You’re a web designer so you’re used to crafting beautiful designs for websites. But when it comes to creating an appealing, yet professional web design invoice—not so much.
Maybe you’re new to the web design freelancing industry or just decided to turn professional and use invoices.
Whatever your reasons behind the shift, we’re here to help. Having a professional experience from beginning to end is critical.
Having a gorgeous site, beautiful portfolio, and excellent design skills are great for attracting and attaining customers. But to keep them, you need a sustainable invoicing system in place.
This includes having an invoice you can send out that represents your brand and promotes on-time payments.
The web design industry has grown 6.1% in the past 5 years, reaching a whopping $34 billion.
So business is definitely booming and there’s plenty of room to get a sizeable share of the web design market.
In this quick guide, we’ll uncover the basics of what should be in your web design invoice, as well as tips for getting timely payments.
Include All the Details About Your Web Design Business
When your invoice arrives in the mailbox (or inbox) of your customers, they should immediately know what it is and who it’s from. One way of ensuring this is to properly display your company details.
For starters, you should design your invoice to fit on an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper or the A4 format so customers can print it out if needed. In the upper left or right corner should be your business name, address, email, phone number, fax number, date, and invoice number, (just start at 001).
This information isn’t just for promoting your brand, but to offer clarity to your customers. Chances are if you’re designing sites for big companies, then invoices tend to get lost and misplaced.
With these details included and visible, their finance department can easily record the invoice into their books for payment.
Also, if you have a logo (hopefully, as a designer you do), be sure to include that with your business details.
Ensure the Accuracy of Your Client’s Details
Next, you want to ensure the customer’s information is there and correct. You can use the same format—business name, address, numbers, email address, and so on.
But this time, you want to include a contact person’s name beneath the business name. This should be the individual who’s handling your account.
Again, in big companies, it’s easy to get confused. So to clarify, you should include the person’s name who’s responsible for hiring you, overseeing your project, and paying you.
You don’t want your invoice being passed around from department to department because no one knows what the invoice is for. In this case, it may just end up in the garbage.
Include an Itemized List of Services
Sending out an invoice that simply shows a subtotal for a big project isn’t going to cut it. Your clients want to know exactly where their dollars are going.
This is especially important if the project increased in size and demand after you took it on. In this case, your invoice subtotal will be different than your estimated price, which can cause a dispute.
So to avoid all the confusion, it’s best to create an itemized list for everything. This should consist of the service provided, a description, the unit or hourly cost, and the subtotal.
In this format, the client can quickly identify what the service is, why it costs what it does, and how much they owe. If you’re charging hourly, you should include your rate and the number of hours spent on that service.
And if you charge by the project, then you’ll simply list the price for the service given. Just make sure you leave enough room for detailed descriptions.
Let Your Brand and (Design Skills) Shine!
You don’t want to send off a web design invoice that’s bland. A typical black and white page-long receipt isn’t going to work.
It’s boring and easy to get lost in a sea of other paperwork. To avoid this, you need to design an invoice that resonates with your brand.
It’s as simple as including your brand colors and logo. You can even give your template a unique design to make your web design invoice stand out.
All of this helps with recognition and showcasing your design skills. The primary goals for your invoice are to make it simple, but at the same time attractive.
Establishing a Payment Deadline
Your clients were a-okay with giving you a deadline to complete their design work. It’s only fair you return the favor.
In your web design invoice, be sure to include a due date for the total owed. This is especially important for new customers.
Establish yourself as a professional and you’ll be treated like one. As a rule of thumb, you should convey your payment terms prior to taking on projects.
A great time to bring this up is when you’re providing the client with an estimate. Let them know that all payments are due within 7 days (or whatever time frame you choose).
Avoid setting the due date too far in the future because this will make it easier for your clients to forget about paying.
The payment terms you create should be clear and concise. Include them somewhere on your invoice, preferably near the subtotal.
Alongside the due date, you should state what happens if the payments are late. For example, you can add on a late fee to the subtotal for each week it’s late.
Be sure to include forms of payment you accept. If you’re accepting checks, make a policy for what happens when the checks bounce.
Keep your terms brief and to the point so all customers are aware of the repercussions in the event they don’t pay promptly.
The design of your invoice can also make it easier to process for payment. For example, you can make the services, totals, and due date bold.
This way, they stick out and make it easier to understand.
Improve Accessibility & Simplicity of Your Invoices
Sending out paper invoices is a thing of the past. This gets expensive and it increases the chances of your invoice being lost.
You can eliminate this issue by opting for a more accessible and simple way of invoicing. Software platforms like invoicely make this easier by allowing you to create and send out invoices via email.
This guarantees your clients receive the invoice and they’ll get it within seconds.
Invoicing software also allows your customers to pay online right from the email. It takes them to a secure page to log in to their payment portals or enter their credit or debit card information.
With an invoicing platform, you can easily access invoices from anywhere and on any device (as well as your clients). Tracking payments is simpler and you can even set it up so that your customers get payment reminders.
Then if you have clients you perform regular services for each month, you can set up recurring payments. This will ensure you never forget to send out invoices on time—which is key to getting paid on time.
As an added bonus, you can use your invoicing software to track expenses and create financial reports when it comes time to do your taxes.
Create a Price List & Send Out Detailed Quotes
Getting paid on time is a top priority for maintaining consistent cash flow. Unfortunately, disputes do occur and can deter timely payments.
Being proactive vs reactive is key here. You can nip problems in the bud by sending out your price list for all of your web design services.
Then when you send out your estimates, make them as detailed as possible. Like in your invoice, your estimate should have a list of services and detailed descriptions.
If you’re charging by the hour, estimate how long you expect projects to take. You can give a timeframe to ensure there’s leg room to charge more in the event it takes longer than expected.
If it ends up being less, your customers will greatly appreciate the reduced price on their invoice.
Creating Your Web Design Invoice
Now, it’s time to start designing your own invoice. This is a part of your branding so don’t overlook its importance.
You want to create a great experience for customers from the time they first connect with you to the time it comes to pay.
With the above tips, you can ensure your brand comes off as professional and trustworthy.
Already using invoices for your web design business? Show us your templates and designs in the comments!