Bringing Home the Bacon: What to Include in a Self-Employed Invoice

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jan 3, 2019

Jan 3, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you one of the 15 million Americans who has made the leap into self-employment?

There are few things more rewarding than being your own boss, but sometimes when you're working for yourself, getting paid is a struggle. Creating a great self employed invoice will help you ensure your bill collection process runs smoothly so you can get paid fast. 

Read on to discover why you should make a self employed invoice and what you should include.

Why Create a Self Employed Invoice?

Many self employed people make money in the digital world by dealing with companies like Amazon Ads who handle the fee collection process and pay you directly. However, this isn't usually where it stops.

At some point, most business owners find themselves in a situation where they need to request payment for services rendered. Adding the right information on your invoices will help you look professional and increase the chances of collecting your fees on time.

Here's what you need to know. 

8 Things to Include on Your Self Employed Invoices

While there are no specific invoice legal requirements, there is some information that you should always include on your self employed invoice template. 

1. Company Branding

Whether you choose a template that's minimal, detailed, classy, or bold, adding your company's name and logo gives your invoices a professional look. This is one of the best ways to legitimize your business and ensure those who owe you money take you seriously.

2. Your Contact Information

If the recipient of your invoice has a question and can't easily contact you, it's likely to result in delayed payment. Avoid this by including your name, business address, business email address, and phone number on every invoice.

3. The Recipient's Contact Information

Some recipients will need a detailed invoice for tax or legal reasons. Adding their contact information on the invoice makes it more official and easier for them to file.  

Be sure to include the name of the specific person who handles account payments. This will help ensure the invoice gets to the right place and will make it easier for you to follow up if you don't receive prompt payment.

4. Detailed List of Products or Services Provided

Itemize each product or service you provided, and the cost associated with it. In this case, the more detail you include, the better. Some items you'll want to list out include:

  • A detailed description of each service or product provided
  • The date each item was provided
  • The number of hours worked on each task or number of products purchased
  • Your hourly rate or the cost of each individual item

Also provide a total of all items and a separate line for taxes, delivery, or any other add-on charges.

5. Payment Options

Offering convenient payment options is one of the most important factors when you're trying to collect fees. Avoid accepting cash, as it doesn't create a paper trail and is too difficult to track. A good rule of thumb is to accept checks, credit cards, and some sort of electronic payment.

Many businesses have chosen to move away from paper invoices all together and instead opt for an online payment software solution. If you're interested, you can read more now about how this convenient option significantly speeds up your collection process. 

6. Payment Terms

It's nice to think that people will pay you as soon as they receive their invoices, but that isn't always the case. Adding a payment due date and clearly spelling out the penalties for late payments will help you get paid on time. This also makes it easier and less awkward for you to reach out once a due date has passed.

7. Invoice Tracking Number

Decide on a system for numbering your invoices right away and use it every time. When discussing payment with a client, you can reference "Invoice #4528" instead of just saying "that invoice I sent you two weeks ago." This makes you sound more professional and also helps keep both you and the recipient more organized.

8. Message Box

There will be times when you'll want to communicate important information with your clients. Instead of sending a separate communication, add a message box to your invoices. This helps make it more personalized and makes it easier for your clients to keep all of your information in a single place.

Some Final Thoughts About Invoicing

Some self-employed business owners feel awkward about the process of collecting fees, especially when they're first getting started. While there's absolutely no reason to feel self-conscious, following a few best practices can help ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Always Be Friendly and Polite

One of the most important rules in business is to always be polite. Using phrases like "please review the invoice below" and "thank you for your business" helps you develop a rapport with your client and is good for your brand.

Master the Art of Follow-Up

If you find that a client is delinquent in payment, give them the benefit of the doubt. It's possible that your invoice was lost or that the payment was inadvertently delayed. Follow up with a friendly attitude, but don't be afraid to be assertive if necessary.

Pay Attention to Your Timing

The longer you wait to send an invoice after you've provided a product or service, the lower your chances of getting paid right away. Develop a system to send out your invoices as soon as possible after you've finished your work. This also allows you to give your client a fair amount of time to make the payment.

Stay Tuned for More Great Business-Building Ideas

Now that you know how to create a self employed invoice like a pro, you'll want to keep the momentum going. What better way to grow your business than by learning from the best?

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