The word “invoice” may have sounded like a boring word when you were a kid (and still might now that you’re an adult), but being a freelancer or small agency owner, you know how important it is to have a seamless invoicing process. Invoicing in 2019 can be incredibly easy if you have the tools that help you template your services, keep track of client communication, and generate an invoice for you (for free!).
In this article, we’ll discover:
Why an invoice process is important
#1 An invoice is important because it outlines essential information such as contact info, descriptions of the service or charges, the total amount due, and most importantly, a payment due date!
Having a well-thought-out invoice keeps you and your client on the same page for what they’re being billed for, and there are plenty of free invoice generators and apps to help you if organization isn’t your strong suit.
#2 Invoicing is essential so you (and your team) can easily track how much money you’re charging clients.
Client communication may differ from client to client, and will only get harder as you scale your business. The last thing you want is to bug a client about getting paid or double-checking that a check is made out to the correct name. Invoices cut down extra client communication which ultimately saves everyone some time!
#3 The better (and clearer!) the invoice, the less time you’ll spend answering questions about payments.
Let’s say you send an invoice to 10 clients, and it doesn’t include the due date or a description of the service charge. You’ll now be hearing from at least 10 individuals trying to find out this information, or worse — they’ll forget to pay altogether because it wasn’t included in the invoice.
The better the invoicing process is for your client, the more likely they are to refer you!
“Over 92% of creatives find new clients through referrals.”The Business of Web Design: The 2019 Report
The best (and most obvious!) reason for having a seamless invoice process would be ensuring that you and your team get paid in full and on time.
The best invoice generators, apps, & templates
You’ve probably searched for the best free invoice generators, free invoicing apps, and customizable invoice templates, and like the rest of us, got overwhelmed with what the internet has to offer. That’s why we compiled all of them here in a neat little list for you!
The invoicing process can be complicated, but there are resources out there that can help you! So, what exactly are people using to help them invoice?
- Free invoice generators
- Zoho Free Invoice Generator
- Wave Invoice Generator
- Hiveage Invoice Generator
- Free Invoice Builder
- Free invoice apps
- Due Invoicing
- Sighted Invoicing
- Handdy Invoicing
- Mr. Biller
- Free invoice templates
- Invoice Simple
Use this free online invoice generator to make beautifully branded invoices with one simple click! Invoice Generator lets you quickly make invoices with their attractive invoice template straight from your web browser. The invoices you make can then be sent and paid online or downloaded as a PDF.
Have more than one invoice to create? Fear not! Invoiced lets you generate an unlimited number of invoices.
Bonus: You can even add your logo to make your invoice look even better!
Zoho offers a generator that couldn’t be easier to use. You can easily fill in your billing address, your client’s address, set an invoice number, and have as brief or as long of a description for the item you are charging for.
In addition, you can list multiple items for those larger projects that are billed all at one time, and add in a customized “thank you” note for the client that can be customized however you see fit.
Wave’s Invoice Generator is simple and to the point. Its main use is to create and send professional invoices to your customers in three simple steps. These steps include your company information, your customer’s information, and invoice details.
You don’t even need to create an account to use the generator! Their software is 100% free, no trials, no limitations, and no hidden fees. You can use it as much as you want, for as long as you want. Their free software also includes accounting and receipt scanning, features that some may want to add.
Hiveage Invoice Generator not only gives you the tools you need to create an awesome invoice, but they also walk you through how to use it step-by-step. They give you a full description of the difference between line items and how discounts, shipping, and taxes play into the total payment amount.
This is an excellent resource for those looking for exact details to ensure a complete invoice that warrants client questions!
Free Invoice Builder is a quick way to create minimalistic PDF invoices. Every invoice you create can be customized to the specific client you’re sending it to. You can add your logo, add sender info (or set default sender in the settings), add client information, add as many items as you wish, and even add invoice terms.
The clean, user-friendly interface also lets you add new clients and easily manage them. The best part about this free generator? You can generate an unlimited number of invoices without having to pay extra!
When it comes to invoicing software, there are quite a few popular tools that probably come to mind. In our 2019 Billing report, we were very surprised to learn that 38% of web designer creatives don’t use the most popular billing apps. That’s a pretty significant amount! Here’s what others are using:
When it comes to invoicing software, there are quite a few popular tools that probably come to mind. In our 2019 Billing report, we were very surprised to learn that 38% of web designer creatives don’t use the most popular billing apps. That’s a pretty significant amount! Here’s what others are using.
Free invoice apps
Due has an app that caters to the needs of busy, working professionals. They understand that the effort spent in creating invoices and chasing payments takes away from opportunities to focus on those actions that make money. They know that no one wants to wait days, weeks, or months to get paid.
Other handy features include: mobile-friendly, integrates easily with PayPal and Stripe, ability to duplicate invoices, and so much more!
With Sighted, it’s easy to send professional quotes, track time and expenses, manage clients, manage products and services, send invoices, and accept online payments! Other benefits include a high-class app, customized invoice and receipt designs, fast expense reporting, etc.
They also have other items like time tracking software that pair up nicely with their invoicing app.
Handdy Invoicing is loved by small businesses everywhere. Why? Their features are tailored to smaller business needs. If your invoice hasn’t been opened, it will tell you. It sends automatic overdue reminders and generators invoice reports in seconds.
Handdy invoicing was built with smaller teams in mind, keeping all the extra work on their end so you can focus on your business.
Invoicera has some unique features such as using the cloud to save so you can access information anywhere and 60+ enterprise integrations. Also, their 14 years of experience definitely adds to their credibility.
