Here’s the bottom line: If you want to get paid for any services you provide, you’re going to need to supply your customers with an invoice. Consumers expect documentation of their payment. If you’re looking for an invoicing solution that takes away all of the complexity of our more specific templates, our free simple invoice template is for you. We’ve created a bare bones, basic invoice template to get you paid without the hassle of learning how to use the features you don’t need.
How to use this invoice template
Using our simple invoice template is really about as simple as it gets:
- Download the free basic invoice template and open it.
- Make sure you add your name or your company name at the top.
- Add or remove any lines that you don’t need.
- Fill it out and send it on its way!
What you need to know about invoicing using a simple invoice
Creating a simple invoice should be a simple process. If you provide a range of services, our simple invoice template may be the perfect fit for you. That’s the beauty of simplicity–complete customization allows you to take what we have and craft an invoice to suit your exact needs.
What should be included on a simple invoice
The best part about a simple invoice is the freedom it gives you to change and adapt, even on the fly. Having a blank slate to document your services can be helpful. The standard simple invoice format includes a place for:
- The name of your company (or your name)
- The name of your customer
- The date
- Invoice number and/or job and customer codes (if applicable)
- A description of what the customer is paying for
- Quantity (if applicable) of what the customer is paying for
- How much the customer is being charged per hour or per unit (if applicable)
- Line items for any taxes or discounts (if applicable)
- Total amount being charged to the customer
From there, it really depends on your specific industry. If you’re using this basic invoice form as a bill of sale, you may want to itemize the products sold—this helps you keep track of inventory and is something the customer will certainly want to see on an invoice. If you’re providing a service, you may want to leave some space for notes and future recommendations regarding that service.
When to send an invoice
When it comes to sending invoices to clients, it’s important to take into consideration your customer base, as well as the image you’d like to project. Generally speaking, larger companies will send an invoice at the end of the customer engagement while smaller companies or individuals practice the “due upon receipt” policy, i.e. having the invoice paid as soon as the transaction is complete.
Invoicing at the end of the engagement has a certain professionalism to it and gives off the sense that the business is established. For larger companies, cash flow may be calculated by monthly goals, so getting paid immediately or two weeks later is relatively inconsequential. Small businesses or individuals often adopt this policy to project that established professionalism to their customers.
Having your invoice due upon receipt is a perfectly acceptable practice as well. Most small companies or individuals would do well to use their size as an asset, as they’re able to provide more attentive service to their customers than the big companies. That said, most customers understand that immediate cash flow is essential to keeping smaller operations running smoothly.
Invoice like a pro
Proper invoicing practice is integral to success. Here are some pro tips from Sage on the best invoicing practices to please your customers and ensure prompt payment.
- Set definite payment deadlines – if your invoices aren’t to be paid immediately, you should spell out a clear due date for your customers. Don’t worry about coming off as pushy—you are the professional and your customers understand you need to be paid.
- Be clear – a simple, easy-to-understand basic invoice layout is important so your customers know exactly what they’re paying for and under what terms. Being clear is also beneficial to you, as it makes reviewing and recording your invoices easier and quicker.
- Keep the client in mind – using a simple invoice template allows you to easily customize according to the client being billed. Subtle specificity can go a long way in showing your attention to detail and care for the customer. Itemizing goods or services, offering discounts (and listing them on the invoice itself), or even writing a personalized note of thanks to your client in a blank spot on an invoice—these are the things people remember after the transaction.
Try out these tips and we’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised. When you’re ready to take your invoicing to the next level by automating and streamlining the whole process, check out Sage Business Cloud Accounting online invoicing tools.
Invoicing tips from business owners like you
Using a basic invoice template allows for a ton of customization. Check out these tips from business owners who found success tailoring their invoice layout and process to suit their needs.
- Offer discounts for early payment – everyone loves a discount, so don’t underestimate the effectiveness of such an offer in getting your customers to pay. Even a small discount off the bill total can be a great incentive for your customer to settle. Not to mention, paying less than expected is always a nice surprise for the customer.
- Accept all forms of payment – the easier you make it to pay you, the easier you’ll get paid—it’s that simple. Your customers want to pay you the way that’s most convenient for them. Accepting credit/debit cards and checks is an essential. Many modern businesses are finding success accepting payments through Paypal Venmo, and other online money transfer services.
- Be polite but firm – it’s a fine line to walk between being too cold or too chummy with your customer. A good compromise is to keep the coldness in writing, where it counts. At the end of the day, you need to get paid for what you provide—being firm in payment terms without excluding the niceties of “please” and “thank you” is your best bet for getting paid without offending the customer.