6 Must-Have Points on Your Freelance InvoiceWritten by Uwe on April 20, 2015
Have you started working as a freelance without proper clauses on your invoice? Probably yes!
A lot of freelancers often step into the business unaware of how they need to protect themselves from mishaps in the future that are inevitable.
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This article aims to bring to the light all of those points that, if adequately addressed on your invoice, will help you save yourself from any misfortune.
The average person like me mostly avoids putting things down in writing simply because of this fear of contracts. All the legal jargon just sounds so complicated and difficult that we naturally just tend to fringe away from having to deal with contracts for our freelance work.
However, if you have worked as a freelancer for long, you’ll understand how important it is for you to have on your invoice proper terms and clauses, in other words a contract, that has your back when things go wrong.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to hire any fancy lawyer to help you with this. This guide is here to help you figure out what works best for you and to get you started on drafting a freelance invoice that you certainly shouldn’t be freelancing without.
The best thing you can do to ensure sustainability as a freelancer is to make sure the rates of your service are crystal clear.
Even before your customer or client signs up for your service, your rates should be put down in writing and be approved by your client. The pricing strategy you adopt will depend on the nature of your service. Are you billing your client by the hour or are you going to charge one flat fee once the project is finished?
These decisions of course have to be made well in advance and have to be approved by your customer. You don’t want your client disputing with you over the mode of payment thus withholding it when you have already started offering your service.
If the nature of your work means you have to charge by the hour then it is worth considering what a maximum or minimum work-hour clause should be.
For example, a project that you take up has to be decided upon as to whether it will take no more than X hours or no less than Y hours. The Y is to secure you against any less payment in case you are able to put in extra time and finish the project early and X is to ensure that even if the project is running late on your behalf, your customer won’t have to bare extra charges.
This typically works in favour of both parties.
Make sure you have clearly spelled out the payment schedule on your invoice. Are you to paid on the hour or at the end of the week, month or once when the project is finished?
Again this is something you need to figure out in advance in terms of what works best for you and then put it down in writing on your invoice and make sure your clients are aware of it and agree to it before you start any work.
What you also need to include in your invoice is the mode of payment. Do you accept PayPal payments? Do you want a direct deposit or would a bank transfer work for you?
Other important clauses to include in your invoice include the grace period to give to your customer when running late on payments before you start charging interest.
Make sure you don’t skip this out as it will really help you in the long run in terms of keeping late payments on time or charging a pre-agreed interest on them.
3. Point of contact
When working for larger companies or clients, this can be a really important clause to include in your invoice.
You should always highlight to your clients that you will only allow a “single point of contact”. Allowing multiple can become a nightmare. When you have two or three different people from your client coming back to you to request changes or feedback, you will realize how important this is.
Do make sure that you highlight that all revision requests or any sort of communication should come from a single person. This will save you immensely from double work and confusion. Different people have different ideas and you are not paying to satisfy them all.
4. Cancellation fee
On many occasions, projects once signed off, can get cancelled mid-way. There can be a ton of reasons why this happens and thus you need to make sure you secure yourself when it happens.
Even if a project gets cancelled two days after being signed on, you might have to put in several hours into it and thus you deserve to be paid for your work. Not every client will think this way and many try to get away with not having to pay anything since they cancelled. This cancellation fee works both ways. To let your clients feel secure you can apply a cancellation fee on yourself too. In case you cannot take on the project you agreed to for some reason, you agree to a certain cancellation fee. It’s only fair!
The cancellation fee you charge can be based on how soon the project is cancelled. This is something you need to work out based on the nature of your services. Just make sure it’s highlighted in your freelancer invoice.
5. Rewrites or revisions
This is another equally important point. Many clients are pure perfectionists whereas others cannot simply make up their mind on what they want. Some people can be really hard to satisfy and thus it is really important that you don’t let them use you wrongfully.
The worst clients are the ones that request a complete change of direction mid-way through the project. Dealing with revision requests takes a lot of time and should thus be adequately compensated for. You can make this procedure a lot less painful by simply including an additional clause in your invoice. H
ere again, depending on the nature of your service, this has to be decided by you based on what works best. Most freelancers typically offer 2 or 3 free revisions and then state that any further revision or change requests will be charged additionally.
Always make sure your clients are made aware of this so they think twice before requesting changes from you.
Depending on the nature of your work, there are different kinds of copyright options that you can consider. Some of these rights are print rights, first serial rights, electronic rights etc.
What most freelancers prefer is to stick to owning the rights of their work until full payment is made. In other cases, freelancers always keep copyright of their work to themselves.
Depending on the nature of your business and freelance work, decide on what copyrights suit you best, and make sure you highlight them in your invoice so your clients are made aware of it.
Drafting all these points on your invoice should not be too complicated once you have decided on what you want. It doesn’t have to look like a legal document. As long as the points are written on the invoice, that’s all that matters.