How to Invoice as a Contractor: Avoid Independent Contractor Invoicing Mistakes

January 15, 2024

In this post, we will go into the details of what information your contract invoice needs to have and vital mistakes to avoid in order to create an error-free contract invoice for your first time.

James Fyfe
Co-founder - CEO

Learning how to invoice as a contractor is crucial for independent contractors seeking timely payment for their services. 

In this guide, we will explore the invoicing process and highlight common contractor invoicing mistakes that can hinder prompt payment. We will cover the essential components of a professional contractor invoice and how to avoid invoicing mistakes that could impact your cash flow and client relationships.

What to Add to Your Contractor Invoice

When creating a contractor invoice, including all the necessary details is essential. 

Here's a breakdown of what you should incorporate:

  1. Invoice Date: Add the invoice date to indicate when you generated the invoice. This helps both you and your client track payment deadlines.
Invoice Date Example - Portant's Invoice Template

  1. Invoice Number: Assign a unique invoice number to each invoice you create. This organized numbering system simplifies record-keeping for both you and your client.
Invoice Number Example - Portant's Invoice Template
  1. Business Details: Include your business name, address, phone number, and email. This information establishes your identity and provides clients with multiple contact options.

  2. Client's Contact Details: Add your client's business name, address, and contact information. Ensure accuracy by directing the invoice to the appropriate department or individual.
Client's Contact and Business Details Example - Portant's Invoice Template

  1. Services Provided: List the services you've rendered with a brief description, the number of hours worked (if applicable), your hourly rate, and any unit measurements if applicable.

  2. Total Amount Due, Including Taxes: Calculate the total amount due, including applicable taxes or fees. Accuracy is crucial to avoid billing disputes.

  3. Payment Terms: Specify the payment terms, such as "Net 30" or other mutually agreed-upon terms. This sets expectations for payment due dates.
Payment Terms Example - Portant's Invoice Template

  1. Payment Method: Provide details on the preferred payment method, including a payment link if applicable.

  2. Notes Section: Include a section for additional comments or instructions. Express gratitude for the business relationship or provide any relevant details.

5 Frequent Contractor Invoicing Mistakes to Avoid

Now, let's explore common invoicing mistakes that contractors should steer clear of:

1. Neglecting Professional Invoices

One of the most common contractor invoicing mistakes is neglecting the importance of professional invoices. An unprofessional or disorganized invoice can undermine credibility and result in delayed payments.

Consider utilizing Portant’s free contractor invoice template, which offers a prebuilt, professional-looking format that eliminates creating invoices from scratch. 

Portant's Invoice Template

With this template, you can confidently add your business information without the anxiety of developing a new invoice format or wondering about the necessary structure and elements. It's a time-saving and stress-free way to ensure your invoices are accurate and present a polished and organized appearance.

2. Inaccurate Invoices

Inaccurate invoices can lead to misunderstandings and payment disputes. Ensure all the details, including hourly rates, hours worked, and services provided, are accurate. The contractor invoice template can help you minimize these types of errors. 

3. Late Invoices

Sending invoices promptly is crucial for timely payment. Waiting too long to send invoices can lead to late payments or even outstanding invoices. Make it a habit to send invoices right after completing the work to keep your billing process on track.

4. Lack of Follow-Up on Late Payments

Late payments are a challenge faced by many contractors. It's essential to have a systematic follow-up process for overdue invoices. This may involve sending a friendly past due invoice email and assessing late fees when appropriate. Effective communication can help resolve payment delays.

5. Ignoring the Personal Touch

Adding a personal touch to your invoicing process can enhance client relationships and prompt faster payments. Consider mentioning recent events or accomplishments of your client's business in your communication. For instance, you can acknowledge their participation in an industry expo, showcasing your engagement and interest.


Q. How often should contractors invoice?

A. The frequency of invoicing varies based on the nature of the work and the terms outlined in your contract. Some contractors invoice after completing each project, while others follow a monthly invoicing schedule. To maintain consistency, it's essential to align your invoicing frequency with your client's expectations.

Q. What are typical payment terms for contractors?

A. Common payment terms for contractors include "Net 30," which means payment is due within 30 days of receiving the invoice. Other terms, like "Net 15" or "Upon Receipt," may also be used. Payment terms should be mutually agreed upon and specified in your contract to ensure clarity.

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