Picking The Right Membership Billing Software For Your Business

You wouldn’t believe how important it is to find the right membership billing software for your business if you charge recurring subscription fees.

Anyone who charges customers/clients by any method that isn’t via cash register at a store knows how difficult it is to get people to pay a single fee for your services.

People love their freebies and sometimes forget that you aren’t a charity. Hell, the banks charge fees automatically once in a blue moon and people still try to argue the nonsense of fee refunds just because they feel they are too special, important, or rich to pay for things. Having your customers pay a single invoice can be a huge endeavor for some small companies.

So I can imagine what you have to go through whenever you send them an invoice for something that, in their minds, they are entitled to because they’ve been using it “forever”.

The fact is that too many small business owners are spending too much time hunting down clients to pay their fees for services rendered and not enough time providing these services to actual paying customers. It’s bad enough if the services are one-time payment based, but for subscription/membership based services with recurring payments? Oh God. Suddenly, the business owner spends all his time tracking down payments, month in and month out.

If only there was a better way to–okay, you do see this building up to me providing a solution for this, do you?

Picking The Right Membership Billing Software For Your Business
Good. Just making sure. [Photo courtesy of pexels.com]

Don’t Do Things The Old Fashioned Way

Now, your grandpa is probably yelling at you, “Billy, ignore this membership billing software nonsense! In my day, we did things the old fashioned way: With a firm handshake, a pen and paper, and some gumption!” Don’t listen to him. If old people are so smart, then why didn’t they have smart phones when they were kids? QED.

If you’re running a business where you have to send your customers periodic invoices–or where your customers pay recurring subscription/membership renewal fees–then doing things the “old fashioned way” could be disastrous.

Trust me, here are some of the things that happen when you manually send out an invoice.

I didn’t get any bill. It must be free!

A spin on an old joke that supermarket customers make. If the item doesn’t scan, it must be free.

In some states, making that joke legally allows the cashier to kill you. [Photo courtesy of quickmeme.com]
In some states, making that joke legally allows the cashier to kill you in self-defense. [Photo courtesy of quickmeme.com]
Except here, your customers aren’t joking.

Sometimes the customer “never receives” your invoice. Either it got “lost in the mail”, they “never” received” the email, you “forgot” to send it to them, so on and so forth.

Either way, in their minds, they never received an invoice and thus they don’t owe you any money. Like a box of cereal that won’t scan, your services and expertise must be free.

Trust me, customers do this. I’ve had people come into the bank and claim they didn’t pay their credit card because a bill allegedly never came to their house and thus they didn’t know they owed money. Moron, did you not know you spent money with the card? Did you think there’s a lottery for who actually owes money and your numbers weren’t drawn?

Mailing or emailing your own invoices just gives customers the incentive to go “I didn’t get a bill in the mail so I don’t have to pay!”

The check is in the mail

“Don’t worry, the check is in the mail!”

“Don’t worry, there are funds in the account!”

“Don’t worry, I always post-date my checks by six months!”

Don’t worry, your customer will always find a way to make it seem like they are honest chaps trying so hard to pay you. And nowhere is this easier than with a paper check.

Now while it may seem that Americans are bouncing less checks are before, the fact is that we are only bouncing less checks because we are writing less checks. Meanwhile, they still bounce–or at least get put on hold–due to:

  • Post/stale-dating
  • Chronic check bouncing
  • A stop payment
  • A typo on the check

That’s just some of the things that can make you have to wait for your money. An remember, it takes time for checks to clear under normal circumstances and your bank can put an extended hold on a check for any reason. Likely because they already know your customer is shady and is using the check as a “shield” of sorts to delay paying you for as long as possible.

Accepting paper checks also means a trip to the bank. And really, do you want to see me every few days?

Just look at my face! It's like Dick Cheney and Richard Nixon had a baby!
Just look at my face! I’m hideous! It’s like Dick Cheney and Richard Nixon had a baby!

