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. For individual or one-off payments, you can, of course, create a single invoice; but if you have recurring payments, subscription fees, or anything that lasts longer than a single invoice, you can create a recurring invoice instead!
Recurring invoices will automatically bill your client at the cadence of your choice—so you don’t have to remember to create and send a new invoice each time a payment is due—saving you time, and ensuring you collect payments faster and more effectively.
For your clients, the process is just as simple: they’ll either receive an invoice on the specified dates, which they can quickly pay through any device; or, for those on autopay, they’ll get a reminder before each payment processes, and a copy of their receipt.
This article references smart files, our newest file experience offering more power and customization than ever. Click here to learn more about smart files and add them to your account!
In this article, we’ll review:
Creating a recurring invoice
2. Find or create the page where you want the invoice to go. You can:
Open your Pages menu and click Add Page. From here, you can start from a blank page, then add an invoice & pay block; or add pages of an existing smart file template that contain an invoice & pay block
Add the invoice & pay block to an existing page
PLEASE NOTE: Adding an invoice will add just that—an invoice—and it will also add a payment page to your smart file.
3. Click the outline of the invoice block to edit your invoice as necessary. You can:
4. Right from the invoice block settings (or by clicking the payment schedule block to open the payment settings), make sure to toggle the recurring setting on.
5. Set the first invoice date (the due date for the first invoice).
6. Select the invoice frequency. You can set invoices to recur:
Weekly: select any day of the week to repeat the invoice
Monthly: select a day of the month to repeat the invoice
Yearly: select a month & day to repeat the invoice
Custom: choose a custom cadence (e.g. every 2 weeks on a Tuesday, every 3 months on the 15th, etc.)
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the time bank transfers take to process, the interval between invoices that accept bank transfers must be 10 days or more.
7. Choose an end date (if necessary). You can select:
Never: no end date (though you can always pause or cancel manually!)
On: recurring invoice will end on the selected date
After: recurring invoice will end after the selected number of invoices have been sent
HoneyBook Tip: Below the recurring settings, you can click View all invoice dates and details to see the full list of upcoming, sent, and paid invoices.
8. When your recurring schedule looks good, make sure to review your invoice’s payment settings, and make any other necessary changes to the smart file.
PLEASE NOTE: The option to turn on a gratuity field is not currently available for recurring invoices.
When you’re ready, you can send it off to your client! Here’s what they’ll experience with recurring invoices.
Editing a recurring invoice
If you’ve already sent your recurring invoice but need to make some changes, never fear—you can edit, even if your client has already made a payment!
PLEASE NOTE: At this time, existing overdue invoices cannot be edited.
To edit a recurring invoice you've already sent:
1. Find the smart file containing the invoice, and click to open. You can search using the search bar, or locate the smart file from within the project’s Activity or Files tabs.
2. Click Edit file.
3. Make any necessary updates to the invoice (and/or other elements of the smart file). You can change the payment amount for future payments, change the schedule moving forward, etc.
HoneyBook Tip: Click Preview to view all completed and upcoming invoices.
4. When you’re ready, click Publish Changes.
5. Email your client to alert them to the updates. They’ll see the adjustments next time they open the smart file, and will be prompted to accept the changes before they proceed.
Creating a recurring invoice combined with a one-time, upfront fee
If your business charges a one-time fee that's combined with the first recurring payment, you can set this up in HoneyBook! Then, after your client makes the first payment, just edit and re-publish the smart file to remove the one-time amount.
To create a recurring invoice combined with a one-time, upfront fee:
1. First, create your recurring invoice. Be sure to include both the recurring amount and the one-time, upfront fee in the services block.
2. Send the invoice to your client.
PLEASE NOTE: At this stage, all invoices will show the recurring amount plus the one-time fee amount, which is why you will need to edit the file (steps 3-5 below) once the first payment has been paid.
3. Once your client has made the first payment (recurring amount plus one-time fee), edit the recurring invoice to delete the one-time, upfront fee from the services block. The upcoming invoices should adjust to just the recurring amount.
HoneyBook Tip: If you do not edit the file to remove the one-time fee and publish the changes, your client's future payments will remain as the recurring amount plus the "one-time" fee amount.
