As a freelance designer or developer, managing the business aspects of your work will have a big impact on your overall success. Having outstanding creative or coding skills will get you started, but you’ll need to be able to run the business effectively in order to make money in the long run.
Invoicing is one of the major parts of running a freelance business. It doesn’t need to be complicated (in fact, it should be as simple as possible), but it’s a critical part of getting paid for the work that you’ve done.
Fortunately, there are many apps available that will help you to create and manage invoices. These tools will save you time, keep you organized, and ensure that your records are accurate and complete.
This article will highlight some of the best invoicing options for freelancers. Although the list has been created with freelancers in mind, it also applies to other small businesses.
How to Choose the Right Invoicing App
Some of the apps and tools featured on this list are very simple and mostly focus on invoicing. Others are more feature-rich and may include things like time tracking and even some accounting tools. Of course, take your own needs into consideration to determine which would be a good fit for you.
If all you need is an app to create an manage invoices, there’s no point in going with a more complex solution. Keep it simple if invoicing is all you need. You’ll save yourself some time by not needing to learn about other features of an app or software, and you can save money too.
There are several options on this list that will allow you to manage invoices for free. Honestly, there’s no need to pay for an invoicing app unless you’re also looking for additional features related to accounting or project management.
Here are some things you’ll want to ask yourself:
- How many clients do you have (some apps limit the number of clients based on the plan that you choose)?
- Do you need time tracking integration?
- Do you need any accounting features?
- How do most of your clients prefer to pay?
- Do you have any team members that will also need access?
The Best Invoicing Apps for Freelancers and Small Businesses
Now, let’s move on and take a look at the details of these apps and software.
I’m listing PayPal first because it’s the easiest solution since you probably already have a PayPal business account (and your clients probably already use PayPal as well). With a free account, you can create unlimited invoices for unlimited clients. There is no cost for the invoicing functionality, and clients will be able to pay invoices very easily through PayPal, by credit card, or bank transfer. Normal PayPal fees will be applied to the money that you receive.
If you choose PayPal for your invoicing, you won’t get as many features as you would get with the other apps on this list, but that may or may not matter to you. PayPal will show you if the invoices have been paid or not, but there is not a lot that you can do in regards to managing invoices.
PayPal invoicing is a great choice if most of your clients already pay you through PayPal and you’re looking for a simple way to deal with invoices. It’s fast, easy, and won’t cost you anything extra.
If you want anything more than a bare bones invoicing tool, continue on to see what the others have to offer.
If you’re looking for a more advanced option for invoicing, start your search with Wave. Why? Because Wave offers the best invoices features and functionality in their free plan.
The free plan allows you to create and manage unlimited invoices for an unlimited number of clients. You can customize the invoice templates, create invoices for recurring billing, create and send estimates (then turn them into invoices when they are approved), get automatic payment reminders, track payments, and much more.
The free plan also gives you access to accounting software with income and expense tracking, unlimited bank and credit card connections, and more.
With everything that is available for free, you’re probably wondering how wave makes money. You can set up your Wave account to accept payments for your invoices and Wave will collect a small fee (2.9% + $0.30 for credit card payments, 1% for bank payments). The fees are very reasonable are likely to be about the same as the fees you would have for collecting payments in other ways (like PayPal).
Wave also offers a plan that will handle payroll taxes for you. The money that they make from processing payments and the payroll taxes allow them to offer the invoicing and accounting functionality for free.
If you’re looking for a free invoicing solution that is feature-rich and includes access to accounting tools, be sure to try Wave.
Invoicely is an app that specializes in invoicing, but it also has some other features that may interest you. They offer a free plan that has limited features, but may be more than suitable for freelancers.
The free plan includes:
- Unlimited invoices
- Bill in any currency
- Accept online payments through PayPal
You’ll be able to customize the invoices and easily create professional-looking invoices.
The Basic Plan (currently $9.99 per month) offers a few additional features that may be of use to you, including:
- Creating estimates
- Recurring invoices
- Track time, expenses, and mileage
- Accept credit card payments
Invoicely’s free plan will meet the needs of many freelancers, making it an excellent option.
Invoicera is feature-rich invoicing and billing software. Some of the features are beyond the needs of the average freelancer, but you may want to consider if the features would be able to help you in your business.
Invoicera offers a free plan with limited functionality. The free plan does include invoicing, but the major drawback is that you’ll only be able to manage 3 clients on the free plan.
For $15 per month you’ll be able to move up to the Pro plan and manage 100 clients. Both the free and the pro plan allow you to customize the invoice templates, manage recurring billing, and accept credit card payments.
All plans include late payment reminders, unlimited time tracking, profit and loss reporting, and 30+ payment gateways.
