Overview of Shipping Invoice Template
Just like there is a receipt for every purchase you make, there is a shipping invoice for every shipped shipment. Although that might sound like a tongue twister, generating accurate and detailed shipping invoices is integral to every shipping operation. You can use shipping invoice templates available on the internet if you don’t want to waste your time formulating a shipping invoice.
A proper official shipping invoice has a lot of components and charges that need to be included, and if they are missed, it can create issues during transit. The shipping carriers usually generate these invoices to track the shipment through their systems and create a standardised and efficient way to ensure every package reaches its destination.
To understand how to create and use shipping invoices, let’s look at shipping invoices.
1) What is a Shipping Invoice?
Technically speaking, a Shipping invoice is a document created by the seller to declare and provide information about the products and services being shipped to the customer and shipping instructions. There is a lot of information on the shipping invoice, and you cannot miss or forget any of it.
You can either use a free shipping invoice template available on the internet or use word or excel to create a shipping invoice template. As a result, most companies use a shipping invoice template with a preset field and design with all static information already on the document. You will just need to add the information changes with each shipment. This allows you to streamline creating and printing shipping invoices for the convenience of the carrier and customer.
A shipping invoice, also known as the Bill of Lading, also serves as the shipping receipt for the shipper and states the terms and conditions for the shipment of the goods, including the payment terms. The shipping invoice works as the title document for the products and services you are shipping to your customers. The details about the product and the shipping instructions are passed on by the customer, allowing for seamless communication.
2) What to include in a Shipping Invoice Template?
Now that you are acquainted with the definition of a shipping invoice and the purpose of the bill of lading, let’s get you started with the vital part of creating a shipping invoice template.
Whether creating a new shipping invoice template or using a free invoice template from the internet, you have to include these nine things on your invoice template.
2.1) Details of the Sender / Shipper
The shipping invoice template should have the company name and logo on it and include an accurate mailing address of your company so that there is no confusion in case of returns and lost shipments.
2.2) Details of the Receiver
An accurate address of the customer/receiver, contact information, and pin code of delivery can make it easy for carrier partners to make deliveries and reduce the amount of RTOs.
2.3) Details of the Carrier / 3PL Partner
The Bill of Lading must contain the name and details of the carrier as they are responsible for the parcel during transit.
2.4) Customer Reference Number / Purchase Order Number
If you include the reference number or the purchase order number on the shipping invoice template, it is easier to track the shipments internally.
2.5) Description of the Products / Goods
In order to avoid issues with customs, you can include the quantity and descriptions of the products on the shipping invoice. This must be included in the template as the state / international laws keep changing. The description on the invoice allows you to avoid any hassles and confusion with the authorities.
2.6) Destination and Details of the Freight
Your shipping invoice template has to include the weight and dimensions of the package and the accurate destination details. You have to include the nature of the goods, for example, if it is fragile or contains hazardous or flammable material.
2.7) Pick up Date
The pickup date denotes the date and time where the responsibility of the shipment was handed over to the carrier partner. It can also be used to track the time frame of the delivery.
2.8) Type of Packaging
You have to include whether you used boxes, pellets, crates or barrels to ship your products for ease of processing.
2.9) Delivery Notes and Instructions
While creating your shipping invoice template, you can add a column to provide special instructions to your carrier partner passed on by the customer. This allows you to enhance your delivery experience and improve customer satisfaction.
3) How to make a Shipping Invoice Template?
Creating a shipping invoice template can be a tedious task and has to be done carefully. To make it simple for you, we have narrowed down the task into a few simple steps.
3.1) Step 1: Download a Customizable template
Even if you want to formulate your shipping invoice template, download a free shipping invoice template from the internet that suits your colour or one with suitable spacing and formatting. This will save you a lot of time.
3.2) Step 2: Add in the required details.
Add rows and space separately for the shipper, receiver and carrier details. Ensure there is enough space for the parties, as these fields will include addresses and contact information.
3.3) Step 3: Include Order Details
Next, you will need to add tabs and spaces for order information, including barcodes for the shipping reference numbers and order numbers.
3.4) Step 4: Add terms and conditions
Make sure you add terms and conditions and payment details on the shipping invoice. This improves the delivery experience and makes it easier for courier companies to sort the COD orders.
3.5) Step 5: Item Description
If you typically ship across the state and international borders, it is ideal that you add an item description row in your shipping invoice. This will allow your products to be easily assessed by the authorities and ensure that your shipments aren’t stuck in Customs.
3.6) Step 6: Include Additional Charges / Shipping Instructions
Adding a column to mention shipping instructions, additional charges, etc., will help you enhance your delivery experience. Other charges like labour and handling can be directly mentioned on the shipping invoice to promote transparency.
4) Types of Shipping Invoices
As we know, shipping and logistics are not simple processes. With ecommerce businesses aiming for global reach, it is natural that one type of shipping invoice was not sufficient to support the entire logistic ecosystem. Although the format for the shipping invoice templates is almost identical with a few minor tweaks, you have to understand the different types of shipping invoices.
4.1) Standard Invoice: Standard invoice is just a simple shipping invoice for the shipment of goods.
4.2) Commercial Invoice: Commercial invoice is typically used to denote the import of foreign goods and outlines details of goods for customs purposes.
