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Deadbeat Client? Let Harvest Help You Get Paid

We’re excited to announce a new and much-requested feature: automatic recurring late invoice reminders.

Automatic recurring late invoice reminder screenshot

Though we’ve long offered the ability to schedule a late invoice reminder, that reminder was a one-time deal. If, like me, you’ve had some clients who prefer to — ahem — take their time with payments, that could lead to ridiculous calendar reminders like this:


Identity obscured to protect the guilty.

That is a real reminder on my personal calendar for me to send an invoice reminder to a past-due client for some freelance work. And that’s just not right.

As of today, all Harvest customers can now set their invoices to have recurring reminders sent to their clients when invoices have gone past due. Additionally, you can turn on an account-wide setting to have all invoices automatically send reminders when they become late — no need to create reminders for every invoice.

Automatic recurring late invoice reminder setting screenshot

This setting is off by default, so navigate to Invoices > Configure > Messages in your Harvest account to turn on automatic reminders. Regardless of this global setting, you can still turn reminders on or off or change the default values for individual invoices.

Now go set up your automatic reminders and get paid!

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This was posted in New Features, Online Invoicing, Product News.
  • Thank you for this!! So much easier now!

  • Thank you! So happy to see this feature.

  • Ah, yes. Thank you. As you hint, this is one of those “it just makes sense” features. I <3 web apps… no update necessary. The feature is just there.

    Thanks and keep up the fine work!

  • Awesome, I was waiting for this. Thank God.

  • SOOO excited to have this feature! No more having to remember to set this for each invoice and I send 100s out each month so this is just PERFECT! I just started using your software about 2 months ago and can NOT believe how much easier my company’s billables have become. Kudos to you on a great product!!

  • love it! Thanks for keeping things fresh.

  • thanks so much, love how harvest keeps getting better!

  • Nice. Hopefully not a feature I’ll need much, but good to have. Harvest is the best SaaS I’ve used and it’s the only one I’ve stuck with from Day 1.

  • Right on time! :)

  • Love this feature! One small request: Freshbooks had 3 templates for “late reminders” – the “nice”, “firm”, and “pay me or else” and you could set the “send-when-X-days-past-due” for each. It would be great if we could have multiple message templates for late reminders. Thanks again, and this is a great feature!

  • Christian Malcolm on July 10, 2012

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    This should make a real impact on cashflow.

  • Thank you! This is going to be so nice!

    As Marc B said, some sort of escalation system would be great as well!

  • The ability to add late fees would also be brilliant, e.g., x% per 30 days late.

  • Excellent addition. Thank you!

  • “CSBeer July 10, 2012:
    The ability to add late fees would also be brilliant, e.g., x% per 30 days late.”

    Yes please! This would be my first priority addition.

    “Marc B July 10, 2012
    It would be great if we could have multiple message templates for late reminders.”

    Also yes please, but less important than the first for me (I can always have one message that outlines the various levels of punishment. :) )

  • Sweet. Harvest just got better!

    @ Marc B – Great idea.

    @ CSBeer – I’m down with that. The ability to add late fees eg. 10% for each month overdue, would deter many slow paying clients.

  • Awesome! I suggested that a few weeks ago and am very excited to see it! Thank you Harvest!

  • +1 for multiple message templates/escalation and auto late fee additions.

    Also – would be wonderful if I could set the system-wide auto late notices to go out, but then exempt one or two clients (that I need to handle with kid gloves) from receiving the automatic notices.

    Thanks much!

  • LOVE it! Thank you! In truth, I love the whole Harvest system!! BEST business tool I have!!

  • Fantastic!

    I kept forgetting to send out my reminders to people on the same arrears date. This is a great addition.

    Thanks guys.

  • Good step!
    1+ for three escalation templates

    1) simple reminder
    2) reminder with costs for reminders
    3) reminder with costs for reminders and interest for delay

    + automatic additional fees

  • Yes, finally! We love it!

  • Oh dear … one thing though … can anyone tell me how to add the name of the client in the reminders, invoices and estimates? We always get the company name.

  • Harvest is getting better and better. Thank you!

  • YES!!! I have a couple of clients that frequently “forget” to pay their invoices… Will be nice to not have to babysit my AR any more!

  • Great, I have been longing for this feature…thank you.

  • Very nice feature. Useless though as I’m unable to adress my clients properly. Being located in germany I need to adress my clients with respect to their genders. ie. “dear MR. XYZ” or “dear MRS. XYZ”. If can’t configure this I won’t use such an automatic feature anytime soon.

  • Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

    Marc B, Chris, CSBeer, Lee Fuhr, Newton King, Naomi, and Michael: I went ahead and noted down your requests for an escalation system and the ability to apply late fees — we’ll let you know if we make any developments on that front.

    Naomi: As it stands now, there’s no way to exempt “sensitive” clients from the automatic reminders system-wide, but you can always apply or remove the reminders on an invoice-by-invoice basis.

