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Hosting Discussion > Operating a Web Hosting Business > Billing and Accounting > Do you ever unsuspend non paying customers before they pay?
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  Post #1 (permalink)   08-02-2014, 03:52 PM
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We're seeing a bit of a trend, where customers don't pay, get suspended then ask to be unsuspended with promise of payment at a later date.

We've often unsuspended long running customers, but we're seeing people with very little history do this.

Is this a common thing for others hosts too?

If so how do you deal with it without looking mean?
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  Post #2 (permalink)   08-02-2014, 05:28 PM
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There's nothing "mean" about it. You are running a business, and as a business you need to stay profitable, or you will not survive, go out of business, and your customers will need a new host.. Period. Never, ever, feel bad for suspending a non-paying customer.

You can always provide your long time customers with an extension if they need it. Things can go wrong, life happens, ect.. However, in our case, if the account is suspended, then the user is already well beyond their past due date. So the only way to get unsuspended is by paying the bill.

If you have a client that is late and gets their account suspended, and you go ahead and unsuspend the account before they pay you. What is to stop them from taking their files and leaving for another host with YOUR money?

The answer is, nothing...
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  Post #3 (permalink)   08-02-2014, 06:43 PM
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I suspend clients when they haven't pay 7 days from due payment date. It is their responsible to pay to keep their hosting up and running.
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   08-02-2014, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by StonHost View Post
I suspend clients when they haven't pay 7 days from due payment date. It is their responsible to pay to keep their hosting up and running.
Do you overwrite the suspension if they give you an unfortunate reason as to why they won't be able to pay on time?
 
 
 


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  Post #5 (permalink)   08-02-2014, 09:14 PM
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When I was a host I wouldn't unsuspend accounts till the invoice was paid. If the person failed to renew and also failed to keep backups it is not my fault.. But, Sometimes I was nice and I'd let them grab their stuff and delete their account if they wanted it so. But most of the time if they didn't want to stay I'd charge them a fee to access the account. The fee was usually the late fee, so 15% of their bill.

However, if the client was a longtime client I'd always wave the late fee and would go on their word. I liked to get to know my clients so trust was always built so I was never worried. I think I only had one person skip out on me. Also, if they were longtime clients I'd wave the fee as well to get their stuff. Only new people I was strict with as I don't know them.

I always thought that was fair.
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  Post #6 (permalink)   08-03-2014, 09:49 AM
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Look at it this way, you and your customer have an agreement. You provide service, they provide money - when one stops, the other stops.

Would it be fair for you to keep asking for money if you stopped providing service? Your customers wouldn't give it a second thought to chargeback or whatever so why the expectation that the service provider continues to provide service when the flow of money stops?

In my legal jurisdiction, if you continue to make exceptions then it becomes "common business practice" and an unwritten part of your contract that a judge can enforce in court. For most $4/mo accounts it's not likely to become an issue but for the occasional monster account - I wouldn't want to chance it.

Sorry, now that I've evicted you I'm not letting you back into your apartment on a promise to pay another day.
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  Post #7 (permalink)   08-03-2014, 04:19 PM
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Of course pure logic will dictate that the rules should apply. If you are paying - you are getting a service. If not - nor will you receive the service. It would be a charm if everything was all so easy. Companies driven solely by rules sometimes fail to see when personal touch needs to be applied and lose clients because of that.

Such suspensions should really be looked on a case-by-case basis. At first you apply the rules - say, suspend the account when no payment is received (altho I do support the idea of a 7 day grace period after due date). Even after that, its best to keep it for 30 days before termination, because customers do return. Now, here is where your good judgement comes into place. Clients come back with the most unique stories about why they missed payment - some are absurd, others are heartbreaking, third will just admit to not seeing/forgetting about notification(s). Whether you believe it or not, you have to be ready to compromise. At the end of day, many clients just want their website to be back online and should be allowed a time frame (depends on when they contacted you) to settle their finances and pay. Can they just take the files and run away? Sure they can! Would they continue hosting with you if you ask them to pay to unsuspend? Maybe for a month and then still take their files away and leave. But the ones that genuinely have problems, personal or financial, will most definitely appreciate the gesture and build a tremendous loyalty with your company, bringing you even future customers (word of mouth).

