So, you’ve just started freelancing and you’re finally ready to send your first invoice.
But which template do you pick?
In today’s bustling and dynamic freelance sphere, knowing what kind of invoice template to use can mean the difference between stagnation and success.
As freelancing picks up as one of the stronger players in the world’s job economy, invoices are no longer as simple as your name, the date, and what you’re owed.
There are several different instances in which you might need to switch up the invoice template you’re using for one that better suits the hiring arrangement you’ve come to with a client.
The clearer and more professional you come across to clients, the better your chances will be of gaining momentum.
Timesheet invoices, debit invoices, and pro forma invoices all contain a unique structure that can be difficult to create on your own.
This is why invoice templates can be so beneficial.
However, understanding the difference between each one is what will really give you the edge you need to manage your money and your business.
The Standard Invoice
This is the most commonly used invoice template.
Perfect for simple interactions between a client and their hire, this is the invoice template you would use if your services have been singular, straightforward, and once-off. It should include:
- Your name and contact information
- Client’s name and contact information
- An itemized list of your services
- A reference number (such as IV0001)
- Payment terms and options
- Amount owed
- Sent and due dates
Freelancers that are either just starting out or offer simple, once-off services like an illustration commission or short copywriting segment will get the most value out of a standard invoice like this one.
The Pro Forma Invoice
What makes the pro forma invoice unique is the fact that it gets issued prior to the completion (or even the beginning) of a hired project.
It is essentially a preliminary invoice that formalizes your transaction with a client. In addition to the standard info, a pro forma invoice template may include:
- A price projection/estimation based on communication
- A description of the project outcome
- Itemized deliverables (i.e. completion date)
This invoice template type is ideal for freelancers who provide creative services and tend to work on bigger, longer-term projects.
They allow for a bit of time flexibility yet secure the transaction in a professional and tangible way.
The Recurring Invoice
For those working on multiple projects with the same client, recurring invoices can save you time and money.
If you are a freelancer needing to send repeated invoices to the same person, using a template like this can mean you get to focus on work while the invoice does the admin for you.
Setting up a recurring invoice is simple. There are several sites where you can automate any invoice type you like to get issued on the dates of your choosing.
All you’ll need to do is pick your dates, select your preferred frequency for how often they should get sent, and decide on the overall duration of how long the automation should remain active.
Recurring invoices may get sent annually, bi-annually, monthly, weekly, or on your own custom schedule, depending on your client agreement.
The Timesheet Invoice
If you’re a freelancer whose time spent working dictates rates, a timesheet invoice template will become exponentially beneficial to your workflow.
Standard invoices can sometimes be too static for projects that can be time-relative, which is why the timesheet alternative has become so popular amongst freelancers of every kind. Whether you charge clients per day, hour, or minute, the timesheet invoice clocks all of it in to make sure you get paid fairly.
Just remember that if you use a timesheet invoice, you will need to obtain a time-tracking device or app that helps you keep tabs on how much time is spent on what.
Using a timesheet invoice can also improve your time management skills. Everyone starts to focus a little more when they know they’re getting paid on the clock. It’s a win-win!
The Right Invoice Is Key To Freelance Success
With an abundance of free invoice templates available online, there’s no excuse not to have a proper invoicing system in place.
Issuing the right invoice at the right time conveys an important message to clients: that you’re a professional who pays attention to detail.
As the freelance industry grows ever stronger, so does the competition.
Even a seemingly small document like an invoice can help you gain status and repertoire as a capable, reliable, and thoroughly professional in your industry.