commercial invoice

Chapter 20

How to Make a Commercial Invoice

Author: Bhaval Patel

Simple Steps On How to Make a Commercial Invoice

Business owners with global customers need to make a commercial invoice for customs purposes when they ship out products. A detailed description of what is being shipped can be used to generate commercial invoices.

Simple Steps to Make a Commercial Invoice

Commercial invoices can serve as a billing structure of your price as a business owner. With it, your customers can make payments when they receive it.

To learn how to create a business invoice, here’s what you need to know:

Here, you’ll find a step by step guide on how to create a commercial invoice

  1. What is Commercial Invoicing for Shipping?
  2. The reason why the Commercial Invoice is issued
  3. Is a Commercial Invoice needed to Ship Documents?

To create commercial invoices, these are applicable steps for you to follow:

  • Download a Commercial Invoice Template

To create commercial invoices for your business, first of all, you need to download and personalize a suitable template for your business. A typical example of a commercial invoice is used by FedEx, or the United States Department of Commerce.

  • Type in The Seller’s Correct Details

Include your business details and contact that could be reached, like business name and address, email, and phone number.

  • Type in Customers Details

The next thing to do is fill in the correct details of the buyer or the company patronizing your business. Details to be included are the name and address of the buyer or company’s contact, shipping address if it is not the same with the billing address.

  • Put a Unique Invoice Number

All your invoices should have unique identification in the form of numbers and codes or either. The best way to number an invoice is sequential identification. Your first invoice number should be 001, and other numbers on the sequence will follow.

  • Add The Customer’s Reference Number

Aside from having an invoice number on the document, add a reference number to the invoice before sending it.  The reference number on a commercial invoice is provided so you can identify the customer you’re dealing with when there’s a complaint or when there’s the need for the buyer or company to contact you.

  •  Add Your Sale Terms

Sale terms are any information on the risk and cost you and the buyer is taking when going into business. When there’s a complaint on sales by the buyer, the initial agreement on sale terms will serve as legal proof for you as the buyer because the seller has been notified beforehand. But you also need to include it in the commercial invoice.

  • Include Your Payment Terms

To avoid issues of payment, let the customer understand in the invoice what your policies and terms of payment are. These see the terms that have been agreed upon by you and your customer. It can appear on the purchase order, but your payment terms on the invoice will serve as a friendly reminder.

  • Include Your Preferred Currency

On the invoice, let your customers be aware of what currency you want to be paid with. It should have been agreed before going into business with the buyer, so there won’t be confusion or delay in payment. If you live in the USA and you’re selling to a customer who lives oversea, your preferred currency will be US dollars.

  • Indicate The Shipment Method

Your commercial invoice must indicate how you’re shipping the goods over to your customer, maybe by surface shipping, air or ocean.

  • Indicate The Quantity

Your commercial invoice should detail the products in the quantity of purchase and shipment.

  • Fully Describe The Items

A complete and detailed description of all the shipped items is to be written in the document. This consists of the appropriate measurement and name of items, type of package they’ll be delivered in, the container type if applicable, weight, and quantity of the items.

  • Add The Unit OF Measurement

The measurement of the items should be expressed in the same unit throughout, including the weight of each item and overall net weight.

  • Include The Price And Value

The grand price of all the goods in the shipment should be written out as well as the total commercial value of the goods.

  • Note Package Signs And Marks

Marking or symbols on the shipment should be noted in the commercial invoice. If the boxes are much, you can name and label them to help the client understand better.

  • Add Additional Costs

In case there’s an occurrence of miscellaneous cost, include it in the invoice with clear descriptions. Miscellaneous like maintenance, security, and transportation cost should also be noted.

What Is a Commercial Invoice for Shipping?

A commercial invoice is a legal document between the buyer and the seller that shows the details of goods and for a shipment. It serves as an agreement between both parties and is always detailed.

Commercial Invoice for Shipping

Why the Commercial Invoice is Issued

A commercial invoice is useful for the following situations:

To understand the condition and details of the goods being bought and sold between the buyer and seller.

  • The buyer needs a commercial invoice to send a payment for the goods bought.
  • If an insurance claim is made by the buyer against the goods that are already insured, a commercial invoice is a legal document to prove them wrong or right.
  • For the goods to be cleared by the buyer’s country custom officials, a commercial invoice needs to be presented to them.
  • The true value of goods are assessed with commercial invoices, and it is most needed by government officials for custom duties.

Is a Commercial Invoice Needed to Ship Documents?

Commercial invoices are only useful for the shipping of goods with commercial value. For clarification sake, typed or written commodities do not have commercial values and are regarded as documents.

Any commodity that is regarded as documents needs no commercial invoice for international shipping. Only products with commercial value require a commercial invoice for customs purposes.

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