How to Invoice as a Contractor in 8 Easy Steps? [Ultimate Guide 2024]

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After giving your best in winning a bid to deliver the contract work, invoicing correctly is crucial as well. Your invoice should encompass every detail of the work you’ve completed. Inaccurate or incorrect invoices can result in delayed payments for approximately 61% of businesses.

So, let’s go through a step-by-step process on how to invoice as a contractor in 2024. This guide will help you generate accurate invoices that not only match your client’s expectations but also ensure prompt payments for your hard-earned work.

What is Invoicing for Contractors?

Understanding invoicing for contractors is the simplest thing. It’s nothing but a systematic approach to bill clients for the services rendered. It involves providing a detailed breakdown of the work performed, specifying costs, and setting clear payment terms. 

Efficient contractor invoicing not only ensures accurate compensation for services but also fosters transparent communication between contractors and clients, contributing to a smooth and professional business transaction.

How to Bill as a Contractor?

To invoice as a contractor and ensure timely payment for your services, it’s crucial to employ a strategic approach. From setting clear payment terms to utilizing professional invoicing templates and tools, this guide will walk you through the essential steps of effective billing in the contracting world.

Then it will be just a matter of a few taps:

  • Get those standardized formats downloaded.
  • Enter the client name.
  • Provide a brief description of the services charged.
  • Specify the final amount.

However, it’s not so. 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each contractor has different billing requirements, ways, and methods to charge. So, they need to create personalized invoices that best fit their requirements and help them get paid promptly.

To help you get a better understanding, let’s take two examples.

1. In some projects, contractors are required to get charged half of their total fees at the inception of the project and the other half at the delivery stage. 

2. On the contrary, in some projects, they are supposed to get paid at a mutually agreed timeline.

Apart from this, there are several ways to levy charges. Some of them charge on a flat rate basis, some on an hourly basis while others use the percentage rate based on project completion. (Here is a comparison guide for you between a flat rate pricing model and an hourly rate model.)

To help you get a better understanding, let’s take two examples.

    In some projects, contractors are required to get charged half of their total fees at the inception of the project and the other half at the delivery stage. On the contrary, in some projects, they are supposed to get paid at a mutually agreed timeline.

Though contracting requirements vary from project to project, there are some common points that are must-haves while billing. Whether you are creating handwritten invoices or trying a free contractor invoice template, above mentioned are some of the essential points that you cannot afford to skip when including in your invoice.

 

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Automates your invoice creation process and save time, ensuring error-free invoices every time.

How to Write a Contractor Invoice?

To write a contractor invoice that is both professional and ensures prompt payment, meticulous attention to detail is key. Tailoring the invoice to include comprehensive project specifics, transparent cost breakdowns, and clear payment terms not only reflects your professionalism but also establishes a solid foundation for seamless financial transactions with your clients.

1. Label the document as an invoice

The first thing to do while creating an invoice is to identify the document as an invoice. It should either be written clearly on the top of the document or you may use a large bold font to highlight it as an invoice. Doing this will reflect the purpose of the document and the expected payment to be made within. 

2. Include essential business information

Your business details are the foundational element in an invoice. Including the company name, company logo, phone number, and email address will help your clients to easily contact you. This will allow you to reinforce professionalism and brand identity while facilitating clear communication with your clients.

3. Add your client’s contact details 

Moving further, add your client details in the contractor invoice. This can include the client’s name, company name (if applicable), client’s contact details, and email address. Including these details is significant for maintaining transparency between both parties. This practice will further ensure that invoices reach the intended recipient in the right department. 

4. Assign an invoice number

Invoices, if not managed sequentially, can lead to potential confusion when referring to them in the future. Hence, it is important to assign an invoice number for easy recognition. This consistent numbering pattern will help you and your client stay organized. It will also help both parties to easily track the invoices without any confusion or dispute over specific transactions. 

5. Mention invoice date and due date

Clear and explicit timelines are another important factor in the invoicing process. Mentioning the date when the invoice was generated, along with the due date for making payment, is essential. This not only establishes the payment expectations from the client but also helps contractors manage cash flow, ensuring timely payment.

6. Provide details of the services provided

Create a comprehensive list of all the services provided, a brief description of each of them, quantities, and the rates charged. Applicable tax rates or discounts, if any should also be entered. The objective here should be to provide clarity and transparency to the client about what they are getting billed for.

7. Calculate the total amount due 

Naturally, the next step is pretty obvious: to sum up the cost of all the services rendered, and accurately state the figure on the invoice. If there are any applicable, make sure that they are itemized separately for transparency. The total amount is the ultimate purpose for which the invoice is made. Hence, it should be precisely stated.

8. Add payment terms

Any additional payment information or notes that you require your clients to know should be added here. This can include any rules of engagement for settling the invoice, accepted payment method, payment frequency, or any late fees or penalties. By clearly defining contractor payment terms, the chance of delayed or incorrect payments is minimized. 

 

Efficient Invoicing is a Key to Steady Cash Flow

With InvoiceOwl, you can create customized invoices, track payment status, send automated reminders, and get paid in no time.

6 Mistakes to Avoid as an Independent Contractor while Invoicing

Now that you are aware of how to invoice as a contractor, let’s discuss a few common contractor invoicing mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Inconsistent invoice formatting:

Follow a consistent invoicing format to enhance the professional reputation before your clients. A unified, polished look of contractor invoices will reflect your attention to details and dedication towards enhancing client relationship.

