Freelance copywriter? Make your invoices as easy to understand as your copy

With companies spending more on marketing and content in an effort to appear more genuine and engaging, the copywriting industry has boomed in the last few years.

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As a copywriter, you can write well, explain complicated things in a simple way and get your point across - but how do you go about billing your clients in a clear, concise and professional way? 

This article explains what information you need to include on your invoice and how to price your freelance copywriting services. It also notes the different ways you may set up your business as a freelance copywriter. 

What does my invoice need to include, and how do I create one?

Although the word ‘invoice’ can conjure up very stiff and formal images with lots of paperwork involved, the actual information that needs to be included is very simple.

As a freelancer, the information you need to include is the same as any other self-employed person (or company, even). This is your company name, address, the name and address of your client, VAT rate, an itemised list of what you're charging for, the amount payable and an invoice number.

Read more about the mandatory fields that must be included on every invoice: “What information needs to be on an invoice?

When putting your invoice together, you have a few choices. Using Word or Excel templates are common methods of invoicing, but they don't always look particularly exciting, not to mention a bit of a pain to organise when you've got many items on one invoice. It can also be a hassle to keep track of invoices when you've billed more clients and need to keep records of them. 

Instead, invoicing software is a good way to make sure your invoice looks professional whilst having some personality, and makes keeping track of invoices much easier.

Create invoices for freelance copywriting with SumUp Invoices 

Using invoicing software like SumUp Invoices, you'll cut down on the amount of time you spend sending invoices, and keep up to date records of whether they've been paid or not. You can also make use of online payments on your invoices, making it even easier for you to receive customer payments without any fuss.

Pricing your freelance copywriting with SumUp Invoices 

There are a number of different ways you may choose to price your services, including: 

  • Charging per word

  • Charging per hour

  • Charging per project 

Depending on the type of project you’re working on, different pricing methods may be appropriate for your invoice template. 

Charging per word

This is a very common pricing strategy for beginner copywriters, and it can be very useful for longer projects: more words will mean more money! This method is best for journalistic-type copywriting where there is lots of editorial-style copy and less need to research or style the articles for a particular client. Charging per word will also allow you to easily price up your work for customers. 

Rates for charging per word vary greatly. Charging per word may be anything between £0.10-£1, depending on the copywriter's experience and the type of copy they produce.  

However, there are a number of downsides to this method. It doesn’t allow you to factor in how much time, research or other project-related work that went into producing the article.  Also, some clients may request short and concise copy so as to save money, and therefore the quality of what you produce may suffer. Therefore, a lot of freelance copywriters try to move away from this pricing method after they’ve gained more experience. 

Charging per hour

This may be a better strategy than charging per word. Pricing per hour takes into account how much time you’ll use researching and brainstorming for your piece. 

Just like charging per word, hourly rates also vary greatly. Hourly rates can be commonly set anywhere between £25 up to £100 an hour. Of course, before choosing your pricing, consider your customer and research what is a suitable rate to set. You want to ensure you're adequately compensated for your hours, but make sure you don’t price yourself out of the market. 

Charging per project 

Charging per project is a very flexible method and allows you to adjust your prices depending on the workload, difficulty and topic. This approach is ideal for larger projects that have a clear outline of what’s expected. It can be a great pricing strategy as it’s very simple and takes off the time pressure, allowing you to focus on simply providing great copy. 

It may be useful to consider asking for a deposit before you start working on larger projects. This will help to ensure that you’re paid in full for your work and assure you that the client is reliable. 

Learn more about adding deposits to your invoicing in the article: “Managing deposits with invoicing software”. 

If you choose to charge for your freelance copywriting services per project, make sure that you’re clear upfront about what is and isn’t included in your services. If you don’t have a clear understanding of what’s expected from you, it can be hard to accurately price your services and can leave you underpaid. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to always provide a clear outline of the project to your customers so they’re not confused about what they’re paying for. 

Pricing unit and SumUp Invoices 

The way you have priced your services will be shown on the invoice template as a unit of measurement. SumUp Invoices provides several different units to choose from.

However, if you feel the options provided don’t accurately reflect your services, you can create your own custom units of measurement. To manually add a unit of measurement in SumUp Invoices, simply create a new invoice as normal. In the item line, expand the drop-down menu for ‘Unit’ and click ‘Add New’. You can then add a new type of unit that reflects your services.  

Sample invoice for a freelance copywriter 

Here is an example of an invoice for freelance copywriting. It includes all of the necessary invoice fields and a branded logo, and is ready to be sent to the customer. 

This invoice has used different units of measurement, charging some copy by ‘word’, some elements by ‘article’ and some work simply by task (i.e. ‘each’). With SumUp Invoices, it’s also easy to save your different products and services in your products list, meaning items like ‘keyword analysis’ can be accurately priced and added to your invoice within seconds.

Setting up as a freelancer - additional information

Invoicing correctly for your service is, of course, very important if you work as a freelance copywriter. However, it’s also important to organise your business in a way that suits your needs and business aspirations. Here are some of the things you need to bear in mind when setting up as a freelance copywriter. 

As a freelancer, for tax purposes, it makes sense to form a company so that you can keep your taxes and expenses in order. If you've done this, then it's very straightforward. If you haven't, then you'll need to set up as a Limited Company (LTD), or a Sole Trader.

A Sole Trader will file less paperwork with HMRC, but also have their business finances (and debts) connected to their personal finances. This means that assets you have may be used to reclaim money if need be. On the other side of the coin, as a Limited Company, your personal assets are protected and completely separate from the company you have.

The type of company you have also affects things like how easy it may be to secure funding from a bank, and the amount/type of tax you pay. This is a rather oversimplified explanation, so before you decide on which type of company you want to set up (followed by registering with HMRC), ask around and get some advice on what would suit you best from people who are already freelancing.

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