Are you a freelancer?
If yes, then you probably already know that good invoicing skills are not an option for you!
After all, how timely or untimely clients pay you depends largely on the kind of invoice you share with them.
What Constitutes Quality Invoicing?
Part of what makes you a professional and gives you an edge as a freelancer is an ability to create/send a comprehensible invoicing system.
Do not make assumptions or leave anything to guesswork. Your job is to remove the confusion/guesswork from reading an invoice, not add to it.
One quick look at an invoice should tell your client –
- What payment method do you prefer
- The due date for the payment
- The exact amount they owe you
Often beginner freelancers wonder how to send an invoice via email.
You do get a variety of options to pick from. Some may sound more effective than others depending on your industry. Read on to see all available solutions –
- Sending it as an email attachment; the DIY route.
If you like to keep it simple and basic, stick with Google Sheets or Excel Spreadsheet. See to it that your invoice includes all essential fields like –
- Date of issue
- Client name and contact information
- Due date
- Details of services
- Discount (if any/applicable)
- Cost per service
- Serve fees and taxes (if applicable)
- Total amount due
- Late fee (if applicable)
Do not leave out the preferable payment method. Include your payment address if you use digital payment services like PayPal and Stripe. Pay special attention to AVOIDING TYPOS. One misspelled word can make you lose your payment and hard work.
Save the invoice as PDF so no one can change the information. Attach the PDF file to the email. It’s better to include the invoice number in the subject line.
The body can include a note along the lines of, “Please find the attached invoice for October. Kindly remit the payment to the address mentioned in the invoice. Thank You”
Note – Since the whole process is manual, the responsibility to send reminders will fall on your shoulders. Also, know that this invoicing style is highly prone to incorrect keystrokes and typos.
Do not send email invoices if you send some personally identifiable financial data. They are unencrypted and unsecured. Certain project types and industries may not accept email-based invoices if the payment is going via direct deposit or directly to your bank account.
- Professional Billing Services and Invoicing Software
This is another way to invoice via email. An invoice generator takes a lot of work out of this otherwise tedious/manual process. Typically you can pick from various templates to fill in all the relevant information. Much of the language in invoice templates come pre-filled, which removes much effort. It’s one of the systems you need to skyrocket your freelancing career.
Benefits of Using Invoice Generator/software
- Option to integrate expense tracking
- Ability to discern how much profit you are making as a small business
- Better cash-flow management
- Awareness of the total amount clients owe you
- Information about pending freelance bills
The best part of using an invoice generator service is – easy integration with digital payment platforms like PayPal, Chase Pay, Zelle, and Stripe. Clients can click a button to pay directly through their business account, which cuts down on the number of steps involved and the time taken to make the payment.
Built-in functionalities also avoid the chances of typos and mistakes, so your money doesn’t end up in the wrong account. Sending reminders is also easy with an invoice maker.
However, on the flip side, these services can often be expensive for beginner freelancers or those with only one or two clients.
Weigh the pros and cons to see if it hits the sweet spot regarding ROI.
- Freelance Management Toolkits
A freelancer management suite such as Bonsai gives you the perks of dedicated billing functionalities. Translation? You can set up custom invoice templates for different clients, send them securely, and track the money from all channels.
Companies design these suites/toolkits with the knowledge that most freelancers don’t have hundreds of clients. That is why the often price their services rather reasonably.
Often these systems incorporate other elements of freelancing that enable you to earn more and be more professional.
Benefits of Using Freelance Management Toolkit
- Setting your expectations right in terms of what you charge
- Option to create bespoke service proposals
- Time tracking
- Expense management
- Project milestone management for different clients
- It gives you the big picture of the entire project
- Easy billing with a one-click option
Unpaid invoices will automatically trigger a reminder/alert to your client after the due date. You can customize such a courtesy reminder at any time.
The best part – these suites are available at more or less the same pricing as bookkeeping services.
So, Which One Is The Best?
Let’s say what is best for you may not be for another freelancer. It all boils down to your budget, number of clients, expectations, nature of the business, industry, etc.
Freelancers who are short on time often find that good invoicing practices save them time and billable hours to devote to more productive business activities.
If you spend too much time on administrative tasks like invoicing – you may want to explore professional invoice creator and management toolkits.