Learning how to invoice a client isn’t the most exciting part of starting a business, but it’s one of the most necessary. Invoicing is what gets you paid. And while your work may be personally rewarding, the financial reward is important, too.
If you run your own small business or work as a freelancer or independent contractor, you may face new tasks that weren’t covered in school. Unless you also have a degree in accounting, you might not have learned to make professional invoices.
The good news is that invoicing is straightforward. With various tools and templates, you’ll be billing your clients in the most organized, efficient way possible in no time.
Why you need to invoice your clients
Apart from the obvious — that invoices are how you get paid — you’ll need to keep records of your payments for accounting purposes.
They’re formal documents that show your client how much they owe and when, where, and how to pay. Organizing your invoices helps you track what you owe in taxes, compare your revenue across months, and monitor client retention based on repeat invoices.
Once you know what to include in your invoices, you can use a template to streamline the process.
Types of invoices
If you did go to accounting school, you could skip this section. But you’re calling was to become a coach, so here’s a bit of Invoicing 101 so you can bill clients correctly.
- Final invoice: As the name implies, businesses give this type of invoice to clients after delivering a product or performing a service. If you offer recurring services, like coaching sessions, you’ll provide a final invoice at the end of the program, not after each meeting. It will request the rest of the money owed.
- Proforma invoice: A proforma invoice is a price quote that projects how much your services will cost, so a client knows what to expect.
- Interim invoice: Interim invoices break the total cost of a project into smaller bites. These invoices are best when the total cost of a project is high and could overwhelm a client. Writing several bills for payments makes the service more affordable.
- Recurring invoice: A recurring invoice covers repeated services. This may be the best way to make invoices if you’re a coach who offers several sessions at set intervals and at the same rate throughout a program.
- Collective invoice: Businesses can put several services on one invoice, allowing their clients to pay for multiple expenses at once.
Save each template as a PDF or spreadsheet so you can create copies and fill out the necessary information for each client.
What your invoice should include
Even the most basic invoices should tell clients how much they need to pay, where, and when. That may sound simple enough, but first-time invoicers may gloss over critical points and not realize it until a client asks for more information. Use the following checklist to ensure you include all the essentials in your invoice.
- Invoice number: This will help you and your clients track how many invoices you’ve issued and paid over time.
- Company name: Help your clients identify your invoice among other bills. Including your business name also reminds them how to spell it on transfers and checks.
- Logo: Make your invoice look as professional and polished as possible by including your logo.
- Contact information: Include your phone number and business address.
- Customer’s contact information: Include your client’s name and address. This will help you tell your invoices apart and adds a level of formality. Having their information attached to the invoice could also help down the road if you need to take legal action on an unpaid bill.
- Due dates: Ensure your clients pay on time by including the due date on the invoice. Be sure to use a realistic date, as clients may need time to make payments comfortably. Include the issue date so that both parties can track how much time has passed between the issue of the invoice and payment.
- Terms of payment: Include terms like late fees or acceptable payment periods on the invoice. It’s best to discuss these terms with your clients beforehand to set yourself up for success in this regard.
- Description of services and rates: Include line items for each service you provided and make sure the description is crystal clear. You can add a quantity column if you provide the same service several times — just multiply the rate for each service by the number of times offered.
- Taxes: Calculate any applicable sales tax for your client so they can include it in their payment. If their coaching sessions are tax deductible, they’ll appreciate having that number in front of them.
- An easy-to-understand format: Remember to keep your invoice design as clean and organized as possible so that clients have no trouble finding the information they need. Limit your colors and use easy-to-read fonts. Use tables for information like service descriptions, unit prices, quantities, and total amounts. And try to keep everything on one page.
Want a little help? We’d be happy to provide it. Using Practice’s app, you can easily invoice your clients and receive secure payments via credit card and other online payment options. You don’t even have to go through the work of making a custom invoice template. We’ll provide the form; you just plug in the data.
Want more business guidance?
At Practice, we want you to succeed while helping others do the same. We created a business around ensuring your success and making your day-to-take tasks easier. We don’t just offer easy invoicing; we offer scheduling tools, helpful templates, and more content like this to help keep your business running smoothly. If that sounds like something your business needs, let us start saving you time. Get started today.