I hate to admit it, but I don’t really know how to invoice or ask for pay for my freelance writing work. The whole subject of writing and money scares me half to death, partly, I’m sure because I don’t know what I’m doing.
Thanks for asking and please, don’t feel alone. We have a whole category here on Money Issues and getting comfortable the billing clients you write for is simply part of running your freelance writing business.
When it comes to creating an invoice for writing work you’ve done you need these things:
A copy of the contract, which may be just an email, that describes the scope of the work, how much you’ll be paid, and the terms of that payment.
Specifics on how the pay is to be delivered – your Paypal address or your mailing address if it’s a check, etc.
Your name and contact information.
If you don’t have all this information, just do the best you can and make sure you get set up so this info is available in the future.
Then you assemble this information into an invoice. I generally use a Word and as you’ll see below, I keep it really simple:
Everything’s here – the date, who it’s for, what I did, how much time it took, directions on how to pay me, a thanks and my sig. Note too that I’ve added US to the $150 per hour because this client is not in the United States, and I want U.S. dollars. PayPal will do that – I’m just reminding the client.
This got emailed and pay arrived shortly.
I could have added a ‘due on receipt’ notice and even something like ‘a 10 percent late charge will be added on over due payments,’ and sometimes I do that, but not in this case – I’ve been working with this client long enough to know I don’t have those issues.
Recently, for people like this, I’ve been using PayPal’s invoicing system… super easy after you read the instructions and all the client has to do to pay you is click on a link. Plus you’ve got a record there at PayPal.
If the kind of writing you do requires lots of invoices you may want to invest in some invoicing software. I’ve heard good things about FreshBooks, but I don’t need to use it – I’d suggest you learn to make your own invoices before spending any money on software… then get some referrals from folks who use it. Writing forums, including the one I do with Lori Widmer, are good places to ask.
What’s your take on invoicing for the writing work you do? How do you invoice? Tell us in comments.
Write well and often,
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