If you’re a contractor, you may need an invoice template. Otherwise, you may be putting yourself in a position to not get paid on time — or potentially getting paid less than what’s due to you.
Plus, invoices create a paper trail that would likely be useful if the IRS asks you for records. Trust me, if they reach out, you’ll want official invoices … and fast.
So, let’s say goodbye to informal requests for payment, whether it’s on the phone, text, email, or in person. And let’s start sending out formal invoices to clients, based on a professional-looking template.
In this article, I’ll cover how you can consider customizing your own contractor invoice template. And if you need one ASAP, you can download a free contractor invoice template to use from Simply Business.
Ready to invoice your customers? Download our FREE contractor invoice template & start using it ASAP!
An invoice can help you get paid on time. It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated to be effective. It should include basic information to help you and your clients keep track of the work completed, costs, and when payment is due. Remember, the simpler, the better.
A contractor’s invoice should include:
A professional-looking header. As a contractor, you own your own business. Make sure your invoice appears credible by adding your company’s logo and brand colors.
Contact information. At the top, add your business’s contact information, including your address and phone number. Also include your client’s contact information.
An invoice number. Add a unique number to every invoice you create. Invoice numbers make it easy to keep track of your work, especially if a client has questions. Pro tip: if you keep invoices electronically (and you should), add the invoice number to the file name too.
Payment due dates. Make sure the invoice’s due date is in a clear, easy-to-read spot at the top of the page. All invoices should have due dates — they typically help you get paid on time.
Cost of materials. Chances are, your work includes the cost of materials. If you’re charging your clients for materials too, add a section for items and their quantity. To avoid confusion, be descriptive.
Cost of labor. Add up the hours you and your team members worked on a project. To set your rate, consider your combined experience and what the competition charges.
Fees or taxes. Depending on where you work, you may need to add sales tax to your invoices. And it can be wise to add a fee if an invoice is paid late. A fee can push your client along, so they’re more likely to pay you on time.
Note: Be mindful of where you’re located though as some states have laws around how much interest and fees you can charge.
Total cost. You’ve already broken down charges on the invoice. Now it’s time to give your clients a total cost. Tally up all the numbers and show the total amount that’s due. Keep this number in a large, bold font so it stands out.
A thank you message. Kindness goes a long way in business. Thank your clients for trusting you with their projects. A personal note may even help you secure future jobs.
Ready to use our free contractor invoice template now?
Check out our quick guide to learn how to create your own invoice using these helpful tools. It can take 5 minutes or less to create your own invoice template tailored to your business that you can use over and over with clients.
You deserve to get paid on time. After all, you’re skilled and provide a needed service to clients. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you by regularly sending late payments, or worse, no payment at all.
Here are a few tips to help make sure you get paid on time, every time.
Send invoices on time and right away. Usually it helps to split up payments by charging a partial amount to book your services. Then charge the rest of the cost when you complete your work. Remember, as soon as you finish a job, send an invoice. The longer you wait, the less likely a client will pay you on time.
Stay organized and document all of the work you do. The same goes for the materials you use. Clear records can help you answer your client’s questions and address any disputes.
When your clients are satisfied, most likely, they’ll pay you on time. Do your best work and be kind to the people you work with. When clients are happy with you, they’ll usually want to pay you right away.
Sometimes it helps to offer a small incentive for paying a contractor invoice early. Consider trying it out! Just make sure you don’t lose too much money along the way.
You also can add a fee to an invoice if a client is late paying you. Don’t be shy here. It’s fair to add a penalty if someone doesn’t compensate you. Just make sure you communicate these terms and conditions up front, so you don’t surprise clients with extra charges.
Let’s say the due date has come and gone, and there’s no payment. Follow up! Pick up the phone or send an email, politely asking for the status of your invoice payment. Most likely, your client has just forgotten and will expedite a payment. But if not, send a late payment letter and escalate the issue.
If you’re in this unfortunate situation, here are a few tips to help you collect on an overdue invoice.
Just remember, don’t bad-mouth your client, even if you’re in a frustrating situation. You could end up getting sued for slander.
If you do face a lawsuit, make sure you have general liability insurance. It can help pay for some or all of your legal fees up to your policy limits. These fees can get costly, so it’s best to protect yourself ahead of time.
So before you send off your free contractor invoice, review your business insurance first. It may be time to get insurance for the first time or boost your coverage.
As a contractor, you never know what type of client you may face in the future. It helps to get protection ahead of time.
I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.
Emily writes on a number of topics such as entrepreneurship, small business networking, and budgeting.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
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