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Transportation is one of the key functions of logistics. However, it involves a lot of paperwork such as insurance, bills, etc. Transportation bill or trucking bill is a key document among them. You can easily find a transport bill format online or create transport bills in various applications such as MS Word, MS Excel, etc.

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However, the content of any transportation bill is crucial. It has to be accurate and contain all the required details. This article elaborates on the mandatory elements of the transport bill, its format and tips to create a transportation bill easily.

Key features of a transportation bill

Whether you are a trucking or logistics company, if you provide transportation services, you will have to generate the required transportation bills. While you can easily find and download a sample transport bill format online, it makes business sense to understand the key features of the bill to stay compliant.

Listed below are the must-have elements of a transportation bill.

Business details:

  • Name of the transportation company: The transportation company must have their name and address mention along with contact details like email id, phone number and website (optional). If you are creating the transportation bill format in Word or Excel, you can keep this element constant, and you do not need to fill in this information every.
  • GSTIN: The transportation bill should also contain your business’s GSTIN number. This is to stay compliant and also helps during reconciliation.
  • Date: The date of the invoice is another important element to add to the bill. Many times, a mutually agreed credit period is given to the customer to pay the bill. Usually, this credit period starts from the date of bill generation. Therefore, it is crucial to mention the right date on the trucking invoice.
  • Invoice number: A transportation bill or a trucking invoice must have an invoice number for future reference. This helps the customer to confirm the payment against the specified invoice number and makes it easy for you to track payments. Also, in case of any dispute, either party knows the amount and invoice in the dispute.
  • Signature: Any invoice has to be duly signed by the authorised personnel. In case you are sending a digital invoice, you need to include a digital signature certificate (DSC) while in the case of a physical invoice, it has to be physically signed. In the era of digitalisation, it is best to get a DSC as it can be used for other purposes, e.g., E-tendering is one of the primary uses of DSC.

Customer details and other information:

  • Customer details: There must a section to mention the customer’s details. You can mention details such as name of the customer, address, phone number, email id, etc. When creating a transportation bill template, keep this section blank. Fill in the details of the relevant customer when writing an actual bill.
  • Description: You need to create a section on description that explains what services the customer is availing from you. If there is more than one service, you can add all details such as volumetric weight, truck number, name of the driver, rate, taxes such as GST, etc. For example, you can mention road transport provided for specified distances along with truck details.
  • Prices: In the column corresponding to each service availed, mention charges for each service. Also, you need to include GST charged on transportation. Depending on the type of goods transported, the GST percentage changes. For example, no GST is charged for agricultural produce and essential commodities such as milk. At the bottom, you can sum it up and mention the total payable amount. For reference, you can also search online for a GST transport bill format in Excel or Word to understand how to bill and add GST prices in transportation bills.

Voluntary elements you can include in the transportation bill invoice

Apart from the mandatory elements, you can also include the following details on the invoice.

  • Payment conditions: You can mention pay conditions such as credit period on the invoice. This can help customers know the credit period easily.
  • Account details: You can also mention your account details so that it is easier for customers to find them to make payments.

Mistakes to avoid while creating transportation invoice

The transportation bill is an important document for logistics companies. When adding details to a standard vehicle transport bill format, there are some common typos and errors you should take care to avoid:

  • Making errors: Be careful in entering details in the invoice. Do not make any mistake in name of the customer, description, pricing details, date, etc., which can lead to a dispute. This will further cause a delay in making payment. Hence, it is best to avoid any mistakes.
  • Delay in raising invoices: You should raise invoices immediately after the delivery of goods. If there is a delay in raising the invoice, further delay in payment happens. This can impact your cash flow.

Tips for getting timely payments

No matter how efficiently your generate and send the transport bill to the customer, there are chances of delay in receiving payments. Here are some quick tips to help you get payments from customers easily.

  • Raise timely invoices: As mentioned earlier, it is important to raise an invoice on time to receive timely payment. Any delay here leads to further delays.
  • Schedule reminder calls: You can delegate this task to one of your employees. They can call the customers just a few days before the due date of the invoice to remind them about the payment. Also, you can schedule another call and email reminder, in case there is any delay.
  • Offer discounts: Offer discounts to early payments. This will encourage the same customer to pay early next time.
  • Provide multiple methods of making payments: Customers may want to pay via cheque or bank transfer, etc. Let customers know about the payment methods that you accept. This makes payment easier for them.
  • Invest in an invoicing software: You can create a transportation invoice format in Excel or Word. However, it is recommended to invest in a software solution so that any change in tax structure, is automatically calculated with changes. Hence, there is an assurance of accuracy. Many transportation management systems help in invoice generation too.

Concluding thoughts

Late payment is one of the key challenges that Indian MSMEs are facing. The government of India is working towards resolving this issue with the help of initiatives like MSME Samadhaan scheme. However, it is up to vendors to raise timely invoices without making any errors. Mistakes in invoices or delay in raising the invoice can lead to dispute and delay. Therefore, having the right software to raise invoices or having a set format makes a difference.