One of the most difficult parts of freelancing is now over, winning your first client. So now you’ll be looking to get paid for all your hard work.
You will need to send a bill to your client requesting payment. But where do you start and what do you include in your first invoice?
Send them out quickly
It’s always best to send out invoices promptly after completing work. The quicker you send them, the quicker you’ll get paid. It’s also a good habit to get into so you and the client don’t end up forgetting.
Have a template
In order to save time, you could create an invoice template that you can send out to different clients. That way you can keep the same basic framework and if necessary add alterations for each individual client. You can either create your own, download one online or use one provided through whatever bookkeeping software you’re using.
Some clients just forget. It’s an honest mistake. So payment reminders at regular intervals can be a handy way to keep clients on track. This is where having accounting software is handy as you’ll be able to track who has paid and who needs to be sent a reminder.
Set payment terms
It’s up to you to set terms like due dates and methods of payment, although it’s good to discuss this with the client should there be any complications. It’s best to know of them in the beginning so that you can alter your payment terms if need be.
What to include in your invoice
So what do you actually have to include in an invoice? Here are some of the most important things to include:
- Your client’s name and address
- Your own name and address
- An invoice date
- An invoice number (for you to keep track)
- Dates of goods or services provided
- The amount being charged
- Details about payment methods
- Details of any VAT you’ve charged and your VAT registration number if you have one
Get a contract
If you’ve found that you’re not getting paid as quickly as you like or at all, one of the ways you could tackle this is to have a written contract for every piece of work you do.
Ideally, you should be doing this anyway, even if all your clients so far have been as good as gold. A contract is protection, for both of you. It helps to keep everyone on the same page and means there’s no room at the end of the project for clients to start trying to talk down your fees because they’ve already agreed to them.
Use bookkeeping software
Accounting software can make life easier for you when it comes to managing your finances because everything is kept in one place and it can save you time through automatic processes like invoicing, sending reminders or importing transactions.
Are you struggling with invoices? Or do you use any of the tactics above? Let us know your thoughts.