Many businesses collect monthly up-front fees from their customers – for work that has yet to be performed. This subscription strategy is valuable both for the company and the customer. It enables customers to access the skills and experience of that certain worker or services on demand. While for the company it creates a steady cash flow allowing company to invest confidently in things which grow the business.
For companies, there are lots different recurring billing strategies to choose and various ways to bill their subscribers. Especially as software service providers (SaaS), flexible billing models are needed. But which billing model is really best to use?
Here are most common recurring billing strategies used in PlanMill:
This is the simplest and most common recurring billing model. A product or service is provided for a single agreed price (per person,skill, task type etc if needed) and charged on a recurring basis. It provides some key advantages to both businesses and their subscribers. It means that the company’s revenue is predictable and the subscriber’s financial obligation is easily anticipated.
The main principle is quite easy, supplier company simply enters recurring prices and billing cycle duration (monthly or custom) and they’re good to go.
Another popular pricing strategy for business is fixed-price recurring billing. Here the company sells each product or service for a set price at the beginning of the billing cycle.
There are lot of plus sides for this billing model. For companies, it is the easiest way to calculate the revenue expected each month. And for customers, it means low cost entry, since they pay lower price on a monthly or weekly basis rather than having to pay the full purchase price outright for access. Supplier company just enters recurring price and billing cycle duration (weekly, monthly, annually) and they’re ready to go.
This billing model charges a certain fixed amount and extra for add-ons. Company offers different price packages where volume is the key differentiator. With quantity based billing once customers fill up a tier, they move to the next tier and start charging a different price.
Usually there are at least two different tiers which offer customer something different. Three tiers is most popular, because it creates a frame of reference for pricing. When bracketed by two other choices, the purchase conversion goes up.
The advantage of this model are that is very transparent, as it is based directly on the number of add-ons purchased. This allows for predictable costs that scale with the business.
In this model, your customers are billed based on usage and service availability at the end of their billing period. It is perfect for variable charges or billing overages. This model is common with businesses that are transaction-based, like cell phone carrier, where clients pay according to their usage (data, minutes or text).
The benefits to both sides are obvious. Customers are are only paying for what they’ve used and they can control how much they pay by curtailing their usage in a given period. For businesses, this model is highly responsive to market conditions. It lets companies track usage and identify upsell opportunities that offer better per-unit cost savings to subscribers based on their volume.
Basically in this model, company provides a variety of products or services and allow your customers to select the desired “bundle” based on their needs. Perfect for a la carte pricing, because it gives the customer freedom in purchasing decisions and they can tailor the price so it matches their ability to pay.
This recurring billing strategy integrates multiple subscriptions to single customer. It allows for unique billing scenarios where customers need to be billed for multiple subscriptions at various intervals.
Finally, in this model company offers customized recurring charges for each customer. Each pricing scenario will be defined internally or externally. Prices are typically saved as a contract that has a certain validity period.
Flexibility of the SaaS business means there is an extreme flexibility in the pricing model, and the most common are mentioned above. Therefore, some models are better suited to one type of model vs. another, and there may need for companies to alter their model over time as their business grows and evolves.
PlanMill Ltd. is a leading provider of user-friendly web-based CRM, PROJECT and ERP Cloud solutions designed for the service business. We enable organizations to streamline business processes, improve control of their customers, personnel, projects and finance – while enhancing productivity and profitability.