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How to create a subscription invoice (with template)

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Last editedApr 20232 min read

From beauty services to groceries, software to magazines, the subscription economy has grown exponentially. If your business provides regular products or services, you’ll need to accept recurring payments. This facilitates the need for timesaving, subscription-based invoicing. Here’s how to create a subscription invoice, including its core elements – and a template to help you get started.

When to use a subscription invoice

Not every business will use subscription billing, but those who do will need to create the appropriate invoices. Is subscription invoicing right for you? It depends on whether you provide high-value products or ongoing services. For small, one-off retail transactions, invoicing might not be necessary at all.

If you do opt into the subscription model of sales, the next step is to choose your billing frequency. Some businesses sell annual subscriptions, while others collect payments on a weekly, quarterly, or monthly basis. Choose your plan and frequency before issuing invoices according to this schedule.

Features to include on a subscription invoice

A subscription invoice contains many of the same elements as any other invoice. This includes the invoice date, contact information for buyer and seller, and payment terms. However, there are a few additional elements unique to subscription invoices.

  • Subscription plans – This determines the duration and frequency of billing. For example, a customer might be signed up for a monthly plan at $50 a month. In this case, they’ll be sent an invoice every month for $50. Plans can be custom, tiered, or charged per unit or volume.

  • Add-ons – Rather than offering dozens of plans, you can charge customers for applicable add-ons to their usual service. These will be listed underneath the core plan and base rate.

  • Discounts – It’s more common in subscription billing to offer discounts because these are used to entice a customer to sign up for longer-term services or renew a subscription. This should be added as a line item on the subscription invoice.

  • Cancellations – When writing out your payment terms for a subscription service, make it clear if you’ll be canceling a subscription due to late payment. Some businesses use a strict seven-day policy, while others give more time to collect payment.

  • Free trials – As with discounts, if there’s a free trial period this should be indicated on the invoice. Many subscription-based services start with a free 30-day trial after which time the customer is charged at full price.

Subscription invoice template

To see what this looks like in action, here’s a basic subscription invoice template to follow:


Company name

Company mailing address

Email address and website

Phone number



Customer name

Customer address











Basic Tier


1 month


Premium Tier


1 month























e.g. net 30 payment terms, follow link for payment      

This gives you a basic idea of what a subscription invoice template looks like. Depending on the nature of your business, you may add in more lines to cover add-ons, further discounts, or other incentives.     

Can subscription invoicing software help?

When you’re just starting out, you may be able to manually issue invoices. Yet as you grow, recurring subscription billing becomes increasingly complicated. Today’s subscription invoicing software makes it easy to automate the process, encouraging on-time payments with automated reminders and invoice collection.

GoCardless integrates with over 350 partners, including top accounting and invoicing software like Xero, Invoiced and others. By using ACH debit to collect recurring and one-off invoice payments directly from customer bank accounts, you’ll save time and money. Reduce the stress of chasing late payments and ensure a steady cash flow with on-time payments, every time.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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