Invoicera also offers some other project management and client management features that are probably beyond the needs for most freelancers who are looking for an invoicing app.
If you need the advanced features, Invoicera can be an excellent solution. But if you’re just looking for a simple way to create and manage invoices, I would recommend Wave or Invoicely over Invoicera.
Invoice Ninja offers a free plan that will meet the needs of many freelancers. The free plan allows you to create unlimited invoices for up to 100 clients, recurring invoices, proposals, integration with 40+ payment gateways, and more. The free plan also has some time tracking capabilities.
If you need to manage more than 100 clients, you can upgrade to the Pro plan for $8 per month. The pro plan supports an unlimited number of clients and includes other features like additional templates for invoices and quotes.
Overall, Invoice Ninja is a solid option and the free plan will be more than enough for many freelancers.
FreshBooks is a feature-rich app that includes accounting features in addition to invoicing. Because of all of the features and functionality that is involved, there is no free plan available for FreshBooks. The pricing starts at $15 per month for the Lite plan.
With the Lite plan you’ll get 5 billable clients, unlimited invoices and estimates, unlimited expense tracking, unlimited time tracking, accept payments by ACH or credit card, tax reports, and more.
The biggest limitation of the Lite plan for freelancers will probably be the number of clients (5). The next plan up is the Plus plan, which allows you to manage 50 billable clients for $25 per month.
FreshBooks is a bit different than several other apps listed here because of the accounting features. With FreshBooks you can easily create balance sheets, general ledgers, trial balances, and more.
If you’re looking for a small business accounting solution, FreshBooks can be a great choice. If you’re primarily interested in an invoicing app, you’ll be better off going with one of the other apps, like Wave or Invoicely (although Wave does offer some accounting functionality as well). There’s no reason to pay for access to FreshBooks if you’re only using features that are available with other apps for free.
Harvest is primarily a time-tracking app, but it also includes invoice functionality. The time tracking features can be extremely helpful, especially if you’re working as part of a team. Harvest includes some awesome capabilities for team management and project management, and integrating the time tracking into those functions.
With Harvest, you can easily create invoices for the time and projects that you’re tracking. You can set up automatic reminders and collect payments through PayPal or Stripe.
Because Harvest is more about time tracking than it is about invoicing, the invoicing features aren’t as strong as some of the other options on this list.
Harvest offers a free plan, but it only allows you to manage two projects and doesn’t include some of the team features. The Solo plan allows you to manage unlimited projects for $12 per month, but is also limited on team functionality. The Team plan is priced at $12 per month per person.
Harvest can be a great option if you work with a team. Most freelancers who are looking for an invoicing app will be better off with something like Wave or Invoicely.
Akaunting is not as well-known as many of the other apps on this list, but that might change.
With Akaunting, you’ll get free online software (open source) that includes functionality for invoicing, expense tracking, customer management, and accounting tools.
You have your choice of the cloud version (hosted on their servers like the other apps mentioned in this article), or you can download it and install it on your own server.
While there are no paid plans and all of the basic features (and there are a lot of them) are free, Akaunting does have an app store, which is how they make money. You can purchase apps that add other functionality to Akaunting, like receipt tracking, for example.
Akaunting is a great option for free invoicing. Some of the other apps that offer free invoicing, like Wave and Invoiceley, are a little more established, but Akaunting has a lot to offer.
Hiveage is a feature-rich app that includes much more than just invoicing. With any of the Hiveage plans you will get unlimited invoices, payment reminders, time tracking, expense tracking, mileage tracking, reporting, and more.
There is no free plan available, but the starter plan is $15 per month.
If you’re only looking for an invoicing app, the free options will probably bet better for you. But if you’re interested in features like time tracking, expense tracking, and mileage tracking, Hiveage can be a good solution.
Xero is another feature-rich solution that has a lot to offer in addition to invoicing. Like FreshBooks, Xero is accounting software that includes invoicing as one aspect of its functionality.
There is no free plan available from Xero. The Early plan is currently priced at $9 per month and allows you to send 5 invoices and quotes, enter 5 bills, and reconcile 20 bank transactions. The Growing plan is $30 per month and removes those limitations.
The Established plan will cost you $60 per month and also adds the capability to manage expenses and projects, including time tracking.
Xero is an excellent option if you are looking for accounting software to manage your business. If you’re mainly interested in creating and managing invoices, try one of the other apps that offer free invoicing.
If you’re looking for an app to create and manage invoices and you don’t need any additional features, go with a free plan from Wave, Invoicely, Invoice Ninja, or Akaunting. Wave is our top recommendation because of the invoicing and accounting functionality that comes with a free account.