How to Invoice as a Freelancer: Things You MUST Include & Free Template

January 15, 2024

As a freelancer, you need to invoice your client continuously. This post will teach you how to invoice as a freelancer for the first time. Download the free freelance invoice template and save yourself time with your invoicing process.

James Fyfe
Co-founder - CEO

Are you new to freelancing and wondering how to correctly invoice your clients for your services? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

As a freelancer, invoicing your clients for your services is essential to running a successful business. But if you’re new to freelancing, you may wonder how to create a professional and effective invoice that will encourage your client to complete the payment.

Our step-by-step guide will show you how to write freelance work invoices.

From determining what information to include to formatting the invoice, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to create an invoice that will ensure prompt payment from your clients.

So, let’s learn how to craft the perfect invoice as a freelancer.

How to Create an Invoice for Freelance Work

To Get Started, Use Our Free Freelance Invoice Template

To start you off, we will share an invoice template that always hits the mark in getting freelancers paid. Have a glance below:

Free Invoice Template Sample

Now, if you think it isn’t fancy enough, we will tell you, based on our experience, that simple invoices that include the correct information in the right places get you paid faster.

You can download and use the free freelance invoice template as we walk you through the details of each section to include in all your invoices.

Steps on Creating an Invoice as a Freelancer

A Freelancer at Work
A freelancer at Work

We know that some people prefer to avoid preparing an invoice, due to the time it takes and the repetitive invoicing process. This is even more painful if you have a lot of clients that have to pay you.

But wait, we have a solution that saves you hours of work by sending invoices in batches, and the best part - client information generates itself dynamically.

Now that you know that we are focused on saving you time and money on your invoicing process, let’s dwell on the most important things you need to include in your invoice as a freelancer.

1. Contact Information

Including your contact details on your invoice is necessary to make it easy for your clients to reach out to you. This should include your name if self-employed (which can be your full legal name or a shortened version), company name (if applicable), address, phone number, and email.

Including your business name is important as it helps you professionally establish your brand.

Business Name and Address on Inovice Example

Your address should be where you conduct your business, whether a home office or commercial space, and it’s part of all professional-looking invoices.

Your phone number and email are the primary ways clients will likely try to contact you, so always include those in your invoice.

Including a professional headshot or logo on your invoice adds a personal touch and helps clients remember you. While the headshot is not mandatory, the logo is a must.

Remember that including your personal contact information establishes trust and professionalism with your clients and makes it easier for them to get in touch with you if they have any questions or concerns.

2. Client Information

The client’s information should be included in every professional invoice.

Client Information on an Invoice Example

Firstly, it helps ensure that the invoice is sent to the correct person and is increasingly important if you have multiple clients. Including the client’s name (for individuals) or business name (for companies) also helps establish a professional relationship and shows that you are organized and respectful.

In addition to the name, it’s a good idea to include the client’s contact information, such as their address, phone number, and email. This helps with following up with a client after sending the invoice regarding any issues or late payments.

3. Services Rendered

On your freelance invoice, it’s essential to provide a clear description of the work you completed to ensure you receive proper compensation for your time and effort. This should include the dates the work was done and the specific tasks performed.

Description of Services on an Invoice Example

For instance, if you’re a freelance writer, you might list the articles or blog posts you wrote and the dates you finished them.

If you’re a graphic designer, you could list the specific design projects you worked on and the dates you completed them.

In addition to the dates and tasks, you should include the agreed-upon rates for each task.

List each rate on the invoice if you’ve negotiated different rates for different tasks.

If you agreed with the client on an hourly rate, include the number of hours you spent completing the project tasks and multiply that with the agreed rate. This helps ensure you receive the correct amount for your work for your issued hourly invoice.

4. Account for Extra Expenses

Running a freelance business is not easy because of all the expenses that pop up - sometimes even unexpected. That’s why you must include extra expenses that occurred during your work before sending invoices.

Even if you agreed with your client beforehand regarding extra expenses that might occur, make sure to list them in your invoice, so your clients are aware of those when they pay you.

To add these expenses to your invoice, create a separate section and list each individually. Be sure to include the cost of each expense and a brief description of what it exactly was.

Some common examples of expenses include purchasing resources, traveling to client meetings, or buying specialized software or equipment. For instance, you could list "Stock photos: $50" or "Travel expenses: $200" on your invoice. 

By creating a separate section for expenses and listing them individually, you can accurately account for your time and efforts.

5. Invoice Number & Invoice Date
Invoice Number and Date on an Invoice Example

To organize your invoicing system and keep track of your billing process, you must number each invoice individually.

An invoice number is a unique identifier assigned to each invoice, helping to distinguish one invoice from another. By numbering your invoices, you can easily refer back to specific ones in the future if you need to review your billing history or resolve any disputes with your clients.

In addition to the invoice number, you may also include an invoice date. This helps to establish the timeline of your invoicing process and can allow track payment due dates.

The invoice date can be included in the invoice’s header along with the invoice number and other important information.

6. Invoice Due Date

A due date helps establish clear payment terms and expectations with the client, preventing misunderstandings about when payment is due. It helps ensure you receive payment on time, as the client is more likely to pay quicker if they know when the payment is due.

Including a due date before sending invoices allows you to follow up freely on the client if they are already on the verge of late payment - reminding them of their obligation to pay.

7. Payment Options

Specifying your payment options on your invoices as a freelancer can be helpful to your clients and make the payment process more efficient. It’s a good idea to include various options, such as checks, wire bank transfers, credit cards, or services like PayPal, to ensure that you are paid conveniently.

