A smiling contractor in an office wearing a headset.

Free contractor invoice templates in different formats (Excel, Word, PDF)

As a contractor, you know that getting paid on time is essential for a healthy business. A well-crafted invoice is key to ensuring prompt payments and a smooth cash flow. But creating invoices from scratch can be deceptively tricky — missing details or unclear language can lead to payment delays or disputes.

Learn what makes a great invoice and how to streamline the process. And don't forget to download this free contractor invoice template!

A professionally designed free invoice template

Download your free contractor template

Download our free invoice template for your project to get organized and stay on top of your cash flow now.

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a detailed, itemized bill sent by a seller (like a contractor, freelancer, or any other type of business) to a buyer. It outlines the goods or services provided, their costs, and the expected payment terms. Invoices serve as a formal request for payment and are crucial for business record-keeping, tracking income, and ensuring tax compliance.

What makes a great contractor invoice?

A professional and effective contractor invoice includes the following essential elements:

  • Your business information: Clearly display your business name, address, contact information, and business number (if applicable).
  • Client details: Include the client's name, address, and contact information.
  • Invoice number and date: Use a unique invoice number for easy tracking and reference, and include both the invoice creation date and the due date.
  • Project description: Provide a brief but clear description of the work performed.
  • Itemized costs: List labour hours and rates, materials, subcontractors (if any), and any other applicable expenses.
  • Taxes: Include any relevant taxes (GST/HST, PST, etc.), with your registration numbers.
  • Payment terms: Outline your preferred payment methods, due dates, and any late payment policies.

Staying CRA compliant

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has specific requirements for business record-keeping, including invoices. But ensuring your invoices meet CRA requirements is not just about following the law. It's also about safeguarding your business from potential fines and facilitating smooth tax filings.

This means including mandatory details such as your business name, a unique invoice number, the date of the invoice, the GST/HST number if you're registered to collect these taxes, and a clear breakdown of the goods or services provided, along with their prices.

By adhering to these guidelines, you also ensure your invoices are prepared for any audits or financial reviews, maintaining transparency and accountability in your financial dealings. Keeping your invoicing process CRA compliant is a key step in managing your business's finances effectively and avoiding unnecessary complications.

The benefits of a customizable invoice template

Using a customizable invoice template for your contracting business invoices comes with numerous benefits that save time, enhance professionalism, and improve accuracy. With pre-filled sections tailored to your business needs, these templates significantly reduce the administrative time spent creating each invoice from scratch, so you can focus more on your core business activities.

Moreover, a consistent and professional invoice format boosts your brand's image, making your business appear more reliable and trustworthy to clients. Customizable templates like the one provided above are designed to minimize errors in billing and financial records, ensuring that every detail of the goods and services provided are accurately captured. 

Invoice set up screen showing colour palette with options that can be used to customize QuickBooks invoices

Get paid faster with QuickBooks

  • Make it easier for your customers to pay
  • Get alerts as customers view and pay
  • Put a personal touch on your invoice
  • Set up automatic invoices

Beyond the template: Invoicing pro tips

The following tips can help avoid surprises when your customer receives their invoice:

  • Set expectations early: Discuss payment terms with your clients before the project begins to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Offer flexible payment options: Consider accepting online payments or credit cards to make it easier for clients to pay you.
  • Invoice promptly: Send invoices as soon as the work is completed to avoid delays.
  • Follow up: If an invoice is past due, don't hesitate to send a polite reminder or follow up with a phone call.
  • Simplify with accounting tools: Many accounting tools exist that automate invoicing, track payments, and generate financial reports, saving you valuable time.

Invoicing for materials

Invoicing for materials requires a detailed and transparent approach to ensure clients understand exactly what they are being charged for, facilitating trust and clarity in the billing process. When preparing an invoice that includes materials, it's crucial to itemize each material used during the project, providing a clear description along with the quantity and price per unit.

Additionally, if your business applies mark-up on materials to cover the costs of procurement and handling, this should be clearly stated on the invoice in a manner that's fair and understandable to the client. Ensuring the materials section of your invoice is detailed and straightforward can help prevent disputes, speed up payment processes, and reinforce your reputation as a trustworthy contractor.

Keeping the total cost for materials separate from labour charges on the invoice provides a clear breakdown of expenses, making it easier for clients to understand the value they're receiving. It's also beneficial to mention any taxes applied to the materials to comply with local tax laws and CRA regulations. 

When should you send contractor invoices?

The timing of sending an invoice plays a critical role in maintaining cash flow and establishing a professional relationship with your clients. Generally, contractors should issue invoices immediately upon completion of a project or delivery of a service. This practice underscores the promptness and professionalism of your business operations and encourages timely payments.

For longer projects, consider setting up milestone payments, where you invoice for portions of the work at agreed-upon stages. This approach not only helps in managing your cash flow, but also aligns payment expectations with your client to minimize surprises.

In cases where you have an ongoing relationship with a client, you might opt for regular invoicing intervals, such as bi-weekly or monthly, based on the volume of work and prior agreement. The key is clear communication with your client about your invoicing schedule to ensure mutual understanding and avoid potential payment delays.

Efficient invoicing is about more than just getting paid — it's about streamlining your operations and reinforcing your professional image. A well-crafted contractor invoice template is a key tool in achieving this. Whether you're looking to refine your current invoicing process or you're starting fresh, QuickBooks provides the solutions you need to manage your finances effectively.

Explore QuickBooks' invoicing solutions today and take the first step towards streamlined billing and improved cash flow.


This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Additional information and exceptions may apply. Applicable laws may vary by region, province, state or locality. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit does not have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit does not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.

We provide third-party links as a convenience and for informational purposes only. Intuit does not endorse or approve these products and services, or the opinions of these corporations or organizations or individuals. Intuit accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content on these sites.

Looking for something else?

Get QuickBooks

Smart features made for your business. We've got you covered.

Firm of the Future

Expert advice and resources for today’s accounting professionals.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.