    Marion and Nick Bohlen: You can insert the name of your client using the “%invoice_client%” placeholder, but in most cases, that will probably be a company name. We don’t currently offer the ability to drop in a client contact’s name, but I’ve added your “+1″s to our list for that feature, and we’ll let you know if we add it in the future.

  • Hmm one question:

    WHO receives the emails once we enable this feature?
    Are all listed contacts going to receive the automatic reminders?

    I’ve got clients where i have many contacts. Is there a way of selecting the default contact?!

    Otherwise this is useless to me.
    I cant be sending the reminders to everyone….

  • Imran: By default, the reminder emails are sent to the same recipients that the original invoice was. However, you can always edit the reminder settings on a particular invoice to change the recipients if you’d like them to be different.

  • Excellent new feature! Thank you so much for continuing to innovate.

  • +1 for the client’s contact name in addition to the “%invoice_client%” placeholder.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    This will help me quite a bit. :)

  • +1 for 3 escalation templates

    keep up the good work.

  • This idea is pure brilliance!

    “Regardless of this global setting, you can still turn reminders on or off or change the default values for individual invoices.”

    Where do I turn the reminders on for individual invoices?

  • Christian: First, to set up a reminder, the invoice has to have already been sent — it can’t be a draft. If it’s sent but not late, you can find the reminder settings under More Actions > Reminder Email on the invoice. If it’s already late, just click Send Reminder, and you’ll be able to have the reminder recur from there.

  • Nope. The option doesn’t appear on sent late invoices. Even if I send out another reminder.

  • Really awesome. Its always great to see awesome product get more awesome :D

  • Christian: Good catch! That’s fixed now. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Great feature. I agree – the ability to have multiple messages (escalating each time) would be good. I wouldn’t want to keep sending the same follow-up message over and over again.

    Also, is there a way to see where/when messages have been sent? It would be great to see that so I don’t bug a client on top of an automatic message that had been sent.

    Lastly, is there a way to determine which clients get these and which ones don’t?

    Thanks for the great work!

  • Is this currently broken? I just tried to create a recurring invoice in my account with this feature selected and got an error message. When I went back and created it without this feature selected it worked properly.

  • Ben: There was a brief problem with creating recurring invoices that should be all fixed now. Sorry about that! Let us know if you’re still having problems.

  • Laura: You can see when/where messages were sent in the “Invoice History” section at the bottom of each of your invoices. As for which clients get the reminders, there’s currently no account-wide setting to turn this on or off for particular clients, but you can always manually turn recurring late reminders on or off on a per-invoice basis.

  • Holy crap, thank you!!!!!

  • Thanks Harvest. What would be even better would be the option of setting up invoice reminders for all invoices, not just recurring ones.

  • Great feature and all the above suggestions are +1 from me. Im not actually sure if the automatic reminders apply to all invoices or only reoccurring as @Brad mentioned?

  • +1 for this excellent idea! As always, I’m very grateful that you guys are so on the ball. This is going to save me soooo much time and hassle.

  • Brad and Justin: Sorry for the confusion — it was probably caused by the recurring use of the word “recurring”. This new feature allows you to have recurring reminders for all invoices, recurring or one-time. Sorry if that was unclear.

  • Thank you AppHarvest! This feature is a huge help! This is the worst part of my job, and now it is automated. I can just blame the system for these emails without having to step into the awkward “Hey, you need to pay” conversation.” That may still happen, but not as much!

    Terrance
    CEO @ Bytelion.com

  • Terrance: You hit the nail on the head with one of my personal favorite benefits of this feature as a sometimes-freelancer: it lets Harvest be the “bad guy” and helps you get paid while avoiding those awkward conversations most of us hate to have, particularly between small (possibly one-person) companies where it can feel much more “personal” than just “doing business”.

    Glad you like the new feature!

  • Nice! I really need this because I am just as bad about forgetting to send my own follow-up reminders.

    Thanks.

  • This makes life so much easier, thank you Harvest!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • I should have read the post a little more closely. This new feature does apply to all invoices. Very please! Thank you Harvest.

    As a further suggestion (you must be used to these by now ;) I’d like to suggest this feature be extended to include a message for each stage of the debt recovery process i.e. friendly reminder at 3 days late, debt collection notice at 30 days late.

  • Is there an alert built into harvest to remind me to log my hours?

  • Brian Lokker on July 13, 2012

    Good feature!

    I have a related question: If I set an invoice to be “due on receipt” (i.e., the day it is sent), the system appears to automatically add the “LATE” stamp to the invoice the following day. So if a client does not open the invoice until the next business day, the invoice is already late. Technically that’s true, of course, but in practice I anticipate a grace period of a few days and don’t want clients to be hit with a large “LATE” stamp right away. Is there a way to turn off the stamp on the original invoice?

