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Gravity Forms FreshBooks Add-On and Recurring Payments

Gravity Forms and FreshBooks — my two favorite services (software is a service, of course) — now play nicely with each other.

Let me start with the bad news: the invoice that can be generated is not sent automatically (it is only added to FreshBooks in Draft mode) and there is no provision to send recurring invoices currently.

But there is lots of good news too:

  • Automatically add clients to a FreshBooks account when any kind of Gravity Form is submitted
  • You have the option of asking for a PO number that gets passed to FreshBooks
  • Automatically create invoices and estimates from a form submission (draft mode only – the invoices are not sent out)
  • Update existing client details when new forms are submitted

Sample project

See the public view of the form I set up:   http://www.artsadministration.org/register/

Here is a screenshot of the feed:

FreshBooks Feed Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 3.42.13 PM

Recurring Payments… on the Titanic

This Gravity Forms plugin can’t set up Recurring Payments in FreshBooks. But that research led down a rabbit hole that I want to share with you now…

This gem below came after a very long talk with PayPal customer support where they were not sure if it would work. And then FreshBooks support also was not sure if it would work. FreshBooks support is usually great but I know that the PayPal API is a big mess – they keep old versions around which is nice for backwards compatibility but they don’t organize their APIs clearly and their site in general has gotten very confusing and bloated. Titanic… well there is some joke here about how PayPal is just rearranging deck chairs instead of getting to the heart of the problem and revamping their whole site. I know Gravity Forms is considering dropping support entirely for PayPal in favor of Stripe.com which offers a wonderfully clean and simple experience.

Here’s what I found out:

FreshBooks works with the “Payflow Edition” of “Website Payments Pro”.  With this kind of account PayPal is both gateway and processor.  FreshBooks says it requires “PayPal Payflow Pro” (where PayPal is the gateway and a separate bank account is required as processor – $10/mo extra fee, other fees, a very different kind of account) for recurring payments. By testing directly myself, I confirmed Website Payments Pro Payflow Edition  works for recurring payments.


Update: a reader reminds me that Gravity Forms can initiate recurring payments – if done directly with Stripe and not via FreshBooks. Gravity Forms Stripe Add-On  supports recurring payments – but you need to buy the Pro version ($49/yr) and always remember to enter API keys for Stripe (right after you turn the plugin on) or the form elements won’t work and other “bugs” will appear.

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One Comment

  1. Posted March 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    You saved me some time, thank you. I just started using Freshbooks and I like it, so I hope there’s an improvement soon – I’d prefer not to switch to Stripe…

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