Freelance Writer Invoice: How To

There are lots of awesome perks to being a freelance writer - and not the least of those is receiving payment for your hard work.

In order to receive payment, you have
to know how to create an invoice. 

Some freelance writers use online programs for invoicing; I just use my own Excel spreadsheet and convert it to a .pdf so it's easy to track and send. 

If you don't have Excel, you can use a regular word processor document and insert a table.  Then, include the same information I'm outlining below (although you'll have to manually input every dollar figure, because most programs' tables won't support formulas).

Once you're finished, you'll have an invoice that looks something like this:

Sample freelance writing invoice

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 1

Refer to the image below for steps 1-7.

Start by putting your logo or recognizable business symbol in cell A3.  Resize it so it isn't massive - but you want it big enough that your clients can see it (and associate it with you from now on) - probably so it fills columns A, B and C. 

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 2

Move over to column D.  Enter today's date and right justify it.

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 3

In row 7, column A, type "Payment Invoice From" or "Invoice From" - whichever you prefer.

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 4

In row 7, column B, type "To" and ensure it's left justified.

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 5

In row 9, column A, type your name.  In row 10, type your title.  Rows 11, 12 and 13 are for your address (if you don't have a P.O. Box or business address, don't include it) and telephone number.

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 6

In the same rows in column B, insert your client's information.

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 7

Select several rows - I started with 11 - and highlight over to column E (see below).

Explanation of steps 1-7

On your toolbar, select "Merge & Center."

Right-click and select "Format Cells" and select the "Border" tab.  Choose to outline each cell.  Choose "Inside," too.

You can type "Services Rendered" and "Fee" in the uppermost row, as shown in the image of the finished product, if you'd like.  They look best if they're centered.  You can also add "Payment Received" in the bottom row.  Do these last.

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 8

Now highlight the cells beside the ones you just outlined; in this case, it's column F, rows 16-26.

Right-click and choose "Format Cells" just like you did in Step 7; choose both "Outside" and "Inside."

After clicking "OK," your cells will still be highlighted; right-click and choose "Format Cells" again, this time going to the "Number" tab.

Choose "Currency" and decide how many decimals you'd like to add.  You also need to decide how you want negative numbers to display, because your freelance writing contract should require a 50% deposit on all services.  You'll need the invoice to reflect your client's deposit so they can accurately track how much they're paying you.

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 9

Skip down a row and, in column A, write "Total Services."  Two rows below that, type "Amount Due."

In column C, enter this formula: =sum(F16:F26)

If you've got different cell numbers in your fee column, adjust accordingly.

After you've entered your formula, format that cell as currency (just like you did in Step 8).

Freelance Writing Invoice Step 10

You're almost done.  Save it as a template - and now it's ready to be used when you need to bill a client!

It's a good idea - once you've filled it out and saved it as a worksheet for each client - to also save it as a .pdf file.  It's far more convenient for your clients to open a .pdf (and it can't be edited).
What do you use to invoice your clients?  What do you do differently?


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© Angie Papple Johnston 2010. Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha. Really... I've got that kind of time.

"Batch of Dollars" image courtesy of AlexKalina at stock.xchng.