What could be more important than accurately invoicing clients? The faster and easier your invoicing process is, the sooner your business can receive payment. Choosing the right solution is essential to keep cash flowing.
Did you know there are over fifty online invoicing apps for small business? After days of research, we've narrowed them down to the Top Ten FREE Online Invoicing platforms.
This post only covers solutions that offer a tier that is free indefinitely - not those with free trials that are premium products. We also have some decision points to allow you to more easily choose the invoicing platform that is right for you.
What Features Do You Need?
Invoicing is built into many different types of software and solutions. They vary from a very simple online template to a full blown accounting system. Some integrate with other solutions you may be using and others are standalone.
By being clear about what you really need, you can choose the best solution for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you need an accounting system or the ability to send estimates or just invoicing?
- What about time tracking? Do you need to be able to keep track of time because you bill by the hour?
- What other solutions you use need to integrate with your invoicing system?
- Is it essential that the solution work with your payment processors?
- Will you be billing in more than one currency or language?
- Are you the only user or do you need additional users to be able to log in?
- How many invoices to how many different clients or customers do you send per month?
- Will you send recurring invoices?
By knowing the answers to these questions in advance, you can quickly eliminate solutions that do not meet your minimum requirements. While all of the solutions below do have a free tier, if you have multiple users, send many invoices, or want more features you are likely to need to upgrade eventually. Use your answers to the questions above to choose a platform that will grow with your business.
Top Free Online Invoicing Platforms
These are the online platforms for sending invoices which offer a free tier. Some are very limited in what you can do before you need to upgrade. For example, they may only allow you to have one client or send one invoice, but their upgrade may only cost $3 a month.
We've shared some details about each of these invoicing platforms below so you don't have to visit every site to focus on the most likely solution that will meet your needs.
Due.com is known for their very attractive templates for invoices and easy time tracking. They provide a dashboard and management system which includes a calendar summary, reports, and performance graphs.
With the free version, you can customize up to two templates with your logo, store up to 5 clients in up to 5 projects, and send 2 invoices per month. They support SSL encryption and multiple currencies. Free accounts may send up to 10mb invoice file attachments.
Their "Plus" tier allows you to send unlimited invoices to an unlimited number of clients with up to 350mb attachments and costs only $3 per month.Two larger plans (Ultimate at $25/mo and Business at $49/mo) support files up to 3 GB and provide many additional features.
If creating sharp-looking invoices is important to you, this could be a winner. They provide support via Basecamp.
Wave Accounting is used and recommended by professional writer Sharon Hurley Hall:
"I chose Wave Accounting because it offered a great way to track my freelance earnings. The invoice capability was a welcome extra. I love the fact that I can send invoices as a link (which means I can tell when someone has seen it) or as a PDF. I don't use all the functionality (it's pretty rich) but I have found it very useful."
Wave is a complete accounting system. The free version supports unlimited invoicing. Users can accept credit card payments for the usual percentage and sync their business bank accounts. Your clients can click a pay button right on the invoice to pay immediately and update your accounting system showing payment.
Support is easily available via live chat (no robots), a support ticket system or phone. They also have extensive Getting Started, FAQs, Tips & Tricks, and an active community forum.
Nutcache offers unlimited invoices in their free advertising supported version. Estimates, expenses, employees, online payments, time tracking, multilingual invoicing with attachments are all included in the free version.
Recurring invoices, invoice templates, overdue invoices, dashboards, and attachments larger than 1 GB require a pro account. Their pro version starts at $14/mo for one user. Ads are removed in pro accounts.
A potentially serious drawback is that free accounts only have email support with a 7 day turnaround. Hopefully, if you had an urgent issue you would be permitted to upgrade at that point to get it fixed.
vCita is best known as a client engagement platform, but their free version does offer basic invoicing. They integrate live chat with the ability for visitors to your site to schedule and pay for their own appointments.
With the free version, you would not be able to customize or create automated emails to send invoices. The premium versions start at $12.45 and include a CRM for lead generation and tracking.
Free accounts only have forum support. Professional accounts (starting at $12.45) have email and phone support. Their "Teams" tier costs $39.90/mo and includes a dedicated account manager.
Sage One is accounting software. The invoicing function was previously available under the name BillingBoss, but is now integrated into Sage One.
