10 Invoice Examples: What to Include + Best Practices

Cody Cromwell
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10 Well-Crafted Invoice Examples

Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner or an entrepreneur, you’re definitely going to want to know how to write a good invoice.

A great invoice leaves a good impression on your clients, and can help you get paid on time and reduce your client’s costs.

Luckily, there’s a way of creating professional invoices that make both you and your client happy.

In this post, we’re going to show you 10 invoice examples that are easy to implement, and guaranteed to get you paid.

Here’s a closer look at the kind of invoice we’re talking about:

The Standard Invoice

A standard invoice is typically generated by QuickBooks or Excel. If you’re a freelance designer, the invoice generated by your accounting software (whether it’s QuickBooks or your custom accounting software) will be your starting point.

Minimal, Classy, and Detailed

A:

Invoice Example 1

This invoice does not include any information about the services provided, just a completely generic description of what service was used. The suggested services are listed, but there is no information about what services those services are, therefore they will not be easily identifiable, and the customer will have no way of knowing what was included. Lastly, there are no conditions. This invoicing is just plain ugly because it looks different every time.

Suggested Improvements:

Information about date, hours worked, what was done, and who the information is being provided to should be included in the invoice.

Conditions should be included to ensure that if the customer does not want to pay, they will have a clear basis for denying the invoice.

Examples of other similar projects should be included for the future dates if they are needed. This will help alleviate confusion on why this invoice is being sent out.

B:

Invoice Example 2

This invoice has all of the information that is necessary to make the invoice easy to understand. It also has the conditions that ensure that whatever is being billed for is clearly understood by the customer and contained within the charges. Also, this invoice seems to be sent out far less frequently than the previous invoice, which is a good thing.

Suggested Improvements:

Clean, Sharp, and Professional

There’s no shortage of online software that can automatically generate professional looking invoices. And for good reason: Having a professional-looking invoice can save you money on printing costs, postage, and time because your clients will be more likely to pay you on time. So, do you really need to spend money on an invoicing service? Or is there another, more cost-effective way to generate professional invoices?

In this article, I’ll show you several examples of examples of invoices from both services and sites that will help you generate great invoices on your own. How do you choose which one is best for you? Well, there isn’t one correct answer. Instead, you’ll have to decide what’s important to you and what will work best for your business depending on a few key factors.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the pros and cons:

  • Pros
  • An automatic source of invoices
  • Easy to customize the invoices
  • Generated invoices are always consistent and professional looking
  • Cons
  • Costly
  • Even with a basic feature set, it’s easy to end up paying more than you would for a professional invoicing service

Vintage

An old invoice from the year 1976, for a product called Oceanswept, directly from the original manufacturer's representative ("Building Materials") to a small bathtub sales outlet in the Greater Boston Area.

Bold

Many times, invoices have that hidden power to make or break a buyer’s buying decision. If you send an invoice that’s not well received, you’re likely to face the wrath of your buyer.

When you make your invoice number look bold and confident, you’re actually increasing your chances of affecting the buying decision positively. One thing to remember that, while you want your invoice number to be large, only the first 3 digits do count.

What to include in your invoice number? Invoice numbers that are written on a white business card look best with all numbers ranging between 0 and 9! Also, reserve the letters A, R, T, U, F, l and i and any other letter and numbers for the name of the company – if you include the number in the name, the buyer is likely to confuse the number with your company’s name. Make the first number at least 15 numbers apart from the name, and the remaining numbers should be at least 10 numbers apart from each other.

Paper-like Look

Your invoice is not a sales letter, but it should get the job done. Use a simple, classic font and work on the colors and layout of the document.

Accent Color

Accent colors help to draw attention to a certain part of the invoice, making the invoice more readable and engaging.

