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I'm considering doing handyman jobs on canal boats, as a self employed trader. But some boaters don't have a fixed address. Do I absolutely have to put an address for them on the invoice?

It seems a bit insensitive to ask someone who lives on a boat for an address: their home is a boat, it doesn't have an address.

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    The main issue is that an invoice must be verifiable, i.e. the tax administration must be able to check the authenticity of the transaction, so trace it to someone. This problem isn't new for the boatmen, it must have a well-known solution. A boat has a plate number, hasn't it ? – Harry Cover Oct 6 '15 at 8:02
  • is a boat registration number a good enough "address"? I'll ask around – mascip Oct 8 '15 at 1:11
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I don't think it's necessary. I have invoiced without an address before. I just emailed the person and put their email address and phone number in the area where I normally put an address. But that was just a $25 invoice...

I think the real benefit of having an address is it will make it much easier to go after someone in court if they don't pay you.

I would just ask "what do you use as your address." It doesn't seem insensitive to me at all, but maybe I'm clueless. But - if they do banking, go to the Dr., Drive a car, receive mail of any kind, they must have an address. Maybe it's a PO box or a friend's house. I would think it would be the address where their boat is, slip number X. (Unless maybe they're traveling around the world in their boat)

Then I would either hand deliver or email the invoice, especially if you sense they don't check mail much.

  • Thank you Emily :-) You are right, "what do you use as your address" should be fine. According to www.gov.uk an invoice must include the customer's address. But it should be OK if there wasn't one on some invoices. So I would do the work, have template invoices in my case, write the amount on the invoice. Then ask my client to write their name and address on two copies, and keep one of them. Is that right? Or by email but that's a pain. I'm worried that with many small jobs (1 hour or 2), people would find it a pain to fill it. It's also be a pain for me, so I'm trying to minimize it. – mascip Oct 6 '15 at 17:10
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    That sounds perfect. Just ask them to fill it in. I don't think asking someone to write down their name and address is asking that much of someone. But you might just have them write it on the first one, then copy it to the second one yourself, or, to save everyone time, if you have a smart phone, just take a picture of their return address with your phone and fill it in on your copy later. OR, you could go old school and put a sheet of carbon paper between the two invoice forms so when they write it once, it goes onto both copies. – Emily Oct 6 '15 at 19:07
  • Thanks again :) would it be enough, for me to keep a photo? Maybe I don't need a paper copy? This way there can be one paper only – mascip Oct 8 '15 at 1:09
  • I don't know the record keeping laws where you are. If you're not sure, I'd keep the paper copy, but I was thinking you could take the picture at the time then write it on your copy later. Of course, that creates more hassle for you later, so the carbon paper idea might be better. Here, in the US, you can even purchase booklets of receipts that are carbon paper that you write on, tear the top one off, to give the customer, then you still have the original. staples.com/carbon+copy+receipt+books/… – Emily Oct 9 '15 at 2:03

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