I’ll wire you the fees

Wire transfers are another traditional avenue of payment. It’s faster than checks in almost every conceivable way. There’s no excuses for a person’s wire to be delayed other than “I’m too damn lazy to go to the bank”. And you don’t have to go to the bank at all to make deposits. The money shows up right in your account.

So why are wire transfers not the way to go?

Oh right! Incoming wire fees!

You will pay a fee for every single wire transfer you receive. On average, these fees are between $15-20. Even if you’re taking in tens of thousands of dollars per customer payment, these fees will still eat into your profits. If you have lots of customers whose recurring payments are less than $100 each, then wire transfers are pretty much a no-go for you.

And plus, your customer will have to go to the bank each time and pay an even larger fee for each wire transfer. Which means they’ll be looking to cancel their services with you the first chance they get. Ouch.

The Importance Of The Right Membership Billing Software

Doing things the old fashioned way, as we’ve just seen, is no good for your business. Much like the Bubonic Plague and poor anime dubbing, mailing invoices to your customers and waiting for checks in the mail is a relic of an era best left to the sands of time.

It’s the 21st Century, which means you need a 21st Century membership billing software system. This is extremely important for your business as you’ll want something that:

  • Automatically sends out invoices to your customers
  • Looks sleek and professional
  • Allows for a wide variety of payment options for your customers
  • Allows for auto pay, so your customers can’t “forget” to pay you
  • Isn’t very expensive
  • Is easy to use

You can go to your bank for merchant services solutions, sure, if you want to pay an arm and a leg (we just had someone from our Merchant Services Department talk at a branch staff meeting about their pricing plans for customers, and I saw that it could go up to $700/year!).

Or you can go to MoonClerk.

All About MoonClerk

Who they are

MoonClerk is a relatively new but surprisingly popular payment software company that’s affordable for small and large businesses alike. Started in 2012, it’s founder, Dodd Caldwell, wanted to create a payment platform for the non-tech savvy among us.

Knowing myself, that’s probably for the best if I ever need a checkout page on this site.

They offer a wide variety of billing solutions that are perfect for the following types of businesses:

Is that...........all the businesses? [Photo courtesy of moonclerk.com]
Is that………..all the businesses? [Photo courtesy of moonclerk.com]

The benefits of MoonClerk

One of the major benefits of MoonClerk is that it allows you to use Stripe–a payment processor–without needing to fiddle around with code or anything like that. I can personally attest to how valuable that is. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it was to get this blog up and running with some of the coding it required.

A lack of required programming skills would imply a lack of features, but no. First off, you should see their easy to use payment creator. This allows you to create almost every feature a checkout screen could possibly have.

Picking The Right Membership Billing Software For Your Business
See? This has all the payment features you need. [Photo courtesy of Moonclerk]
Picking The Right Membership Billing Software For Your Business
Still more stuff. Did you think we were done yet? [Photo courtesy of MoonClerk]
I'll be damned if you left here thinking that MoonClerk wouldn't let you do pretty much everything. [Photo courtesy of MoonClerk]
I’ll be damned if you left here thinking that MoonClerk wouldn’t let you do pretty much everything. [Photo courtesy of MoonClerk]
Speaking of your checkout screen, it also allows you to customize it so that it matches your site. You add themes just as you do to a WordPress-created site (including this one, which even I was able to do pretty easily). Play around with colors, fonts, and even add your own logo. If I sold a product on my site, wouldn’t it be great if you saw my logo on the checkout screen?

"On second thought, we'll just pay $20 to send you that wire."
“On second thought, we’ll just pay $20 to send you that wire.”

Along with not needing epic-level programming skills, you also don’t need to set up any merchant accounts. Merchant accounts can be expensive, and many non-bank merchant service companies are pretty shady. I’ve had more than one business customer come to the bank to put ACH stop payments on their business accounts because a merchant processor was overcharging and double-charging them constantly and refusing to make right on their mistakes.

Actually, MoonClerk really handles everything for you. They handle SSL certificates (so that your checkout page is secure) and all the back-end stuff. Money goes directly into your bank account instead wacky merchant or payment accounts. No need for PayPal either. It implements Stripe’s payment processing system for you. Really, all you have to do is exist. So just don’t suffer any critical existence failures and you should be good.

