How to Create the Perfect Invoice for Artists

Artwork Archive | August 19, 2020 (Updated September 20, 2022)

Creating and sending invoices is essential for your success as an artist.

Especially as we transition to a more remote art world, it's clear that making sales online is more important than ever. As we all work to figure out how to navigate the challenges of canceled shows, art fairs, and gallery openings, we know how vital it is to be able to sell your work online and to keep building those client relationships. 

Invoicing is a critical step in running your art career online.

Online invoicing not only means getting paid on time, it means being able to run your art business from anywhere, under any circumstances (even a pandemic). 

When you invoice with care, attention, and consistency, you are working to build client relationships. Good invoicing isn’t purely transactional, it's interrelational.


Think of invoicing as client-artist communication

Using your invoices to communicate allows you to build a relationship with your buyer. A strong invoice establishes your professionalism and credibility.

Your invoicing language is an opportunity to reinforce your marketing brand. You don’t need extraneous or fluffy details within an invoice. The information in the invoice itself should be clear and concise.

The communication that you package your invoice in, the email or few lines that accompany the document itself, will continue your relationship with your client.  Your invoice can be an organizational and interpersonal tool.

So, what to say? Start by thanking your client for the purchase, letting them know that you’ve attached an invoice to the email, and what they can expect the next steps to look like. 

This short communication is a great way to reference a previous conversation and communicate about payment details and the timeline. You could say something like, “Dear Joanne, I hope all is well! Thanks again for your interest in my artwork. I'm looking forward to working with you. You’ll find an invoice attached to this email for the first half of the project before I start painting, as we discussed earlier. I will follow up with the second half after the work is complete. I’m excited about our agreed-upon design and can’t wait to start!”

Express your pleasure at having worked with them or reference an element about the artwork they are buying. Let your client know that they should reach out to you if they have any questions.

People want to work with you not just because of your skill, but because of how professional, organized, and kind you are.

Invoicing and more business-oriented communications don’t have to be dry or impersonal. Adding even a two-sentence pleasantry to an invoice or using a general warm tone generates goodwill.

Remember to follow up after a project. When you establish a good working relationship with a client, they will not just remember to pay you, they will seek you out for further opportunities in the future. 

Keep track of communication with your clients as well as record any personal details about them in the Contacts feature on Artwork Archive so that you can reference them in the future. 

Establish your invoicing timeline

Your clients appreciate and expect a clear outline of both when they will receive an artwork, as well as your expectations for their payment.

Before you start a project, decide if there will be a payment schedule or installments with your clients.

Oftentimes for larger projects or commissioned works, there will be extensive communication between you and your client with organized dates and times for checking in about your project. 

Talking about money is only awkward when there is confusion or miscommunication. Nip any potential for discomfort in the bud by initiating a conversation about your timeline for creating and being paid. Your client will appreciate your professionalism. Being on top of your finances boosts your career and makes you a more efficient art professional.

 Just as you should have a communicated timeline for your client, you should have a system in place for yourself so that you stick to your schedule. This could look like a calendar with scheduled reminders.

With Online Invoicing on Artwork Archive, you can easily create invoices with payment installments and put the due dates on your schedule as a reminder for when to reach out to the client. 

You can also schedule in dates for any custom reminders like when to check-in, when to ship an artwork, and when to follow up on unpaid invoices (even though they will get gentle reminders through Artwork Archive). 


Invoice must-haves for artists

Nothing says professionalism like attention to detail. Your invoices should include the following elements that address all of the essential details of your transaction.

The “whos”: Your invoices should have your name, address, and contact details as well as any type of LLC designation or company registration number. Include the buyer's name and address as well. With Online Invoicing on Artwork Archive, you can also add your logo or a custom header to send branded invoices directly to your clients. Your communication with a client is an opportunity to build your branding and marketing

The “whats”: For your own records, make sure to number your invoice to stay organized. Specify the names of the artworks they are purchasing, a thumbnail of the work, any discounts they might be receiving, taxes and shipping costs. Luckily, you don't have to make these invoices by scratch every time you make a sale. With Online Invoicing, you simply add your artworks to the invoice templates in Artwork Archive and generate a professional invoice that includes all of the essential "what's" in seconds. 

The “how”: Let your client or collector know how to pay you. You can make it easy for them to pay you right from the invoice by including a PayPal button on the invoice. You can learn more about adding a PayPal button to your invoices here. 

The “when”: Include the invoice issue date, payment due date, delivery date, and any other relevant information.

Save time with an invoicing system made specifically for artists

One of the best ways to improve your client relationships and get paid faster is to have a streamlined invoicing process that saves you time.

Artwork Archive helps you invoice with ease so that you can spend more time and energy where it matters—in the studio.

When you register a work as sold in your Artwork Archive inventory you are able to create an invoice for that artwork.

Your buyer's details are already in your Artwork Archive contacts. Creating and sending an invoice to your buyer is an easy a few-click process. You can preview the invoice before you send it off and send custom messages right from your account. 

Once your invoice is sent, you can keep track of your invoice in your Artwork Archive account and get notified when the buyer has completed the invoice. Your sales records details will be automatically updated and the invoice will be saved in the Contact history, so you can easily reference it in the future. 

What's more? Interested buyers can contact you directly through the Public Profile, Private Rooms, or Website Embed to send a purchase request to your account. From there, it's just a few clicks to send a message back with a professional invoice in seconds. Plus, there are no commissions or fees taken for sales made on the platform! 

Professional invoicing creates confidence in your transactions. When you invoice professionally and personally, you create confidence in your art sales and build better your relationships with art collectors.


Ready to try online invoicing tailor-made for artists? Try Artwork Archive's free 14-day trial


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