The importance of having a clear and accurate producer invoice line item could not be stressed enough. As a producer (the implementor of a project), the line items in your invoice will ensure a problem-free payment process. It will also provide proof of the complete execution of the project.
As you would know, an invoice is a very important document in your business. It formalizes your billing and makes payments easy for your clients. An excellent invoice will have complete elements such as an invoice number, date of issuance, date of payment, client and freelancer’s information, description of the project being billed, total amount, and payment terms and method.
The most critical element is, of course, the description of the project being billed. It is where you itemize or list all of the services and materials your client is paying for.
Line Items: Why Is It Important?
Line items are the central part of your invoice. It is where you list all the services you have rendered and completed, products you have delivered, or materials you have used in the project.
Think of it as the bill restaurants give you when you dine. It is the list of all the items you ordered from their menu. You ask for it to know how much you will be paying in total, even if you have already seen the individual amounts from the menu. When the bill comes, you check if the food and drinks (and quantity) listed there are your actual orders. If there is a discrepancy, you call their attention to correct it. You do not just look at the total and pay immediately, right?
The same goes for your business. Your client is the dining customer, and you are the restaurant. You provide them with the complete and accurate list and cost of the items (products and services) they ordered from you so they can check for any discrepancies. Line items show transparency. And clients will appreciate that they are given complete information about what they are paying for.
Line Items: Best Practices
When preparing your invoice, there are several points you have to take into account to make sure that your line invoice is well written. Remember, you are running a business, so you cannot just put vague and confusing descriptions. This will only prolong the payment process because your client might return the invoice and ask for a more detailed explanation. Here are some tips on how to write a good line item:
• Be Clear
As a producer, you may be familiar with technical terms, but your client may not. Make sure to use item names and descriptions that are simple and easily understood. What we are trying to avoid is a client asking you, “What is the item, and why are you charging me for this?”
• Refer to Your Scope of Work
Make it a practice to have a scope of work template for every project and gig you do. This way, when preparing your invoice, you have an official document as a reference. Refer to the scope of work document to make sure that the items and rates you are billing are consistent and in line with the agreement.
Check if the line items you are billing your client are correct. You might have added an entire line item that is not supposed to be charged. In the same way, make sure that you have added every product or service you committed to deliver and provide to the invoice.
Yes, Keep It Short and Sweet. You do not need to write every single detail on your liner item. Summarizing your producer invoice line item service or product is perfectly okay. Write the best description you can give as short as possible. Remember, you are simply describing the item and not justifying why the service was rendered or why the material was necessary.
• Use Online Tools
There are online freelancing sites that have invoice-generation features. This will make creating your invoice easy. Business management platforms like Kosmo has customizable invoice templates. You do not need to worry about formatting, margins, and alignments anymore. Simply type in your items, their descriptions, and rates in the fields provided. Using Kosmo to generate your invoice will make your document more professional and official. Plus, it’s easy to use!
• Watch Out for Errors
It is very easy to make mistakes when typing. Especially if you are in a rush. Before sending out your invoice, check your line items for any typos. Do grammar and spelling checks. Remember, if you accidentally wrote an item in the plural form but you actually only provided a singular item, it will be confusing for your client. They can even want more of that item if they believe they purchased more than one!
Also, do not forget to check your numbers too. Make sure you put the correct rate, quantity, and totals. Just picture the hassle it would bring you if you charged your client the incorrect amount!
Writing Your Producer Invoice Line Item
As a producer or implementor of a project, whether for music, film, or an event, you must ensure that your line items are complete and accurate. You may charge based on an agreed project fee or hourly rate or mixed. These must be reflected clearly.
Writing your line items per category is also a good practice. For example, you may categorize your video production invoice items into different stages, from planning to distribution.
Here are some samples of how you can write your line items:
The example below shows the line items in an invoice for a video production where the freelancer charges hourly rates.
|Storyboard Creation||Drawing of Storyboard in full color (with one revision)||20||25.00||$500.00|
|Video Production||2-minute animation and visual effects of approved storyboard (with two revisions)||40||50.00||$2,000.00|
|Music Production||2-minute music and sound effects composition, arrangement, and recording||12||40.00||$480.00|
This next sample shows the line items in an invoice issued for a project or package-based event production.
• Concept Building
• Feasibility Study
• Coordination Meetings
• Talent & Suppliers Scouting
• Set up of venue (stage, props, lights and sound equipment)
• Management of Event
• Narrative Report
The final sample shows a music production invoice where the items were divided into services rendered and materials delivered.
Writing music arrangement, mixing, and recording of master material
Recording, mixing, and mastering of materials
Minor revisions based on agreed terms
|Master Copy in CD|
Final music material recorded on a Compact Disc
Final music material in MP3 sent via email
The line items in your invoice are crucial in ensuring a stress-free payment process. If you are ultimately clear and error-free in your invoice, expect a swift payment from your client. As a freelance producer, consider your line items as a communication tool. It conveys all the services, products, and materials you are charging them that were necessary for completing the project or gig. So, just like any other communication strategy, there has to be no space or chance for misunderstanding and disagreement. Your producer invoice line item must speak for the project (so you don’t have to explain anymore!)
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