Functions in Retainer Invoices

Let us take a look at some of the functions that can be performed in the retainer invoice module.

In this page….

Apply Retainers to Invoices

If you have created retainer invoices for your customer, and recorded payment for them, you can apply these retainers to the particular customer’s outstanding invoices. To apply retainers to invoices:

Apply Retainer Invoice Apply Retainer Invoice
Fields Description
Balance The amount collected from your customer as retainer.
Invoice Amount The total invoice amount raised for the customer.
Invoice Balance The final amount to be paid after deducting advance payments.
Amount The amount to be applied from the Balance available.
Retainer Amount Available Available retainer after the Balance is applied to an invoices.

To view the retainers applied on the invoices, click the Invoices Applied tab on top of the page. You can Delete the retainers applied by clicking the icons next to them

Invoice Applied

Apply Multiple Retainers to an Invoice

If you have created multiple retainer invoices for a particular customer, you can apply all the retainer amounts against any outstanding invoice of the customer. Here’s how:

Apply Now Apply Retainer Invoice

Once the retainers are applied against the invoice, the adjustments are then updated in the invoice.

Payment View

Collect Retainers from Quote

As a business owner, you would tend to send a quote to your customers for the products or services that you will be providing to them. When your customers are satisfied with the quote, the quote will be accepted and you start working on the project. Most of the businesses tend to collect a retainer or advance payment after the quote is accepted.

In Zoho Billing, you can choose to collect retainer from your customers when they accept the quote that you send to them. Let’s see how to do this.

Firstly, make sure you enabled the retainer invoices module.

While creating a quote, select the Create a retainer invoice for this quote automatically option in the New Quote page. When you do this, you can enter the percentage of the quote amount you wish to collect as an advance from the customer.

Create Retainer Invoice for Quote

If you have configured a payment gateway for your customer, they can pay you online directly from the quote link that is sent through email.

Collect Retainer from Customer Portal

Your customers also have the option to pay advance payments for quotes through the Customer Portal. When your customer enters the customer portal to check the quote that you have sent, they will be able to accept the quote and make payment for it, provided you have enabled the option to collect retainers from quotes.

Customer Protal Customer Protal Pay Now
Note: As soon as the quote is accepted, a retainer invoice for the customer is automatically created in Zoho Billing.

Retainer Invoice in Projects

In Zoho Billing, you can manage your projects from the Projects module under the Time Tracking module. In the Projects module, you can raise a retainer invoice to your customer.

If you manage Projects for your customers, you can collect advance payment for those projects by raising retainer invoices.

Create Retainer Invoices for Projects

You can create a new retainer invoice in projects. Here’s how:


Fill in the details of the retainer invoice and save it. After this, you can record payment for this retainer invoice.

Once the Retainers are in the paid status, you can choose to apply them to your invoice. Here’s how:

Apply Retainers to Projects

The retainer amount will be deducted from the invoice. You can then view this in the total section.

Deducted in the Invoice

To view all the retainers associated to any project:

Projects View


Let’s say you collect an advance payment from a customer for a project, but due to various reasons, the project gets cancelled. In such a case, you will have to refund the retainer amount back to the customer. If you have recorded a payment for a retainer invoice, you can refund that amount in Zoho Billing. Here’s how:

Refund Refund Form
Fields Description
Refunded On The date on which the refund was made.
Payment Mode Choose from different options to record the mode of payment either by cash, bank transfer or through online payments.
Reference Quick reference to the refund made.
Amount The amount to be refunded to your customer.
From Account Select the account from where the refund was made, either from cash accounts or bank accounts in the banking module.

To view the refund:

You can always Edit or Delete the transaction from the icons present next to the entry.

Refund History

Once the refund is recorded, the adjustments will be made in the retainer invoice.

View Payment

Add Comments

You can add comments to a retainer invoice in Zoho Billing. The comments you enter cannot be viewed by your customers. To add a comment:

Add Comment

Customize Template

You can customize the format of your retainer invoice’s PDF. Here’s how:

Customize Template

Learn more about Templates and Retainer Invoice Templates.


In Zoho Billing, you can generate reports for all your retainer transactions and refunds.

Retainer Invoice Details

Generate a report showing a quick summary of the retainer invoices you created, unused retainers and the invoices to which they were applied for a selected date range. The report can be sorted by the status of the retainer invoice.

Retainer Invoice Details

Refund History

Generate a report showing a quick summary of the refunds given from the retainer payments made by the customer for a selected date range.

Refund History
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