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How to Invoice for Your Time

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If you're an independent contractor or freelancer, you'll have to create an invoice detailing the time you spent working on a project. In any type of work, your invoice should detail your rate, the amount of time you spent on a project and the total amount you will be paid for that time. Keeping track of all time you spent on a project will make it easier for you to create an invoice and get paid for your work.

Provide the client with an estimate before you begin a project. If you work on an hourly basis, estimate how many hours a project will take and give the client your rates. If you work on a project basis, make sure that the client understands that you're charging a flat rate for that project.

Keep track of how long a project takes. There are many types of software available to measure time spent working, but you can also just keep track of when you began work and when you finished work. Write down each increment of time spent on a project.

Take note of any incidentals that occur during the project. This can include long-distance phone calls, unexpected travel related to the project or any supplies you have to purchase. Depending on your contract with the client, you may be able to bill them for calls and travel.

Use a word-processing program to create an invoice. Most programs have templates for invoices where you can simply enter the time spent and the rate.

Write the date at the top of the page so that you and your client know when this invoice was filed.

Enter your name and contact information at the top of the invoice, along with the name and contact information of the client. Include your tax identification or employee identification number if you have this information; this will make the payment process much quicker.

Write the time spent on the project on the invoice. You can break it down into tasks, such as "Conducting Research," with the amount of time you spent on each task. In a column next to this, put your hourly rate, and in a third column, write the total for that section.

At the bottom of the invoice, write the grand total. Send this invoice in a business envelope with your return address in the top left-hand corner of the envelope and the client's address in the center.

Tip

It is a good idea to arrange a timeline for when you expect to be paid. Talk to your client and ask how soon after completion of a project they will pay you.

Warning

Save an extra copy of every invoice, along with the date you sent it. This will prevent clients from saying that they never received an invoice.

About the Author

John Shortino has written for numerous publications, including the "Philadelphia Inquirer." Some of the subjects he has written about professionally include books, film and business. He is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Temple University.

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