How to write an invoice | Free template & checklist

overdue invoices

Whether you’re starting a business or an experienced entrepreneur, re-visiting the way you invoice customers is a great way to instil some automation and standardized processes into your business activities.

In this article, we’ve laid out the basic elements of any good invoice, linked to a great free template and included an  invoicing checklist you can use time and time again.

You can click to skip straight to a free, simple invoice template from Zervant.

Brand your invoices

To be taken seriously as a new business, it’s important to inspire a good impression in your customers – being consistent with your branding and communications can help you achieve this.

Always add a logo to your invoices – it guarantees direct recognition of your company and sets a professional tone.

Good impressions aren’t superficial – if you’re taken seriously as an entrepreneur, it’s much more likely that your bills will get paid faster and customers will return.

Include your contact details

Beyond the legally required information, you should also provide as complete and detailed information about your company as possible.

In addition to your bank details, you should include your:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Website

If it’s easy to get in touch with you, it’s easier to get paid faster. It’s also beneficial to your brand image to appear completely transparent across business communications and linking to your website can potentially lead to new business.

With more serious and professional practices, your business will be considered above the competition.

Clearly list products with a breakdown of costs

When creating an invoice, pay special attention to the products or services you’re charging for. They make up the basis and purpose of your invoice, so it’s crucial to have them listed clearly with simple, but descriptive, names.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Instead of “Shoe” something like “Red Hi-Top Trainer, size 7.5” would be clearer
  • “Work Hour – Wall Painting” is more descriptive than just “Work Hour”
  • Instead of billing for the overall time, bill for the work separated by task e.g. “3 hours video shooting, 1 hour footage transfer, 2 hours video editing

Being more diligent with you billing practices will help you stay on top of your working time and provide some performance insights – allowing you to price your work more effectively.

Get your customers’ information correct

When writing your invoice, it is crucial to get your customers’ contact information correct. Also mind any special characters, especially if you have international customers.

The essential customer details to include on your invoice are:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Customer number – ideally multi-digit customer IDs, they give the impression of a larger customer base and adds credibility

Feel free to also add your customer’s email address, phone number or website – it’s not essential but might help you further down the line when reaching out to past customers.

Define your payment terms clearly

When writing any invoice, you should always include the terms of payment you require customers to adhere to. Payment terms should include:

  • The date the invoice was sent
  • The payment period – usually 14, 30, 60 or 90 days
  • Due date of the invoice
  • Details of your preferred payment method – this is often your business bank account details (remember to include any internationally required details such as your IBAN)

Also, if applicable you can include:

  • Special conditions, such as discounts
  • Alternative payment methods
  • Your terms and conditions regarding payments (this is usually a separate document with stipulations regarding the legalities and processes required when engaging into a transaction with your business)

Giving your customers multiple ways to pay online, accepting card payments and allowing for payment by way of cash or cheque is a fantastic way to imbue your business with an air of professionalism.

How to write an invoice: the checklist

Now you know how to write an effective invoice. Professional invoicing is not rocket science – just remember to keep these points in mind:

Start by using this easy, free invoice template

There are a multitude of options when it comes to free invoicing tools and templates. Companies like Zervant offer a powerful free invoicing service which allows you to save all the relevant details, allowing you to send invoices in seconds. They also produce many great, free invoice templates – one of which we’ve included here:

Download free template