  • Brian:

    Technically that’s true, of course, but in practice I anticipate a grace period of a few days and don’t want clients to be hit with a large “LATE” stamp right away.

    You’re right — the day after an invoice is sent with “due upon receipt” selected, the invoice is marked as late. If you want to add a few days of grace, you can choose “Custom” for your invoice due date, and put in a date a few days in the future. The invoice will always be marked as late the day after the due date.

  • T.J. Schuck : good news then! just to confirm, are you saying the system will only send the reminders for those contacts who had received the original invoice?

    what about invoices that are manually marked as Sent, but i never send them by email to anyone? What happens in these cases?

  • YES…..thank you so much. Now please please please add support for the STRIPE gateway! PayPal is killing me slowly every time I use it.

  • Imran: Correct — the reminders will send to the contacts that the original invoice was sent to, unless you explicitly edit the reminder to change that.

    Manually marking an invoice as sent will not automatically set up a late invoice reminder, because we don’t know how you sent the original invoice! However, you can still manually set up email reminders on those invoices — you’ll just have to pick the recipients then.

  • Hello,

    This feature is great !
    Is there a way to see when reminder e-mails are automatically sent ?
    To be sure that they are sent and when they are ?

    Thanks a lot,

    Antoine

  • Antoine: You can see when/where messages were sent in the “Invoice History” section at the bottom of each of your invoices.

  • This worked like a charm for me already! Thank you!

  • Great Feature!

    I’ve just switched it on.
    Will it send out emails to invoices that are already overdue too?

    Just need a ‘Statement’ feature now to be perfect.

    Thanks Rich

  • Richard: Reminders are not retroactively added to already late invoices automatically. You can turn it on for those invoices by visiting them and clicking the “Send Reminder” button. On that form, you can choose to have the late reminder recur if you’d like.

  • You people ROCK!

  • Great addition. +1 for adding ability to deactivate it by client (rather than only by invoice) so we don’t have to adjust it every time a new invoice is sent.

    Does the reminder have a link to invoice for payment? The messages settings doesn’t have a link field like the invoice notification does.

  • Sterling: The automatic reminders pick up most of their settings from the original invoice that you send. So if you send the invoice with the PDF version attached, the reminders will have that attached as well. If you include the link to the web invoice for online payment in the original, it will be in the reminder.

    You can also edit these settings to not match the original invoice, if you’d like. Just edit the reminder on any invoice, and you will see checkboxes for including the PDF and including the payment link, among other settings.

  • Those of you who, like me, deal with deadbeat clients might like ZenCash (http://www.zencash.com/). I just signed up, so I’m still exploring it a bit. The basic idea is that it connects to Harvest and automatically pulls your invoices, then automatically takes actions on them that you set up. Actions are things like sending a reminder note, a printed invoice with remittance envelope, a thank you note (optionally with an iTunes or Amazon gift card, which I’m including for clients who pay quickly), but then more aggressive things like a stern phone call, sending to collections, and taking legal action. Actions can be tied to on time payments, late payments, and after “n” days.

    For a solo freelancer like me, this makes me feel much more capable on the accounts receivable side of things. This can work in conjunction with the timed reminders introduced here in Harvest, but I’ll likely be mostly replacing this with ZenCash.

    I’ve had some minor issues getting set up, but they were *fantastically* responsive and helpful.

    I sound like I work for them. I don’t. I’m just kind of excited to find this. :)

  • @T.J. Thanks for info. That was helpful.

    I did notice a bug. The reminder are set to be sent when 2 days late, but they send after one day and the email message says “1 days late”. Could this be a timezone thing?

    I’ll enter a trouble ticket. Other that it sending a day early, it’s working great.

  • Sterling: Thanks for letting us know — open up a support ticket with us and we’ll look into it for you.

  • Awesome! The one thing that was holding us back from checking you guys out. Thanks!

  • +1 for Marc B.’s suggestion!

    and a +1 for Octavio Corral’s suggestion as well (Stripe gateway).

  • @Annie, @Octavio What is the Stripe Gateway????

  • Thanks for the new feature. +1 for an option to send a large bearded and tattooed guy called Bruno to the client’s office just to sit in the waiting room …

  • Darran: +1 noted. We were just going to send our intern, but I’ll give this Bruno fellow a call.

  • Srsly, check out Zencash.com. They don’t send large men, but they do collections for ya. And other, nicer things for the good clients who pay and the lazy-but-not-bad clients who need some prodding.

  • Lee: And best of all, Zencash integrates seamlessly with Harvest: http://blog.getharvest.com/2012/03/zencash-make-peace-with-invoicing/

  • The auto-reminders are, unfortunately, too passive for true deadbeats. I have seen Zencash, too.

    I had one client who had gone almost 90 days late, so I threatened collections if I didn’t get paid by next month. Bingo, got paid by Paypal that day.

    So maybe just try threatening first, before you get all setup with an official collections place.

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