Free invoice template decision time: what kind of invoice template is going to meet your needs?
There are a lot of free invoice template options out there so let’s start with one those and narrow our options from there. Not all invoice templates are created the same. You want to make sure that the free invoice template that you use contains everything that you need to get paid on time. While we are at it, let’s also make sure that it looks professional and is going to create a consistently good looking invoice no matter what we put in the invoice template. That is a lot to ask from a free invoices template provider, but if they got into the invoice game they better bring it because there are a lot of options out there.
However, once you get past all the “must have” items for free invoice templates, you have other things to consider like how long the company will be around, what other features are built around the invoicing tool and how the support is for the product. How flexible are they with providing more features?
News flash for invoice software: being free is no longer good enough
You might expect that people will go gaga over your free invoicing software and they might if this was 2007, but wake up! There are invoice software options everywhere and even free accounting software options with built-in accounting and time tracking. At what point this all happened, we’re not sure but we just know that having a invoice template, free or otherwise is not enough to build a whole company around. Your online invoice software should give customers the flexibility to do what they want, when they want.
So, how do we protect business owners from themselves?
On the other hand, we don’t want a customer to have too much freedom because they could really mess up the layout and overthink the design. A company is investing quite a bit when they decide to go with a certain company because they come across as unstable if they keep switching up what the invoice layout looks like. It’s doubtful that two invoice software solutions are going to have the exact same invoice template available so then you end up with a situation where they are hopping from one free invoice template to another and the invoice layout keeps changing. Definitely not the message that you want to send to a customer.
Remember the easiest customer to win is a repeat customer and inconsistency or coming across as unreliable can make it much harder to bid on that next project.
Quality standards come at a cost
Getting a free invoice template should come at the cost of features and quality but sometimes it seems like that can happen. For example, even if the invoice template isn’t unprofessional you might have to deal with watermarks or limits on how many invoices you can send to and how many customers you can send to. Not an ideal situation again, because like I said before you don’t want to have to pony up to pay for a freemium model but you also don’t want to have to constantly switch invoice template providers every time to bump up against a limit.
Here’s a funny thought: what if you switched to a different free template provider for new customers once you hit a limit. What’s the chances that one customer will compared their invoice that you send them with that from a different customer. That would be really weird if two customers did know each other and compared invoices and realized that they were different layouts, but it is also highly improbably. A much more fair point is that you are going to have to have usernames and logins for lots of different invoices template solutions and maybe your bridging freemium invoice templates that only have limits on client and you have multiple accounts with the same program. That would be a better system than having one account with lots of different invoices companies and just have multiple accounts with one company.
The problems with multiple accounts with one company are still pretty annoying. You’d have to create multiple email addresses unless they let you use the trick with a “+” in gmail or a “.” in gmail. That way you can have multiple accounts with one email and one invoice software program, but you would still have to write down somewhere which version of the email went with which clients unless you want to login with all your different email version every time. No thanks!
Luckily, you don’t have to work the system and figure out how to create multiple accounts with some freemium invoice provider because ZipBooks’ accounting software gives you as the bells and whistles of a premium or freemium small business tool that has invoice templates but without the cost.
Let’s talk about different areas of invoice template and what we don’t want to change, what we are open to changing, and what customers can already change.
But first here are some invoice templates that you might find useful:
Free invoice template static design
Size: Every invoice is the standard size: 8×11.
Portrait vs. Landscape: All invoices are portrait.
Placement of client and company info: The client’s information always goes on the left and the company’s is always on the right.
Appearance of line items: We make decisions about how wide or long columns should be under each item.
Structure of invoice discounting, tax subtotals, and total formatting: We choose the order in which the subtotals and discounts appear and how they look.
Free invoice template dynamic design
Information in the company and client sections: We decided where the information goes, but the users still get to fill out the information for the company and the client.
Logo: Companies can add their own personal logos.
Amount and description of charge: Users can edit the amount of the invoice and have the option to write a description.
Free invoice template fluid design
Discounting percentage vs. flat discounting: In the future, we want to allowing flat rate discounting.
Column labels: Some businesses charge by the day instead of the hour. We are looking at adapting our current labels to accommodate for this.
Professional font sizes and types: Some CSS customization might be in order in the future but we probably won’t add fonts like Comic Sans.
Professional font colors: We want to add some variety, but will stick to dark colors, close to black and grey.
How about you? When you create an invoice with a free invoicing program, what kind of experience do you expect?