Contractor Invoices: Tips, Tricks, and a Free Template
You’re getting big jobs and working with subcontractors on complicated projects. This brings on more formalities, permits, expenses, change orders, and invoices. Although it can be challenging to run a contracting and remodeling business, your clients still expect the best product and service. If your invoicing game is off the rails, then things will only be more difficult then they have to be.
Writing invoices by hand for every project will only make things more complicated. Hand-written invoices can lead to inconsistencies and oversights that bleed out your bottom line.
Using an invoice template designed for contractors can help you look professional and operate more smoothly. You can also try contractor invoice software to help you save time and energy on your invoicing operations.
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This template includes blank fields for your:
- Company name
- Company contact information and address
- Invoice number
- Client’s name, contact information, and address
- Invoice title
- Invoice line items, quantity of units used, price per unit, and total price
- Invoice total before tax and discounts
- Tax amount
- Optional special discounts
- Final invoice total
- Additional notes for the client
What is a contractor invoice template?
A contractor invoice template is a standardized form for software that you can use to bill your clients after you complete a job. It’s one standard page or program that provides blank fields for the services your company (or subcontractors) provided, your client’s information, how much is due, when the payment is due, and how your customer should pay.
An invoice creates an account receivable, which is needed for accounting and tax purposes. You should either file your completed invoices away, or use invoice software to keep track of them on your computer.
It’s important to use a standardized template to ensure that your invoices remain consistent across the board. If you want a full breakdown of the anatomy of an invoice, check out this ultimate guide.
Clean invoices will help keep you organized and will be useful if you ever get audited or have to deal with legal issues. This an absolute must if you want to keep your business bookkeeping in order and, of course, get paid.
Using invoice templates as a subcontractor
If you’re a subcontractor, you can still use an invoice templates to bill your materials and labor. Even if your business partner doesn’t have a concrete invoicing system in place, you can provide them with a clean and clear invoice to help you ensure that there are no discrepancies in your paycheck.
Using a clear invoice template can help you keep track of your materials and labor which can reduce oversight and help you look very professional.
Plus, standardized invoices will help you keep clean and simple records of every single project you work on down the line. This can be handy in case there are complications or warranty issues.
Once the job is done, it gets completed in Jobber and we send the invoice.
Why use a contractor invoice template?
It looks professional
Handing your clients a hand-written invoice can be confusing and appear unprofessional in their eyes.
A clean, branded invoice will be easy to read and show your clients that you pay attention to detail, you’re not a fly by night operation, and you care about customer service.
Easy to understand invoices will help you get paid faster
If your client can’t read the invoice or can’t understand the line items, then they will be less likely (and willing) to pay the invoice.
If you don’t show your client how you reached the total for the project, then they might hesitate to pay the full amount, pay the invoice late, or not pay it at all. Clean invoices are important for cash flow!
Clean invoices keeps everyone on the same page
Templates keep things clean, succinct, and standardized. If you’re constantly a different structure or line item names, then it will be impossible to keep track of what happened during each project.
If you need to return to the project down the line, it will be difficult to know exactly what needs to be fixed if everyone isn’t on the same page. Even if you use a template, make sure your line item structure is clear and standard across every project.
It will save you loads of time
Starting from scratch is time consuming. You can save a lot of time using a standard invoice template, or even a few pre-filled templated for standard projects.
Having line items loaded into your template and adjusting quantity and price can be a resourceful solution. You can also opt for software that allows you to save line items into your invoicing system.
Once I started digging in Jobber’s software I really started to think about it: I wouldn’t have to drive home anymore, get in the house, do the routine, sit on the computer, go into Word, start an invoice, type it all in, save it in a file, make a PDF…. now with Jobber we finish a job, mark it complete, go home.
Invoicing best practices for contractors
1. Make sure your invoice is similar, if not identical, to your quote
Invoices are critical to your businesses’ cash flow health, but quotes are critical to your invoicing efficiency. Without an accurate and clear quote, you’ll spend more time than necessary drafting an invoice.
Plus, if you hand your client an invoice that’s wildly different than the initial quote, they won’t be happy.
Make sure that your quote and invoice follow the same format. You can easily use a modified invoice template for your client-facing quotes and estimates.
