Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Information Every Illustration Estimate & Invoice Should Contain

Estimates and invoices are nearly as important to an illustrator’s business as the illustration’s that are produced for jobs. For without an estimate, an illustrator
may never be awarded a job, and without an invoice, he or she would most likely not get paid.

© 2013 Don Arday.
An estimate usually comes before a commission is awarded and upon approval signals the start of a job. An invoice comes when the commission is completed and upon payment provides closure for an assignment. For illustrators, both estimates and invoices should be considered legal documents. Estimates serve as a record of services intended while invoices provide a record of services rendered for both the illustrator and their client. And most importantly, both documents can serve as evidence if a legal dispute between an illustrator and client occurred.

Estimate Contents

Provider Company Information (Header)

1. Business Name
2. Business Logo (Optional)
3. Address
4. Telephone Number
5. Email Address
6. The Word ESTIMATE (Prominently Displayed)
7. Date

Client Company Information (Header)

1. Client Name (Person Commissioning Job)
2. Client Company Name
3. Address
4. Telephone Number
5. Email Address

Services Description (Body)

1. Description of Illustration Assignment
            a. Type/Usage of Illustration
            b. Publication Name/Placement for Illustration
            c. Format/Dimensions of Illustration
2. Quantity (If Appropriate)
3. Cost/Unit Cost (If Job Was Based on a Single Fixed Fee) or
4. Cost Per Hour and Number of Hours (If Job Was Based on Hourly Rate)
5. Cost of Materials (If Appropriate)
6. Cost for Outsourced Services (If Appropriate)
7. Cost for Licensing  (Extended Usage, Copyright Leasing/Buyout if Appropriate)
8. Total Estimated Amount For All Items
9. Sales Tax (If Appropriate)*
10. Expiration Date of Estimate

Approval (Footer)

1. Client Signature of Approval
2. Date Approved

Invoice Contents

Provider Company Information (Header)

1. Business Name
2. Business Logo (Optional)
3. Address
4. Telephone Number
5. Email Address
6. Business Registration/Tax ID Number
7. The Word INVOICE (Prominently Displayed)
8. Date of Invoice
9. Due Date of Payment
10. An Invoice and/or Job Indexing Number (The Invoice Number Should Be Unique)

Client Company Information (Header)

1. Client Name (Person Commissioning Job)
2. Client Company Name
3. Address
4. Telephone Number
5. Email Address
6. Client Purchase Order or Work Order Number (If Provided by Client)

Services Description (Body)

1. Description of Illustration Assignment
a. Type/Usage of Illustration
            b. Publication Name/Placement for Illustration
            c. Format/Dimensions of Illustration
2. Quantity (If Appropriate)
3. Price/Unit Price (If Job Was Based on a Single Fixed Fee) or
4. Price Per Hour and Number of Hours (If Job Was Based on Hourly Rate)
5. Price for Materials (If Appropriate)
6. Price for Outsourced Services (If Appropriate)
7. Price For Licensing  (Extended Usage, Copyright Leasing/Buyout if Appropriate)
9. Subtotal Amount (All Items)
10. Sales Tax Amount (If Appropriate)*
11. Total Amount Due (All Items Including Tax)

Payment Terms (Footer)

1. Payment Terms (Payment Due Date, Due Upon Receipt, 30 Days, Etc.)
2. Payment Instructions (Payable To Whom)
3. Payment Method (Company Check, Bank Draft, PayPal, Etc.)
4. Overdue Payment Policy (Optional)

* Note: Sales tax is based on the tax rate where the client is located. For example, an illustrator located in New York City producing a commission for a client located in Chicago would charge the sales tax rate for Chicago, Illinois. Information on tax rates can be found at http://taxfoundation.org/ and http://www.taxrates.com/.


Estimate/Invoice Design

The design of estimates and invoices should coordinate with the other marketing materials used such as stationery, website, mailers, etc. If the business has a logo or signature illustration that is used as an identity on promotional materials, it should be included on the estimate and invoice. Although the above lists of information seem complex and highly detailed, when placed into an organized form they can appear to be quite simple. Since so much of the information that is contained in an estimate is also included in an invoice, both forms can utilize the same formatting, typography, color scheme, etc. In fact it is good design practice to do so.

Estimate/Invoice Production

The forms for estimates and invoices can be created using basic word processing or spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel, or they can be produced using graphic visualization software such as Adobe InDesign or Illustrator. They can also be produced using dedicated OS desktop and IOS mobile apps available for downloading, and some of these apps (for a fee) provide a cloud service for the storage of estimates and invoices and additional business book keeping tools.

Online Resources

Estimate /Invoice Templates


Estimate/Invoice Services