Once the project is complete and the job is all wrapped up comes the good part: getting paid. Yet, many copywriters over-complicate the invoicing process or, worse, put it off indefinitely. (Neither of which is very good for business.) So let’s buckle up and get this invoicing conversation on the road. Ready? Read on…
Today’s question comes from Alexis W. who asks, “I’m about to finish a project with a client, but I have no idea how to get paid when I’m done. What do I do?”
The first thing to do after you wrap up a project? Celebrate! You got a client, you delivered the work, you made them happy and you’re done! The absolute, very, very next step? Invoicing.
You may have noticed I place a teeny bit of emphasis before “next step” there. The reason for that is that the vast majority of creatives, copywriters and designers alike, drag their feet when it comes to invoicing.
Believe me, it makes absolutely no sense. Invoicing is how we get paid! It should be the part of the job that we do fastest! But more often, it isn’t. So take a tip from me and cultivate a good habit: As soon as you get the A-OK on your project from your client, open up a word doc, complete your invoice and send it.
The invoice, itself, doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Open a word doc and write something along the lines of “Invoice for Copywriting Services”.
Below that, create a “To:” section and write the name of your client, the company and any contact information like phone number, email address and/or address.
Below that, create a “From:” section and write your name, your email address, your address and your phone number. (If they have questions about your invoice, you want to make sure they can find you!)
Below that, create section that says: “Project” and write a short description of the project; something like “Copy for holiday print campaign.” Try to keep it to less than seven or eight words.
Below that, list out all of the work you did for the project. If you’re billing by the project, describe the project in the left column and put the amount you’re billing for in the right one. This might be something like, “Four magazine ads and two brochures” in the left column.
If you’re billing by the hour, you can list the task you did and the rate in the left column (Magazine ad at $50/hr) , create a middle column for hours (4.5) and then the right column can be the cost for that task ($225)
At the end of either one, write “Total Due” and the total, followed by “Payable upon receipt. Thank you!” The “payable upon receipt” lets them know they should pay you right away and the “thank you” is, well, nice.
Here’s an example of what a project billed by the hour invoice might look like:
Invoice for Copywriting Services
To: Michael Smithson, ABC Company
Invoice #: 7
Date: February 25, 2012
From: Joyce Johnson
123 Main St
Anytown, MI 02123
ABC Company promotional pieces for trade show
Services Rendered: Hours: Payment Due:
Direct mail for trade show 10 $500
Pre-show email 4.5 $225
Bio for show brochure 2.25 $112
Total Due $837
Payment due upon receipt. Thank you!
Your turn! Do you have a different invoice layout? Let us know in the comments below!