How to Write Your First Freelance Invoice

Demanding money for your freelance work can seem intimidating. This article will teach you how to do it effectively and professionally. No matter what business you’re in, there are certain elements common to all invoices.

Every invoice should have:

  • A header

  • Freelancer contact information

  • Client contact information

  • The invoice number

  • Date of invoice submission

  • Payment due date

  • Payment options

  • Terms of payment

  • Specification of services rendered

  • Payment amount

  • A thank you note

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Image Source: Corporate Finance Institute®

The header

This is the “first impression” of your invoice, so make it presentable. Whether on-screen or on paper, fonts for documents should be chosen carefully.

Pick a professional font that’s easy to read, with clean lines and no confusing typography. Some of the most popular options for business documents include Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana.

If you’re working as an independent private contractor, the header should contain your full name. If you’re working as a representative of a business entity – your own company or a subcontracting or consulting one – then it should have the name of the business.

If you have a logo, add it. The name should be in boldface type and in a slightly larger font than the rest of the invoice text.

In general, the whole invoice should be written according to the rules of formal professional communication, meaning formatting as well as word choice. “If you need to refresh your knowledge of the business language or in case you need any sort of business writing assistance, it’s a great solution to turn to professional writing services and editing tools online”, says Estelle Liotard, editor and business writing expert at academic writing site.


Freelancer contact information

This should be placed immediately under your name/ the name of your business. The minimum information required is:

  • Your mailing address

  • Your phone number

  • Your email address

  • Your official website

It’s common practice to format each item into its own line of text, like this:

Peter Peterson

98c Main St. / P.O. Box 01234

City, State, Country


[email protected]

Depending on your header style, this can all go either to the top-left or top-right corner of the page. There’s no steadfast rule. Just make sure it’s comprehensive, neat, and under your name/ your business’ name.


Client contact information

Again, this can be an independent individual or a business entity: a company or agency. The information you should include is the same as for yourself:

Company Inc.


[email protected]

Sometimes they won’t have a dedicated mailing address or phone number. That’s alright. Whatever contact information you have, include it in the invoice.

You might have to pursue a late payment or need to track down your clients for some paperwork or legal tasks. It’ll be tremendously helpful to have all their information neatly stored in an official document.

You can either list your client’s contact underneath your own or in line but in the opposite top corner of the page. Again, there are no hard rules, as long as it’s neat, easy to locate, and logically organized.


Invoice number

An invoice number serves to identify the document. Its primary purpose is to help you keep track of all your invoices from all your clients, so you can know who paid you and who hasn’t yet. Put it on the left side of your invoice, under the contact information columns.

The exact system you use doesn’t matter. You can include letters, start with four or five digits, anything goes. The only rule is to keep it sequential and maintain the sequence across all clients. For example:

  • Invoice for client A – #3033

  • Invoice for client A – #3034

  • Invoice for client B – #3035

  • Invoice for client C – #3036

  • Invoice for client A – #3037

You might be wondering: why not assign each client their own sequence? Like so:

  • For client A – #30xx

  • For client B – #40xx

  • For client C – #50xx

That kind of system quickly becomes too overwhelming to manage. Keep everyone within the same sequence, then all your invoices will be chronologically aligned, and finding them will be much easier. You may also want to research billing software solutions if you find all the technicalities overwhelming. 

Image Source: InvoiceBerry

Date of invoice submission

This is when you submitted your invoice to your client. It’s also known as the “date prepared” of the invoice. It serves as hard proof for your case if the client is slow to pay you for whatever reason.


Payment due date

This is the exact deadline by which you expect to be paid. You should agree on it when arranging the work.

Although you can pick whatever date you like, you should be considerate. Leave enough time: for your client to gather their funds, make the payment without pressure, for the banking systems to process the transfers properly.

The most common practice used by various businesses and systems requires payment within 30, 45, or 60 days. If you need the money urgently, set it as “due upon receipt,” i.e., the client has to make the payment practically immediately. Also, learn strategies to make sure that you’ll get paid on time.


Payment options

Let your client know how you prefer to be paid. Popular options include cash, check, credit card, or transfer services like PayPal.

If you prefer to use a transfer service, include the relevant email address in the invoice to make sure your money will be sent to the right place.


Terms of payment

This boils down to whether or not you will charge a late fee. You may wish to inform your client of extra charges for missing the due date. A late fee is usually 20% of the invoice sum.

Remember to maintain good business manners: remind your client once or twice that they’re late, and if they make the payment right away, don’t charge the late fee. But if they keep being tardy, enforce it.


Services rendered

List each specific service you performed for the client and how much each of them costs. That way, they’ll know what exactly constitutes the total sum they’re paying you. Enter each item in a new line.


Payment amount

This is the total fee that you’re charging for your work. You should emphasize it with boldface type. A popular formatting detail is to underline the list of services and show the total tally right below it, like on a utility bill.


A thank you note

End with something like, “Thank you for your business! I look forward to working with you again in the future.” This is a polite way to end on a friendly note. It also serves as a subtle hint to the client that they hire you again for a similar project, instead of potentially taking their business (and money!) elsewhere.


To recap, invoices all follow a template:

  • A professional header,

  • Your contact,

  • Tour client’s contact,

  • Sequential invoice number,

  • Submission date,

  • Due date,

  • Payment terms,

  • Payment options,

  • Service specification,

  • Total fee,

  • A “thank you” conclusion.


Remember to use a professional font, write in a formal language, and clarify any late fees or other reminders. We wish you good luck in developing your freelance business!