As a freelancer, you run your own business. And as liberating as that is, it also means that you’re responsible for every detail of your work—including tasks like invoicing. Sending invoices is an integral part of any freelance business as it ensures that you’re paid for your services.
But how often should you invoice as a freelance graphic designer to guarantee fair compensation? The answer depends on multiple factors; ultimately, your billing frequency will be defined by the terms you’ve set on your contract at the beginning of every project, which also means it could vary per client.
That said, most graphic design freelancers generally invoice in specific intervals, like weekly or monthly; others, especially those doing more short-term jobs, can bill at the start and the end of the project.
Invoicing several clients for different jobs can get confusing, so it’s recommended to use invoicing software like Invoice Ninja to simplify the process. Not only do you get freelance graphic design invoice templates that you can use for easy accounting, but you also have access to a variety of tools that can help make tracking, managing, and following up invoices much more convenient and efficient.
Does a Freelancer Need to Invoice?
VAT-registered freelancers are legally obliged to send invoices to their clients (who are also VAT-registered) for rendered services. That said, those who are employed via a freelance market or a talent management platform that invoices on their behalf are exempted from doing this manually.
If neither you nor your client is VAT-registered and your services are delivered in person, you can forego an invoice. However, you still must furnish a payment receipt, and you’re required to provide an invoice copy should your client request one.
How Does Invoicing Work for Freelancers?
How do graphic designers bill? It usually depends on each unique freelancer and how their billing structure and policy are enforced, but the process typically starts in the contract signing or project agreement, even before any work is done. This stage is important because it defines the terms of payment, including the agreed-upon rate, payment due dates, etc. Everything should be put into writing and signed as a legally-binding document.
After these details are ironed out, the freelancer starts the work, tracking all billable expenses as they go; this is particularly important if the charges are on a per-hour basis.
Once the job is completed, the freelancer logs all the work they’ve done and sends this as an open invoice to the client for payment, along with proof of project completion. The client must then pay for the services rendered by the due date before the graphic designer releases all the final deliverables.
How Often to Invoice Clients
The frequency at which a freelance graphic designer invoices clients depends on three major factors–the first is one is current workload. If you’re handling multiple accounts at once, it can be confusing to have different payment terms per project, so it makes sense to apply a uniform scheme, like monthly invoices, for them all.
The second is the type of project. Many freelancers opt for weekly or monthly invoices for long-term projects and a two-time payment structure (once at the start of the project and another at the end) for short-term work.
The third is the freelancer’s business finances; that is, how soon they need the money for their cash flow. If they need to be more liquid, it makes sense to invoice more frequently.
Common Payment Terms for Freelancers
Understanding these factors and how they relate to your freelance business, you can then better choose payment terms that fit you. Here are the most common ones to choose from:
- Payment in Advance: The invoice must be paid before the work begins.
- Due Upon Receipt: The client must pay no later than the next business day after receipt of the invoice.
- Net 7/15/30: The payment must be settled in the indicated number of days (weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly).
- X% 10 Net 30: A discount is given if the client pays the invoice before the due date.
- End of Month Payment: The invoice must be paid by the last date of the calendar month regardless of when it was issued to the client.
You must consider your client’s payment terms and abilities, as well. This is why setting these guidelines at the beginning of the project is extremely important.
Make Invoicing as a Freelancer Easier with Invoice Ninja
Using invoicing software like Invoice Ninja is the best way to optimize your invoicing process as a freelancer. You can use templates for more consistent and accurate bills, and use the available tools to conveniently manage your invoicing matters. Try Invoice Ninja for your freelance business today!