You can choose which options to include on your invoice depending on your preference and your client’s needs.

For example, you might include a link to your PayPal account in the invoice to prompt the client directly to complete the payment.

Specifying your payment options can help make the payment process as smooth and straightforward as possible.

8. Payment Terms

Specifying the payment terms in your invoices is essential for freelancers to set clear expectations with clients and ensure timely and organized payment. This includes the due date, or the expected payment date, which can be chosen based on what works best for you and your business.

Payment Terms on an Invoice Example

According to a study by a U.S. bank, 82% of businesses have failed since they didn’t offer many payment terms and didn’t follow up on late payments from clients.

The more options you provide to your clients, the higher the chances of receiving an early payment.

It’s common to allow at least 30 days for the payment to be received.

You may also include information about late fees and additional charges applied if payment is not received by the due date to encourage timely payment and protect your rights.

9. Notes Section

Including a notes section in your invoices as a freelancer can be beneficial in providing extra information or clarification to your clients.

Notes Section on an Invoice Example

This section can be used to communicate any important details or special requests related to the completed work.

For instance, if you completed a rush project for a client and worked overtime to meet a tight deadline, you can use the notes section to explain this and provide justification for any additional fees included in the invoice.

This helps to ensure your client understands the full scope of the work completed and prevents misunderstandings or disputes about the project’s cost.

The notes section can also provide instructions or information about the payment process, such as details about how to make a payment or any applicable discounts or promotions.

10. Total Amount Due

Calculating and including the total amount due on your invoices is essential as a freelancer. This will ensure proper compensation for your time spent completing the agreed work scope. 

The total amount includes taking into account any discounts that may be applicable, such as if you offered a deal to your client for paying within a specific timeframe or a discount on bulk orders or projects.

Total Amount Due in an Invoice Example

Familiarizing yourself with applicable tax laws and including any necessary taxes in your calculation is essential.

11. Thank You - Bonus Invoicing Tip

While a thank you note isn’t required to add on a freelance invoice, it doesn’t hurt to show appreciation to the clients you work with for their partnership.

A short "Thank you for your business" note does the job.

You can use the notes section of the invoice if you don’t have anything else to specify. If you already used the notes section, add the "thank you" note at the footer of the invoice.

How to Use the Freelance Invoice Template

If you followed along until this point and added the information as instructed, you already have a professional-looking freelance invoice template ready to get automated. 

Here is the step-by-step guide with screenshots to create the invoicing workflow and automate your invoicing process:

  1. Start creating the invoicing workflow by clicking on “Add Workflow”:
  1. Select the document source where you will get your customer’s data to add to your freelance invoice template(it’s recommended that you retrieve this data from a Google Sheets document):
  1. Now click the plus icon and choose the freelance invoice template Google Doc you already customized:
  1. Now you are set to send your invoice using either Gmail or Outlook to connect to Portant’s platform. Scroll on the right side of the options in the workflow screen, and under “Share document via Gmail” click on the “Add” butto

Now, the integration mail pop-up will appear where you can pick your preferred email account: 

  1. After you approve the integration, you can customize your email invoice template to suit your needs. Portant’s intuitive features let you add tags to your email template, so you can also add actual invoice data to the text of the email:
  1. After you are satisfied with the content of your invoice email template, you can choose the desired file format to send the invoice in(PDF, via a shareable link or attached as Word Doc.):

Afterwards, click the “Save” button to save your email template.  

  1. Now, off we go to launch the automation. Click on “Automate”, and then “Start”:

If you want to select a specific range of your customer data to run into your automation, then in the dropdown menu, choose “custom range”:

  1. To run the automation workflow automatically each time new data is added to the source document, toggle on the “Auto-Create” button at the top right side of the screen:

The last thing you have to do is click on the “Start” button, and your freelance invoice template is now ready to be sent to your customers. 

When to Invoice as a Freelancer

Determining when to send invoices to your client as a freelancer is vital to invoicing.

One option is to invoice your clients immediately upon completion of the work. This is beneficial if you want to receive payment quickly or have a large number of clients and want to streamline your invoicing process.

Alternatively, you can invoice your clients on a set schedule, like the end of each month, which can be helpful if you have fewer clients or want to organize your invoicing more efficiently.

How to Send an Invoice with Portant

The best practice before sending invoices is to export them to a PDF file.

After your PDF file is ready, send it out via email and adjust the subject line to the invoice number and your company name, so the client can find it easier, and the chance of getting paid quickly increases.

Using Portant you can easily automate your whole invoicing process from the free-to-use template, exporting it as a PDF up to sending it to your client, all in a few minutes. Take a look at the video below to check how it works.

If you are already flooded with sending documents to clients, and recurring invoice becomes another daunting task on your to-do list, it’s time to look into Portant's automation workflow solutions.

Invoices are not the only thing that Portant helps you create and automate. The Portant’s software powers extend to creating and automating the following:

Give it a try yourself by creating an account here

Portant is focused on doing the heavy lifting of repetitive tasks for you so you can save money and resources in the long run, and concentrate on growing your business. 


Q. Can a private person write an invoice?

A. Yes, you can create an invoice as a private person, even for non-professional services or products you sell to someone else. It could be selling a car or some old things in your garage.

Q. Is it better to create an invoice in Word or Excel?

A. While creating an invoice in Word is more straightforward for someone that is not used to Excel, it needs the formulas that will automate your calculation, so Excel is the way to go.

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