Ideally, you would want to use one of your brand’s signature colors, which would contrast enough to stand out against a light background. However, you should also keep in mind that you would need to consider the brand’s logo and other graphics on the invoice. Not only is it important to keep the colors on the invoice and logo the same, but the use of red can also draw the eye away from the bottom of the card making it harder for the recipient to scan the card to find the pertinent information. In addition, accent colors also highlight the information you are trying to stand out.

In order to use one of your brand’s core colors, it is important to keep in mind the current trends and color palette used in your brand’s marketing material.

It is also a good idea to choose a mixture of light and dark colors to get the right amount of contrast between the card’s background elements.

Friendly and Personal

Dear __________,.

Please accept our sincere thanks for the wonderful year that we’ve had together and these are the accounts we would like to pay the most attention to in the following year.

Yours Sincerely,.

__________,.

Graphic

Designing a quality invoice that is easily readable is important to the business, as information and dates are critical to the process. Picking the right format is no easy task, and can be a tedious process if you don’t know what you are doing.

These sample invoices are designed to give you an idea on how to format your own invoice.

In order for the invoice to be effective, it must meet the following criteria:

{1}. Layout: Ensure that the layout is clear and easy to read.
{2}. Font: Use bold fonts, less attention is paid to the typography of the text.
{3}. Less information on each line.
{4}. Compose the information in such a way that all of it is required.
{5}. Consistency: The format, layout and typography style of the invoice have to be consistent.
{6}. Standard small information graphics: The standard information graphics should be of a small size and should be lined up in the margins.
{7}. Specific emphasis on the date: Ensure that the date is prominent.
{8}. Columns: Line up all of the columns such that they are horizontal and have a consistent width.

Playful and Practical

Home is the center of our universe, and keeping our home clean and tidy is a constant battle.

It’s also a fairly common task, which makes it the perfect place to start to build a business. While home cleaning service can be a good way to get into this line of work, you can also work on freelance design projects to build a steady stream of income. If you have a design background and are familiar with psd files, advertising design and freelance graphic design jobs are a perfect fit for you.

That said, creating an invoice is not only a part of the job but also the first step to maintain a healthy client relationship. Here are 10 layout examples to help you create your own professional and impactful invoice.

Assertive

A professional looking invoice can make the difference between receiving payment on time and receiving an invoice that’s sent to a money-sucking void. Your invoice can be designed in a number of ways, but ultimately it needs to focus on informing the customer, adding value for the business, and offering convenience for the customer.

Build customer trust. Provide accurate and reliable information in a format the customer is used to.

Offer your customers flexibility, choice, and greater convenience.

Make it easy and convenient for customers to pay.

Provide savings, convenience, and value for your business.

Introduce new customers and increase sales.

Bonus: Payment-friendly

I used this example few years back, when I was struggling hard to build up my own business. Feel free to download it, print it and use it. I hope it will help you better understand better how to communicate with clients or clients.

What-you-need-to-know-to-land-a-massive-deal.pdf

What to Put On Your Business Invoice

When you send your business invoices you will want to make sure that you include all the necessary information. The information on your invoice will be your proof that you have paid your taxes and have tried to comply with the state’s tax regulations. And, if you are sending your invoice via email, your information should be on one page, and it should be neat and legible.

Size Matters: Properly Sized Invoices

This seems to be the number one mistake many business owners make when it comes to generating your business invoices. When you are measuring your invoice, never forget that you should include the total of the invoice on your first page, and it should be only the total … so no lines that increase the total mentioned on the invoice.

You will need the total on the first page when it comes time to file your taxes because it will include the tax you paid on the invoice. You will also need it when it comes time to send out your receipts to your clients because you won’t be able to provide them directly to them without it.

Moreover, when you file your taxes, the system will assume that you are sending copies to the appropriate government office. Having the total on your first page means you’ll save time of logging into your online accounting system to get the total.

Your details

Your logo and signature may need to be front and center. Image Courtesy of ASheetOfChalk …

Images in General

Also, when you are sending a large and important image like the one above that has your logo and signature on it, save that in your documents for potential invoice printing. It will help your printer cut right to the chase and minimize any issues in the future.

