An invoice may be the last thing that comes to mind when you think of powerful communication tools for your small business, but an invoice that is put together well can enhance your professionalism, make a good impression, and lay the groundwork for a continuing business relationship.
An invoice is a permanent record of the hard work you’ve accomplished; it should look professional and be consistent with your personal brand. While invoices will differ depending on the types of services you offer, there are a number of fundamental components that should always be included. Include the following elements on your next invoice to clearly explain your deliverables, promote your business, and receive on-time payment.
Including your personal information on an invoice may sound self-explanatory, but remember that your client likely receives multiple invoices each month. Putting your business name or your full name right up top will help them stay organized. With your contact information, be sure to include your mailing address, phone number, and email address. To maintain brand consistency, you can also include your personal website and business logo, if you have one.
Your Name or Business Name
1234 Independent Way
City, State, Zip Code
Next, you’ll want to include client information to specify who the invoice is going to. Similar to your personal information, be sure to include your client’s name, address, and phone number.
Near the top of the invoice, include the date you will submit the invoice as well as an invoice number. An invoice number helps to keep track of the invoices you submit. Create a numbering system that works for you; it can be as simple as “Invoice 1” or “Client XYZ, Invoice 1” if you have multiple clients.
The body of your invoice will detail the services you delivered. Here, it can help to anticipate any questions your client may have and provide those specifics up front. Include a description of all services or deliverables you completed along with details such as dates or hours worked, quantity, rate, additional associated charges, a subtotal, and a total. Make sure this section is easy to read and understand. Ensure that the services you list align with the initial terms you and your client agreed to and always double check your spelling, grammar, and math.
Tip: If you don’t want to start from scratch, search online for a standard invoice template that you can customize. Microsoft Word also provides invoice templates, which can help with initial layout and formatting.
Including a payment details section is a helpful reminder to your client about how and when they need to pay you. Include details of how they can pay you (check, bank transfer, etc.), terms and conditions, and a due date. Again, ensure this information aligns with what you discussed and agreed upon in your initial contract.
Lastly, consider including a notes section. This may be an easy element to overlook, but it can be invaluable. Use this area as a spot to say a simple, ‘thank you for your business,’ or, leave a more personal note. Your client can also use this area to respond with any additional questions or comments that they have.
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