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The world of business and work generally is changing pretty quickly as the internet advances more with time. This rapid change is felt in almost every industry and facet of life, including the way people work and interact in offices.
Thanks to the internet and the introduction of remote work, the word “freelancing” has become a buzzword, almost like a norm in the business world. Most companies now also work with a hybrid system where a majority of their staff work remotely and only come to the office on some weekdays.
According to a survey by Statista, It is projected that in 2027, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the United States and will make up 50.9 % of the total U.S. workforce. However, this rise in the number of freelancers also comes with some other challenges attached to it.
Experienced freelancers can testify that one of the most difficult and disadvantageous aspects of freelancing is getting clients to pay for work completed. These delays sometimes stem from some factors that might be associated with the freelancer or even the client.
This is one major reason why using proper invoicing is important for freelancers. In this article, we’ll guide you through what a freelancer invoice is and why it is essential for every freelancer. But first, let’s get to defining who a freelancer is.
Who is a Freelancer?
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According to Investopedia, a freelancer is a person that works more like a short-term independent contractor and is paid based on the number of tasks or jobs completed.
A freelancer is essentially someone who works independently for a client, firm, or company either for a long-term or short-term role and is paid based on set agreements either hourly, per day, or per project/job.
Freelancers are described as being part of the gig economy, where they do not work like traditional employees but rather get hired to complete projects for clients on a short-term basis and enjoy the perks of working from home and a work-life balance.
Apart from all these, a freelancer can enjoy the perk of working with several clients or companies at the same time since they are not full-time employees of any particular company. Therefore giving the flexibility of working with and getting paid by several companies or clients at a time. There are no limits to the number of clients that a freelancer can work with at a time, it only depends on the time management ability of the freelancer.
A major reason why freelancing is on the rise is that full-time employees of companies can also freelance part-time for other clients online depending on their ability to manage their time and resources.
What is a Freelance Invoice?
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A freelance invoice is a document that is sent to a client or company to request payment for a freelancing task completed. A freelance invoice works like any other invoice used in business that is used to request payment from a client.
However, due to the peculiarity of the nature of work and payment terms freelancers work with, there are some changes to the format in which freelance invoices are designed. There are several invoice designs especially suited for different types of freelancers, including writers, graphic designers, accountants, data entry specialists, etc.
The Importance of a Professional Invoice to a Freelancer
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The thing is, most of the time, there is often a misconception about the need for invoicing in freelancing careers. This could probably be because freelancing as a career is adoptable by anyone with access to the internet, and therefore it is not seen as a business as it should be.
For a freelancer to be successful and get clients continuously requires a lot of work. Invoices are important to a freelancer for a lot of reasons, some of which include
- It helps the freelancer look professional
A major factor in the success of any freelance career is proper branding, and building a professional perception goes a long way towards achieving that. In the freelancing space, employers look out for people who they feel can help them get the task done effectively.
Since it doesn’t work like the traditional employee world, clients are faced with a lot of options to choose from to get the specific work done. As a result, getting jobs for freelancers can become highly competitive since there are already a number of people offering similar services.
So, building and maintaining a highly professional and effective brand image in the minds of the clients goes a long way to achieving more success. In doing so, the use of a professional invoice to notify clients of due payments and completed work makes the work easier for both the client and the freelancer, making the freelancer look professional.
- It helps the freelancer gets paid on time
One lingering problem between freelancers and clients is the issue of late payments or sometimes refusing to pay at all. Every freelancer loves to be paid for their services upon agreed terms and especially getting paid their due payments on time. Meanwhile, sometimes clients make late payments or tend not to even pay at all in some cases. This issue could be from mistakes by either the freelancer or the client in some cases.
A simple solution to this problem could be the use of freelance invoices to avoid further misunderstandings. A freelance invoice notifies the client of the completion of the job and also contains details of the job done, including every single detail. For instance, an invoice sent by a freelance writer could contain the number of words written or the number of hours worked depending on the agreed terms including the pay per hour or pay per word agreed on.
Most clients forget the details of the job completed and so outlining in an invoice helps the client properly keep track of the agreed terms and pay accordingly.
- It protects you and your client in the case of a lawsuit.
Just like in any other business, sometimes misunderstandings can arise from doing business with a client and a freelancer. This issue mostly stems from a breach of agreed terms, late payments, or refusal to make payments.
In this case, a freelance invoice could act as a document or evidence to show details of the completed work as well as the originally agreed terms. This way, both the client and freelancer have an agreed document to make reference to in the case of issues leading to lawsuits, etc.
Important Details to Include in a Freelancer Invoice
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Invoices play a vital role in the smooth and successful running of almost every business. Although invoices perform the same function of acting as payment notification for a job completed, different business types require different forms of details to be included in the invoice for both clarity and understanding.
The freelancing business is unique from the traditional business working model, and so the freelance invoice contains details that reflect this peculiarity. Some important details to include in a freelance invoice include:
- Your name and contact details
Include your name and contact details such as phone number, working email address, etc., which are very important details to include in your freelance invoice. It helps the client know who they are working with and also keeps the document accurate and clear.
- Client’s details
Include the client’s name, email address, company name (if any), or the head of operations if possible. This helps ensure that the invoice is addressed to the right person or company and also makes the invoice look very professional.
- Invoice date
The date the invoice was issued should be included in the invoice document to ensure correct details. The invoice date actually plays a bigger role than just being the date inputted on an invoice; it also helps the freelancer keep track of the amount of delay and helps calculate when to issue an overdue payment fee.
- A concise description of the contract details
The contract details should be outlined line by line with the terms of the agreement stated to ensure there is no confusion in the invoice. For instance, a freelance writer’s contract could include the title of each article, the number of words, and a cost per word outlined line by line for all the articles completed. After that, at the bottom, the total cost for all the items on the list should be indicated.
- Payment terms
Every freelancer has their own preferred payment terms, so the payment terms are important to include within the freelance invoice. The payment terms could include details such as preferred payment methods, late payment fees, expected date of payment, and account number, and could also include a refund policy.
Just as an invoice is important for the smooth running of a business, in the same manner, invoicing is a very essential document for a freelancer because freelancing is also considered a business and, as such, should be handled professionally. Creating a professional look is essential and is very important for every freelancer, and the use of a freelance invoice helps in achieving that.