The Copy

The copy is another important and often overlooked part of the invoice. If you have already gotten in the habit of sending consistent updates, then the most time consuming part of the invoice for you will only be the items with the highest amounts. The copy is where this needs to be addressed.

If we were doing a real deal example, there would come a point in the copy where we would need to include “per item” or “per line” in case that will be pertinent to the sale. Let’s say that someone was looking for a particular item or type of item.

This is where an itemized list comes into play. It can be a simple numbered list, or it can be more elaborate. The list also shows whether or not it was requested. You can break down the list in several different ways, just keep it simple and take those unspoken words (or the majority of them) out.

Recipient’s information

(invoice name, email address, and address)

Short, simple, and accurate is the keyword for this section. Although it may seem like this is a very straight forward section, you often see emails with information omitted. If you don’t include the recipient’s information in the subject line of your email, it’s a sure sign that you’ve omitted an important component.

The only exception to this is if you’re emailing to a large number of people and aren’t sure who you’re sending the email to. In that case, make a note in the subject line indicating a general, publicly accessible website where they can sign up for your email list.

Now that the important information is out of the way, let’s move on to the formatting of the recipient’s information.

Itemized list of services and costs

Invoicing this way can save the client money if he actually wants to use your services. If he doesn’t, then he’s probably just wasting your time and money.

Method of payment

UNESCO heritage properties worldwide are urged to support the United Nations’s tenth annual «International Day for Monuments and Sites” on 18 April. In support of this year’s theme – ‘Safeguarding heritage and promoting sustainable tourism’ – UNESCO is urging decision- makers and signatories to the World Heritage Convention to further support the management of sites and the sustainable development of tourism.

The most common method of payment at weddings is via a credit card.

My links indicate that they offer 2% cash back.

If you sign up for Ebates and click on the link at the top of this post, you get another 5% cash back.

Farmer John’s website has a new promotion scheduled on a regular basis … a coupon code!

Here is their current promotional coupon code. You can also find these discount codes and deals at their social media pages.

PaySimple…as low as 2.9% and sometimes lower!

Although my links indicate that my regular rate is 4%, you can use this link to give yourself an extra percentage off.

The standard rate on this card is 11.99% …including any fees.

Terms

Invoice differs from a contract as the purpose for forms it used for. Aside from being a legally binding document, an invoice is used to convey an overview of all or part of the goods supplied and the services rendered by the company.

You may even describe an invoice as the go-between between a customer and a company or a consumer and a company. Hence, it is very important to be clear and precise on the information contained on the invoice.

Here are some important features that boost the selling power of your invoice. But you ought to consider these 10 invoice examples, they're useful to have in your house.

Reference number

Reference number is used to track order details for future follow ups. Usually, it consists of 5 digits and a letter.

Reference number is basically a number used by the vendor to identify invoice.

The reference number can come from following ideas.

AR System

ATM Card

  • Address Grab
  • Call Detail of Supply Chain
  • Creative Service
  • Debit Card
  • Design Member
  • E-portfolio
  • E-Resign
  • Envelope
  • Epic Software
  • Fax Number
  • FSD-Product
  • GPS
  • ID Card
  • Invoice Number
  • Invoice Reference
  • Invoice Scheme
  • Job Number
  • Land Mine
  • Mail Box
  • Lost order
  • MD document
  • Microsoft Writer
  • Phone Number
  • Print Release
  • Price Quote
  • Reference Number
  • Reference Number (CAM)
  • Returned shipping label
  • Shipping label
  • Visa Card

Notes section

The notes section is where you will provide more detailed information and additional references for your Work Order. Make sure to provide enough detail to help your client/customer understand what exactly you did. Provide a description of what repairs were performed, as well as the dates that you completed the work. Also, make sure to provide links to all of the documentation you used to perform the work.

