Bonsai offers 3 types of invoice automation:
- Scheduled Invoices
- Recurring Invoices
- Recurring Payments
When you create an invoice, you have the option to "Auto-Send" it in the future based on your invoice issued date. When enabled, it will automatically send it on your behalf to your client with all the information you've added to your invoice.
It will attempt to send your invoice in the morning of its issued date based on your timezone. If multiple days in the future, it will also send you a reminder email the day before it is sent, so you can double-check the details beforehand.
When creating an invoice you also have the option to create an "Auto-Repeat" invoice, which will create a billing schedule for your invoices automatically. By default it will automatically duplicate your invoice every billing cycle (every week, 2 weeks, month, or year) and end on the date you've set. As each billing cycle passes, you can view the upcoming invoice and make any changes if needed.
You can optionally enable "Auto-Sending" as well to automate the sending of your invoices being duplicated. Just like "Scheduled Invoices", these will automatically send on the invoice issued dates as they continue to repeat every billing cycle.
To your client, these will appear as normal invoices. They will see the payment options you've enabled and a way to make a payment. And they will receive all the usual invoice reminders.
This is perfect if you're working on a long term project with consistent milestones.
Recurring Payments / Invoice Auto-Payments
Similar to "Recurring Invoices" presented above, "Recurring Payments" will automatically invoices your client based on a billing cycle you set. The difference is that once your client has received and paid the first invoice in the billing cycle, Bonsai will automatically continue to charge their payment method until the billing schedule ends. This is using their saved payment information, to make things even easier for both you and your client.
You can still edit the amounts for the upcoming invoice, but if the invoice total changes we will then ask for your client to approve the auto-payment amount again. If their payment method fails, Bonsai will continue the billing schedule but will notify both you and your client that they must enter a new payment method.
For your client, this feature functions similar to how any paid subscription works online, with predictable charges on their card and email notifications for each. It also has a way for them to opt-out of the recurring payments if they feel the need to do so.
Note: Currently Recurring Auto-Payment invoices only support payment via credit/debit card on Stripe and Bonsai Payments.
How to Create a "Recurring Payment" Invoice
Once that's done, create a new invoice and select the invoice type you'd like (such as 'Recurring Auto-Payment') from the type dropdown. Then choose how often you'd like the invoices to be created and when you'd like them to stop:
Once you create the invoice, you can confirm that it has Recurring Payment enabled by clicking the banner at the top of the invoice:
Fill out the invoice line items. Be aware that once the client enters their payment info and begins auto-payment, any change you make to the invoice items and total amount will require the client to confirm their auto-payment again.
At this time, when you send an invoice to the client with "Recurring Payment", they will be required to create a free Bonsai account. Because their credit card details will be stored and re-used, this is necessary to ensure the security of their payments. Otherwise, the other invoice automation types do not require a Bonsai account for payment (even ACH payments).
Once the client creates an account, they will see a box to input their credit card details and a description of how Recurring Auto-Payment will work for that particular invoice: