice isn’t your next novel, but on the other hand, you must include all the information necessary to make sure the client has a clear picture of the charge. Besides describing the project in the items section, you will need to apply the cost per item. If you charge a flat rate or retainer fee, this will be the total fee. If you charge per word or per hour, it will the per-word or hourly rate, followed by the number of hours worked, or the number of words written. It is important to create this breakdown in your itemized list so you can prevent confusion on the part of the client.
Waiting too long to send the invoice
Many freelance writers send the invoice as soon as the project is finished. Others like to do their invoicing once a month, sending all invoices out as a batch at the end of the month. Whichever way you prefer, make sure you don’t wait too long to get that invoice out to the client. The quicker they receive the invoice, the quicker you will get paid. If a writing project was completed 3 or 6 months ago, you may have a harder time getting the client to cough up the payment.
Not paying attention to the due date
Every invoice needs to include a due date. When invoicing online, the due date will be generated automatically, based on the date the invoice was issued. It is your job to make sure you have clearly defined the payment terms for the client in the freelance writing invoice template, so the correct due date will appear. For example, if payment is due within 30 days, then you need to set “Net 30” as the payment condition for the client. Or if you want instant payment, this should be indicated for the client in question. The system will automatically display the correct due date for each client based on the payment time frame that you pre-set for the customer. So, make sure all your clients’ payment conditions are set before issuing invoices.
Recommendations For Creating a Winning Freelance Writers Invoice
You’re a writer, not an accountant, but that doesn’t mean your invoices shouldn’t be winners. Here are some simple tips to create excellent freelance writing invoices.
Make it look great
Freelance writer invoice templates are so helpful because they are easy to customize. This means you can make them look professionally branded to your company. Include your business logo, choose suitable colors, and select a template that has the look and feel you want. It’s the difference between a totally plain, boring and business-like invoice, and one that looks like it just came off a design program and is fun and attractive to read. A little bit of extra effort when creating your invoice template goes a long way to making great-looking invoices.
Keep it as simple as possible
Although you want to spice up your design, you also don’t want it to look too cluttered or garish. Make sure not to overcrowd the invoice with extraneous information and keep your item descriptions detailed, yet to the point. Most importantly, let your template design reflect the character and nature of your business. That way, it will be easy for the client to associate the invoice with your brand and will make it a smoother, more professional business experience.
Add a friendly note
It’s important to be business-like and professional, but one of the advantages of being a freelance writer is the relationship you can build with individual customers. You’re not a big nameless corporation, and your invoice should reflect that. Many freelancers like to include a personal note in their invoice, and freelance writer invoice templates include a section where you can do that very easily. It could be a thank you message, some extra details about the project, or how much you enjoyed working with them. Many clients will appreciate this extra personal attention.
Take the Pain Out of Writing…Invoices
Writer’s gotta write, but many writers don’t like writing invoices. With invoice templates, they no longer have to. With online invoicing, most of the work of creating and sending invoices is done automatically. It’s simply a matter of customizing the invoice template in a one-time process. If that’s done properly and attractively, sending out professional, effective invoices is one job you can check off your freelance writer to-do list.