How Do I Create a Recurring Invoice?
Create a Recurring Template which generates Invoices automatically based on the frequency you choose. This is useful for subscription-based work, or ongoing work that occurs on a recurring basis. Recurring Invoices can also be automatically paid using Recurring Payments and with Advanced Payments as well.
- Create Recurring Templates
- Manage Recurring Templates
- Deactivate Recurring Templates
Create Recurring Templates
There are multiple ways to create a new Recurring Template:
- On the Dashboard, click on the Create New... button, then select Recurring Template
- Go to the Invoices section, click on the New Invoice button, then click on Make Recurring under Settings
- Go to the Clients section, click on a Client, then click on the Recurring Templates sub-tab and select the + button (this will create a Recurring Template assigned to this Client)
From here, you can customize your new Recurring Template by going through each section below:
Set up your Recurring Template by filling it out like any other Invoice:
- Company, Client, and Invoice Details - Choose a Client and update the Date of Issue, Due Dates, Invoice Number and Reference Number as needed with the steps here
- Note that the generated Invoice’s Number will increment +1 based off the most recently created Invoice, whether that Invoice was made by a Recurring Template or manually
- Items, Services and Taxes - To bill your Clients for your goods and services, click on the Add a Line button, and add Items, Services and Taxes with the steps here
- Subtotal Area, Notes and Terms
- Add a Discount - Reduce the Invoice’s total by applying an amount or percentage-based discount
- Notes - Notes are unique to each Invoice and will not be remembered for next time, this is useful for any comments, details and temporary information applicable to this specific Client only
- Terms - Terms are remembered from the last Invoice generated, this is useful for terms of service, contractual obligations or payment instructions that is applicable to all Clients. If you need to change your Terms, ensure your updated Terms are on your most recently created Invoice
Add Unbilled Time & Expenses
You can also add an Unbilled Time and Expenses line item as a placeholder on your Recurring Template if you are tracking time or logging Expenses for this Client on a recurring basis. Every time a Recurring Template generates an Invoice, it will pull any available unbilled Time Entries and Expenses onto the Invoice automatically for you.
Use the below steps to add this placeholder to your Recurring Template:
- Ensure a Client is selected
- Click on the Add a Line button
- Click on Import Unbilled Time and Expenses
- For Import Unbilled, choose whether to import All unbilled time and expenses, Unbilled time only, or Unbilled expenses only
- If importing unbilled time, choose the Time Entry Format by clicking on Detailed, Grouped or Simple - for details on the formatting, see here, or click on Show Preview to see an example of each format
- Click on Save to apply the formatting
- You will now have any future time entries and/or future expenses automatically imported onto this Recurring Template.
Dynamic variables allow you to substitute placeholder text with the appropriate date or time value when the Invoice is generated from your Recurring Template.
- ::month:: - Month on Issue Date when Invoice is generated
- ::year:: - Year on Issue Date when Invoice is generated
- ::quarter:: - Quarter on Issue Date when Invoice is generated
- +# or -# - # represents a number, to be used together with Month, Year or Quarter to add or subtract based on Issue Date when Invoice is generated
For example, a Recurring Template set to generate on June 1, 2021 will show the following:
|On Recurring Template (Preview)||On Generated Invoice|
Hosting for the month of ::month::
Hosting for the month of June
Hosting for the month of ::month+3::
Hosting for the month of September
Hosting for the quarter of ::quarter::
Hosting for the quarter of Q2
Hosting for the quarter of ::quarter-1::
Hosting for the quarter of Q1
Subscription for hosting for the year of ::year::
Subscription for hosting for the year of 2021
Subscription for hosting for the next 2 years ending on ::year+2::
Subscription for hosting for the previous year of 2023
These settings control the look of your generated Invoices, allow you to enable online payments and modify client-specific settings as needed:
- For This Template
- Accept Online Payments - Accept Bank Transfers (US only), Credit Cards, and more through FreshBooks Payment (WePay), Stripe, or PayPal. Your settings for online payments will be remembered based on the last invoice created
- Customize Invoice Style - Change the template, logo or banner, color and font with the steps here
- For This Client - Once you’ve selected a Client on your Template, you can modify their Late Reminders, Charge Late Fees and Currency & Language like any other Invoice with the steps here
The Recurring Schedule settings determine how your Recurring Template will generate:
- How Often? - Choose between Weekly, Monthly, Yearly or Custom for the frequency
- Next Issue Date - Choose when you want the Template to generate the first Invoice; if set to the last day of the month (e.g., Dec 31), it’ll automatically adjust to the last day on a shorter month like Feb 28 or Apr 30
- Number of Invoices - Choose between Infinite to generate Invoices indefinitely, or enter the number of Invoices to generate next to Remaining
- Delivery Options - Choose between Send invoices automatically or Create Draft invoices and send manually (this option will not stop Recurring Payments from occurring if payment is saved, even if the Invoices are generating Drafts first)
- Payment Options - Check the box off next to Allow clients to save credit cards to make automatic payments to accept Online Payments
Save or Send Recurring Templates
Once the Recurring Template looks the way you want it, you can either click on:
For Recurring Templates that are generating Invoices as drafts instead of sending automatically, click on this to save your new or edited Recurring Template.