In addition to online invoicing, use Invoicera to automate your business processes and communication with thoughtful features like recurring billing, panels, time tracking, workflows and more.
Mr. Biller uses a brand new dashboard that was made to grow and scale with your business. Never worry about losing your invoices again because they use a cloud-backup system that will definitely help you sleep better at night.
A great extra perk: they offer online support so they’re there for you when you need them.
ReliaBills takes invoicing to the next level. Create invoices one by one, import batches, sync to other software, or have them auto-generate them! You can also send invoices manually, in batches, or automatically. You’ll know when emails have been sent, viewed, and even if they bounced. Guess what? They even take care of snail mail for those clients that prefer that traditional touch! They’ll process online payments, send automated reminders, apply late fees, and retry failed payments.
ReliaBills is the best free online invoice app you never knew you needed until now.
Harvest not only lets you easily invoice, they also let you track time and expenses so you can accurately charge clients. Keep track of projects and simply turn your team’s hours into invoices. Stop getting underpaid for your hard work!
Harvest’s automatic reminders to your clients are great for following up with those clients that are a little more forgetful.
Xero’s secure online accounting software app lets you work from anywhere, share with your employees, and collaborate with others (perfect for bigger teams!). Just add apps you already use to create a complete solution for your business.
They also offer free, online 24/7 support, so you’ll always get answers to your questions as soon as you ask them.
Are you a Flywheel customer? Our customers love White Label, a billing subscription add-on to Flywheel web hosting services. It makes it incredibly easy to invoice your clients for recurring services, and integrates flawlessly with Flywheel’s hosting platform. (If you’re reselling WordPress hosting, this is especially convenient!)
Free invoice templates
In our 2019 Billing report, we asked our survey takers to upload examples of their standard invoice templates, and these were the most commonly seen form fields:
- Contact information at the top (email, phone number, etc.)
- A table to neatly separate each project/service
- A brief description of the work
- The hours and rate
- Taxes included and/or excluded
- The estimated total and/or final total
- Payment due date and preferred format (check, online, etc.)
- “Checks payable to” information
- Signature from both parties to confirm charges
- Terms and conditions
Here are some great invoice templates that feature some (or all) of these features.
Create an invoice using Aynax’s free template! You can even change the language and currency to match your needs. Once you’re finished updating, you can either send or print your new invoice.
Freshbooks knows that as a small business owner, you’re busy invoicing and doing everything you can to please your clients. From customer service to managing business finances, you have your hands full. That’s why they’ve crafted an invoicing system that puts you on the fast track to getting paid, the right way. With the free invoice templates, you can download, customize, and send customized templates in a matter of minutes.
Invoice Simple created three free templates, each one a little different, to match your style and brand. Choose what type you want to download: Excel, Google Sheet, Word, or Google Doc so you can go in and edit how you want to.
According to our research from the 2019 Billing Report, Quickbooks is the best invoice app to use! Choose Quickbooks to create a custom, professional invoice in a few easy steps. All you have to do is enter your information, upload your logo, select a free invoice template, and you’re ready to get started! You can then download or print your invoice to send to your customers.
Quick invoice tips
Now that you understand how important having a great invoicing process is and some tools and software that can help you along the way, here are some quick invoice tips to get your billing needs over the finish line!
Do your research and maximize your services
“44% of creatives feel that they don’t charge enough for their services.”The Business of Web Design: The 2019 Report
- Do your research and learn what your competitors are charging for! In our 2019 report, we compiled a whole list of services that creatives like yourself are charging for and what services they want to add next. And if you feel like you aren’t charging enough for your services, then it’s time to raise your rates! You’re the boss of your own business, and we’re here to tell you that you’ve earned it.
- Did you know that more than half of all creatives charge for scope creep? Learn more about what competitors are charging for to level up your own business.
Set your payment terms clearly and correctly
- Things to include:
- A clear headline stating that what you are sending is an invoice as opposed to anything else (statement, contract, addendum, etc.). Bold the word invoice and put it in a large font at the top of the page.
- An invoice number. This is for their records (and yours). If you don’t already have a system in place, an easy way to assign an invoice number is to simply adjust the date. So for example, if it’s July 6, 2019, an invoice number could be “070619”
- Clear payment directions. Triple-check that your address and/or your email address is correct. Make the due date for the payment clear. Also, detail what happens if a payment is not received within your terms (like, if it’s late).
- Provide a W-9 if needed or requested.
- Wondering what else you should include? Find out here.
Collecting late payments
- If you’ve never followed up on an invoice you’ve sent, you’ll be amazed at how much more effective your invoicing can get. Do a quick mental tally: How often are you following up on invoices? If the answer is “rarely,” then chances are your invoicing can become a lot more effective.
- The biggest thing to remember about solving disputes is to know your worth and know your client’s worth. In an ideal world, though, disputes wouldn’t happen. And the best way to keep them from happening is to set clear expectations with your client before your work even begins
- Other quick tips include: keep calm in heated disputes, think about the big picture, get an outside perspective from a trusted colleague, and meet your client 10% of the way.
- See here for more tips for how to get a client to pay an invoice.
Now that you have the tools and tips you need, it’s time to set up a seamless invoicing process, find the specific app or template that can help you scale your business, and watch the money roll in.
Download the free report!
In our 2020 report, we found some amazing insights after surveying over 1,000 creatives just like you. Learn what they are charging for, what services they’re selling, and so much more.
You’re seconds away from downloading the free report! Just enter your email and you’re good to go.