Nothing Says "Pay Me" Like an Invoice

Getting paid to write isn’t always seamless. While you may have some clients who pay you automatically, most of them probably need to be told what to pay, how much to pay, and how to pay. No problem. There are all types of clients and you need to be prepared for all of them.

An invoice is basically a bill for the work that you’ve completed or, if you require deposits, that you’re about to complete. In a nutshell, an invoice says, “Pay me.”

What to Put on an Invoice

Your invoice should include your name and email address, recipient’s information, a list of the work completed and price, date the work was completed, date the invoice is due, and payment methods.

I create invoices either through MacFreelance, an invoicing software for Mac, or Paypal when the client requests it. You could also use Word, Excel, or even your email client. If you have Jenn’s Web Writer’s Guide, there’s an invoice template included. If you’re looking for freebies, check out the Microsoft Office website or create your own. Regardless of your method, make sure your invoice conveys the professionalism you want your clients to perceive. That means no clipart!

How to Send an Invoice

Send your invoice the same way you send your work. If your final project is sent via postal mail, send your invoice the same way, unless you’ve made some other arrangement with your client. Send invoices as soon as possible after the project has been completed.

I most often prepare invoices as soon as the project is finished and send them in a separate email directly after I deliver the goods. I send far fewer reminders that way. Include the word “Invoice” in the subject line of the email and maybe even a summary in the body of the email. For example, “The invoice for $500 is attached. Please pay by January 11, 2011.”

Follow Up

I print invoices, put them in a folder, and mark them as Paid once payment comes through. If a client pays me without being invoiced, I print the transaction information from Paypal and file it with the rest of the Paid invoices. That way, I have all payment receipts in one place.

Invoicing is an extra step, but it’s a necessary one. Some of your clients need invoices to get the tax write off for the work you’re doing. You need invoices to help track payments and total your income.

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LaToya Irby is a full-time freelance writer and a graduate of the University of Alabama. She primarily writes about personal finance, freelancing, and other self-employment topics.

4 thoughts on “Nothing Says "Pay Me" Like an Invoice”

  1. Hi LaToya,

    Great post! John from FreshBooks here. 1st step to getting paid faster you hit right on, send the invoice right after project completion. Having your invoices organized is however the next difficult step, but highly important for taxes and unpaid invoice follow-up. Great tips and it would be great if we could connect – please drop me a note at coates[at] Freshbooks []dot[] com.


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