We don’t need to tell you that freelancing involves much more than practicing the skills on your resume. Equally important in building a successful freelancing career is managing all the administrative and client management tasks attendant to that career. Invoicing is arguably the most crucial of those tasks—obviously, if you don’t invoice your clients, then you can’t get paid. Creating a professional invoice is also crucial to establishing your reputation. Luckily, invoicing is also one of the simpler administrative tasks at hand—especially if you’re using the best invoicing software for freelancers.
Ahead, we’ll walk you through five cloud-based invoicing software options that make it easy for freelancers to create, send, and track invoices and accept payments. Most of these platforms do much more than that, too: You’ll find a mix of accounting, project management, client relationship management, and productivity tools, as well. And because all of these platforms are cloud-based, they all feature robust mobile apps that enable you to send invoices on the go (and access whatever other features the platform in question offers).
5 Best Invoice Apps for Freelancers
Best known for their free accounting software for small business, Wave also boasts an invoicing product that is equally useful for freelancers who want to streamline and automate basic invoicing needs. Even better: Wave Invoicing is also free. So this is a great choice for freelancers who want to aggregate accounting and invoicing under one, extremely user-friendly platform (without paying for it).
With Wave Invoicing, you can create personalized, unlimited invoices in any currency with customizable payment terms, accept bank and credit card payments, set automatic payment reminders for your clients, and more. Wave Invoicing will also automatically calculate sales tax—taking a pretty major burden off your shoulders.
You can access these features via the Wave Invoicing app for Android and iOS, which allows you to create, send, and process invoices right from your phone. It’s cloud-based, so everything between your app and dashboard syncs and backs up automatically.
Wave’s accounting, invoicing, and receipts services are totally free. If you want Wave to handle your payroll administration, you’ll pay either $35 or $20 per month as a base fee, depending on whether you live in a self-service or tax-service state, plus a per-employee fee. And if you use Wave as your payment processor, you’ll need to pay standard payment processing fees.
If you’re looking for a deeply integrated, all-in-one project management platform designed specifically for freelancers, Bonsai is it. This unique software aggregates and automates virtually every essential administrative process that freelancers have to manage—proposals, contracts, project management, time tracking, task management, taxes, miscellaneous forms, and, of course, invoicing and payments—under one roof.
Bonsai automates everything on the invoicing front, including invoice creation, sending, nudging clients about late payments, and sending late fees when necessary. You can also set up payment terms like recurring payments, tipping, and partial payments. Clients can choose to pay you via credit card, ACH payments, and PayPal in 180 currencies. Use the highly rated Bonsai app to access everything from your phone.
Bonsai has two service plans, priced at $19 and $29 per month when paid on a monthly basis. Alternatively, you can choose to pay on a yearly basis for $192 or $288 per year, respectively. Choosing the yearly payment structure will get you your first two months free. The more expensive plan gets you a few additional features, like branding capabilities on your invoices and other business materials.
On top of your monthly service plan, you can add an accounting and tax assistance service for $10 per month. You can also add the ability to invite other users onto your Bonsai account for an additional $9 per month.
FreshBooks is one of the best-known accounting software providers out there, equally beloved among enterprises and self-employed individuals alike. Invoicing is just one feature integrated into the robust FreshBooks product suite, which also includes expense management, time tracking, project management, estimates and proposals, payments, and reports.
FreshBooks’ invoicing feature is among the more robust we’ve seen. Some of the more unique features here include creating customized, branded invoices in a matter of seconds with their invoice generator, the option to request a deposit on your invoice, and the ability to add tracked time and expenses on your invoices. FreshBooks also offers a host of features specific to retainer invoicing and project management, like generating retainer summaries, managing scope creep, and tools that help you manage your time spent on retainer projects. They have a mobile app, too.
The Freshbooks plan that’s most suitable for freelancers is their Lite plan, which allows five billable clients and unlimited invoicing. Typically, this plan costs $15 per month, but they’re currently running a special offer for $6 per month.
FreshBooks offers a 30-day free trial period, regardless of which plan you choose.
4. Square Invoices
Perhaps the simplest and most straightforward option on this list, Square Invoices is a great choice if you want a simple, but reliable, invoicing software and not much else—unless, of course, you also want to take advantage of Square’s industry-leading merchant services and payment processing solutions. You can take a look at our guide to Square for small businesses for a comprehensive run-down on what Square can offer small business owners and freelancers.
Like all of their offerings, Square makes the process of creating and sending invoices incredibly intuitive—even for people for whom technology isn’t exactly a strong suit. They break down the process in three steps: Enter your client’s email either manually or pull from securely stored customer data; enter the amount (either a unit price or a customized amount); and send your invoice, which you can customize with your logo and a color scheme. Once your client receives the invoice, they can pay online with a debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
Square Invoices has a few features beyond those three steps, of course, including invoice and payment tracking, automatic payment reminders, the option to set up recurring invoices, and send clients estimates—all the essentials. They also have a powerful mobile app.
Because Square POS enables in-person payment processing, Square Invoices is also a good option if you run a brick-and-mortar business, or else want the ability to accept payments physically, in addition to digitally.
Square Invoices Pricing
Square doesn’t charge a monthly fee for their invoicing feature, but you will need to pay a payment processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per invoice if you’re paid online.
Like Bonsai, HoneyBook is an all-in-one, deeply integrated client and project management software for very small businesses and freelancers. But where Bonsai is an option for freelancers in any field, HoneyBook was designed with a special focus on creative professionals. Here, expect features like customizable contract templates, scheduling tools, contracts equipped with secure online signatures, automated workflow and productivity tools, and integrations with super-popular apps like QuickBooks, Gmail, and Zapier.
And, according to HoneyBook, with their invoice feature, you can create and send a customized invoice in under 30 seconds. You can also set payment schedules, reminders, and recurring payments, and clients can pay you via all major digital payment options, including credit, debit, and bank transfers. You can access HoneyBook’s invoicing and payment tools through their mobile app as well, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
HoneyBook only has one service plan, which gives you access to all of the platform’s features. You can choose to pay on either a monthly or yearly basis; the former costs $40 per month and the latter $34 per month. Before you pick a payment plan, you can try HoneyBook for free for seven days.
The Bottom Line
Clearly, all the software options on this list are equipped to handle more than invoice creation, delivery, and tracking—though some platforms are more robust than others. There are some quantifiable benchmarks by which you can evaluate these apps, like the number of clients you have, each app’s supported currencies and payment options, and whether you want the ability to add team members to your account.
But you should evaluate your invoicing software (and any other software or service you’re using for your business, for that matter) on a qualifiable level, too; it’s equally important to consider your own needs, preferences, work habits, and growth rate. For example, while you may not be in the market for a full-service accounting software right now, you may very well need that service in the future—so choosing an app like Wave or FreshBooks will make scaling that much easier.
It’s also worth reflecting on your current administrative and organizational processes. If you’re finding it difficult to manage every aspect of your business disparately—or if you’re not finding the tools you need to establish a professional presence—then a deeply integrated platform like Bonsai or HoneyBook (and all their available freelancer tools and forms) could be a lifesaver.
No matter which of the best invoicing software for freelancers you choose, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll be remunerated for your work in a timely manner—and, if not, then an automatic payment reminder can do the awkward heavy lifting for you.
Christine Aebischer is an editor at Fundera.
Prior to Fundera, Christine was an editor at the financial planning startup LearnVest and its parent company, Northwestern Mutual. There she wrote and edited on topics such as debt, budgeting, insurance, taxes, investing, and retirement. She has written for print and online on topics ranging from personal finance to luxury real estate.