The freelance lifestyle is an attractive one. But with all of the flexibility comes the reality that work might not always be as regular as we
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Sending an invoice is not the most exciting part of any freelancer’s job.
And it’s likely not your client’s favorite part of the process either.
But imagine if you could turn asking for money into a way to reinforce your brand and strengthen your relationship with your client…
Of course, the ultimate goal of your invoice is to simply look professional and convey the information that you need to: how much money you’re owed and how your client can quickly and easily pay you.
But every communication touchpoint with your client is an opportunity to reinforce your brand.
With a few small tweaks to your invoice, you could:
- present a consistent, professional image of your brand
- make your client smile
- remind them of your successful working relationship
- ask for referrals
- make your business appear bigger than it is
For more about invoicing, take a look at our complete guide to invoicing as a freelancer.
How to customize your invoice template
A plain invoice will get the job done, but you may be missing an opportunity to make a better impression on your clients. There are a number of items you will want to customize initially:
- your business name
- a logo
- payment methods
Once you’ve added these once, they can be used as a template for your invoices going forwards.
Putting your logo or headshot on your invoice
Repetition has been shown to increase liking for a brand. And if nothing else, presenting a consistent image of your company across all of your correspondence can make your business appear more professional.
If you don’t have the type of graphic design skills needed to create your own logo, this might be a good time to hire someone on a service like Fiverr for the project. Even if your brand is just simply your own name, you can make a logo that’ll help you stand out from the rest of the invoices on your client’s desk.
If you’re really not ready for creating your own logo, another option is to include your headshot on your invoice. Seeing your friendly face will humanize your brand and help build trust with your client.
Offer multiple payment options
You want your money, right?
Offering several options for your clients to get paid is a great way to ensure you get paid faster.
If you use a service like AND CO, you can create a personal pay me page on your invoice, where you can accept online payments through services like Stripe and Paypal. Plus, Fiverr Workspace will automatically remind you if a client is late with a payment.
You should also customize your payment terms, indicating whether your client has agreed to pay you upon receipt, or within a certain number of days.
More: The Freelancer’s Guide to Getting Your Invoices Paid Faster
How to customize each invoice
As well as the items that can be templated, there are also some items that may need to be customized for each invoice, such as:
- payment terms
- the due date
- personal notes
- line items
Personal notes: a chance for gratitude
An invoice is not a Hallmark card, but if there is any place on the invoice to express your thanks it is in the personal notes. It’s important that you don’t go overboard here, though. A simple “Thank you for your business” or something similar should suffice.
If you want to really delight your client, add their name here. It’s been scientifically proven that hearing your own name lights up an entirely different part of your brain than any other word or phrase. Mentioning your client’s name is one of the simplest ways to grab their attention and remind them of your existing relationship.
And if you want to get even more personal, you could make special mention of your working relationship with your client. A comment like, “Joan, thanks for ordering for the fifth time!” or “Mark, thanks for letting us be your copywriters for the past year. Here’s to another great year together!”, will help reinforce your gratitude for their custom.
Other ideas are to offer something valuable for your client here, like a discount on future work, or a referral bonus they can gain by telling someone else about your services.
In the note area of the invoice, you may also want to give your client a quick reminder of legal matters—an example might be if copyright is changing hands once the invoice is paid, in which case you could state something like, “Copyright remains with the developer until the date payment is received.” No need to be too threatening, but just having the information on there might lead to a quick payment, especially if your client is working to launch something and needs to know that they own the intellectual property you helped to create ASAP.
If your contract had a clause about fees or interest for late payments, you can also include a friendly reminder about this here.
Line items are one place where there is not a lot of customization needed. Clarity here is key. The line item should include the dates, what service was delivered, the quantity, and the costs. Most importantly, you should be sure that everything is accurate—this is the part of the invoice that your client will scrutinize most closely, and for good reason, because it’s where they will find the most information about what they are paying you for.
Keep your descriptions uniform. If you’re a writer, for example, every line item for a separate article should have the same information listed in the same order—that way both you and your client can quickly and easily see what’s been done. This will also allow you to check your invoices against the information entered into your accounting software and may help you when reconciling your books.
Customize your next invoice
While an invoice not meant to be a work of art, a well thought out invoice can lead to faster payments, smoother workflow in the reconciling of your books, repeated work with your client, and a boost to your brand’s image. It’s worth taking the time to set up the right template from the very beginning, to personalize each invoice a little, and to be consistent when communicating with your clients.