4.3) Pro-forma Invoice: Pro-forma invoice is usually provided before the goods are purchased or shipped to give an estimate to the buyer.
4.4) Credit Invoice: A credit invoice is usually used to issue a pending credit note to the customer, mainly in case of returns or refunds.
4.5) Debit Invoice: A debit invoice is usually used to charge special charges/cost of goods post delivery.
5) Importance of Shipping Invoice Template
Shipping operations and supply chains become complex as you grow. You will have to use shipping and fulfilment management software like ClickPost to push past technical challenges and streamline the entire process. If you want to build a brand, you will probably cater to a global customer base.
A shipping invoice becomes essential in such scenarios, as it is a legally binding document of the agreement between the shipper and the carrier company. Furthermore, a Shipping invoice makes it easier to track and manage orders internally and hold the carrier accountable for lost/damaged shipments as per SLA terms.
While free shipping invoice templates are available on the internet, you may have to work on them to add your branding and personal touches according to your fulfilment process. But, for an enterprise-grade organisation, ideally, it is impossible to generate a separate shipping invoice, as they typically handle a higher order volume. In such cases, creating and formulating a shipping invoice template on your own can help you to speed up the process significantly.
6) Where can you find free shipping invoice templates?
A free shipping invoice template is the best place to start if you are looking to create an invoice template for free for your business. There are numerous sources of free editable shipping invoice templates. You can check the ClickPost shipping invoice template here.
Apart from ClickPost, if you are looking for design options, there are shipping invoice templates on word if you are looking for a text-heavy template. The benefit of using a customisable shipping template from the word is that it is free, and you get a few design options. You can even add your brand logo to give a personalised branded experience to your customers.
However, if you are looking to create a tabular template or use excel or google sheets to track your orders, it may be better to look for a shipping invoice template in excel. If you couldn’t find a design that you liked in these three options, you can google free shipping invoice templates, and you will get various websites that provide downloadable templates for free. The advantage of using these free shipping templates is that it makes it easy to enter the data, and you can even automate the entire generation process. But, you cannot add much text to these templates as excel is a spreadsheet application.
7) International Shipping Invoice Template
While shipping internationally, export/import and customs rules can be tricky. A shipping invoice is a document that can speed up clearing customs. But, for that, you will need to make sure that your shipping invoice has all the requirements by the customs officers to clear your order.
You need a foolproof international shipping invoice template to ensure that your shipping invoices do not have discrepancies. This will ensure that your orders do not have issues while clearing customs. International Shipping Invoice or Commercial invoice is usually used to outline all the items being sold. The commercial invoice becomes a legally binding document and a proof of sale for all the further legal activities that need to be conducted to import your goods into the respective country or state.
The International Shipping Invoice template has to be impeccable as the government will use it to impose customs duties on the items by assessing the actual value of the goods. The commercial invoice may also be used as proof of purchase/shipping in case of insurance claims.
Shipping operations are the backbone of every ecommerce business. As your popularity and order volume increase, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and ship your orders effectively without creating a foolproof system. In every successful shipping management system out there, shipping invoices are the key to tracking and managing your orders over multiple carriers.
A shipping invoice is not only a document that can be used for internal purposes but is also a legally binding document that denotes the terms and conditions discussed between the shipper and the carrier. A clear, concise shipping invoice can be a key to efficient shipping and fulfilment operations. But, in order to generate this impeccable shipping invoice every time, you need a reliable all-around shipping invoice template that covers all your bases. A properly formulated shipping invoice template can minimise the hassle of generating the invoice.
In order to do so, you can use the free shipping invoice templates available on the internet, or you can use the word shipping invoice templates or excel invoice templates that are readily available within the software. You can also take the help of shipping management software like ClickPost to streamline your operations further. If you want access to the ClickPost shipping invoice template, you can check out our website or follow the link given above.
If you cater to a global customer base, you must have a precise shipping invoice template. The shipping invoice serves as the title document of the goods while being imported into a country. The authorities use it as a reference to evaluate the value of the goods and their eligibility to enter the country. Therefore, a shipping invoice template should be used that gives all the required information on the bill of lading so that your shipments are not stuck in customs.
While concluding, you can say that a shipping invoice template is one of the most crucial factors to consider while developing a reliable and efficient shipping operation. The template will allow you to streamline your processes and save you the manual hassle of creating a new invoice document. You can even add your branding on the shipping invoice to improve brand visibility.
9) FAQs about Shipping Invoice Template
9.1) How do I create a Shipping Invoice Template?
To create a custom shipping invoice template, you can either open a blank invoice document in word or excel, or you can choose from the pre-existing templates available in this software. You can then edit the fields, add your branding, and save the template. You can now use this template to generate your own shipping invoices.
9.2) Are there free shipping invoice templates in Microsoft Word or Excel?
There are a few free shipping invoice templates in word and excel that you can use to create your own shipping invoice template for free.
9.3) What is the Bill of Lading?
Bill of lading is just another term for shipping invoices. It contains all the necessary information required to make a successful delivery and information about the goods inside the shipments.
9.4) How is a commercial invoice different from a shipping invoice?
The significant difference between a commercial invoice and a shipping invoice is that the commercial invoice is usually generated while shipping international orders. The commercial invoice contains the value of the goods along with the description. This allows the authorities to use it as an official document regarding insurance, customs and other financial proceedings.