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Best practices for time-of-session billing

Best practices for time-of-session billing

If you prefer to bill and collect payments from clients on an appointment-by-appointment basis, this guide will recommend the steps to manage your billing this way. 

You might be a "pay-as-you-go" clinician if:

  • You collect payments from clients at the time of service.
  • You typically do not have clients who carry a balance.

Here are some steps to help you set up for appointment-by-appointment payments:

Note: We're currently rolling out a new client billing page for our customers. If this has already been enabled in your account, please see our guide on Billing updates for more information.

Changing your billing settings to generate daily invoices

We recommend daily invoice generation. To set this up, go to:

  • Settings > Billing and Services
  • Scroll to the Invoice Settings section
  • Select Daily under Invoice Creation 

Note: See Setting up your billing and automations to learn more about the billing automations you can set up for your account. 

Even if you collect payments as you go, you can generate a monthly statement of services or a superbill automatically. To update this on a practice level, go to:

  • Settings > Billing and Services
  • Scroll to the Billing Documents for New Clients section
  • Select Statements for new clients and/or Superbills for new clients 
    • Keep in mind that this setting only applies to new clients that you create. To set up automatic statement/superbill creation for existing clients, you can do so from their individual profile. See How to share billing documents with clients to learn more. 
  • Select a day of the month these documents should be created in the Generate monthly Statements/Superbills on day X of the following month dropdown 

Collecting client payments at the time of service

To collect payments at the time of service: 

  • Click the appointment on the calendar
  • Select the amount you're collecting from the client 
    • If you're collecting the fee for the appointment only, select the Uninvoiced Session optionuninvoiced.simplepractice.billing.jpg
  • Select the payment method (Cash, Stripe Credit Card, Manual Credit Card, or Check)  
  • Click Add Payment 

A new invoice will appear on the appointment, along with the Paid status. 


Setting up AutoPay

Rather than collecting payment at the time of service, you can also set up AutoPay so clients are automatically charged overnight. This guide can give you more details and teach you how to set up AutoPay: Getting Started with AutoPay.

Having clients pay through their Client Portal

If you don't take payment at the time of session, you can also have clients pay through their Client Portal.  

After an appointment takes place, a client's Billing page will display an Uninvoiced amount in the Billing Overview section.


If you have daily automatic invoicing enabled, the invoice will automatically be created overnight. Keep in mind that until an appointment is invoiced, the session fee will not be added to the client's overall balance. See Creating invoices to learn more.

After the invoice is created overnight, the Uninvoiced amount from the appointment will be added to the Client Balance


If you have your client's billing document delivery method set to Send email with link to Client Portal and you have the Notify client when new Invoices are available option selected, your client will receive an email informing them that a new invoice is available in their Client Portal. See How to share billing documents with clients to learn more about setting up client-specific billing automations. 


Your client can then log into their Client Portal and review the invoice and pay online. No further action is required from you. See Getting started guides for clients: How to pay your bills in the Portal for a resource for clients about paying through the Client Portal. 

You can determine if a particular appointment has been paid for if you see the status change from Unpaid to Paid under the Client column.


Downloading and printing invoices for clients

Many clinicians don't feel the need to provide physical invoices to clients who pay on an appointment-by-appointment basis. However, sometimes a client will request a past or current invoice. You can always print an invoice by going to the client's Billing page and sorting by Paid Items. You may also need to adjust the date range filter to find the invoice you're looking for. You can click on the invoice from below its associated appointment to open it.


You can then select the printer icon. 


You also have the option to export and print a series of documents for the client. To do so, follow these steps: 

  • Navigate to Calendar > Billing > Billing Documents
  • Select the type of billing document you want to see, the client's name in the dropdown, and the date range 
  • Click Apply filters 
  • Select the documents you want to export by checking the box(es)
  • Click Export PDF 
  • Print the downloaded PDF 

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