Freelancer FAQ

View the client FAQ.


What is Bonsai?

Bonsai helps freelancers run better businesses. As freelancers ourselves, we realized that the most successful freelancers often aren't the best at coding or designing, but the best at managing a business. We also realized those business skills can be embedded in software, and thus Bonsai was born. Over 30,000+ freelancers run their businesses on Bonsai today.

We have two products: Contracts and Payments. Contracts enable freelancers to create and e-sign bulletproof work contracts. Payments make it simple to get paid quickly online.The products are tightly integrated and have an opinionated design that helps freelancers make decisions that reduce common issues like scope creep and late payment.

How much does Bonsai cost?

Contracts are totally free and always will be. Our goal is to standardize these contracts, since they're a fundamental part of running a successful business, and don't believe we should charge for them. Invoices are also completely free to create and send. If you get paid online, you will be charged a standard processing fee determined by the payment method used (credit cards and Paypal cost 2.9% + 30¢, and ACH costs $5).

Who should use Bonsai?

The Contracts are written for freelance designers, developers, illustrators, writers, videographers, and photographers. The contracts are written specifically for the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, but we also offer generic international contracts that you can customize for your own country.

How are Contracts and Payments related?

They're built to be used together and get most of their power from their integration, so it's highly recommended to use them together. However, you can use each independently.


Do I really need a contract?

Heck yes. As they say in Boy Scouts, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. We hope nothing goes wrong, but sometimes it does. If it does, you'll have all those eventualities covered explicitly in our contracts.

Are these contracts legally binding?

They sure are. Laws vary slightly by state, but the enforceability of electronic signatures was firmly established by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) at the state level and and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) at the federal level in 2000. To learn more, check out:

Why can’t I just use a contract I found on the internet?

There are tons of contracts available on the internet. Some are fine, but most are terrible. The biggest problem for freelancers is knowing which contract and terms to choose for particular situations. Bonsai makes it easy to do that by having vetted templates for every eventuality you may face. Bonsai contracts are bulletproof for freelancers, since they’ve been written specifically for them and vetted by lawyers who know the needs of freelancers.

Where do these contracts come from?

We were inspired by the famous ‘Contract Killer’ to craft freelance contracts that were both simple to understand and powerful when signed.

To do this, we consulted with lawyers with decades of contract experience, as well as freelancers, agencies, and clients who also have years of practical experience with these contracts. However, we’re always looking to improve our contracts. If you have any suggestions, let us know!

Where are my contracts stored?

Bonsai stores all of your contracts safely online. Your contracts are only accessible to you and the other party you share them with. Both of you can access the contracts at any time of day from any device.

Can I print my contract?

After you and the client sign the contract, you can export it to a PDF and / or print it.


What is Bonsai Payments?

Getting paid in full and on time is often the trickiest part of freelancing. Bonsai Payments make it simple to create an invoice schedule, request and process payments, and follow up effectively on late payments. It's recommended to use Contracts and Payments together, but Payments can be used independently.

What payment methods do Payments support?

Currently we support payment via credit card, Paypal, ACH, and Bitcoin. We use Stripe for credit card and ACH processing, and Coinbase for Bitcoin transactions.

What is ACH?

Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments allow you to send debit payments directly from your bank account instead of using credit or debit cards. It's available only for US account, and has lower fees than credit card payments. To make a payment via ACH, you must connect your bank account using our secure Plaid integration. Once you make a payment, it generally takes 5 business days to arrive in your freelancer's account

Can I pay without Stripe/Paypal/Bitcoin?

Yes, but the payment will not be automatically recorded in Bonsai.

What do Payments cost?

It's free to create send invoices. If a client pays through Bonsai, you'll be charged the standard processing fee of the payment methods used (credit cards and Paypal cost 2.9% + 30¢, and ACH costs $5).

If I mark an invoice as paid will it charge me something?

Nope! Only when a payment is made through one of our payment partners will you be charged a processing fee.

What countries are Payments supported in?

Credit cards are processed via Stripe, which currently supports Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States. ACH, also processed via Stripe, is available only for US bank accounts. Paypal is available in over 100 countries. Bitcoin is available globally.

Can I use Payments without Stripe/Paypal/Bitcoin?

Absolutely. It's free to send invoices and accept payments directly, such as through check. In that case, you can just manually mark the invoice as paid within Bonsai to keep track of everything.

How secure are Payments?

Our payment providers, Stripe, PayPal, Plaid, and Coinbase, use industry-leading security procedures to provide safe and convenient transactions.

Stripe has been certified as a PCI Level 1 Service Provider, the most stringent level of certification available. Stripe is also a participant in the PCI Security Standards Council. Learn more about Stripe's security here. Plaid's data is encrypted with 2048-bit RSA and decryption is only possible using dedicated machines on their private network. Learn more about Plaid's security here. Finally, Coinbase holds 98% of their funds offline, and sensitive data is normally stored on servers are disconnected entirely from the internet, with backups distributed in safe deposit boxes around the world.

How do recurring invoices work?

Recurring invoices allow you to send the same invoice repeatedly on a certain schedule (e.g., every week, two weeks, or month). You fill out the invoice once and Bonsai will remind you over email when it's time to send the next one.

How does auto-sending work?

Auto-sending can be used with regular or recurring invoices. The day before an invoice is scheduled to be sent, Bonsai will email you a notice that the invoice will be sent the following day. You can view and edit the invoice, or do nothing if you want it to send automatically.

Can I print my invoice?

After the client pays an invoice or you mark it as paid, you can export it to a PDF and / or print it.

Do you support partial payments?

We do not support partial payments. If a client wants to pay less than the stated amount on an invoice, you can create additional invoices for that amount.


What is Zapier?

Zapier enables you to automate tasks between multiple online apps (like Bonsai, Quickbooks and Slack). By creating "Zaps", you can set up a simple integration between two services. For example, you can create a Zap so that any invoice paid through Bonsai (the "Trigger") automatically is sent to your Quickbooks account (the "Action").

How does integrating with Zapier work?

To get started with Zapier, you must first...

  • Visit your settings page
  • Under the Zapier integration, click "Generate New API Key".
  • Copy your new API key.
  • Create an account or login on Zapier.
  • Click "MAKE A ZAP!" and select Bonsai as the trigger.
  • Choose another app (the "Action") to send your data to.

Still have questions?

Send us an email or chat with us.