How to Send an Invoice (3 Easiest Ways)

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Sending an invoice is crucial in ensuring your business gets paid for its services or products.

Yet, many find the process daunting, unsure of where to start, or worried about missing vital details that could delay payment.

Whether you send invoices in the mail, email, or using invoicing software, it’s only a few steps to something clear, accurate, and payment-ready.

By the end of this read, you’ll have the knowledge you need to streamline your billing process.

Now, let’s dive into the specifics and confidently get those invoices out.

Key Takeaways

  • There are multiple ways to send an invoice, but email and invoicing software are the fastest ways.
  • Always make sure to have the invoice details filled out completely.
  • Keep detailed records of when invoices are sent and paid to make accounting easier.
  • Keep communication professional, yet friendly and check email regularly for replies from clients.

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3 Ways to Send an Invoice (without a business account)

1. Physical mail

Sending an invoice via physical mail may seem a bit old fashioned or outdated, but it is still one of the most effective ways to ensure your invoice gets delivered.

Here are the steps that you need to take to send an invoice via physical mail.

  1. Start with a template: Use a template in your chosen word processing or spreadsheet program (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, or Google Sheets). Choose a template that works for what you’re invoicing for – some are designed for products, while others are designed for services.
  2. Fill in the details: Add the relevant information, including your business name, address, and contact information, the client’s name and mailing address, an invoice number for tracking, the date of the invoice, a clear description of products or services provided, the total amount due, including any taxes or discounts, payment terms (due upon receipt, net 30 days, etc.), payment methods accepted.
  3. Print the invoice: Ensure the invoice is clear and easy to read. Print it on your company letterhead to maintain professionalism and enhance brand recognition.
  4. Include any additional documents: If applicable, include any other relevant documents with your invoice, such as a contract, a purchase order, or detailed reports of the work completed. This can help clarify what the invoice is for and potentially speed up the payment process.
  5. Choose an envelope: Select a secure and appropriately sized envelope. For a standard letter-sized invoice, a #10 envelopes works well. Using a window envelope can save time, as the recipient’s address on the invoice will be visible, eliminating the need to write or print the address separately.
  6. Address and stamp the envelope: If you’re not using a window envelope, clearly write or print the recipient’s mailing address on the envelope. Ensure it matches the one on the invoice. Add the correct postage. If you’re unsure of the weight, have it weighed at the post office to ensure sufficient postage and avoid return or delay.
  7. Include a return address: Always include your business’s return dress in the envelope’s upper left corner. This ensures the invoice can be returned in case of mailing issues and verifies the sender’s authenticity to the recipient.
  8. Send the invoice via certified mail (Optional): For additional security and proof of delivery, consider sending the invoice via certified mail. The service costs more but provides a tracking number and delivery confirmation. It’s particularly useful for high-value invoices or when you need to verify the invoice has been received.
  9. Record and follow-up: Keep a record of when the invoice was mailed and any tracking information if you used certified mail. Follow up with the client after a reasonable period (for instance, a week after expected delivery) to ensure they received the invoice and address any questions they may have.

2. Email

In today’s business environment, using email is one of the most efficient ways to send your invoice.

Just follow the steps below for sending an email.

  1. Start with a template: Use a template in your chosen word processing or spreadsheet program (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, or Google Sheets). Choose a template that works for what you’re invoicing for – some are designed for products, while others are designed for services.
  2. Fill in the details: Add the relevant information, including your business name, address, and contact information, the client’s name and mailing address, an invoice number for tracking, the date of the invoice, a clear description of products or services provided, the total amount due, including any taxes or discounts, payment terms (due upon receipt, net 30 days, etc.), payment methods accepted.
  3. Convert the invoice to PDF: To maintain the formatting of your invoice and ensure it’s not easily altered, save it as a PDF file. This step is crucial for preserving the integrity of the invoice information.
  4. Compose a professional email: Write a concise, polite email to accompany your invoice. The email should: have a clear subject line “Invoice #12345 from Company Name for Product/Service Provided”, address the recipient by name, briefly state the purpose of the email, attach the invoice, include additional instructions for payment if necessary, and thank the client for their business.
  5. Attach the invoice: Attach the PDF version of the invoice to the email. Ensure you attach the correct file and it opens correctly before sending.
  6. Include a read receipt (optional): You may include a read receipt with your email for added assurance. This confirms when your email has been opened. Be aware the steps for this vary from one email platform to another, and not all clients appreciate or enable read receipts.
  7. Send and follow-up: After reviewing your email for accuracy, send it to your client’s email address. Keep a record of the date sent and monitor for receipt confirmation if you’ve requested one. Follow up if you haven’t received payment according to your terms or the client hasn’t acknowledged receipt of the invoice after a reasonable period.
  8. Maintain records: Keep a copy of the invoice and email for your records. Many platforms automatically save sent emails, but consider organizing them into specific folders for easy tracking.

