How to make a UK freelancers invoice

Invoices are very simple to make and send. Here you’ll learn what to put in your invoice and links to downloadable invoice templates for sole traders and Limited companies you can fill in with your own details.

Information to include

  • Your name, and your brand name if you use one
  • Your address, telephone number (mobile is fine) and email address
  • Your client’s contact name or the name they have given you to put on the invoice
  • Your client’s address
  • Date you sent the invoice
  • Payment terms (number of days they have to pay)
  • Due date (not necessary but I like to put it in)
  • Invoice number
  • A list of what you have done for them – more on this below
  • The total cost of everything you’re charging for
  • Your bank transfer details (if Limited company, the Ltd company bank details)

If you are VAT registered, include:

  • How much VAT is being added and at what VAT rate
  • A total including VAT
  • Your VAT number

If you have a Limited company, include:

  • The company number
  • The registered address of the company (often your accountant’s address)
  • Your name as Director and any other director’s names

Invoice numbers

My accountant advises me that invoice numbers should be sequential and for the company, not the client. So the first invoice my Limited company sent out was 1, the second for another client 2, the third was for the first client and numbered 3, and so on. The next I issue will be 858.

Should you get investigated by HMRC, and if you’re in business long enough this will happen, it makes it easy for them to look back through your accounts and be sure they are seeing everything you have invoiced. Basically it gives you a little tick mark saying “nothing dodgy looking at first glance.”

When I started freelancing I was a sole trader (no formal company, just working as myself from my normal bank account.) I started out using invoice numbers per client, e.g. LR1, LR2, LR3 for one client, then TT1, TT2, TT3 for another. This was fine, but then again I wasn’t investigated as a sole trader so have no idea whether it would have been a problem or not. My general advice is – just do it in the order you send out invoices whether you’re a sole trader or Limited company director.

What to include in what you have done for the client

This can be as detailed or as brief as you want. For some clients I give a list of overall tasks, roughly broken down by department so they can see who is taking my time, e.g.

Marketing – newsletter build and send £170
Sales – downloadable sale sheet, fixing product images £300
Training – help with news, three new course pages £450

And so on, then add them all up at the bottom.

For other clients it’s as brief as:

Work on the website £500

What you should put in depends on what is helpful to your client. I strongly suggest if you’re putting in a brief single line at least say what it is on for them, e.g. “Design for the website”, so if they get audited in four years time and are going through old invoices, they can immediately see what that invoice should be filed as without having to remember who you are or what you do.

Downloadable Example invoices

I was helped out with an example invoice from a friend in the Farm when I started out, let me pass on this help to you in the form of two example invoices.

These are Google Docs, but you can’t edit them until you’ve copied them in to your own account or downloaded them.

To copy: once the page has fully loaded click ‘File’ then ‘Make a copy’

To download: once the page has fully loaded click ‘File’ then ‘Download as’ and choose the format that your software can open.

UK Sole Trader downloadable invoice Note if you’re a VAT registered sole trader, look at the table and footer in the Limited company form for the VAT details you need to put in.

UK Limited company downloadable invoice This one has three lines for VAT details. If your company is not VAT registered, delete these lines.

Now you’re invoicing clients, you need to keep track of the invoices too. You can do that with our free freelancers invoice tracking spreadsheet.

Happy invoicing!

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Advice by Paul Silver, Farm organiser & full time freelancer since 2004.

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