The "after scheduled payment is completed" workflow trigger can run actions based on your client making a scheduled payment in a payment schedule. This gives you the ability to hold off on certain actions until a client makes a deposit, for example.
This capability is powerful and opens up many possibilities in your workflows, but it can also lead to errors if not set up properly. Getting the hang of workflows with payment schedules can be a bit tricky, so here's our list of seven "rules" to follow for success!
⚠️ Heads up! This article covers advanced techniques in Dubsado and assumes you are confident working with workflows, payment schedules, invoices, and proposals.
Rule #1: To trigger an action based on a scheduled payment, you must specify a payment schedule in the workflow template.
At the top of the workflow template builder, there is a dropdown where you can select a payment schedule template. Select a payment schedule template here to specify it for the workflow template. If there is no payment schedule template specified, the "after scheduled payment is completed" trigger will NOT be available to use in the workflow.
Not every workflow needs a payment schedule! If you just need to trigger an action based on the client paying off the entire invoice, you can use the "after invoice paid in full" trigger and skip specifying the payment schedule entirely.
The determining factor is whether or not you want to trigger actions in that workflow based on a scheduled payment. This translates to a specific partial payment on the invoice, like the client paying the first 50% as a deposit.
Rule #2: A workflow with a payment schedule will automatically set up an invoice.
When you apply a workflow with a payment schedule to a project, it will automatically create an invoice for $0.00 on the project and add the payment schedule. The workflow is setting up the invoice and payment schedule ahead of time so that it is ready to watch for your client to make their scheduled payments.
You have two options for adding line items to this invoice:
- Use a proposal. When the proposal is submitted, any selected packages will be added right onto the invoice created by the workflow.
- Open the invoice inside the project and manually add line items or packages.
⚠️ Heads up! This rule assumes that the project does NOT already have an invoice when the workflow with a payment schedule is applied. If a project already has a primary invoice, the workflow payment schedule will be applied to it (and replace the existing payment schedule if there is one). Working with multiple invoices and workflows requires thorough testing!
Rule #3: If you are using a proposal with a workflow that has a payment schedule, you MUST leave the payment schedule blank in the proposal settings.
This rule applies to:
- Proposals you send through a workflow with a payment schedule.
- Public proposals that start a workflow with a payment schedule.
If you have a payment schedule specified on BOTH the proposal template AND the workflow, the payment schedule on the proposal will override the payment schedule set up by the workflow. This will cause an error on any workflow actions triggered by scheduled payments.
If you do have a payment schedule specified in your proposal template settings, just click the blue X to remove it and save the template.
Rule #4: The create invoice action (and other specific scenarios) will not work with the scheduled payment trigger.
In some cases, a second invoice is created in addition to the primary invoice being watched by the workflow. In these scenarios, the "after scheduled payment is completed trigger" will not work.
The most common example is using the Create Invoice action. This action will always create a second, non-primary invoice if you are also setting a payment schedule on the workflow. Since you can't trigger actions based on scheduled payments without setting a payment schedule on the workflow, an invoice created by the Create Invoice action will never be compatible with using the "after scheduled payment is completed trigger."
A good workaround is to use a proposal with a single required package instead, since sending a proposal through the workflow is compatible with the scheduled payment trigger. Below are examples of workflow scenarios that do and don't work with the scheduled payment trigger:
✅ Scenarios that work:
- Sending a proposal through a workflow (with NO payment schedule on the proposal)
- Manually adding line items or packages to the invoice created by the workflow
- Setting a workflow with a payment schedule as the default workflow on a public proposal
- Setting a workflow with a payment schedule as the default workflow on a public proposal that is attached to a scheduler (with or without a required deposit on the scheduler)
⛔️ Scenarios that create additional invoices and will not work:
- Using a create invoice action in a workflow with a payment schedule
- Sending a scheduler through the workflow that has an attached proposal and/or required deposit
- Starting a workflow with a payment schedule from a lead capture that is attached to a scheduler with a required deposit
These examples are just a starting point. The best way to find out if a certain workflow setup will work is to test it!
Rule #5: Do NOT remove the payment schedule on an invoice created by the workflow.
You can edit individual scheduled payments (change the due date, amount, or reminders) on the invoice after it's been created by the workflow, BUT deleting any of the scheduled payments or selecting a new payment schedule will cause errors.
Rule #6: A workflow can only accept one payment schedule.
Just like proposals, a workflow template can only work off of one payment schedule. Depending on your offerings and your process, you may need to get creative with different versions of your workflow for different payment schedules.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution here, but one approach is to create a different version of your workflow for each payment schedule you want to offer.
Rule #7: Applying a second workflow with a payment schedule to a project will override the payment schedule set up by the first workflow.
One of our favorite strategies is building workflows in phases. This means creating a series of shorter workflows for each main "phase" of your process instead of creating one long workflow. However, this strategy can pose challenges when it comes to the scheduled payment trigger.
If you can, only specify the payment schedule on the workflow where the invoice is first needed, such as the workflow where you send the proposal to the client. In any additional workflows that you plan to apply to the same project, leave the payment schedule setting blank.
You could run into errors if you specify the same payment schedule on additional workflows that will be applied to the same project, depending on the situation. In general, if all of the actions in the previous workflow will have finished running by the time the next workflow is applied, errors are much less likely. As always, our advice is to test thoroughly!
How do I test my workflow?
To test your workflow, you'll want to apply it to a project where you are the client. Specifically for testing with payment schedules, you'll want to make sure your invoices look correct and that you aren't seeing any errors in the workflow. You can manually apply a payment to an invoice to set off any payment-related triggers. We have a great webinar on testing workflows here!
What if there is already a primary invoice on a project when I apply a workflow with a payment schedule?
If you already have a primary invoice on a project and then apply a workflow with a payment schedule, the workflow will add its payment schedule to the primary invoice. If the existing primary invoice already has a payment schedule, the workflow will replace it with its own payment schedule.
I have the same exact payment schedule set on my proposal and in my workflow. Why am I still getting an error?
If you are sending a proposal through a workflow with a payment schedule, you MUST remove the payment schedule from the proposal, even if it's the same payment schedule you have on the workflow. Even though the invoice will look the same, on the backend, the workflow's payment schedule was technically overridden by the payment schedule you had set on the proposal!
If I select a payment schedule inside the Create Invoice action will it work with the "after scheduled payment completed trigger?"
No. This will just add a payment schedule to the additional invoice created by the Create Invoice action. The workflow will still be watching the primary invoice.
This is a bit overwhelming. Where can I get help?
We totally understand that wrapping your head around workflows with payment schedules can be tough, especially if you have a complex process! With so many possible scenarios that can affect how payment schedules and workflows interact, we can't address every one here.
So we are here to help! Please write in to our chat support at any time or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also have free 1:1 screen share sessions available with our education team. If you want to book a screen share, you'll get the most out of the session if you have already had a go at building your workflow so that our team can take a look!