The invoice; not a fun job, nor a productive thing to do with your time. However, it is a necessary practice and one that should be done with you in mind.
What are the basic structures to an invoice? Well for a start they should be clear, professional and precise. Always include the name of the contact and their address as well as your name, number, email and address; incase they need to contact you.
Your client should know what they’re paying for and when they should be paying for it. Have a specific itemised list of services so they can’t argue that they’ve been overcharged; include whether you’ve charged them per project or per hour.
Include your terms. When you expect the payment and what will happen if they miss their deadline. This isn’t you being harsh, this is you protecting your services and yourself. If you let one person get a way with paying each week, you will soon be out of business. also include what will happen if you have to send an overdue notice, will you charge interest? Will you charge for the notice? You need to keep a solid paper trail that nobody can argue with- especially a court of law. The last thing you need it for Mr Thomas to take you to small claims court and for you not to have paper evidence that you’ve sent him notice after notice to pay, nor have you specified what he’s paying you for.
You need to let your client know to pay you. Cash? Bank Transfer? Cheque? Be specific. You will need all of the details later on when you have to calculate your yearly earnings; you don’t want the tax man knocking at your door. Especially if you have Mr Thomas coming for you too.
The best thing you can do is keep a record of every expense, email, bank transaction, etc. It’s all evidence. Reference your invoice by numbers, its consistent, chronological and systematic. Again, nobody can argue with it.
At the end of every job you should than the customer for their clientele. This lets them know that you’re appreciative and reminds them that you’re a human trying to make a living too. Don’t forget to mention that they can write you a testimonial to say thank you, but don’t be offended if they opt out of doing so.