Invoicing is a crucial aspect of running a business, as it allows you to get paid for the goods or services you provide. While many paid invoicing tools are available in the market, several free options can help you create professional invoices without spending a dime.
In this article, we’ll explore various ways to create an invoice for free, including using templates, online invoice generators, and automated invoicing. Whether you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or self-employed professional, these free tools will enable you to streamline your invoicing process and get paid faster.
What Should You Include in an Invoice?
Being paid on time is essential for every business. The information you include in an invoice could mean the difference between getting paid quickly and being delayed.
While creating one is simple, invoices require specific information and formatting, such as service description, the total amount owed, and payment terms. Unfortunately, many small business owners submit invoices with incomplete information. Such errors typically cause payment delays.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen and you get paid on time, here’s what you should include on an invoice:
- The term “invoice” and a unique invoice number
- Your business name and contact information
- Name and address of the client you’re invoicing
- Invoice issue date and payment due date
- Supply date
- A clear description of the goods or services
- The amount charged for each item
- Total amount payable
- Payment terms and payment methods
- A thank you note
What are the Different Types of Invoices?
You can use several different types of invoices as a business owner. The type of invoice you choose depends on your industry, how often you get paid, and how you bill for your services.
Some of the most common types of invoices include:
- Standard invoice: This is the most popular type of invoice for small businesses. A standard invoice is a basic invoice containing details such as the seller’s name and address, client details, unique number, a description of the goods or services provided, the price of each item, and the total amount due.
- Proforma invoice: A proforma invoice is similar to a standard invoice, but it’s issued before the goods or services are delivered. It outlines the estimated costs of the transaction and gives the client an idea of what to expect.
- Interim invoice: This form of invoice is ideal when working on large projects, as it allows you to submit multiple invoices after completing certain milestones instead of waiting until the end of the project.
- Commercial invoice: A commercial invoice is often used for international trade transactions. It includes sales information required to ascertain customs duties for cross-border sales, such as shipment quantity, weight or volume, and total value.
- Credit invoice: Also referred to as a credit memo or credit note, a credit invoice is issued by businesses to customers to provide a refund, a discount, or to correct a previous invoicing error.
- Debit invoice: Much like a credit invoice, you can issue a debit invoice to increase the amount you underbilled a client.
- Timesheet invoice: A timesheet invoice is used when businesses charge clients based on the number of hours. They’re typically used by independent contractors who are paid hourly.
- Recurring invoice: This is an invoice sent to a client regularly, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Recurring invoices are helpful to businesses that charge clients the same amount at specific periods.
- Final invoice: A final invoice is sent to a client after project completion. It’s more comprehensive than a proforma or interim invoice.
- Past due invoice: This is a standard invoice past its payment date. A business issues such an invoice if the client doesn’t make the payment by the due date indicated on the final invoice.
Ways to Create an Invoice for Free
Here are four ways to create an invoice for free:
If you prefer to create your invoices from scratch, you can use basic software like Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Ensure that you include all the essential details, such as your company address and your client’s information, the date, invoice number, item description, and amount.
You can use free basic invoice templates available online. These free templates come in different formats, such as Word, Excel, and PDF. Once you’ve downloaded the template, you can customize it to fit your business details and client information.
Free Online Invoice Generators
There are several online invoice generators with pre-built templates that you can customize to your needs. In addition, a free invoice generator allows you to create invoices you can download or print instantly.
Automated invoicing involves using software to automatically generate invoices and send them to clients. This method is best suited for businesses that issue recurring invoices. The software saves time and eliminates the need for manual invoice creation, payment tracking, and payment reminders.
What are the Benefits of Automated Invoicing?
Automating your invoicing comes with several advantages, including.
Saves You Time
Automated invoicing eliminates the need to create invoices manually, which can be time-consuming. Instead, the software automatically creates invoices, and you can set recurring invoices for your clients without any additional effort.
Automated invoicing is highly flexible and customizable. You can set up your invoicing system to meet your specific needs. For instance, you can create templates for different types of invoices, set up different payment terms for different customers, or adjust the invoicing frequency based on your business cash flow needs.
With automated invoicing, you can personalize your invoices to reflect your brand. For example, you can include your logo, brand colors, and other branding elements to create a professional and cohesive look across all your invoices. Personalized invoices can also help you stand out and make a positive impression on your clients.
The main benefit of automated invoicing is its automation. Automating the invoicing process helps save time and reduce errors. The system can automatically generate invoices based on predefined rules and send them to customers via email or other channels.
Automated invoicing can also streamline the payment process by sending reminders to clients with outstanding invoices and tracking payment status in real time.
Integrations with Payment
While automated invoice processing software can help streamline your finances, it can be even more powerful if you integrate other systems. For example, integrating your automated invoicing with your accounting software can help you easily manage your finances.
Get Paid Faster
Because all invoices are automatically entered into the system and verified for accuracy, you can process payments much faster than relying on manual data entry. Besides, automated invoicing software sends reminders, which can help you get paid faster.
How to Start Creating Invoices for Free
Creating an invoice is relatively easy, especially if you use a template. Here’s how to create an invoice for free in 8 steps:
- Use an invoice template
- Brand your invoice to boost awareness
- Add a professional header that includes your business name, logo, and address
- Label the document with the word “invoice”
- Include the supply date
- Add a description of the goods/services delivered
- Add the total amount due
- Include payment terms