Most Common Types of Shipping Invoices

Elie Toubiana
September 23, 2022

When shipping items overseas, keep a record of what was sent for your records. This is where a shipping invoice comes in. This document describes the transaction and the goods involved. The shipping invoice, also known as a bill of lading, is required for businesses sending goods via freight. It also serves as a purchase receipt that the buyer can keep for their records.

Types of Shipping Invoices For Your Business

You will find various types of free or paid shipping invoices for your company. We have, however, provided a list of the most common types of shipping invoices. Let's take a look: ‌‌

Pro-Forma Invoice

Customersare given a projected bill of sale, also known as a preliminary bill of sale before products are shipped or transported.

In many cases, the invoice will include a breakdown of the items purchased and other essential details such as shipping volume and transportation fees.

Standard Invoice

It is the most widely used invoice format among small businesses. This type is issued by a company and given to a customer.

The standard invoice includes the invoice number, business name, client's name, both parties' contact information, and payment owned by the client.

Commercial Invoice

Commercial invoices are one of the most vital documents in international trade and maritime freight shipping. Furthermore, an international shipment serves as a legal contract between the supplier (exporter) and the buyer (importer). It also serves as a contract and proof of purchase between the buyer and seller.

Debit Invoice

A debit invoice is also referred to as a debit memo. This invoice is issued by a business that needs to collect money from a customer. Debit invoices are helpful for small businesses and freelancers who need to make a minor change to an existing bill.

Credit Invoice

A credit invoice is also known as a credit memo.

This invoice is a document that details an invoice refund or credit. It's also sent by a company that needs to issue a refund or discount to a customer or correct a previous invoicing error.

Mixed Invoice

Credit and debit charges are combined on a single invoice, and the total amount may be stated as a positive or negative figure.

Small businesses rarely need to issue mixed invoices for their services. Still, it may be necessary to lower the amount owed for one project while increasing the amount owed for another project invoiced on the same invoice.


A bill of lading lists and describes the items that are being shipped. It also contains all the necessary information for the carrier to process the shipment correctly. The bill of lading is commonly used as an invoice by carriers because it includes the total charges for the shipping service. In general, the bill of lading answers the shipping process’s who, why, what, how, and when. There are a lot of methods and tools available online to generate invoices. Invoice Builder is excellent when it comes to making an invoice online quickly.

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