How to create an invoice as a freelancer in the Arts?

Congrats! You landed a gig or commission as a freelance artist! But after the hard work is done, it’s time to get your coins… as you should. But especially if you are just starting out, it can be a little difficult to know how to create an invoice as a freelancer. I personally remember struggling to find some good invoice examples or templates for artists when I started out.

But that’s why we’re here to help! In this article, I’ll walk you through the essential information of creating an invoice; what you should list, what the difference between product- or service-based invoices are, and how to make sure you get paid on time. Make sure to check out our templates at the bottom of this article!

The Essentials:

State the invoice date (and place)

To start off, make sure you write down what date it is when you send the invoice. So if you create your invoice on October 1st, but you send it on the 14th, then you need to make sure the invoice date is October 14th. Additionally, it is common to add the place as well, but not mandatory.

Create an invoice number

It’s important to know that all invoices you send should be numbered sequentially. An invoice number usually consists of the current year as well, for example, 2022-01.

However, if you send multiple invoices to one person or company a year, it might be useful to personalize these numbers and add ‘customer codes’. Let’s say I am sending my third invoice to ‘’Starlight Theater Company’’, which could look like the following: 2022STC-03, STC22-03, 2022-3STC, etc. It’s really up to you!

Write down contact information

When structuring your invoice, you need to list information about yourself and your customer/employer. Think of it like writing a letter to them. Some companies have some strict requirements on what information to put on an invoice, so always make sure to check that first!

Customer/employer info: (receiver)

  • (Company) Name
  • Addressed to: name contact (only if you named a company above)
  • Address + zip code
  • Phone number and/or email

Your information: (sender)

  • First and Last name
  • Address + zip code
  • Phone number and/or email
  • KVK number (Chamber of Commerce Number)
  • VAT/BTW-ID number (not necessary if you are part of the KOR)

The KVK and BTW are applicable to freelancers registered in the Netherlands. If you are a freelancer based in another country, make sure to look up your country’s invoice requirements.

Product- vs. Service based invoices:

Alright, you’ve listed all the essentials, and now it’s time to get to the most important part of it all: THE MONEY! Depending on what type of work you do, you will either be sending an invoice for a product or a service. The biggest difference between the two is that a product-based invoice usually only consists of a fixed fee. With a service, it’s more common to have an hourly rate. Your hourly rate and the number of hours worked to make up your final fee. There are so many different ways to structure this, but I personally prefer categorizing my info like this:

Service based

  • Description of service + date/timeframe
  • Rate (per hour, per day, etc.)
  • Hours/days worked
  • VAT-rate
  • Total amount

Product Based

  • Description of product
  • Quantity
  • Price
  • VAT-rate
  • Total amount

Once you’ve listed all of this, make sure you check whether you can also add VAT (BTW in Dutch) and how much. The percentage of this differentiates per service and product. You can learn more about VAT and the Dutch tax system in this blog written by our partner Tellow. Then last but not least, write down your payment details and your agreed-upon timeframe for payment.

FreelancerTip: It is common to give people a two-week window to pay, but legally people have 30 days to pay. So ensure you have a written agreement on when payment is due to avoid inconvenience.

And that is it, now you know how to create an invoice as a freelancer! Need some help with your first invoice? Check out our example templates for extra reference and guidelines. You can download the templates or make a copy into your own drive.

Want to go the extra mile and make your invoices look ✨aesthetic✨? Click here ✌🏼

This blog was written by Manouk Roberts. Manouk is a freelance performer and maker based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She has a great love for Musical Theatre and co-produces her own shows. Manouk has some excellent organizational skills that she is keen to share through Freelancer Talk. Her favorite app is Notion, a single space where you can think, write, and plan. The app is great for capturing thoughts, managing projects, or even running an entire company.

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