3. Invoicing software

Last, but not least is using invoicing software. This is my recommended way to send an invoice as an entrepreneur or business owner.

Follow the simple steps below for sending an invoice using an invoicing software.

  1. Choose your invoicing software: Select invoicing software that meets your business needs, considering factors such as ease of use, cost, integration with other tools you use (like accounting software or payment processors), and the specific features you need (such as recurring invoices, payment reminders, and sales tax calculations).
  2. Set up your account: Once you’ve chosen your software, set up your account by entering your business information, including your name, contact information, and payment details. You’ll also want to customize your invoice template within the software, adding your company logo and setting your default payment terms and conditions.
  3. Create a new invoice: Navigate to the section of the software where you can create a new invoice. It’s typically a straightforward process. Select the “Create Invoice” or similar command. Enter the client’s information, including their name, billing address, and email address. Many programs allow you to save the information for future use. Fill in the invoice and due dates based on your payment terms (if this step isn’t done for you). Add the products or services provided, including descriptions, quantities, and prices. The software should automatically calculate the total, taxes, and discounts if applicable.
  4. Review and customize your invoice: Most invoicing software offers customization options and space for additional notes. Use this opportunity to adjust the layout or design if needed, include a personal message or additional instructions for the client and review the invoice for any errors or missing information.
  5. Send the invoice: Once you’re happy with the invoice, use the software’s feature to email the invoice directly to the client. Generally, this involves clicking a “Send” button, where the software will email a secure link or attached PDF of the invoice to your client. Alternatively, if your client prefers, you can also down the invoice as a PDF and send it manually via email.
  6. Track the invoice: Invoicing software generally includes features to track the status of sent invoices. You can monitor whether an invoice has been viewed, paid, or is overdue. Use the features to stay on top of your accounts receivable.
  7. Follow up: If necessary, use the software to send reminders for overdue invoices. Most platforms allow for automated reminder emails, reducing the need for manual follow-up.

I’ve included a couple of screenshots from my QuickBooks Self Employed account to show you invoicing with software.

creating an invoice with QuickBooks Self Employed

You can see here it’s easy to customize the fields included on the invoice, such as the number, date sent, and due date.

sending an invoice with QuickBooks Self Employed

As you can see from this one, it’s easy to customize the colors to match branding and to add your logo. 

You can save the draft or email the invoice directly to the client from the platform.

When should I send an invoice?

The timing largely depends on the nature of the work or service provided, your relationship with the client, and the agreed-upon payment terms.

For most businesses, sending the invoice immediately after service or delivery is acceptable. For project-based work, such as consulting, freelancing, or construction, invoices are often sent upon project completion, either when the final deliverable is handed over or when final approval is received from the client.

Invoices can also be sent on a recurring basis, if you have an ongoing project or provide regular services.

In these cases, you can send invoices regularly, such as monthly or quarterly, with the specific timing outlined in your service agreement with the client.

When you have a long-term project, it’s common to invoice upon reaching a milestone. You often see this in construction, web development, and large-scale creative projects.

Milestones must be clearly defined in your agreement with the client or contract beforehand.

In some cases, particularly for high-value projects or when working with new clients, you may require upfront payment or a deposit before work begins.

This could be a percentage of the estimated cost or a set fee. Based on the agreed terms, the remainder is invoiced according to one of the methods already mentioned.

How much does it cost to send an invoice?

While sending an invoice can be virtually cost-free, especially through email or free software, there are often associated costs depending on your business’s scale, method, and specific requirements.

Sending an invoice through physical mail incurs multiple costs:

  • Printing: The cost of paper and ink for printing the invoice.
  • Envelopes: The cost of purchasing envelopes.
  • Postage: Varies by location and the weight of the letter. For a standard letter, this is the cost of a stamp, but for a larger package or international shipping, it could increase exponentially.
  • Additional Costs: Certified or priority mail for added security or faster delivery will add to the total cost.

Generally, the cost may range from a few cents to a couple of dollars for a single, standard-sized domestic letter.

Sending an invoice via email is typically free, assuming you already have internet access and a computer. However, you may incur associated costs if you opt for custom email services or additional security features.

Costs associated with using invoicing software can vary widely depending on the provider, the number of invoices you send, and the complexity of your invoicing needs.

Many software solutions offer free tiers with limited features, which may be enough for small businesses or freelancers.

Paid versions can range from a few dollars a month to several hundred dollars at the enterprise level.

