How To Make An Invoice Feb 11, 2018 0:56:03 GMT -8 duffyweber, Brittany Ann Phillips, and 4 more like this
Post by Lady Stardust ★ on Feb 11, 2018 0:56:03 GMT -8
As you start doing more paid voiceover work, chances are a good portion of your clients will ask you to send them an invoice. This is something you will be expected to know how to do as a professional businessperson. Fear not---making an invoice doesn't have to be a scary feat!
What is the point of an invoice?
Think of an invoice as an official "bill" to the clients for your services. It indicates the date of services rendered, type of work performed, amount of work hours, rate, and the total amount the client owes you. This lets the client see a clear breakdown of any services they are being charged for, and ensures there are no discrepancies when they send over your payment.
While invoicing often isn't necessary for smaller independent jobs where payment is handled more informally, companies that have an accounting team often prefer to have invoices from all their contractors, because it creates a paper trail for their records in terms of taxes and bookkeeping. It can also serve as easily-referenced proof when following up on late or missing payments.
Note that when you work with major recording studios, you'll often simply fill out a timesheet instead and the studio will do their own invoicing with the end clients, but if you are working directly with clients online then it is fairly common to be asked to invoice yourself.
Can I automate my invoicing?
Yes, there are many services which have an invoicing feature (Square, QuickBooks, etc). You can also generate invoices directly via PayPal if your client already intends to pay that way, which can save you time and effort---and even automatically remind the client when their payment is overdue. However, note that third-party invoicing software often doesn't allow for PayPal OR check payments - only credit cards or bank transfers.
It's also important to note that many clients prefer to have a PDF invoice for their records as opposed to receiving a link to view an invoice online, especially if they intend to pay you by check or direct deposit. If you really hate manually having to make invoices, you could theoretically use an online invoice generator, download the PDF to email to your client, and then manually mark it as "paid" once you receive payment from the client directly.
How can I help ensure that my client will pay on time?
While invoicing in general often helps expedite the payment process, there are a couple of options you can use to help communicate your intended payment timelines:
- If invoicing manually, consider listing payment terms/due date somewhere on the invoice itself. A common term of payment is "NET-30", meaning that once you send over the invoice, clients will be expected to pay within 30 business days.
- If using an automated invoicing service such as PayPal Invoices, you have the option to either manually or automatically generate a payment reminder to be sent to the client's e-mail. Avoid spamming them with early reminders or too many reminders as this can annoy your client, but it can serve as a gentle nudge if the payment is overdue.
Important Note: While smaller indie clients are often able to pay immediately upon receipt of files/invoice, note that the payment timelines often take longer for larger companies that have to go through an accounting department, payroll processor, etc. Because they often need to wait to get paid by their own end client before being able to distribute that money to their contractors (such as voice actors), sometimes the process may take two or even three months! You can send a polite inquiry at the six-week mark, for example, but don't automatically jump to assuming that your client forgot to pay you. If several months pass, then you might want to start following up more often.
How to make an invoice manually
First, you want to create a basic template that you can use to invoice all your clients going forward, so you don't have to remember what to put down each time. The invoice doesn't need to be fancy, just clearly readable (though you can customize it with your logo and fonts/colors if you like.) As long as all the relevant information is included, the layout itself doesn't matter too much---but if you need ideas or inspiration, just google "freelancer invoice templates."
A VO invoice should contain the following information:
- Header at the top that reads "Invoice"
- Invoice # (if applicable) - used if you plan to send multiple invoices to the same client over a period of time, or if you need to keep track of the numbers for your own records
- Date of issue
- FROM (your name and contact information)
- TO (name of client/company being billed)
- Description of services rendered---for example: "VO Recording - [Name of Project] - [Name of Character]"
- Payment & delivery method (for example, your paypal address, or if your mailing address if you are being paid by check)
- Rate. Be sure to include breakdown of rate - for example, "2 hours @ $250/hr" or "60 lines @ $3/line". If a flat rate, you can write something like "$150/flat".
- Total Amount Payable - bolded at the bottom. Don't forget to include the currency (USD, CAD, GBP, etc!)
Once you've filled out your document with all the relevant info, you should save it as a PDF file to ensure that it can easily be read and opened on your client's end.
Still feeling stuck? Here is a very basic template you can use---feel free to download it and make it your own!
All of the guides and resources on this forum are provided on a volunteer basis. However, if you find them helpful, please consider buying me a coffee!