Choosing a SaaS Billing Solution
Billing your customers is one of the most important parts of your business. You need to choose a solution that fits your product’s needs in order to be able to successfully sell it. Choosing the right service depends on multiple things – the type of your product, the variety of markets that you want to sell your product to as well as your pricing model. If you are able to pick the right solution in the very beginning, it can save you a lot of money and time. So what is the best way to accept money from your customers?
The first thing you will need to get started is a payment gateway and a merchant account. Your payment gateway provider will charge you a certain fee for every transaction. Some popular providers of this service are PayPal or Stripe. However, there are some subscription billing software that do not require a payment gateway, e.g. Shopify. It is also possible to manage your billing only with a merchant account and a payment gateway, but you will miss out on one of the most important things – customer experience. Subscription billing software takes care of managing your customers and it also manages invoicing, accounting or different payment gateways. In addition, it makes it easy to manage declined payments and most billing systems also provide analytics and metrics.
Buying vs. Building a Billing Platform
Unless you have a very specific product and a lot of time and money, it is better to choose a service provided by the 3rd party for SaaS billing. There are many platforms to choose from and they can in most cases fit your needs. In case that you cannot find a platform that works for your product, it might be time to consider building your own.
3rd Party Solutions
Billing for SaaS using a 3rd party solution can provide a consistent payment experience for the end user. The providers also take care of all the legal responsibilities in different countries and they handle nearly all of the logistics of the payments for you. Another big advantage is that their level of security is very high. There are many solutions you can choose from. When deciding which one to choose it again comes down to the type of your product as well as your subscription model.
If you want the software to process only subscriptions, you have a variety of products to choose from. These products include platforms like ChargeOver or Fast Spring. If you need both subscriptions and one time payments, there are also solutions to choose from, such as Chargify.
There are different fees that you can expect. Monthly fees are paid for use of certain features on monthly or rather yearly basis. When you open a merchant account, you often have to pay a set up fee. However, billing services make their money mainly on transaction fees. There can be a small fixed fee, but more often it is a percentage of the transaction amount.
In House Billing Solution
Building your own SaaS billing solution is also an option and there are SaaS companies that have already successfully done it. If you decide to build your own solution, you have to be ready to spend a lot of time and money on development and you will eventually still need a 3rd party involved for card authorizations and other tasks. You will also need to make sure that your system is secure and that you can legally use it in every country you want to sell your product to. Many SaaS companies decide to build their own system when other systems available do not have a feature that is essential for their business, but if you can choose a solution that is already available, it is generally a safer and better option.
If you do not have a big SaaS business and you are still at a beginning, using a 3rd party service will be the fastest and cheapest option you can go for. You can integrate it very quickly while building your own system would take you months. Before you decide to build your own billing software, carefully research all the available services to make sure that they really do not offer any suitable solution for your business.
When you decide to use a 3rd party billing solution, choose one that will fit your product’s needs. A good billing platform will provide full customer management (sign-ups, trials, renewals, etc.), flexible billing options (daily, weekly, monthly payments), platform for customers to manage their subscriptions, automatic invoicing for customers, failed transaction/expired credit card management, analytics and metrics or portable database of your customers’ data. It will also allow you to make changes in your subscription models and it will have a fast and responsive customer service. Before you make your final decision, read the reviews of other customers to see if a certain billing software has the potential to work for you. This way you will be able to observe if companies similar to yours like the software and it can help you with making the right decision.