Here’s something every new entrepreneur or business starter needs to consider: What exactly should you include on your invoices?
The first thing is obvious; a given: You should include the amount of money you’re charging for your product or service!
But beyond that? That’s where a little bit of thought becomes necessary. While different businesses use different formats and different invoice templates, there are eight things that we will argue are non-negotiable. These items include:
- At the top of your invoice, you should always include your contact information. Include the name of your company—just to make sure there’s no confusion as to who the invoice is coming from!—and also the phone number, physical address, and e-mail address of your business. Make sure your customers can easily get in touch with you if they have a question, and that they have no trouble paying by phone or by mailing a check, as they see fit.
- We also recommend that you include your logo or some other branding graphic, if only because it lends an air of professionalism to your invoice design.
- Include your invoice tracking number, which will simply make it easier for you to handle your invoice management and payment receipts.
- Include contact information for the recipient of your invoice—ensuring both accuracy and personalization, and assisting the recipient with his or her record-keeping.
- Include some specifics of the products or services you listed. If the customer purchased ten things from you, list all ten. If you performed several services, list all the steps involved, not just something brief and general.
- Include a field where you can add a description of your services, as you feel necessary.
- Include the payment terms. How long do your customers have to pay the invoice before it counts as overdue? 30 days? A week? Make sure this is explicitly stated on your invoice, which will make it significantly more likely that you get paid on time.
- Finally, include any penalties that might be incurred for overdue payments. It is typically recommended that late fees be assigned to invoices that are significantly past overdue, but it is imperative that you make these terms and policies clear upfront. Including them on the invoice is an easy way to accomplish this.
These eight items provide the basic skeleton of your invoice. Use them to craft a document that will get noticed and paid—as quickly as possible!