What to put on an invoice

A guest post from Janelle Fendall Baglien of Studio Art Direct, Inc.

I like the post on polishing your communication. The corporate art market is a great place to stream in income. However, I have noticed a lack of business etiquette and standards in this arena with artists. Here are some suggestions.

Artists need to create standard contracts, invoices, Certificates of Authenticity, especially when dealing B to B.

For example, I require a proposal outlining all info provided to artist, especially for commissions or rentals, showing the full amount, and the ½ down due (which is my standard at beginning of a job). After that, I require a final invoice showing the ½ down paid, and the remainder due. Like most businesses, I never pay without out this paper trail. For both proposal and invoice, I need the following information:

  • An invoice should always include:
  • Date
  • Invoice number or PO
  • Full contact info of artist (address, phone, web, etc.)
  • The name of the project:  “Sacred Heart Hospital”
  • The purchasers information: company, name, address, phone
  • A complete, itemized list of art purchased including title, size, medium, framing, and etc.
  • Information on royalty or use (if commission, image use, or rental)
  • The TOTAL of purchase
  • The amount paid down
  • The total amount due
  • Payment due (upon receipt, due 30 days, or whatever)


Other items that I sometimes require are “letters of authenticity” and “letter of engagement” (which I provide the artist outlining all the details clearly including uses, schedules and milestones, etc), and well crafted bios.

IRS requires a social security number or EIN for purchases over $600 especially if it is contracted or commissioned work. Don’t be offended if you’re asked for it.

When dealing BtoB, invoices are not paid immediately. Expect at least 1 week when you request “due upon receipt.”

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3 thoughts on “What to put on an invoice”

  1. Alyson, Just to be clear….the IRS wants the client to have my social security number….only….I don’t need theirs? I use the Working Artist invoice which automatically includes all you state…nothing about a social security number though. Nobody has ever asked for one.

  2. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Nancy: This is why it’s not a bad thing to get an EIN (tax ID #), which you can use in place of your SSN. Yes, if any kind of dealer (or business) pays you $600 or more in one year, they are required by law to submit a W2 form to you and to the IRS. Before doing this, they’ll ask you to complete a 1099 form for their records. This is standard operating procedure. Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney or CPA. Check with yours first!

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