4. When you’re ready, click Publish Changes.
5. Email your client to alert them to the updates. They’ll see the adjustments next time they open the smart file, and will be prompted to accept the changes before they proceed. Moving forward, they'll be prompted to pay only the recurring amount until the end date (if included)!
Pausing, resuming, or cancelling recurring invoices
If life (or a client) throws a curveball that requires you to pause a recurring invoice, not to worry—it’s easy to pause or resume recurring invoices at any time. You can, of course, stop them entirely, too!
PLEASE NOTE: These processes do not apply to automatic payments in single invoices. Check out how to cancel autopay here!
To pause a recurring invoice:
1. Click to open the smart file, then click Stop Recurring under the recurring invoice summary section.
2. You’ll be prompted to email your client to alert them to the change. Make any necessary edits to the email text, then click Send and Pause Recurring.
Your client will still be able to review the smart file and take action on the next upcoming payment, but will not receive any further invoices from this smart file (unless you resume it again!).
To resume a paused recurring invoice:
1. Click to open the smart file, then click Resume Recurring in the invoice summary section.
2. Review the payment settings for the recurring invoice, as they might need adjustments after a pause.
3. Click Publish Changes when you’re ready.
4. You’ll be prompted to email your client to alert them to the change. Make any necessary edits to the email text, then click Send & Publish.
To cancel a recurring invoice:
To cancel a recurring invoice, you will need to expire the smart file containing that invoice.
Once a smart file is expired, your client will be able to view it, but not take any action. Expiring will also stop any automatic payments, cancel any future payments not set to autopay, and stop payment reminders.
Remember that you can click Preview when setting a smart file's expiration to check out what your client will experience!
Using services with recurring invoices
If you’ve created a services block that allows (or requires) your clients to make a service selection, including a recurring invoice on a subsequent page of the smart file will dynamically pull in your client’s selections and automatically calculate the total amount for the recurring payment!
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 template.
Learn more about how services and invoices (both single invoices and recurring invoices) work together here!
Client experience with recurring invoices
Your clients’ experience with the initial recurring invoice will be nearly identical to their experience with single invoices. They’ll simply review the smart file, input their payment information, and submit their payment.
PLEASE NOTE: If a client inputs payment information before the initial payment due date, the first payment will process on the day the information is added, not on the first invoice due date. Following payments, however, will only be able to occur when the next invoice is due.
For subsequent invoices, your client will receive automatic email reminders that a payment is coming up—and will also be prompted to pay with a link to the smart file—or, if the client has set payments to autopay, they’ll be notified via email when their payment processes.
Your client will be able to:
Review past invoices
Pay via credit card or bank transfer (depending on the settings you chose)
Change their own bank or credit card information
Turn on autopay for themselves
Your client will not be able to:
Make a payment early
Change, pause, or cancel their own recurring invoice (they’ll need to reach out to you to make any adjustments)
PLEASE NOTE: If a client needs to update or delete a card on file for recurring invoices, you will need to pause the recurring invoice first. Then, they can follow the steps here to update their payment method.
Recurring invoice FAQ
When do recurring payments process?
If a client has already saved their payment information, payments will process within 24 hours of the payment due date, or on the day the information is added for the initial payment.
If a client hasn't saved payment information and their payment becomes overdue, the payment will process within 24 hours of payment info being added.
Can my client cancel recurring invoices?
If your client wants to cancel recurring a recurring invoice, they’ll need to reach out to you. You can expire the smart file that contains the invoice to prevent any future payments from processing.
Can I charge my client on the last day of each month?
Sure! If you set the first invoice date for the 31st of the month and select a monthly cadence, the payments will go through on the last day of every month—whether that's the 28th, 30th, or 31st.
Can I create a recurring invoice combined with a one-time, upfront fee in the same file?
Yes! Learn how here.
What's the client experience like with recurring invoices?
Check out this section to learn more about the client experience with recurring invoices.
What if my client needs to change their payment method for recurring invoices?
If a client needs to update or delete a card on file for recurring invoices, you will need to pause the recurring invoice first. Then, they can follow the steps here to update their payment method.
Want to learn more?
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!