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Invoicing as a self-employed tradesperson

If you’re newly self-employed one of the most important things to learn is how to create and send invoices. Invoicing doesn’t need to be complicated and with a little practice, you’ll easily master the process.
invoicing for self employed

Invoices are legal documents that let your customers know when and how much to pay you.

Invoices help you to keep detailed and accurate records of your company finances. And when you come to fill in your tax return and manage your business’s cash flow, they’re incredibly helpful in seeing how much you’ve been paid.

If you and your customer are VAT registered, invoicing is a legal requirement even if you’re self-employed. We’ve outlined below what you should include on a self-employed invoice.

What should be on an invoice?

what should be on an invoice

Making sure your invoice is compliant is essential if you want to avoid legal complications in the future.

You should include the following pieces of information on every invoice you issue:

  • The details of your company e.g., name, address, phone number
  • The details of your customer e.g., name, address, phone number
  • A unique reference or identification number
  • A description of the work you’re carrying out
  • Dates of when you plan to do the work, the invoice date, and the date the invoice is owed
  • The amount of the invoice and any invoice payment terms
  • VAT and the final figure owed
  • Details for how your clients can make payments

How to write an invoice for self-employed tradespeople

Now you know the key pieces of information to include in your invoice, let’s take a closer look at how to write an invoice when you’re self-employed. You don’t need to pay for expensive software to create an invoice. Instead, try one of the below options:

  • Write out your invoice by hand and post it
  • Write out your invoice on your laptop or device and email it
  • Use an online template

Manage your invoices with a mobile app

By becoming a Checkatrade member you will get a free invoicing mobile app!

If you’re looking for an all-in-one app with self-employed invoice examples, consider using an app like the 1Trade App from Powered Now – an invoicing, quoting and job management service that’s tailored specifically to tradespeople.

There are lots of templates available on the app, including:

  • Invoices
  • Quotes
  • Job sheets
  • Certificates
  • Business forms
  • Estimates
  • Scheduling
  • Invoicing

All these handy tools are available within the app, making it a one-stop-shop for all your business needs.

Even better, as a Checkatrade member, you can download the 1Trade App for free as part of your membership. This is just one of the many benefits you receive as a Checkatrade member.

Make sending invoices easy

Our members are benefitting with a free invoice app, and you could too.

Join today

how to write an invoice for self employedWhen to send an invoice

Most tradespeople will have their own preference when it comes to sending an invoice. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Think about the following options and pick the one that works best for your business:

  1. Immediately: Send out your invoice as soon as you start working on the job.
  2. Split: For big projects, many tradespeople ask for instalments spread over the duration of the work. For example, you may ask for half upfront and the rest upon completion. Or for the material cost upfront and the labour cost on completion.
  3. On completion: Another option is to invoice your customer once you’ve completed the work.

It’s also essential that you make the payment date clear on your invoice so your customer knows when the money is due.

When to send an invoice reminder

Once your invoice has been issued your customer/client will have a certain amount of time before the money is due. However, you may find that some customers forget to pay their invoices on time, which is why you’ll need to know when to send an invoice reminder.

We recommend waiting until a few days before the invoice is due before sending out any reminders. If your customer doesn’t pay their invoice on time, it’s worth regularly sending out reminders.

How to deal with late payments and unpaid invoices

It can be frustrating when clients don’t pay their invoices on time, and this may affect your company’s cash flow. To help with this, we’ve put together a guide on how to deal with late payments and unpaid invoices.

Checkatrade membership benefits

Starting your own business can be challenging, especially at first, but we’re here to help you set off on the right foot. Did you know that Checkatrade is the UK’s leading trade directory and consumers are three times more likely to consider Checkatrade than other brands?*

As a Checkatrade member, you’ll be able to make use of a wide range of amazing benefits, including discounts on business essentials like tools and insurance and great exposure on Google and our online directory.

For support from other tradespeople, you can join our member community to get advice and find out the latest membership news. We have a variety of membership options to suit the level of support your business currently needs.

Make sending invoices easy

Our members are benefitting with a free invoice app, and you could too.

Join today

Common questions answered

Do I need to invoice as a self-employed tradesperson?

This depends on whether you and your customer are VAT registered. If you both are then issuing an invoice is a legal requirement. However, sending out invoices is also helpful for keeping your records up to date, particularly when it comes to paying taxes.

Can I invoice without being self-employed?

Yes, you can issue a private invoice. However, this isn’t required by the HMRC and may cause some confusion when you calculate your taxes.

Where can I find further advice on creating an invoice?

You can find more tips and guidance in our invoicing on the go article.

Useful checklist for invoicing when you’re self-employed

  • Invoicing is a brilliant way to keep on top of your company finances.
  • Invoices must contain a range of essential pieces of information such as a unique reference and payment dates.
  • As a self-employed tradesperson, issuing invoices to your customers will give them all the information they need.
  • Invoices will help to make sure you’re paid the correct amount on the correct date.
  • Becoming a Checkatrade member is the best way to receive support and help when starting a new business

* Research conducted by Deep Blue Thinking, October 2021.

Make sending invoices easy

Our members are benefitting with a free invoice app, and you could too.

Join today

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