How to invoice as a freelancer in Nigeria (template inside)

invoice as a freelancer

The end goal of every freelance job isn’t anything close to hardship but a complete paycheck. It doesn’t matter how many gigs you get each month as a freelancer, sending the perfect invoice to your clients and receiving the paycheck in return is the best closure for any project.

Most companies file expenses at the end of each month or at the designated time. Making it almost impossible for you to get your money as at when due without a proper invoice.

In this article, you learn how to raise invoices, how to invoice as a freelancer and what elements make up a good invoice.

In addition, you will get a freelance invoice template you can start using immediately.

Let’s get started:

What’s an invoice?

An invoice is a time-stamped commercial document that itemizes and records a transaction between a buyer and a seller. If a customer purchased your goods or services on credit, you should specify the terms of the deal and provide information on the available methods of payment.

If you are a lazy reader like me who prefers to watch a video and get over with it, go ahead and watch the video below to learn how to raise an invoice as a freelancer in Nigeria. 

Video showing how to invoice in Nigeria

Why use an invoice as a freelancer in Nigeria?

The primary use of an invoice for freelancers is to provide you and your customer with a record of a sale. 

According to square, an invoice sent via digital means takes on average two days to get paid.

In addition, an invoice shows your local/foreign client’s obligation to pay you for your services while stating in clear words payment terms & conditions.

Learn more about invoices from this invoice beginners guide.

Can anyone create an invoice?

Don’t think about it too hard, making a freelance invoice isn’t close to sending a rover to Mars. Just follow the instructions below to see how easy it is or if your profile using invoice software, this invoice software guide will help you.

If you find it hard creating one with tools like excel and google Docs, there are lots of free invoice generators out there that will solve your invoice problems in split seconds.

In fact, we have written a detailed article on how to get started with sending invoices here

What makes up a freelance invoice?

When creating a freelance invoice, there are certain core details that must be included. Without this, your invoice would be no different from an ordinary paper.

Customer Name and information:

This is the person you will be sending the invoice to. The customer name could be a company or the name of your direct contact.

It’s the 24th century. There is almost no need to fax, use direct mail or drive a cab straight to your client’s office so you could send an invoice. With email, you can 10X your chances of getting paid and gain more time for other things.

Simply enter the email of the company or clients you will be working with.

Due date:

Every freelance invoice has due dates. Some gig workers give a 24hours due date while others can be up to a month. Whatever you choose, do remember to include a due date. Most robust freelance billing software comes with pre-built reminders that alert your clients before and after the due date.

Tax:

In Nigeria and some other countries, paying tax is mandatory for every working citizen. It’s good practice to find out how tax law works in your city/country and follow the same instructions to charge your customers.

Your name and logo:

you must include your name when creating your freelance billing invoice else, how will the company know who is sending them the invoice. If you are a company, don’t fail to include your company name.

Your logo is your brand identity. Including it on your invoice speaks well of your brand identity. It gives your client something to remember you with.

List of services with rate:

you must include the details of the work you’ve done for your client plus the rate. Let’s assume you’re a freelance content writer, it can be a list of your content writing services like keyword research, search engine optimization, email outreach and more. You’ve to be very specific here so the client knows what they are paying for.

Invoice number:

As a freelancer in Nigeria, it’s likely you work with different companies all year round. Hence, the reason why being able to identify a client’s invoice is very paramount. Different invoices should have different invoice numbers. A good rule of thumb is to use the Date + Month + Day invoice writing formulae. If I were to send an invoice to you today, the invoice number would be 10262021.

Payment details:

This is the juice of the entire invoice. Include an active account number, bank name and any other precondition for payment. As a freelancer, your client will likely pay you 25 – 50 per cent upfront to get the job started. Do remember to state it in the note section. 

Too much hassle right?  This is where invoicing software comes in handy.

With invoice software, you don’t have to input your bank details on every transaction, as it automatically creates payment links for you.

Alongside the above elements, you can also include discounts and specific notes to specific customers. 

When should you raise an invoice as a freelancer?

As a freelancer in Nigeria, you will have a lot of back & forth with your prospective employee. It’s even more work when your client is a foreigner. They want to know your background, previous works, your knowledge of the job requirements and more. Creating an invoice is the last thing you do to get your client to commit to the project.

It’s advisable, you send your client an invoice immediately after you both reach a deal. At this point, they have no issue with your understanding of the job requirements. You both are smiling teeth to teeth.

Send the invoice immediately your client gave you a yes.

How should your invoice be sent?

If you attend to businesses in your local area, you can easily print out your invoice in black and white after preparing it with a tool like google docs and mail it to your client or stop by the office to present it yourself.

As a side note, it’s good practice to avoid communicating your price, terms and conditions orally or over a phone call instead seal every agreement with a writing document plus signature.

 You don’t end up fighting with your client in court.  

Furthermore, In a world where things get missing on a daily basis, emailing invoices has become the most preferred option. Sending invoices this way ensures you always have a saved copy in case your client becomes indifferent.

To hasten the entire process, there are modern invoice software that will help you automate your entire invoicing process for free and faster too.

How to invoice as a freelance developer?

First thing first, you have to agree on the project requirement with your client, especially the scope of work. Web/Mobile development can have a really broad scope. Ask your client to get clear on what they want you to do and at what price.

Next, go ahead and raise an invoice including all the necessary elements of a good freelance invoice. When it comes to freelance billing, most developers charge 25% upfront to cover up for running costs or charge based on deliverables per work milestone. 

This commitment though little will ensure your client doesn’t wake up one morning and terminate the contract. Don’t forget to include tax and discount if any.

Check again to make sure you’ve done everything right, then go ahead and send.

Lastly, depending on the payment terms, most freelance developers get paid within 7days of milestone completion.

Reminding your client of due payment.

Scared your client might forget to pay you, invoicing software like Biz301 invoice, allows you to set up automated reminders by selecting from a predetermined time frame or by picking a time that works for you.

Be very careful when reminding your clients of unpaid fees. According to lockstep, 50% of companies wait between 10 and 25 days for invoice approval.

Freelance invoice format example

freelance invoice template

Conclusion

Sending invoices is good practice for anyone freelancer in Nigeria who wants to receive payment fast, gain more time and focus on what really matters.

How do you send an invoice as a freelancer currently? Is it via a tool like google doc or do you just go ahead and send some nice email copy to your client and run along?

Let us know in the comment section below. 

1 Comment to “ How to invoice as a freelancer in Nigeria (template inside)”

  1. […] Apart from SMEs, this tool works for freelancers also. Find out how to get started sending invoices as a freelancer here.   […]