A recurring invoice automatically creates and sends a new one-time invoice to your client via email at regular intervals. Multiple invoices will be created, all for the same amount!
Recurring invoices are best used for subscription-type services where payments are ongoing, such as monthly website maintenance, social media management, or monthly coaching services. Your client will also have the option to opt-in to automatic payments on a recurring invoice.
👋 Here's a tip... not sure if you should be using a recurring invoice or a one-time invoice with a payment plan? Check out this article!
In this article...
Set up a recurring invoice
The initial setup for each recurring invoice is manual, but once you start it, invoices will send automatically on the schedule you set!
Here's how to set it up: (the numbers in the diagram match the steps below)
Open the project where you'd like to create the recurring invoice.
Go to Invoices >> Recurring Invoices.
Click Add to create a new recurring invoice.
Set your recurring schedule at the top, for example "Send every 1 Month(s)."
Select a Start Date. This is the date that your first invoice will be created and sent.
If you only wish to bill the client for a set time frame, set an End Date 1-2 days after you'd like the final invoice to be sent. Otherwise, leave this blank and the recurrence will continue until you manually stop it.
Add packages or custom line items to your invoice (see below for more info).
Add a payment plan for "x days after applied to invoice - 100% due" to set a due date (see below for more info).
Review the details you have set up for accuracy.
Click Start Recurrence.
Once you click Start Recurrence, the first invoice will be created and sent on the Start Date you selected and repeat from there! You'll see individual invoices show up under the Invoice List tab as they are created and sent.
👋 Heads up! There are some important details below on adding line items and a payment plan to your recurring invoice.
Line items on a recurring invoice
When adding line items to your recurring invoice, remember that you will be repeatedly billing the client for that same amount. Here are some examples:
Example #1: A client signs up for a website maintenance service. You set up the recurring invoice to send every 1 Month and add a line item for $100. The client will receive and pay a brand new invoice for $100 every month.
Example #2: A client signs up for 12 months of consulting with you, for a total cost of $12,000. You want to bill them monthly, so you set up a recurring invoice to send every 1 Month (with an End Date set 1-2 days after their final billing date) and add a line item for $1,000. After 12 months, you will have sent the client 12 invoices and they will have paid $1,000 on each invoice.
Here are some tips for line items on recurring invoices:
You cannot edit each individual invoice before it sends out, so the same exact line items and price will appear on the invoice each time.
If you set up recurring invoices often, create package templates for the common amounts you charge. Make the package total equal to the amount you bill each cycle, not the final amount a client will end up paying you after multiple billings.
Set a due date on a recurring invoice with a payment plan
By default, a recurring invoice does not have a due date. Add a payment plan to set a due date so that you can tell if an invoice is overdue (and send reminders if needed).
You must use the relative due date "x days after payment plan applied to invoice" for a payment plan used on a recurring invoice.
Here is the exact payment plan template we recommend creating for use with recurring invoices:
A single due date "x day(s) after payment plan applied to invoice", with 100% due.
This will make each invoice sent by the recurring invoice due in full on the day it is sent. You could also change the due date to "5 days after payment plan applied to invoice" if you wanted each invoice to be due 5 days after the invoice creation/send date.
👋 Heads up! A fixed due date (e.g. 4/17/2020) or a relative due date based on the project date or contract being signed would result in every invoice sent having the same exact due date.
For example, if you set a fixed date of 4/17/2020 for your due date, a recurring invoice sent in October 2020 would still have a due date of 4/17/2020. The payment plan recommended above ensures that the due date is relative to when each new invoice in the recurrence is created.
Adding payment reminders is optional, but they must have a relative send date "x days AFTER due date." Reminder send dates based on the project date will not work.
👋 Here's a tip... set up a payment plan template so that you can easily add it to each recurring invoice you create.
👋 Heads up! If you have multiple due dates in a payment plan on a recurring invoice, you may be using it incorrectly. Adjust your recurring settings to send invoices more frequently and lower the invoice amount, or review the difference between recurring invoices and payment plans!
Manage recurring invoices
Recurring invoices are managed under Invoices >> Recurring Invoices within each individual project.
Click on a recurring invoice to view the invoices it has created and end the recurrence, if needed. Each individual invoice created by a recurring invoice will also appear in the Invoice List tab.
Recurring invoices cannot be edited once you start them in order to protect clients from surprise changes to their billing. If you need to make a change, open the existing recurring invoice and click End Recurrence. Then create a new recurring invoice.
Why can't I click Start Recurrence on my invoice?
Make sure you have filled in a frequency, a start date, and your line items before clicking Start Recurrence.
Can I add a discount to a recurring invoice?
No, recurring invoices cannot be discounted. This is because the same invoice is sent each time. We recommend adjusting the price of the line items on the recurring invoice accordingly.
Can my client change their card information on a recurring invoice?
Clients are not able to change their payment method on a recurring invoice at this time. If a client needs to change their payment method, we recommend ending the recurring invoice and starting a new one.
How do I edit the time a recurring invoice is sent?
Currently, you cannot edit the time a recurring invoice is sent. The time that you click Start Recurrence (e.g. 3:00 pm) will be the time that all future invoices from that recurring invoice are sent.
Where do I edit the email sent with my recurring invoice?
The default Send Invoice canned email is used to send all recurring invoices. You can edit the Send Invoice email under Templates >> Canned Emails >> Edit Templates.
Can I start a recurring invoice from a workflow?
No, you cannot start a recurring invoice from a workflow.
Can I start a recurring invoice from a proposal?
No, you cannot start a recurring invoice from a package on a proposal. But there is a workaround! Check out the video below: