What to include on an invoice
In this article, we'll cover:
Key things to include on a self-employed invoice
If you’re just starting out, you’re probably wondering what to include on a small business invoice.
Invoicing accurately is a key part of your operation. Not only does it help to make sure you get paid efficiently for your work, but it’s another opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism.
What information should be on an invoice?
- A unique invoice number for identification
- The invoice date
- Your company name, address, and contact information
- The name and address of the person you’re invoicing (this will be a company name and address if you’re subcontracting for another company)
- A description of the work you’re invoicing for
- The date you completed the work
- The amount being charged
- The VAT amount, if applicable
- The total amount owed
- The payment terms, i.e. how long the customer has to pay the invoice and how they can pay it.
Need help with your invoicing?
We might take care of marketing our members’ businesses, but we can help make your life easier too.
All our members receive the Powered Now app for free. It’s an easy-to-use app built especially for tradespeople. It allows you to quote, invoice, and schedule jobs all in one place. Or upgrade to the full Powered Now work management software and get 30% off as a Checkatrade member!
HMRC invoicing requirements for sole traders
As a sole trader, you will also need to include the following information on your invoices:
- Your full name and any business names that you operate under
- An address where legal documents can be received.
What is a sole trader?
A sole trader is someone who is self-employed and the sole owner of the business.
- ‘Sole trader’ refers to the structure of the business. Other business structures include ‘limited company’ and ‘business partnership’.
- ‘Self-employed’ refers to your employment status. That is, you don’t work for an employer.
For example, if you’re a gardener, you’re self-employed and need to register as a sole trader. This will let HMRC know that you pay tax through Self Assessment and you’ll need to file a tax return every year.
Small business invoice payment terms
Invoice payment terms are the conditions you outline in order to be paid for the work you’ve completed.
Typically, payment terms include how long the customer has to pay the invoice and the methods by which payment can be made.
Example payment terms
A payment term of 30-days means the customer has 30 calendar days to pay you after you invoice them, i.e. from the date on the invoice.
Even if you don’t specify or agree on a payment date, your customer must pay you within 30-days of receiving your invoice or the service you’ve provided.
- If your customer fails to pay you within 30-days, you can choose to charge interest for late payment. This is at your discretion.
- You also have the option to include discounts for early payment or upfront payment should you wish.
What’s the best invoice system for a small business?
As a small business, not only are you grafting all day, but you’re also the one doing all the business admin after hours.
You, therefore, want an invoicing system that makes life easier for you.
There are a number of invoicing apps on the market.
We’ve chosen to partner with Powered Now to make running a business easier for Checkatrade members.
Powered Now’s app, 1 Trade App, is built specifically for tradespeople and has everything you need to keep your business running smoothly. All our members receive the 1 Trade App for free.
Or our members can upgrade to the full Powered Now app and receive 30% off as a Checkatrade member.
Here are just a few of the ways the full Powered Now app can help your business to run efficiently:
- Quote and invoice quickly and easily
- Issue forms and certificates, e.g. plumbing and electrical
- Accept payments
- Submit your VAT return direct to HMRC
- Keep track of your job scheduling, manage any team members, and keep customers up to date
- Route optimisation, GPS, and mapping
- Time logs and records
- Send appointment reminders to customers.
Tips for how to create an invoice template
You can create a basic invoice template using Microsoft Word on your computer.
- Open the Microsoft Word program
- Click ‘File’ > ‘New’
- Type ‘invoice’ into the search field
- Word has a number of invoice templates; select your preferred one
- Click ‘Create’
- Edit the document with the details listed at the start of this post (i.e. what an invoice must include)
- Save and send to your customer.
You can also use Google docs to create an invoice template in a similar way.
If you choose to use an invoicing app, you’ll be able to create professional invoices from their template library, to include your business logo and branding.
- An invoice should include a unique number for identification, your company name, address, and contact details, and those of the person you are invoicing.
- Include the invoice date, the details of the job you’re invoicing for, and the date you completed the work.
- State the amount being charged, VAT (if applicable), and the total amount due.
- Include your payment terms. 30 days is standard. Remember to state how the customer can make payment.
- Invoicing apps such as Powered Now (free to Checkatrade members) can help to streamline your business and take the hassle out of paperwork such as invoicing. You can also make life easier by adding your branding and logo to their professional templates.
How to write an invoice for self-employed
To write an invoice for self-employed activity, you’ll need to create a template. You can do this using Microsoft Word, Google docs, or through your invoicing app.
Add the date of the invoice, the invoice number, your company name, address and contact information, and that of your customer. Add a description of the work completed, when it was completed and the amount owed.
Remember to add payment terms to help make sure you’re paid accurately and on time.