Creating and sharing an invoice

How to create a branded, seamless invoicing and payments experience for your clients using smart files

Updated over a week ago

The ability to invoice your clients using a smart file provides yet another way to reduce friction for your clients and make sure you get paid with no back and forth.

Whether you’re building the invoicing experience out by adding a contract to sign, questions for your clients, the Scheduler for clients to schedule time, and beautifully branded text and images; or, simply using the file to design a functional, eye-catching, standalone invoice, invoices always make it easy for your clients to pay.

📚 Tip

Need a refresher on what smart files are & how you can use them to create a seamless client experience? Learn more here.

Adding an invoice to a file

Once you’ve created your smart file, find or create the page where you want the invoice to go—you can even pull an existing invoice into your new template to save time. If you make edits, they’ll take effect only in the template you’re working on.

Add to an existing page

1. Click the large plus (+) button to add a new block.

2. Select Invoice & Pay.

3. From here, you can:

  • Click + Start from blank, then select your invoice type (standard or recurring) to add a new invoice & pay block; OR

  • Select an existing smart template to pull in its invoice

📣 Note

To increase your chances of booking, you will not be able to add an invoice to a page that already contains a contract, services, or Scheduler.

Add to a new page

1. Click the Pages icon at the top of the builder.

2. Click Add Page.

3. From here, you can:

  • Click + Start from blank to add a blank page, then add an Invoice & Pay block by following the drop-down above; OR

Adding an invoice will add just that—an invoice—and it will also add a payment page to your smart file. The invoice page is where you’ll build out the services you’re charging for, as well as the payment schedule. From the payment page, you can adjust payment settings (the payment methods you'll accept, whether clients can add gratuity, etc.).

📣 Note

An invoice page must always be added with a payment page. You cannot create a file with only an invoice page, or with only a payment page.

Need to send an estimate, without requesting payment? Consider creating a smart file with a view-only services block that clearly shows what the client will be paying for down the line!

Once you send a smart file containing an invoice to a client, here's what they'll experience.

Added your invoice successfully? Skip here for more details on building your invoice out and customizing it.

Adding services, items, and/or packages

1. Click the search bar in the first empty service item field to start adding. From here, you can:

  • Add existing items, services, or packages (any that you’ve sent to clients before) by selecting from the available list, or typing to search for something specific.

  • Add something new by typing in the name of the item/service and clicking the + New button.

2. Edit the details for each item or package by clicking on the field you'd like to update: name, image, quantity, price, tax, etc.

📚 Tip

Remember that, though you can toggle the visibility of columns on or off by clicking the column headers, you’ll need to have columns toggled on in order to edit.

3. Continue adding items or services by clicking + Add an item/package.

📚 Tip

Need turn a standalone item into a package (a set of items grouped together)? Click the item, then select Add a Sub-Item.

Clicking an individual item will allow you to edit further: you can check or uncheck tax and toggle the image on and off in the right side bar; click the move icon to rearrange the order of items with drag and drop; and delete items with the trash can.

Customizing your invoice's settings

First, click the outline of the invoice block to open the invoice settings sidebar.

From here, you’ll be able to adjust two areas.

You can:

You cannot:

Create any payment schedule (payment amounts and due dates) that works best for you and your business

Add tax rate(s) to any packages/items

Send a standard or recurring invoice

Allow clients to pay by credit card, ACH bank transfer, or both*

Allow clients to add gratuity to their payment, or not

Require clients to opt in to automatic payments, or just keep it as an option

X You cannot place a hold on a client's card for services, damages, or cancellations (instead, consider collecting a deposit and setting a reminder to refund following the event/services)

X You cannot automate late fees for overdue payments

X You cannot allow clients to pay any amount on any date (you'll need to create a set payment schedule. If clients would like to pay a different amount and/or on a different date, they'll need to reach out to you to edit the schedule)

Add tax details

If not already added, click + Add tax to add a tax or fee and rename the field if you’d like. Click into the field below to adjust the amount—you can set a dollar amount, or a percentage of the total taxed packages/items.

📚 Tip

Once you've added tax and set the rate, remember to apply the tax to all of the appropriate packages/items! You can apply tax by clicking the checkbox under the tax column by the package/item in question.

You can always click + Add tax to add an additional tax or fee, such as a service charge, to the invoice summary. Name the field in the settings sidebar, and click the field below to adjust the amount.

📚 Tip

You can delete any tax by clicking the trash can icon next to its name. Just make sure no line items have the tax applied before deleting!

Set payment options

Here, you can adjust:

  • Invoice type: Set the invoice type and payment cadence (standard or recurring)

  • Payment method: Set which payment methods you’ll accept (credit card, ACH bank transfer, or both)*

  • Late fees: Add a late fee to your invoice to encourage your clients to pay on time.

