Being self-employed means that you will have increased freedom and flexibility, as well as the opportunity to earn more than a permanent worker in the same role.
You will also need to ensure that you are motivated enough to get out there and find new contracts on a regular basis.
Once you find those clients and complete work for them, you will then need to be able to invoice correctly.
How to create an invoice
There isn’t a specific way of constructing an invoice, where you have to do it a certain way in order for it to be legitimate, but there are certain things that you have to include as a legal requirement, such as your company name, address, a VAT number if you are registered, the client’s name and their address.
It ss also useful to include your bank details, as well as the terms of payment and how long they have to pay you – this is particularly useful for avoiding late payments, which will be discussed further on.
In order to make your invoice look as professional as possible (as well as including information required by law), here are some examples of what you should include:
- Your company name
- The registered office address
- VAT number (if you are VAT registered)
- Company number (if you are working as a limited company contractor)
- Your company logo (if you have one)
- Your bank details (that way a client can see clearly where the payment needs to be made, without this, payment could potentially be delayed)
- The name and address of the client you are invoicing
- An invoice number
- The work you have carried out for the client
- The date that the invoice has been issued (this can be useful should there be any problems with payment, as this is proof of when the client was invoiced)
- Your payment terms (this should state that the payment must be made within a certain amount of days)
Now that you have all the details needed for a professional invoice, here are a few tips on ensuring that the invoicing process runs as smoothly as possible:
Know how each client will deal with payments
Although it is a good idea to include your payment terms on an invoice, many clients may deal with the process differently, for example, some may need longer to make the payments because their business deals with all their invoices at one, whereas others may make payments on the same day of receiving them – all clients will have a different method.
Find out how your client’s invoicing procedure works, such as whether they need to issue a Purchase Order number before you send the payment document or that they need a certain company name included on it and then look to be flexible where you can.