You may also consider payment processing fees if you receive payments online through credit cards or third-party processors, you will pay transaction fees, which typically range from 1.5% to 3.5% of the transaction amount, plus a fixed fee per transaction. 

If you pay anything for customization and integration with other business systems, this can also add to your overall expenses.

Tips for getting paid faster

Here are a few tips that I’ve researched that have been proven for helping you get your invoice paid faster.

  • Clear and concise invoices: Ensure each invoice is easy to understand, with a clear breakdown of services or products provided, total due, and due date prominently displayed. Avoid jargon and overly technical language that could confuse the client.
  • Flexible payment options: Offer multiple payment methods, including online payments like credit cards, PayPal, or bank transfers. The easier you make it for your clients to pay, the faster you’ll receive payment.
  • Establish and communicate payment terms upfront: Before starting any project, agree on the payment terms with your clients, including due dates, late fees (if applicable), and any upfront deposits required. Clear communication prevents misunderstandings and sets expectations.
  • Send invoices promptly: Invoice immediately after the completion of a service or the delivery of goods. The quicker you send out an invoice, the fresher the transaction is in the client’s mind, which can lead to faster payment.
  • Follow up on overdue payments: Implement a system for tracking payments and following up on overdue invoices. A polite reminder email or call can often prompt a swift response. Consider offering small discounts for early payments as an incentive.

Next steps

After sending an invoice, track it to be aware of when and if you need to send a payment reminder.

Be sure to follow up on overdue invoices, but always remain professional and courteous. Sometimes, payments are late due to simple oversight or administrative delays.

If a client disputes the invoice, address their concerns quickly. This could involve providing additional documentation or clarification on the charges.

Maintaining open and honest conversations can help resolve issues efficiently. Once payment is received, check that it matches the invoice amount.

If there’s a discrepancy, contact the client to resolve it promptly. Save a copy of the payment confirmation for tax purposes.

Send a brief thank you note or email after receiving payment. It fosters goodwill and contributes to building strong client relationships. It shows your appreciation for prompt payment and can set a positive tone for future transactions.

Regularly review your invoicing process to identify areas for improvement. Consider feedback from clients about the ease of payment or clarity of your invoices. Keep updated on best practices and tools to streamline invoicing and payment processes.

Congratulations on reaching the end of this how-to guide. By now, you should have a solid understanding of how to send an invoice, no matter how you choose to do it, be it through physical mail, email, or an invoicing software of your choice.

Here’s to your continued success in business!


Do invoices need to be signed?

In general, invoices don’t require a signature to be considered valid. They’re simply requests for payment and usually include details of the goods or services provided, the amount due, and payment terms.

However, in certain cases or industries, a signed invoice might serve as a contractual agreement or for additional verification purposes, especially for large transactions or international trade. If you’re unsure, it’s wise to consult with a legal professional or adhere to the specific requirements of your industry.

How do I make an invoice?

1. Choose an invoicing method: Decide whether you’ll use invoicing software, a template from a program like Microsoft Word or Excel, or a simple hand-written invoice.

2. Include your information: At the top of the invoice, add your name or business name, contact information, and possibly your logo.

3. Add client information: Include the client’s name, contact person (if applicable), and address.

4. Invoice Number: Assign a unique invoice number for tracking purposes.

5. Date: Include the date the invoice is issued and, if required, the supply date of goods or services.

6. List goods or services provided: Clearly describe each item or service, including quantities, hours, rates, and prices.

7. Total amount due: Calculate the total amount owed, including any taxes, discounts, or shipping charges.

8. Payment terms: Specify the payment due date, accepted payment methods, and any late payment policies.

9. Additional notes: Optionally, include a personal message or thank-you note to the client.

Is it possible to send an invoice for free?

Yes, it is entirely possible to send an invoice for free. Here are a few ways:

Email: Creating an invoice with a free template and sending it via email incurs no cost.
Free invoicing software: Many invoicing platforms offer free tiers or free trials. These allow you to generate and send invoices directly through the platform without a fee. However, the features may be limited compared to paid versions.
Word processors or spreadsheets: Use free templates available in programs like Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Microsoft Office Online to create your invoice, which you can then send as a PDF via email.
Hand-delivery: If you operate locally and interact face-to-face with clients, you could hand-deliver an invoice at no extra cost.

Bear in mind that accepting credit card payments or using third-party systems like PayPal will charge transaction fees on the payment you receive, but there is no charge for sending the invoice itself.


FreshBooks is accounting software built for business owners and their clients. Balancing your books, client relationships, and business isn't easy.

Try it free
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Lucinda has spent the last 15 years working from home as a freelance writer and WordPress designer, and throughout her career, she has worked directly with several digital marketing agencies with clients in the SaaS space, ranging from e-commerce platforms to procurement software.