MoonClerk’s checkout links can be literally placed anywhere (on the Internet. Not in the physical world, because why the hell would you think that?). Along with being placed on your website (obviously), you can send them an email with a secure link to a checkout page, load the form on your business’s iPhone or iPad, or even place a link to checkout on social media pages such as Facebook. You can even create discount/promo codes to promote your business. Everyone likes discounts!

For you recurring-payment businesses out there, their membership billing software allows you to bill your customers automatically when the time comes. And this is big after everything I said earlier in this article. No tracking down customers, mailing out invoices and hoping that the checks actually arrive on time each month, trekking to the bank to deposit a batch of checks, and all the other time consuming stuff that keeps you from running your business.

And when you automate your billing software and thus allow yourself to invest more of your time into creating products or marketing your company, it means more profits for you in the end.

So, you know, yay for that.

What does MoonClerk cost?

Does it really matt–

Picking The Right Membership Billing Software For Your Business
…………..Okay, it matters. [Photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net]
Actually, MoonClerk has a very good and very simple pricing model that is based on your transaction volume. They start at $15/month if you’re getting less than $2,000 in monthly transactions, and can go up to $500 for up to $150,000 in monthly transactions. They also have high volume pricing available.

Because you’re using Stripe, there’s also a 2.9% plus 30¢ per transaction. That’s Stripe’s fees, not MoonClerk’s.

Why Not Just Use Stripe?

Do you really need to make this difficult for me?

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Wait, if Stripe customers pay Stripe fees while MoonClerk customers pay MoonClerk and Stripe fees, why don’t I just use Stripe?”

MoonClerk’s founder said it quite well on this blog post, but I think one of the best arguments for using MoonClerk instead of Stripe can be found on Stripe’s website:

“Our developer-friendly APIs let our users focus on building great products.

We love the web, and care deeply about beautiful code, APIs, and documentation.”

Stripe is intended as a platform for developers. MoonClerk is a platform intended for non-developers to integrate Stripe. Stripe even prides itself on being “built for developers”. Of course, they then go on to brag about how they measure success in how little code you have to write, but it still doesn’t exactly catch this Angry Retail Computer Illiterate Banker’s attention. MoonClerk pretty much handles everything for you.

I browsed Stripe for a few and personally found it to be very cluttered and complicated. Not bad, but I think it just looks like it’s supposed to be geared towards those who know computer technology. MoonClerk is very simple and minimalist. Perfect for the legions of dog walkers and yoga instructors it seems to be gearing itself toward.

Conclusion

If you run a business, having an easy to use payment processor is imperative to doing business in our fast paced society. If you run a subscription-based company which relies on recurring billing, it’s even more imperative that you have the right membership billing software for your business.

Going to your bank or many of these third party payment processors means paying tons of fees. Not having anything at all means hoping that checks get mailed to you or paying huge wire transfer fees. And going directly to a reputable payment processor like Stripe can mean a lot of time learning the technical side of things.

For a low price, MoonClerk will ensure that all your payments are received on time and that the payment experience is positive for both you and your customers. Automating your payments and invoices ensures that you have more time to focus on your business.

Plus, using MoonClerk instead of the banks’ merchant solutions just means one less thing I have to deal with at work. So you see, we all win in the end.

Readers–What do YOU think!? Do any of you run your own businesses and use MoonClerk’s services? What about those who use a competitor, or Stripe directly? Are you happy with their services? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored guest post. I was compensated to write this post. In money, not hugs or good feelings or anything. It took me a week to write this as I was spending some time not just learning about MoonClerk, but also learning about Stripe. You see, if I recommend something to you guys–paid or unpaid–I want to ensure that it’s the right thing for you. The feedback I saw online was positive, and creating an account for myself was easy as anything, as was exploring and using their dashboard. So this article isn’t just a paycheck for me; MoonClerk earns the Angry Retail Banker Seal of Approval!

 

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