A proforma invoice is a document that you usually give to a client before you sell them the service or product. Think of a proforma invoice sort of like a quote or estimate – it isn’t a final commitment, but it gives the client a ballpark idea of the cost of your services.
If you’re self-employed and are discussing with a new client about a new piece of work, you might not always know how much you are going to charge them once the job is completed. This may be due to being unsure about the materials needed or the exact labour time required for the project. A proforma invoice is a temporary document that you can give them so they have some idea of how much you’ll charge them.
It’s important to keep in mind that a proforma invoice is not binding – you still need to give them a proper invoice at the end.
If you’ve registered for VAT, the invoice needs to include more detail – read more about VAT invoices on HMRC’s website. You can issue an invoice either before or after you’ve supplied your customer with a good or service.
There are plenty of free invoicing templates and tools online which will make it easier for you to create something if you’ve not done it before.