How to design a building contractor invoice

Written by patrick gleeson, ph. d., registered investment adv
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How to design a building contractor invoice
You can present a handwritten invoice, but a spreadsheet invoice in a graphic design format looks more professional. (Blue pen in front of invoice image by millann from Fotolia.com)

A good building contractor invoice design presents necessary information in a compact, aesthetically-pleasing format. It organises the essential elements in easily identifiable groups: your information, your client's information, the services rendered and the cost of each service. When appropriate, it ties the specific invoice to the governing contract. A good spreadsheet program, like Excel, will help you organise these elements. Alternatively, you can use the invoice form available in accounting software, such as QuickBooks.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Spreadsheet program or small business accounting program
  • Graphic design person or company (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Put your company's information at the top of the invoice. Your company's name comes first. Put your own name below the company name, and follow it with your contractor's license number and numbers for other licenses, such as your structural or civil engineering license. On the following lines, put your company's physical address, office number, cell number (optional) and e-mail address. If you have a website, include that information also.

  2. 2

    Box your company information. Boxing the major subject areas of your invoice helps your client read it easily. Below this box and on its own line, put the date, spaced left. If you are running multiple jobs with separate billings for one client, put a space for the job location or job number spaced right, opposite the date. In the double space below this information, put your client's name and address. Optionally, you can put client information in its own boundary box.

  3. 3

    Begin a new boundary box two to four spaces below the previous box, and put the job information inside. On each line, spaced left, you will identify the service rendered: "Grading," for example. On following lines, also spaced left, you will put further services rendered. It helps the client understand your invoice if you list the services in chronological order. "Grading" would come before "Coring," "Foundation" before "Framing." Optionally, you can show either the period of time you performed the service, or the completion date.

  4. 4

    Put the amount charged for each service opposite its description, at the right-hand side of the invoice. Once you have decided how you will indicate the details in this section, it will help your client understand the invoice quickly if you put headers above this section. A header might have "Service" at the left-hand side and immediately above the boundary line for the section, "Completion date" in the middle of the same line, and "Amount" at the right. Immediately below the lower boundary line for this area and aligned right, put the total amount charged for all services and materials on this invoice.

  5. 5

    Put payment terms at the bottom of the invoice, If you plan to add a late charge, specify that charge and when it will come into effect. Include an expression of gratitude for your client's business.

Tips and warnings

  • Create a spreadsheet form for your invoices in Excel or another similar program. Alternatively, you can use the invoice form available in small business accounting programs. Either way, filling out a computer-generated form saves time and reduces errors. For a few hundred dollars, a graphic services company will create a personalised invoice with your logo on it that you can fill out in your spreadsheet or accounting program.

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