2. Delay in sending invoices:

Delay in sending invoices, lead to unnecessary payment delays and unwanted cash flow issues. Sending invoices at an agreed time interval or project milestones ensures prompt payment from the clients.

3. Forget to track billable hours:

Right from the first task you initiate to the day you deliver the project work completion papers, tracking the hours is essential. If you forget to keep track of your billable hours, you will not be able to charge accurately. However, to streamline manual tracking, investing in an ideal invoicing software having automated time-tracking tools is a wise decision.

4. Chase behind late payment:

While it’s good to get humble and polite with your clients for maintaining long term healthy relationship, it’s equally important to take action when necessary. Timely following up on overdue invoices is essential to maintain financial stability and ensure that you get compensated fairly for the services provided.

5. Clearly convey your payment terms:

There is no space for guesswork. Don’t leave it up to your client on what and how much you should get paid. To avoid any potential disputes with clients and for smooth payment processing, it is essential to clearly convey the payment terms.

6. Acceptance of all payment methods:

To ensure a streamlined payment process, catering to the client’s client’s preferred method is important. You need to allow them to pay in whichever form they want to. It can be through credit cards, bank transfers, digital wallets, etc. Offering such flexibilities will result in expedited payment and convenient settlement of invoices.

What are the Ways to Generate an Accurate Contracting Invoice?

Invoicing clients for performed services is one of the main aspects of working as an independent contractor. Each independent contractor may have slightly different ways of billing clients for their services.

However, here are the two general ways with which you can generate accurate hassle-free contracting invoices covering all the crucial invoice details specified above:

1. Free contractor invoice templates:

There are multiple customizable free contracting invoice templates offered by InvoiceOwl. You can simply go through their range of invoicing templates, readily available in different file formats. What you have to do is:

  1. Select the template format that best suits you.
  2. Next, just fill in the details in the required fields. It can include business and client details, services provided, the amount charged, and many other details.
  3. You can even modify the template color to match your brand.
  4. Once all the personalization is done, save the template by labeling it as an invoice.
  5. After saving, send it to your client via email or you can even take the print of it.

2. Efficient invoicing software:

To permanently streamline your billing process, integrating advanced invoicing software like InvoiceOwl is essential. Gone are the days of spending crucial working hours generating professional invoices and chasing payments. Now with advancements in automation, manual tasks can be easily done with the software.

Have a look at the ways in which InvoiceOwl proves advantageous to streamline the billing processes:

  1. Send professional estimates from the multiple estimate templates available
  2. Quickly accept an upfront deposit once an estimate is on its way to becoming a lead
  3. Create unlimited error-free invoices in the blink of an eye
  4. Get the real-time notification of the invoices
  5. Track the payment status of the invoices, whether paid or unpaid, and send automated reminders
  6. Enhance the reliability of your documents by instantly e-signing them
  7. Maintain all your client details at one place, so that you do not have to enter them repeatedly
  8. Manage multiple companies (up to 5) under one InvoiceOwl account
  9. Sync your InvoiceOwl account with QuickBooks Online for easy bookkeeping
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is an Invoice?

    An invoice is a formal document issued by the vendor to its clients, typically used in business to request payment for products or services provided. It is evidence of the services rendered against which a fair payment should be made to the seller.

    It typically includes essential company details like: business name, business logo, contact information, email address, description of the services rendered, amount charged and payment terms.


  2. What should be included in an invoice?

    Here are a few essential things that should be included in an invoice:

    • An attractive company logo
    • Business and client details
    • Unique invoice number
    • Invoice date and due date
    • List of items/services provided
    • Detailed cost breakdown of the items and quantities
    • Total amount payable
    • Applicable tax and discounts
    • Additional notes or payment terms

  3. Why is getting right invoicing as a contractor important?

    Independent contractors should ensure correct invoicing of their contract work because of the following reasons:

    • To enhance professional reputation and credibility among the clients
    • To ensure prompt payment and healthy cash flow
    • For keeping transparency among the client for the amount charged
    • To ensure smooth tax and legal compliance
    • To effectively track incomes and expenses

  4. What is the best invoicing software?

    Here is the list of the best online invoicing software available:

    1. InvoiceOwl
    2. Zoho Invoice
    3. FreshBooks
    4. Invoice2go
    5. Xero
    6. Wave
    7. Invoicera
    8. Invoice Ninja
    9. Sage
    10. Harvest

  5. What is the difference between an invoice and a receipt?

    An invoice and a receipt both are financial documents serving different purposes and are issued at different time intervals.

    Invoice: Invoices are typically issued by the seller to the buyer before the payment of goods or services is made. The primary purpose of an invoice is to request payment from the buyer for the goods or services delivered.

    Receipt: Receipts are also issued by the seller, not for requesting payment but as an acknowledgment of the payment made. Sellers generate receipts, which serves as the evidence of the payment made by the buyers.

Conclusion

After going through this detailed guide on invoicing effectively as a contractor, you might have got completed understanding. All you now need is an efficient invoicing tool to send invoices and get paid promptly. Integrate InvoiceOwl today as an optimal invoicing solution. It will help you create personalized invoices, track them, request and accept payment

Not just this you will also be able to align your invoicing and accounting operations by easily syncing your InvoiceOwl account with QuickBooks Online. When everything is getting you under one single account, why resist trying for free? period today and experience streamlined invoicing like never before.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel
Founder

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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