Send... For Recurring Templates that generate Invoices automatically, click on this to save your new or edited Recurring Template along with choosing who to send it to:
- In the To: field, the Primary Client's email is automatically checked off as a sender, along with any Secondary Contacts you’ve sent to on a recent Invoice, Estimate or Proposal (see details here)
- If needed, check off any additional Contacts' emails to send the Invoice to
- Personalize the email to your Client as needed
- Click on the Save button and you’ll be taken back to the Recurring Templates section. If the Template was set to generate an Invoice the same day you created it, this will now appear in your list of Invoices.
Manage Recurring Templates
View all Recurring Templates by going to the Invoices section and clicking on the Recurring Templates sub-tab.
- All Recurring Templates will display the Recurring Template ID, frequency and the number of Invoices left to generate (if applicable)
- Click on any Recurring Template to see a preview of the generated Invoice, including whether it’s set to generate as Drafts (Automatically Created) or generate and send (Automatically Sent) with the banner at the top
- At the bottom of any Recurring Template, click on the View invoices from this Recurring Template link to see all generated Invoices
On any Recurring Templates, you can click on More Actions and select either:
- Pause / Restart Recurring - Pause a Recurring Template if you want it to stop generating Invoices, or Resume an Inactive Template to start generating Invoices again
From the Recurring Templates sub-tab, hover over any Recurring Template to quickly either:
- Edit - Click on the pencil icon and you’ll be taken to the edit view of the Recurring Template where you can adjust and save afterwards
- Delete - Click on the trash can icon to delete the Recurring Template. You can view all deleted Recurring Templates by clicking on the deleted link at the bottom of the list
Deactivate Recurring Templates
Active and Archived Templates will continue to generate if the frequency is set to indefinitely or until the How Many? reaches 0. To stop Recurring Invoices from generating, use these steps:
- Go to the Invoices section
- Click on the Recurring Templates tab
- Click on the Recurring Template you want to stop
- Select the More Actions button
- Click on Pause Recurring and the template will no longer generate new Invoices.
To restart it, simply repeat the above steps until you get to the last step - select the Restart Recurring button instead.
When do Recurring Templates generate Invoices?
Recurring Templates start creating and sending their Invoices at around 1 AM EST, on the day they're set to run. Recurring Templates that are set to generate Invoices on the first and at the end of the month may take longer to generate due to high volumes of invoice generation.
How come I don't see the option to make my Invoice Recurring?
Recurring Invoices can only be made from brand new Invoices. If you have saved the Invoice at all, the Make Recurring option is no longer available.
You can copy the Invoice and make it Recurring, then delete the original one with these steps:
- Go to the Invoices section
- Check the box off next to the Invoice you want to copy
- Click on the More Actions button
- Select Duplicate
- Click on Make Recurring under Settings and continue with making your Recurring Invoice. Don't forget to delete the original Invoice after when you're done.
Can my Client's Credit be applied before the Recurring Template generates an Invoice and before Recurring Payments occur?
Credits can be automatically applied by following the steps to enable the toggle first.
What do each of the statuses on my Recurring Templates mean?
- Auto-Draft - Generate a Draft Invoice only for you (if Recurring Payments have been enabled, the payment will still be billed even if the Invoice is generated as a Draft)
- Auto-Sent - Generate an Invoice and send to your Client
- Card / Account Saved - Generate an Invoice, bill the Client's saved payment information (if Recurring Payments is enabled) and send a payment notification to the Primary Client
- Inactive - No longer generating any Invoices