STOP SENDING CLIENTS A LIST OF BULLETS IN A WORD DOCUMENT.
Have you ever sent an invoice to a client and thought “is this even legal?” Of course its legal, an invoice doesn’t have to look like anything specific, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. The reason you’ve thought your invoice wasn’t legal was it probably wasn’t up to the snuff of invoices made by larger companies and businesses. Your invoice doesn’t need to look exactly like those, but it should look at least moderately professional and even attractive. Your clients will take you more seriously, and if your invoice is pretty they may be happier about the fact they have to pay you. All the software we recommend in this list also offer other services like time tracking, expense tracking, and other accounting related features. You don’t have to utilize those features, but you really should. Not only because it’s important for a freelancer to keep their finances well organized, but similar to having a professional invoice, all these utilities make clients, and more importantly you, feel more like a professional; more like a real business that deserves to be taken seriously.
The first few services we’re recommending are all free. Not just a free trial; completely free forever. They unsurprisingly don’t have all the bells and whistles, but many freelancers may not need all that. If you aren’t sure you need invoicing software, these are a great way to try it out.
Wave is priced like a freelancer accounting application (it's free) and it's an excellent service for that market. Wave offers an easy-to-use suite of professional accounting tools. With Wave, you can do unlimited income and expense tracking, personalized invoicing in any currency, receipt scanning and recording, and never pay a dime for any of it. If you do want to expand and use the app for credit card processing or ACH bank payments, you can pay per transaction. If you want to add payroll tax services, you can do so for a monthly base fee plus an additional charge for each employee or independent contractor paid. Wave’s been helping freelancers send invoices and manage their finances for a long time now, and they probably will be for years to come.
Sunrise is best for busy freelancers looking for a seamless, easy-to-use invoicing platform. Its colorful, simple-to-navigate dashboard makes it easy to access all the important aspects of running a business. Access your invoices, bills, recurring invoices, quotes, contacts, and accounting from the left-hand menu bar. You can easily see your top paying customers and clients as Sunrise generates various charts and other visual data to help show you. Sunrise will even give you a running total of who has paid their bill and who hasn’t on your homepage. Sunrise also allows you to accept credit card payments, turn on recurring payments for regular clients, and send late-payment reminders, making it a great one-stop shop for all your financial needs. It does lack some features that micro-businesses might want like time tracking and full mobile access.
This invoicing software bills itself as “Payment Processing Made Awesome.” For one, Due has no monthly fee and a credit card processing rate starting at 2.8%. With Due, you can manage your invoices, payments, and send out customized notifications. Due provides you with a running total of your sent, received, saved, and paid invoices right on the dashboard. You can even instantly send cash with its digital wallet feature. Another plus? It has a time tracking component for each individual task or project, another freelancer must-have. Due is free for businesses invoicing less than $250,000/month. For those processing more, Due has customized paid plan options. Most of you don’t need to worry about paying.
If you’ve tried invoicing software before, or have realized on your own accord that it’s something you need, these options provide a great way to scale up. These services all have a variety of pricing options with different features offered so you can start with a free account and then upgrade as you see fit.
Self-described as the world’s most powerful online invoicing and billing app, Invoicera features tons (probably more than any other on the list) of features including management and workflow software, but you probably won’t use most of those. They have three separate models. One for large business, one for small business, and one for freelancers. The freelance one doesn’t feature their whole slate of features and focuses more on helping you create and send finalized invoices to your clients. You can manage all your clients from a single app dashboard ensuring all the invoices and payments are exchanged in a timely manner. Invoicera also integrates with 25+ global payment gateways so you can receive payments from clients across the globe. You can try the Invoicera app completely free, no credit card required.
Not only is Harvest an invoice app, but you can add co-workers or team members to your account, a feature some of the other options here lack. This can be helpful if you plan to scale your freelance business to be bigger than just you in the future. The time tracking and invoicing software is incredibly intuitive and integrates easily into other popular software like the Google Suite and Microsoft Office. Other features include tracking your expenses, generating reports based on your expense and time data, sending automatic payment reminders to clients, and automatically generating new invoices based on your time sheets.
With a free Momenteo account you can send invoices, manage and view expenses, create succinct reports and estimates for clients, and track your calendar and travel. This is a good place to start if you’ve just begun freelancing, but Momenteo has three other pricing options that offer extra features like time tracking and payment reminders. Most importantly, the upgrades allow you to have more clients. The free version only allows you two clients and the most expensive allows you unlimited, so Momenteo can grow and evolve as your freelancer business does the same. All in all it’s an easy-to-use service that, at it’s highest level, offers everything you could want for an independent business.
A GENTLE PUSH
On top of all the other features integrated in invoicing software, these three services include advice. Your financial situation, client frequency, income changes, and all the other information processed through these platforms gives them a pretty good idea of your business and how it can improve. They do it in different ways, but these services do their best to steer your career in the right direction.
In addition to being a great app for sending invoices, it’s also a great motivator and stats tracker. You tell the Harpoon app how much you need to be making as a freelancer, how much your insurance costs, what your other expenses are, how much profit you need to make in order to support your lifestyle, and Harpoon keeps you on track. You can calculate an annual revenue goal and then use the Harpoon app to reverse engineer your goals. Dynamic monthly goals allow you to adjust each month so you stay on track for your annual goal. Like the other guys, the Harpoon app has a free trial you can use to get started. Why not start planning your full year in advance.
Hello Bonsai is a fairly comprehensive monthly subscription product that includes tools for generating and tracking proposals, creating and signing contracts, tracking hours and expenses; as well as creating invoices, automating reminders, and receiving payments directly through the service. If you have clients on retainer, the new recurring payments feature will auto-generate recurring bills. Their interface design is quite attractive as is their large selection of invoicing templates. Bonsai also has templated contracts which can all be completed through their app via e-signature.
What really stands out about them is they use data to help you make better decisions. With over 40,000 users, they know what it takes to get paid on time, raise your rates, etc. They share that information with you directly in their app’s interface so you can better refine your operation.
AND.CO. by Fiverr is a solid invoicing tool aimed primarily at freelancers. It’s a cloud-based service that helps freelancers & small businesses create invoices, file expenses, and manage projects. They claim you can create an invoice in 20 seconds or less. Part of this is due to that fact that they generate invoices and time sheets for you automatically based on your time tracking. They also help manage your expenses to save cash for tax time.
Their unique selling point is that they’ll pair you with more than great software, but also a real-life human being to help you manage your entire freelance business. Your “Chief Operator” will remind you when it’s time to send an invoice, if you haven’t received payment on time, where you should save certain income, and plenty of other tasks to keep you on track and keep your bank account full. AND.CO. doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of other apps, but you may not need all those extras. You can find out by starting the 30-day no-credit-card needed free trial.
Despite the many ways these apps try to set themselves apart, from their pricing to their unique offerings, the only way you can go wrong is by not picking any of them. Get over it, you need an invoicing software…why are you still here? Go get one!