Their free version supports unlimited quotes, income and expense tracking, analytics and reporting, and the ability to accept online payments. If you want any of the features below, upgrading to a premium account is necessary:
- Multiple users
- Attach more than one financial account
- Send more than 5 invoices a month
- Multi-currency invoicing
- Accountant collaboration
Sage One premium accounts are currently $5/mo. Even Sage's free accounts include unlimited support via chat, email, Knowledge Center and toll-free phone. All accounts are backed-up and updated automatically.
Hiveage (formerly Curdbee) is a complete invoicing system. Their free account supports the sending of unlimited invoices to an unlimited number of customers. PayPal standard and Google wallet are supported at no charge. Seven additional payment gateways are available for an additional fee of $1.95 per gateway per month.
The ability to track time, expenses and mileage is available, but using it requires a $4.95/mo additional cost. Recurring billing and adding additional users also incur a $4.95/mo each additional charge. If you need more than one additional feature, there are discounts for combining multiples. See their site for details.
Hiveage support is via contact form, email, and extensive articles available on their support tab.
Apptivo is unlike the other platforms we've discussed so far. They offer all kinds of apps for running a small business. Up to 3 users can access 40+ standard apps in their free accounts. Email, Google and mobile apps are only available in the paid accounts. Solutions include invoicing, CRM, project management, help desks, field service and procurement.
If the app you need is not available as one of the 40+ standard apps or you need more capability, Premium accounts are $10/mo. 24/7 M-F support is offered in their Ultimate $25/mo package.
(The) Invoice Machine can be used for sending estimates, time tracking and invoicing. Free accounts can have 1 user and send up to 3 invoices and 3 estimates per month. Even free accounts can be set up to send recurring invoices, thank you and reminder emails in multiple languages and currencies.
The Invoice Machine integrates with PayPal and Authorize.net. It also integrates with Basecamp. Customize your invoices with color and your logo and attach them as a PDF file to your emails. The Invoice Machine automatically sends thank you and reminder emails.
Support is provided via email and the information on their help tab.
Ronin bills themselves as a client management and online invoices platform. Their free accounts support:
- 2 clients
- 1 contact per client
- 1 staff user
- recurring invoicing
- time and expense tracking
- multiple currencies
- customizable logos
- customizable templates
Payment integration, SSL security, and unbranded applications are only available in the paid options starting at $15/mo and up. Users can easily upgrade or downgrade their account at any time. No contracts are required. No credit card is required for the free version or to trial the paid versions.
Ronin was acquired by GoDaddy in October 2013. Support method does not appear to be mentioned on their site, but sales can be contacted via email.
CheddarGetter has a free API for developers to make it easy to enable recurring billing and subscriptions. Because 15% of recurring charges fail to process, CheddarGetter can maximize revenue by tracking these failures and enabling collection. They focus on security, reliability and redundancy.
They offer hosted payment pages to make taking payments online painless, but to accept PayPal you need the $9/mo. PayPal only plan. To accept credit cards requires their $79/mo "Blowing Up" plan. Accept credit cards using their payment gateway or your own.
Free accounts support fully customizable, brandable email templates sent from your email address through CheddarGetter's system. This is not the solution for a freelancer who sends unique invoices to each client. It is intended for developers of membership sites and other businesses that charge their clients a monthly fee.
Support for the PayPal only plan ($9/mo) is provided by a community forum and Knowledge Base. The "Blowing Up" tier includes elevated (guaranteed 12 hours; average 2 hours) email support. Additional support is available upon request.
CheddarGetter has an active, helpful developer community, an extensive Knowledge Base, email, and direct dial phone support.
Making the Best Choice
Remember that the more features a solution has, the more complicated it will be. Powerful solutions require more of a learning curve. If you only need a simple invoicing solution, choose accordingly. But if you want more features, start with the solution closest to what you believe you will need in the long run.
When comparing platforms, consider additional fees. Make sure they support the merchant gateways you use. As you can see by the notes above, invoicing is built into different types of software. By answering the questions at the top of this post you can better determine which combinations best suit your needs. Review your needs to ensure the solution you choose supports every "must-have".
The information in this post comes primarily from each solutions' website and talking to their support staff. If you have questions about a specific platform, contact them directly. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or share your experiences with these or other invoicing solutions.