How do I create a Recurring Invoice?
Creating Recurring Invoices is easy in FreshBooks. These Invoices will be generated automatically based on the schedule you choose, giving you more time to focus on doing what you love. Perfect for those subscription-based Clients with whom you provide ongoing work on a recurring basis - check out our blog post on recurring invoices here.
- Create a Recurring Template
- View Recurring Templates
- Deactivate Recurring Templates
Create a Recurring Template
You'll need to create an Invoice first, which will then give you the option to convert it to a Recurring Template with the below steps:
- Go to the Invoices section
- Click on the New Invoice button
- Under Settings on the right, click on Make Recurring
- Under Recurring Schedule, choose a Next Issue Date for when 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 of a shorter month (e.g., Feb 28 or Apr 30)
- In the How Often? field, choose between Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, or Custom (Every x Week, Month, or Year)
- In the How Many? field, choose between Infinite (don't stop generating Invoices) or x Remaining (indicate how many Invoices to generate)
- Under Delivery Options, choose between Send invoices automatically or Create Draft invoices and send manually
- If you want to accept online payments, then in the Accept Online Payments field, check off the box next to Allow clients to save credit cards to make automatic payments
- Click Done
- Then click on Accept Online Payments under Settings
- If given the option to, click to select either FreshBooks Payments (WePay) or Stripe
- Then under that payment method, check off the box(es) next to Accept Credit Cards and/or Accept ACH Bank Transfer (if both are selected, your Clients can choose, otherwise if only one is checked off, your Clients can only pay by the selected option)
- Click Done to save the payment settings
- Next, fill out the Invoice details - add a Client, add line items, and feel free to add any Notes, Terms or other information the Client may need like Reminders or Late Fees as needed
- When you're done, click on the Save... button to finish. If you've set the Start Date to today, the first Invoice will be created once everything has been saved.
Add Unbilled Time & Expenses
If you'd like to Invoice for your time tracked and/or expenses logged for a specific Client on a recurring basis, you can set up your Recurring Template to automatically add this for you. This will generate future Invoices with any time tracked and expenses logged during that time period for you, automatically.
When setting up your Recurring Template, use these extra steps:
- 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.
The following variables (with no spaces in between) work in the Item Description, the Notes and the Terms fields only:
- ::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
Examples of a Recurring Template with an Invoice due to generate on June 1, 2021:
|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
View Recurring Templates
You can view Recurring Templates by going to the Invoices section and clicking on the Recurring Templates text above the list.
All Recurring Templates will display the frequency and the number of Invoices left to generate (if applicable).
Clicking on the Recurring Template will bring you to a preview of the generated Invoice. The green banner at the top of the Invoice shows that the Template is Automatically Created or Automatically Sent:
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 - the template will automatically generate Draft Invoices only for you (if you have a card saved, the Client's card will also still be billed automatically)
- Auto-Sent - the template will automatically generate Invoices and send them for you
- Auto-Paid - the template will automatically generate Invoices, send them for you, and bill the Client's saved credit card information (if Recurring Payments is enabled). Only the Recurring Invoice will be sent to the primary Client if it is Auto-Paid
- Card Saved - the template will automatically generate Draft Invoices only and bill the Client's saved credit card information (if Recurring Payments is enabled)
- Inactive - the template is no longer generating any Invoices
What happens if I edit a Recurring Template that has Recurring Payments active on it?
If a Bank Account is used as Recurring Payment, to protect your Clients, any changes to the Recurring Template's Total or How Often? (frequency) will result in the Recurring Payment being removed. Once removed, the Client will need to opt into Recurring Payments again on the next generated Invoice.