What are payment schedules?
Payment schedules allow you to easily break an invoice down into several smaller payments.
That means that you can offer a payment plan to your clients and make it easier for them to pay an invoice in more manageable instalments. Because it’s more affordable for your client, a payment schedule can help you to make larger sales or get bookings more easily, too.
A payment schedule can include as many instalments as you want. Each instalment can be for a fixed amount (e.g. £100.00) or for a percentage (e.g. 50% of the invoice total). The due date for each instalment is a number of days, weeks, or months after the invoice date, or before or after the shoot date.
When you apply a payment schedule to a sale, Light Blue automatically calculates the due dates and amounts for each instalment. The due dates and amounts appear on both the printed and online versions of the invoice.
Payment schedule templates
We’ve supplied a few example payment schedule templates, and you can customise them or create your own in the “Payment Schedules” section of the Preferences window.
You can find out more about how to set up payment schedule templates in this knowledgebase article.
Applying a payment schedule to a sale
All of the payment details for a sale are found in its “Payments” tab. To apply one of your payment schedule templates, click the + button and select “Apply Payment Schedule Template”.
If you want to add an extra instalment, click the + button and select “Add Instalment To Payment Schedule”. You can edit an existing instalment by double-clicking it.
Light Blue offers lots of flexibility in its payment options, but the key decisions you need to make for each instalment are when you want your client to pay you and how much is due.
The date can be set manually, or you can get Light Blue to set it automatically based on the invoice date or the date of the shoot.
The amount due in each instalment can either be set to a fixed amount, or a percentage of the invoice total or the remaining amount.
We recommend having a “100% of the remaining balance” step at the end of all of your payment schedules in case anything changes on the invoice or your client makes some unscheduled payments along the way.
How clients make payments
For online invoices, your clients have simple options to pay each instalment when it’s due, or to pay the remaining amount if they want to pay it all off in one go. You can choose which payment options are available for each instalment, so you could ask them to pay part of the invoice by card and another part by bank transfer.
When a client pays an instalment by card or PayPal, Payment records are created automatically in Light Blue. The payment will appear in the Inbox so that you can see it’s arrived, and accepting the payment via the Inbox will offer to create a Purchase record for the transaction fee.
If a client has paid by bank transfer or any other kind of offline payment method, you can just click the “Mark As Paid” button on the relevant instalment in Light Blue.
Examples of using payment schedules
- If you want your client to pay an invoice with a single payment, rather than asking them to pay in instalments, a payment schedule with a single instalment of “100% of the remaining balance” is all you need. You have options to set the payment due date relative to the date of the invoice, the date of the linked shoot, or manually select a date.
- A portrait photographer can ask a client to pay for a large order in a number of monthly instalments.
- An event photographer can ask for part of the balance before the shoot and a final payment on completion.
- A photographer who runs their business on a cash basis (i.e. using the payment date rather than invoice date to record their income) could use a payment schedule to set up instalments for a booking fee and as many balance payment instalments as they like. If you run your business on an accrual basis, you might still prefer to raise a separate invoice for the booking fee and balance if the tax points are months apart.
The laws and regulations about the payment options that you can offer to consumers and businesses vary between countries and jurisdictions. You should check those regulations before offering a payment schedule to a client.