Or, if you use invoice software like Jobber, you’ll be able to easily turn your quote into an invoice without duplicating documents. That in itself will save you loads of time.
2. Keep your invoices on the cloud
All your invoices should be stored in the cloud. That way, they’re accessible from anywhere (even in the field).
For example, if you need to drop by a customer’s home for a warranty visit, you can easily see what was done when the project was completed in the past. Plus, all your information will be much easier to search for.
When you make invoices on your computer for the cloud, you can easily duplicate copies for your records, or duplicate invoices for similar projects to help you save a bit of time, or easily share invoices with clients if they’ve misplaced their copy.
3. Make sure you bill for labor and materials
This is crucial when running a contracting business. You’re working on complicated projects that require a lot of materials and labor from different tradespeople.
Accurately tracking these things will help you get paid the proper amount for healthy cash flow.
Including labor and materials as line items in your invoices depends on how you decide to structure your billing (flat rate for the job, or an hourly rate, for example).
For example, if you bill your clients using a flat rate, you should exclude materials from the invoice.
4. Be specific
Instead of a general description such as “kitchen remodel,” write down exactly what you installed, where you installed it, and what parts were purchased and used.
When you include materials in your invoice, make sure you include material serial numbers, id numbers, or product names. This will be helpful for ordering replacement parts in the future.
Although tedious, this helps your team stay on the same page if you ever need to return to the job site in the future.
If you use contractor invoicing software like Jobber you can load custom line items into a template and track expenses. This way, each invoice is done within just a few clicks and tracked on your computer and mobile device.
Money doesn’t slip through the cracks, and you can always trace what happened on each jobsite.
5. Specifically outline payment terms and options
The last thing you want is your clients to miss an invoice payment for a big project. Remodeling projects can be expensive, plus, you need to pay your staff, subs, yourself, and your suppliers. Payment deadlines with clear penalties can help avoid this situation.
The best place to outline these terms is in the initial contract your client signs. It’s always good to give your clients a gentle reminder on their invoice too.
Include what methods of payment you accept; for example, ePayments, cash, check, or credit card.
Explain how the client can pay you; for example, where can they go to pay online, who their check should be made out to, the late fee or penalty disclaimers, money-back guarantees, or service warranty disclaimers when appropriate.
Being clear and concise helps you look more professional, remove confusion, and reduce back and forth between you and your client.
6. Include a thank-you note
Invoices can be a bit boring and seem demanding, but they don’t have to be. A little thank you goes a long way. It’s a great way to end the invoice off positively and encourage your clients to refer you to friends and family, or call you again in the future.
If you can include some charm in your payment process, then you’ll be able to easily ask your client for a review, too.
7. Use invoice software to make invoicing easier
Simply put, software just saves you time. Ryaan Tuttle, Owner of Best Handyman Boston explains it best:
“Once I started digging in Jobber’s software I really started to think about it: I wouldn’t have to drive home anymore, get in the house, do the routine, sit on the computer, go into Word, start an invoice, type it all in, save it in a file, make a PDF…. now with Jobber we finish a job, mark it complete, go home. Go have fun with the family, save time, save money, multiply that by 365, now we’re talking business.”
If you want to use software to speed up your invoicing process, look for a solution that also offers an app. That way, you can create an invoice right in the field so you don’t have to do extra work when you finish off the day.
Software will also empower you to create custom line items, convert quotes to invoices, automatically send invoices to your clients when you mark a job as ‘complete’ in your work calendar, and integrate payment options right into your invoices.
8. Automate, automate, automate
If you want your invoicing work for your business and help you grow, then you need to start automating it.
Ryaan has used software to make his invoicing process a part of his entire work request flow.
He’s able to create a quote right from his client’s work request, send them the quote, get their approval, and then send a tech over to the jobsite who has a list of tasks to complete on the Jobber app. “Once the job is done, it gets completed in Jobber and we send the invoice.”
Ryaan even has a payment penalty reminder email set up in Jobber to automatically send if the client doesn’t pay the invoice within 24 hours. This helps him get paid on time and confidently move onto the next project.
His customers also love the simplicity and ease of his invoicing process too.