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What to include on an invoice

Knowing how to write an invoice can boost small business cash flow. This article shows what’s needed and how our invoicing tool makes it easy for tradespeople.

What to include on a small business invoice

If you’re just starting out, you’re probably wondering how to write an invoice.

Invoicing accurately is a key part of every successful trade business. Not only does it help ensure you get paid on time for your work, but it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism.

Making sure you get paid on time is essential for a healthy business cash flow.

It’s why at Checkatrade we have developed dedicated quoting/invoicing tools that are free for our members to use.

How to write an invoice

Let’s start with the essentials. Here’s a useful list of what information you should include on your invoices:

  • A unique invoice number for identification (these should run in sequence)
  • The invoice date
  • Your trade 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
  • Your payment terms – these tell the customer how long they have to pay you
  • Your trade business bank account details so customers know how to pay you

Using a self-employed invoice template

Checkatrade members can access our easy-to-use app built especially for tradespeople. The dedicated quoting and invoicing tool is free for members. Why not sign up today and see for yourself?

Using a few key details about a job, you can generate a professional-looking invoice with ease. If you’re self-employed, an invoice template like the one in our tool is a no-brainer!

Quoting and Invoicing made easy

Checkatrade members get access to a dedicated time-saving tool

Find out more

HMRC invoicing requirements for sole traders

When paying your taxes, it’s important to get all of the info correct. Especially when you’re submitting your self-employed tax returns to HMRC.

As a sole trader, you’ll 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?

What you include on your invoice will depend on the legal structure of your trade business. A sole trader is self-employed and the sole owner of the business.

Other types of trade business structures include:

what to include on an invoice

Small business invoice payment terms

You’ll want to make sure customers pay you on time. To do this, you can set out payment terms on your invoice.

Typically, payment terms include how long the customer has to pay the invoice and how they can pay you.

You’ll usually want to be paid when you finish a job. If you are working on a large project, it’s common to invoice customers for part of the work while it is in progress.

Quoting and Invoicing made easy

Checkatrade members get access to a dedicated time-saving tool

Find out more

What are payment terms?

A payment term of 30 days means the customer has 30 calendar days to pay you after you invoice them. This will usually be from the date on your invoice.

Even if you don’t verbally agree on a payment date with customers, they should pay you within 30 days of this date if that’s what it says on the invoice.

You could make your payment terms 30 days from the date a customer receives the invoice. However, this means relying on the post to get the invoice to them promptly.

Nowadays, many tradespeople send invoices by email. That way, customers receive your invoices instantly.

You might find it handy to agree on a payment schedule for customers. This could be useful on larger jobs or if they are finding it difficult to pay the full amount they owe you.

What are additional terms?

You can include additional terms on your invoice that tell customers important information about paying you. For example:

  • 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 probably also the one doing all the business admin after hours.

An easy-to-use invoicing system can make life easier for you.

Invoicing apps

You can find a number of invoicing apps on the market. Our quoting and invoicing tool for members can be used for all customers. Using just a few key details, you can easily send quotes and generate and then send invoices. When you complete a job, you And simply convert the details on the app into your invoice and send it via your chosen method.

Why upgrade to an invoicing app?

Here are just some of the ways that Checkatrade can help your business to run efficiently:

  • Quote and invoice quickly and easily
  • Keep track of your job scheduling and keep customers up to date
  • Benefit from a range of offers and discounts
  • Send appointment communication to customers
  • See and request reviews
  • Upload new photos of work
  • Manage your member profile
  • Access our live job board

Quoting and Invoicing made easy

Checkatrade members get access to a dedicated time-saving tool

Find out more

Tips for how to create an invoice template

Tradespeople who aren’t Checkatrade members can create a basic invoice template using Microsoft Word on a 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.

Key takeaways

  • 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 a payment
  • Quoting/Invoicing tools such as our app that’s free to Checkatrade members can help streamline your business and take the hassle out of paperwork such as invoicing
  • Look more professional and noticeable by adding your branding and logo to your invoice template

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