How to write an invoice email
If you’ve done the work, you deserve to get paid! To get your cash, you’ll need to send an invoice.
Of course, you can just send an invoice attached to an email, but this approach won’t win you many friends or get you paid faster. Instead, you should create an invoice email that includes everything you need to do to make payment as easy as possible but sets out your terms in strong language.
It’s 50% carrot, 50% stick, and 100% effective!
This finance-focused article outlines what you should say in an invoice email. You’ll learn essential tips to write the best invoice emails and provide 6 invoice emails and a template for you to use.
Let’s get paid!
What to say in an invoice email message
It’s all about the money in an invoice email, but we don’t mention that too much. In fact, all the financial details are included in the invoice, so there’s no need to mention money, provide account details, or add specific information about how you want to be paid.
An invoice email accompanies the invoice, providing context and clarity about your terms and conditions. It’s critical because evidence and anecdote show that many businesses aren’t settling invoices in time. If you’re a freelancer, this can leave you out of pocket – and that’s not acceptable.
To ensure you’re paid on time, here are five pro tips to ensure you’re never left unpaid.
1. Be polite and professional
First and foremost, be polite and professional. Your client will have some time to pay (in most cases, between 7 - 28 days), so there’s no need to be pushy or impolite at the start.
The tone of voice can be tricky to get right, so check out our examples to see how we’ve tackled the task.
2. Make paying the invoice as easy as possible
You’ll want to do everything possible to make it as easy as possible for people to pay you. To achieve this, you must include all information in your email (as well as your invoice).
So, be sure you’ve included everything, such as who you are, your company (if you have one), your address, bank account details, contact details, and the project you’re invoicing for.
3. Be clear about when and how you expect payment
Companies can be tricky to pin down when it comes to payments. Does the payment deadline start from when the invoice was issued or opened?
The best approach is to set your deadline (in favorable terms). If you’re brave or bold enough, you can set out what happens when people don’t pay on time.
You can list late payment fees and penalties if you wish, but personally, we’d recommend saving the nuclear option until you need it.
4. Share your terms and conditions
Above we recommend that you don’t go into detail about late payment charges, which we stand by – but you can provide details to your terms and conditions.
You can add them to the bottom of the email, attach them, or send a link to your website. This is a less aggressive or confrontational approach, but it will ensure no misunderstandings.
5. Don’t forget to attach the invoice
Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? But it never hurts to double-check that you’ve attached the right (not last month’s or someone else’s) invoice!
Invoice email format
The invoice email format is likely familiar to you if you’ve ever sent a professional email for any other purpose. You start with a clear subject line, go into detail in the body, and provide a positive sign-off (which includes all your contact details).
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the invoice email format:
1. Invoice email subject line
Your invoice subject line should make it clear it’s an invoice. This makes it easy for the recipient to act (either by responding directly or passing it on).
It’s a good idea to include the invoice reference in the subject. Here are a few invoice email subject lines:
- Invoice (insert number) – (Company name)
- (Company name) – Invoice
- Invoice (insert number) – Thanks for the prompt payment!
2. Invoice email body and message
When you send your invoice, you’ll need to ensure that the body copy explains who it’s from, the project or service delivered, and any other essential information. Here’s an example of a standard invoice body copy:
- Please find attached the invoice (number) from (company or person name). The invoice covers (services, goods, etc.).
Immediately the person receiving this knows what it’s about. Next, you’ll need to provide the context and set out terms.
- Please confirm that you have received the invoice. Our standard payment terms are 28 days. You can find details of our terms and conditions here (link or attachment).
Sometimes the person who receives the invoice may have questions about it, so give them some options to contact you.
- If you’ve any questions about the invoice or need me to clarify anything, you can contact me at (insert details).
Do all this, and your invoice email will get results and ensure prompt payment.
3. How to end an invoice email
You’ll want a positive sign-off here, but you can use this to your advantage. First, always remind the person you’re expecting prompt payment, or they may conveniently forget to process the invoice in time.
- I look forward to receiving payment and working with you in the future.
If you know the person or want to say more, then do so (it’s your email, after all).
Finally, add a nice ending (kind regards, thanks, etc.) and include your signature.
It’s a good idea to check that your signature contains all the contact details the recipient may need. This means they’ve got no excuses for ignoring you.
6 invoice email examples
It’s time to get writing! Here are 6 invoice email examples that you can use to push for payment.
Classic phrases such as “please find attached invoice for your payment” are used a lot.
It’s not that we’re lazy; invoice emails follow a traditional format, and using familiar words and phrases is how the world works.
OK, so let’s get the money moving…
Here's how Flowrite's AI can write your payment reminders and follow-ups for you:
1. Simple invoice email sample
This simple template for sending an invoice to a client or customer follows the outline above. It’s short, sweet, and straight to the point.
2. Past due invoice email sample
You can call your invoice late, outstanding, or unpaid. Whatever you call it, you deserve to get paid – and we can help.
This past-due invoice email sample is a clear and confident message that will move someone to pay your invoice.
As well as acting as a reminder, this sets out what happens if the invoice isn’t paid. (Carrot and stick, remember?)
3. Unpaid invoice reminder email sample
This example email to remind you about an unpaid invoice is a little softer than the previous sample.
Sometimes, the person may have a legitimate excuse for not paying on time. This outstanding invoice reminder sample gives them a way to save face, but they’ll know you’re not going to forget!
As with the previous example, consider sending it with a new subject line to ensure it’s not ignored.
4. Invoice follow-up email sample
This invoice follow-up sample is a gentle reminder that your invoice is due for payment. Of course, you can wait until it’s not been paid, but if you’re working with a habitual late payer, send it a few days before it’s due.
This payment due (or overdue) invoice template provides a gentle reminder that you’re owed money and will collect it!
5. Paid invoice email sample
According to professional conventions, some suggest sending a confirmation email when you’ve paid an invoice to protect you from potential legal issues.
This serves two essential functions:
- Your recipient knows to expect payment and doesn’t have to remind or follow up on you (or anxiously wait for you to confirm your payment)
- Your recipient has been informed that you handled the payment on time and before the due date, just in case your payment does not go through, or other problems arise
To make sure you comply with deadlines and prevent potential issues, use this short paid invoice email template:
6. Invoice approval email sample
If you’ve commissioned work or purchased a product, sending a confirmation when you receive an invoice that it’s been approved for payment is polite.
This provides your finance person or team with the OK to arrange payment. We recommend doing this as soon as you receive an email, or you could be one of those annoying customers that keep freelancers waiting for their cash. Don’t be this person.
Proven invoice email template
The above examples should provide enough ammunition to develop your own, but we’ve stripped out all context and creativity for this tried and tested invoice template.
So follow the structure, fill in the gaps, and send to finance for prompt payment.
Flowrite’s invoice email template
Still wondering about how to write invoice emails? With Flowrite, you can turn short bullet points into a ready-to-send email with AI, like this:
When deciding how to write an invoice email, think about the carrot and the stick. You’ll want to be polite and professional, but never let yourself be pushed around.
When sending an invoice via email, set out your terms and stick to them. Customers will respect you if you’re pushing for what you’re owed.
We hope the samples and templates here are helpful. Use them to develop your own invoice emails and reminder templates. If you’re struggling for ideas or inspiration, use Flowrite!
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