Invoicing Best Practices

Invoice BGs are those folks who come along and ask us, "Well, exactly what information do I need to put in this invoice so that it does its job effectively?"

Getting this kind of information from a customer for the first time is always a challenge. So, when it is for a new task and an inexperienced individual, it is particularly hard. If you are an experienced employee, you would have done it this way many times without even realizing it.

So why do it the hard way? For the same reason you don't ask a baby to drive a car. Think about it. All babies are good at is getting things done inefficiently.

It is human nature to want to receive all the positive feedback that someone can possibly give to you. Rather than working hard or working efficiently, it is much easier to give yourself positive feedback. You would tend to acknowledge both successes and failures in the same way (with positive feedback). This causes contradictory conditions which acts as a deterrent for your success. When you engage in this practice, you subject yourself to fail all the time. And you will. And will, again, and again, and again.

Be polite

Invoice should be always polite and used as the last means for the payment.

To explicitly ask them to pay according to the will of the invoice to avoid any misunderstandings and complaints.

The only important thing in our invoice is the content, if you send the same invoice 100 times, you know what to say every time.

You have to include the content of your invoice very well, not only to know what the client expected and you only.

Clearly define in the beginning what kind of work is done and the estimated length of the project.

You have to include a word, carefully written that what the client expects or what the client's concern is a rule of sale.

If there is a mistake in the work by the developer it is your duty to notify the client.

The content of your invoice should be careful, polite and polite.

It should not include too many words and should be simple.

Send your invoice as early as possible

Send your invoice as early as possible.

The sooner you send it, the sooner the client will pay.

The longer you wait, the more likely the company will believe your client is going to miss the payment deadline. This makes it more difficult to claim that you lost a potential sale, and also likely to add extra charges for late payment.

To minimize late payment penalties, ensure your calculations match the client’s payment terms.

Encourage late payments.

If your business process and invoicing system allows you to allow the client to waive early payment penalties, make sure you incorporate this in to your communication. To get the client to waive late payment penalties, you may need to work at the client relationship and try and persuade them why it is in their best interests to make a timely payment.

Discuss payment terms up front

You’re well advised to discuss payment terms up front. Whether you’re selling a product proposal or contract, you’ll want to know how the buyer plans to pay prior to drafting the proposal or contract. Be sure to include payment terms in the email invitation for a phone or face-to-face meeting, as well. Apply the same approach for invoices. Whether you’re selling a service to a customer, or a product to a client, up front payment terms are standard when you and the customer are establishing your relationship.

As an entrepreneur, asking for payment terms up front helps you avoid misunderstandings and any last minute haggling when it comes to the invoices you send out. And as a small business owner, you know the amount of time you spend tracking down payment is valuable. But if you don’t ask for payment terms up front, you may end up signing what amounts to a blank check. More importantly, the lack of payment terms will create an air of unpredictability in your relationship with your buyer.

Get It Right!

What do you need to include in your sales invoice?

A great sales invoice template will enable you to answer this question to yourself and to your customers.

Here are a few points to remember:

{1}. Avoid sending outdated invoices. Customers understand the need for internal approvals and signatures before finalizing a sale, but this is only the case when they have already agreed to the purchase. Therefore, your selling partner and customer should have already agreed to your selling prices. In fact, your selling partner and customer should have agreed on your selling price on the Invoice or Bill of Entry before the pen was put to that original sales agreement. This is because once you have signed for the delivery, you have fulfilled the terms.
{2}. Don’t be tempted to include a detailed description of the work that your customer requested.

Instead, be very specific with regards to the goods or services you have actually delivered. For example:

  • Drill Holes 1/2 inch wide 3" deep in each side of the X
  • Put in the legs
  • Paint on the X…
  • Install the electric connections
  • Carry out the remaining work as per the X

§ Do not explain precisely what work you have completed. Your customer knows that, and is bothered by details, not the result. This is what your sales invoice is for.