Running a small business requires a lot of oversight. Invoicing is a big deal but it’s not quite big picture stuff. As a small business owner, you know proper budgeting is key—that means money as well as time. Our goal is to make cumbersome and expensive invoicing software one less thing to worry about. Our free small business invoice template gets you paid quickly and easily so you can get back to running your business.
How to use this invoice template
Our free small business invoice template is simple and intuitive to use. Once downloaded, it’s fully customizable to your specifications. Get started today:
- Simply download some sample invoices for small business.
- Add your company logo and contact information at the top.
- Add and remove lines as needed—this is all according to your preferences.
- To add a personal touch, leave space for client-specific notes.
- Send it off and get paid!
What small businesses need to know about invoicing
Running a small business presents unique needs in terms of invoicing. Without a large company standing behind you, it’s especially important to appear professional and experienced. It’s an unfortunate truth that as a small business, you carry a greater burden to appear established to your clientele. Proper invoicing can do much to show your clients that you are the real deal—so make sure you do it right.
What should be included on an invoice for small businesses
Invoice specifics will vary by industry, but there are a few key considerations small businesses across the board should take to ensure things move smoothly. A sample invoice template for small business will include:
- The name of your company, along with your contact info
- The client’s name
- The invoice issuance date.
- The invoice due date
- An invoice number
- A summary of what you’re billing for
a. If you’re a service-based industry, you may want to charge for a particular job and show your hourly rate, as well as the hours required to perform the job
b. If you offer a particular product (e.g. food, healthy meal preparation, clothing — to name a few), you’ll want to include a line for the quantity of each item you’re sending a client, the price per unit and a subtotal for each
- A subtotal for all costs associated with this particular job or order
- Optional: A line for any discounts that may apply that will be subtracted from the subtotal
- Information on which payment methods you currently accept
- The price you’re charging, including applicable tax
From there, you’ll want to craft the invoice to fit your particular needs. The type of business you are will determine how you should format your invoices. A sales-oriented business may want to include lines for an itemized list to tally products and quantities. A service-oriented business may want to format the invoice to include a larger box for a detailed description of the work they’ve provided. Your business may be somewhere in between. Just remember: in general, you want to keep your invoicing as clear and detailed as possible.
When to send an invoice
The ideal time to send an invoice is a subject of some debate. Generally speaking, you have three options: at the start, during, or at the end of the engagement. Depending on industry and clientele, the best option may vary. Typically, service industries will charge after the work has been performed or a project has been completed. Sales-oriented small businesses will charge upfront before items have been shipped to customers.
The average engagement time of your business may be anywhere from one minute to one year or more. Most small businesses find success utilizing a mix of the three invoicing options. The following are just some guidelines.
Invoicing at the start of the engagement makes the most sense for a project that will require a lot of upfront costs. If this is known to the client, it’s understandable to require at least partial payment from the start. Otherwise, you run the risk of breaking their trust.
Concluding the engagement with the invoice is more commonplace, as clients generally like to feel secure in handing over their hard-earned cash. This is a given if your engagement is a simple transaction. However, if the transaction is spread over a length of time, you may want to break up your invoicing process into phases—this option can be a good compromise between you and your customer.
Invoice like a pro
If you want to get paid like the big guys, you have to act like them—at least with your invoicing. These tips come from pros who know how to get paid quickly.
- Number your invoices – this a great trick for maintaining a professional appearance. Numbered invoices subtly show your client you know what you’re doing—so much so you’ve developed a system around it. And it’s not all for show–numbers make your invoices easier to track as they stack up.
- Set deadlines – providing due dates for your invoices is another simple trick that really helps move the process along. By setting a deadline, you’re letting your customers know to take you seriously. And you’re giving them concrete instructions, which always helps ensure prompt payment.
- Automation – automating your invoicing process may be the most common tip you’ll hear—and for good reason. Not only does it eliminate the burden of the time-intensive grunt work, but it saves you money in the long run. Time spent not invoicing is time spent growing your business.
If automating your invoicing process sounds like something you’re interested in, be sure to check out Sage Business Cloud Accounting online invoicing tools and learn how they can streamline your whole operation.
Invoicing tips from business owners like you
Small businesses face a unique set of obstacles when fine-tuning their invoicing process. Every company and every client is different. Check out these tips to learn how to do it right.
- Be transparent – it’s important to appear established, but at the end of the day it’s no secret that you’re a small business. The element of putting a face to a name and the intangible “human touch” factor is part of the reason why so many people choose to work with small businesses. And that’s far from being a bad thing. You’re in a great position to walk a comfortable line between being professional and being relatable. The more transparent you are, the more willing your customer will be to work with you, rather than against you.
- Make it easy to pay – people want to pay in the way that’s most convenient for them. If you have limitations on the forms of payment you accept, you’re only decreasing your chances of getting paid. As a small business, you’re in the perfect position to adapt as changes occur. Optimizing your invoicing process for the newest methods of payment is beneficial to both you and your customers.
- Follow up – for small businesses, it’s especially important to forge ongoing relationships with your clients. Most small business owners find great success with simple follow-ups. Regardless if the invoice is still outstanding, you should set a date from the time of the engagement to reach out to customers to make sure they’re satisfied. You don’t even have to bring up the invoice if the due date hasn’t passed—in fact, it’s better not to. Super easy and quick to do, a courtesy call can mean a lot to a client.