At the end of the day, I don't feel there is a Right or Wrong way to handle this. Its just what is your business mindset.
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  Post #8 (permalink)   08-03-2014, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex - Arvixe View Post
Do you overwrite the suspension if they give you an unfortunate reason as to why they won't be able to pay on time?
It has to be a very good reasonable, with out a reason, then I will not suspend the account. My system detects it automatically then it auto suspend the services, if paid, it automatically un-suspend the services.
 
 
 


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  Post #9 (permalink)   08-03-2014, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by StonHost View Post
It has to be a very good reasonable, with out a reason, then I will not suspend the account. My system detects it automatically then it auto suspend the services, if paid, it automatically un-suspend the services.
Glad to hear it

Quote:
My system
I noticed you're running BoxBilling which isn't actually developed anymore with the last release being a couple years ago. This is really the heart of your hosting business (it handles support, billing, creations, suspensions etc) so it might be worth the very small fee to get a properly maintained system such as WHMCS. Heck, lots of resellers such as ourselves will provide you with a free license with the reseller package.

Good luck with your venture anyways .
 
 
 


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  Post #10 (permalink)   08-03-2014, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex - Arvixe View Post
Glad to hear it



I noticed you're running BoxBilling which isn't actually developed anymore with the last release being a couple years ago. This is really the heart of your hosting business (it handles support, billing, creations, suspensions etc) so it might be worth the very small fee to get a properly maintained system such as WHMCS. Heck, lots of resellers such as ourselves will provide you with a free license with the reseller package.

Good luck with your venture anyways .
I love box billing, but I am learning how to make my own module, would be very interesting to learn. I am working very hard on trying to make the hosting to support game servers, dedicated, vps, SSL, Domain with new TLDs, and Hosting Services. Forgot to mention, box billing is more organized as in my opinon
 
 
 


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  Post #11 (permalink)   08-04-2014, 02:59 AM
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you need to look at it this way. "1) the client pays you, then you pay your suppliers.
2) client does not pay you then how are you going to pay your suppliers."

so as we issue an invoice 14 days before due date, then a reminder the day before due date and then on due date, then overdue reminders 1 day after due date , 2nd day after due date ( account suspended at this point), 3rd day after due date ( late fee added at this point) the 14 days after due date account is terminated. so in all from first invoice to termination they have had 28 days to pay. i would say this is enough time , they will then have a further 7 days to request their backups from our backup server which they will only get if they pay the invoice , but wont be allowed back on the server. after 7 days their backups will be removed from backup server, even 16 days to suspension is enough time to pay. we may waive late fee for long term clients
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  Post #12 (permalink)   08-04-2014, 08:03 AM
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I asked this question to ensure we were doing billing along the lines of others hosts.

It appears that we are not too dissimilar.

I believe if our power got turned off at the datacentres, because we hadn't paid, our customers would be most quick to complain.
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  Post #13 (permalink)   08-04-2014, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ughosting View Post

I believe if our power got turned off at the datacentres, because we hadn't paid, our customers would be most quick to complain.
That's it in a nutshell. all it takes is a few non payers and you may find you cant pay your DC, so they turn off your server, but it is you that will get the backlash from all your paying clients.

also dont forget even once suspended and before termination the client is still using your services as their files are still on your server
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  Post #14 (permalink)   08-04-2014, 12:40 PM
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That's it in a nutshell. all it takes is a few non payers and you may find you cant pay your DC, so they turn off your server, but it is you that will get the backlash from all your paying clients.
I'd really question a business that couldn't pay it's bills after x clients didn't pay. There should be reserves to cover it and/or enough revenue per server to cover any clients who cancel and/or don't renew.
 
 
 
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  Post #15 (permalink)   08-04-2014, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex - Arvixe View Post
I'd really question a business that couldn't pay it's bills after x clients didn't pay. There should be reserves to cover it and/or enough revenue per server to cover any clients who cancel and/or don't renew.
Yes but you should not need to dip into reserves, but its a principle of if they dont pay their bills you cant pay your bills, just like any business
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