How to easily handle subscription billing with HostBill
Subscription business model is currently one of the predominant business models for service providers, especially for the web hosting sector, data centers and MSPs. It provides excellent opportunity for business growth and what’s driving this growth, among other factors, is tech infrastructure that supports it.
In subscription business billing is far more complex than in ‘traditional’ businesses, as there are a number of complex processes involved in account billing. Customers need to be billed at the moment of purchase and then recurrently at a scheduled period, you have to deal with different billing dates, upgrades/downgrades, prorated accounts, usage bills and more. Reliable billing software to streamline your billing process is essential to keep your operations organized and your customers happy. With HostBill you have the ability to manage complex billing operations in a very transparent and organized manner. In addition, with HostBill smart billing automation everything happens on its own!
Customizable billing cycles
HostBill lets you configure a recurring billing cycle in any way you want. You can not only control invoice generation frequency, let it be on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually or bi-annually basis, but also define how many times it should recur. You can also choose when to activate the billing process, giving you the flexibility you need to serve your customers.
Regular recurring billing can be used either on a standard pre-paid basis, where customers pay for the service in advance, or you can use post-paid billing feature which allows the customer to pay for the service after they have used it. Post-paid customers receive a monthly bill that reflects all the charges incurred for the previous month. If the client needs to upgrade or downgrade the package, it can be done at any time, with the charges applied to the next invoice. Additionally, in HostBill you can mix billing models – add a one-time setup fee for recurring-billed services or charge on recurring basis for add-ons to your one-off billed products!
Alternatively, you can use a metered billing model to create a dynamic bill for each customer based on their resource usage. HostBill supports:
- Metered Billing where the is fee based on resource usage over time,
- Bandwidth Billing where you can measure and bill total transfer or 95th percentile,
- Power Billing with the fee based on power consumed
- Cloud Billing where the fee is based on cloud instance sizes deployed.
What’s more, you can use our Account Metrics feature to set limits of resource usage, monitor it and trigger certain actions upon exceeding the limits.
Late fee and due date settings
If your client is late with the payment, you can add a “late fee” to the service charge. The late fee can be either a fixed amount or a percentage of service fee and be added to the recurring invoice or invoiced separately. The charge is calculated and invoiced automatically by HostBill at a scheduled period after the due date.
Advanced due date settings allow you to configure how many days before the due date for service the invoice is expected to be paid and when the first invoice due date should be set (how many days after order). You can also move due date X days into future for recurring invoices.
Recurring invoices settings
As for the invoices you can choose when the invoice should be generated and how it should be delivered (Email + PDF, Email + Plain text, Paper, Paper + PDF). There are options to generate invoices X days before the due date. You can also not send invoices for subscribed services before the due date. Invoices generated on the same day can be merged – either those with the same due date or regardless of due date.
If the service for some reason gets suspended, you can choose to continue invoice creation or just create new invoices only for Active accounts. Invoices can also be automatically cancelled, when related domain expires (renew domain invoices), when related account gets terminated or X days after the due date.
Automatic upgrades/downgrades and pro-rata calculations
If you enable your clients to make upgrades and downgrades HostBill will automatically calculate charge.I f you enabled Pro-rata billing for given product/service, you can define how HostBill should calculate charges when clients make upgrades/downgrade. The charge is calculated based on time left to due date (seconds, hours or days). On downgrades, you can choose to credit customer’s pro-rated amount, so customer can later use it on the next recurring invoice or another purchase.
Seamless billing experience
HostBill automated billing system was built to provide both staff and customers with a seamless experience. Although all billing operations are handled by HostBill automatically, you can stay well-informed about all financial activities, billing and account related events, such as when a new invoice is generated or overdued, a payment is processed or credit card declined. Each automated action taken by HostBill can also trigger a relevant client notification via email, mobile or in the client portal. You can also send friendly reminders about upcoming payments or credit card expiration date. What’s more, notification messages are fully customizable and also automated!