  • Client can add a tip: Allow your client the option to add gratuity/tip, then select if this option will be turned on for all payments, or just the last payment

  • Client must use Autopay: Automatically charge clients on the due dates set in the payment schedule. You can toggle required autopay on, which will require clients to opt in to autopay before they’re able to submit payment to you. If toggled off, clients won’t be required to opt in to automatic payments, but they’ll still have the option to

📣 Note*

At the moment, we cannot process ACH bank transfers for Canada-based members—only credit card payments can be accepted for these accounts. We're hoping to expand this functionality in the future, though!

Customizing your invoice's design

First, click the outline of the invoice block to open the invoice settings sidebar. Then, select the Design tab.

Edit color & layout

As with any smart file, you’ll be able to adjust the basic color & layout of the block—background color, background color opacity, and padding.

You can also toggle the column appearance between Plain (white background) or Theme Color (background will pull the Highlight Color from your theme).

Show/Hide header fields

Under this section, select which areas should be visible to your clients. You can adjust the visibility of the following areas:

  • Company logo (set under your Company Settings)

  • Company details (set under your Company Settings)

  • Invoice title

  • Bill to (recipient name)

  • Purchase order (PO number)

  • Project details

📚 Tip

You can also edit the text that appears in these areas by clicking directly into the corresponding field in the invoice block.

Show/Hide columns

Next, select what invoice columns should be visible to your clients:

  • Package & item images

  • Quantity & unit price

  • Unit

  • Tax

📣 Note

To edit the quantity and price of items—or to turn tax on for any items—you’ll need to keep those columns toggled on until the edits are complete. Once toggled off, the totals will still reflect the quantities and prices that you set, and any taxes for selected items will still be totaled up in the invoice summary—the toggled-off columns just won’t be visible to your clients.

Additional taxes or fees will first need to be added in the invoice settings section. You can then turn that charge on for select items, and toggle the column off again if necessary.

Using service blocks with invoices

If you’ve created a services block that allows (or requires) your clients to make a service selection, including an invoice on a subsequent page of the smart file will dynamically pull in your client’s selections and automatically calculate the total amount.

Smart files that contain selectable services and an invoice will automatically include this dynamic section of the invoice (no need to add it manually), even if you began with an invoice section.

You can also include any additional services, fees, or payments in the invoice. Simply add services to the invoice, just as you would in a standard invoice; then, when your client selects their service of choice, that cost will be added to the static services you’ve included.

Finally, in invoices that dynamically pull in service selections, you can customize exactly what your client will see on their invoice for each possible service. Just click the Edit button in the dynamic services section to adjust.

📚 Tip

Learn more about editing your clients' invoice view here.

Editing your payment schedule

In the payment schedule section, you can adjust the amount and date of each payment; add payments to the plan by clicking + Add A Payment; or remove by clicking a payment, then clicking the trash can icon.

Amount options

Click on the dollar amounts to edit the values. You can choose from:

  • Custom amount: the dollar value of your choice

  • Percentage: automatically calculate dollar amounts based on percentage of the total

  • Divide equally: the total invoice amount, divided equally across all payments

Due date options

Click on the dates to edit the values. You can choose due dates from:

  • Invoice date: payment due on the date the invoice is sent

  • Custom date: select a fixed due date on the calendar

  • Smart date: due date is based on a variable such as specific number of days, weeks, or months before a project date, after a project date, or after the invoice has been sent

  • Mid-project payment: halfway between the day the invoice is sent and the project date

  • Project date: the date your project is set for. If your project has a start and an end date, this will pull in the project start date

  • Milestone payment: manually request payment once a project milestone is completed (e.g. completion of a deliverable). If selecting this option, be sure to enter the Milestone name

Sharing your smart file

Once you’ve built out the invoice and the rest of your smart file (check out more smart file building tips here), click Share.

You can then share the smart file with your project participants via email, or click Create a Link to copy & share a link to the file via text, DM, or another avenue.

📚 Tip

Want to make sure you know what your clients will experience? Select Send a test file from the Send drop-down menu, then click Send Test. You'll receive the smart file in your email inbox, so you can review before sending to the client.

When your client makes a payment, you’ll be notified right away. You can also track payments, contract signatures, and responses to questions when you open the smart file.

And remember, the beauty of a smart file is that it can be more than just an invoice. Add pages with text, images, and videos to introduce your company and showcase your brand; add questions to get more info from your clients (or allow them to ask more questions of you) without any back and forth; add a scheduler block to allow clients to schedule a session with you; or round out the booking process by adding a contract to the experience. Whatever make sense for your business and your process!

Not sure where to start? Check out examples in our smart files Template Gallery to find some smart files that work for you!

📚 Tip

Want to learn how to create and share an invoice from the HoneyBook mobile app? Check out this article.

Still have questions? Feel free to send us a message by clicking the Question Mark icon on any HoneyBook page. Our team is always happy to help!

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