As a UGC creator, it’s crucial to know how to invoice brands correctly.
To put it bluntly, no invoice, no payment.
Presenting a clear and concise invoice not only helps avoid payment delays, but also establishes a strong basis for future partnerships.
Invoices are essential documents that help facilitate payment for your work. Navigating them can be intimidating, especially for new content creators, but luckily, help is at hand.
Here’s everything you need to know to invoice brands as a UGC content creator.
What Is An Invoice and Why Do You Need One?
An invoice is a document that outlines the services provided, the associated costs, and the payment terms between a content creator and a brand. It serves as a record of the transaction and helps both parties keep track of the work.
Creating a clear and professional invoice is important for several reasons.
First, it helps ensure you get paid on time. Marketers work with dozens or even hundreds of influencers. It’s not uncommon that payments are sometimes late or forgotten! With proper invoicing, you establish trust with brands and alleviate potential misunderstandings regarding payment.
Second, invoicing is essential for small business financial and tax record keeping. Invoices provide a paper trail for the work and payment transactions during the fiscal year. As a creator, you are running your own small business. It’s important to have a record of all your earnings.
Before Anything Else, Chat Payment Terms
Brands are becoming more and more flexible when it comes to paying freelancers, especially creators — with this in mind, you can propose your own payment terms when you first start talking about a collaboration with a brand.
What’s important is that you discuss these before you get to sending your invoice. If you’ve not discussed payment terms, you may be in for a shock when they tell you they’ll be paying 60 days after you submit your content…
Ensure you cover:
- When you are going to be paid. A standard term is “30 days after content is delivered” (i.e. net 30 after content goes live). Although most freelancers would love to be paid immediately, it is standard for AP departments at most large companies to put in place a net X days process (typically 30, 45 or even 60 days).
- How you are going to be paid. Make sure you are getting paid on your terms. Add a simple clause in your agreement that reads something like –> “creator will be paid per remittance instructions on invoice.” Common issues creators face include a) A required sign-up process with a payment software that isn’t brought up until it’s time to pay you (adding days until you get paid) and b) When a brand insists on paying via PayPal and does not cover the fees.
- When (and who) you should invoice. Make sure you are sending the invoice to the right person and at the right time. It’s common for brands to lose track of influencer payments and for them to get lost in the email inbox.
What To Include In Your Invoice
There are some basics to get right when creating a professional invoice. You can setup an invoice template, download a free invoice template, or use a software solution to create and send professional invoices. The nice part about software is it will help with tracking invoice status as well as providing fast payment processing options.
If you’re using a software solution, they will handle these for you. If you’re going it alone, here are standard fields you should include in all your invoices:
〰️ Invoice number: and date Assign a unique number to each invoice to track it easily. Don’t overthink this, just run with something that is easily recognisable to you. I go YYYY/MM/01 (and then continue…).
〰️ Your name and contact information: Include your full legal name or your business name. Also include your mailing address, phone number and email address. These are typically needed by your partner to set you up for payment in their system.
〰️ Your client’s contact information: The company name and address.
〰️ Description: campaign name or post title: These fit well as line items in your invoice.
〰️ Total amount: Near the bottom of your influencer invoice, add the total amount in bold.
〰️ Payment methods: Automated software will provide a variety of ways to pay (PayPal, credit card, etc.) If you are using your own invoice template then spell out remittance instructions at the bottom of your invoice. Offering brands several payment options helps ensure payment with less hassle.
〰️ Payment terms and due date: Make sure you invoice per the agreed upon payment terms. Include any additional payment conditions, such as late payment fees. Specify whether you require full payment upfront, a deposit, or payment after the work is completed. ALWAYS, state the due date for the payment. Setting these expectations in advance helps avoid conflicts or payment delays once the collaboration is finished.
〰️ Tax information: Depending on your location and the nature of your business, this may involve sales tax, value-added tax (VAT), or other relevant taxes. Make sure to research your tax obligations to avoid legal issues with the tax authorities.
As a general rule you can send invoices when you complete campaign deliverables or upfront – it’ll depend on your client. Keep your invoice email concise and to the point. In the subject line, be sure to include the word “INVOICE” and your name. In the body of the email, be sure to include the amount and due date.
Invoicing Platforms for UGC creators
In an effort to present a professional image, it’s wise to use invoicing software or templates for creating invoices. This allows you to create clear, organized, and consistent documentation for each brand you work with.
Luckily, there are numerous invoicing tools available that cater specifically to UGC creators, which can save you time and effort in the long run.
DIY Google Sheets Invoice
For the do-it-yourself UGC creator, beware of online “free” templates. Many will charge to remove a logo, or you’ll find that you need to pay to send the invoice. If you want to create and send your own templates, we recommend creating one in Google docs: you can export in PDF to send to your client and have an easily accessible template. Here’s a free template to get you started. Simply make a copy of the doc and edit to your heart content.
Bonsai is my go-to for sending UGC invoices. Think of it as an all-in-one platform to manage their business. With Bonsai, users can create and send invoices, track expenses, and even draft contracts. Bonsai changed the game for me. It made invoicing and expense tracking painless.” The platform offers a clean interface and supports multiple currencies, making it suitable for creators working with international clients.
- Simple to use
- Offers integrated contract creation
- Supports multiple currencies
You’ve no doubt heard of Paypal as a payment processor, but did you know you can use it to send (and get your) invoices paid. It’s really easy and intuitive and makes getting paid simple. They take a hefty processing fee (~7.5%), so you need to be aware of this when sending your invoice.
- Tailored for professionals
- Offers task management tools
- Provides integrated scheduling
Get Yourself Paid
As a UGC creator, invoicing brands accurately and efficiently is crucial for maintaining a successful freelance career. Establish a system for tracking invoices and sending polite reminders when payment is overdue. This will help you stay on top of your finances and maintain cash flow.
And there we have it, you’ve just got paid.
With a little pre-planning, you can streamline your invoicing process and present yourself as a professional in the industry. With a smooth invoicing workflow, you can focus on what you do best: creating scroll-stopping UGC content.