We need your advice about billing. We dont know much about this and esp. we don't now much about payment processing (ACH, Credit Cards, eChecks, google checkout...)
Our web-based computer system bills about 100 companies for an on-line service.
We would like to grow dramatically but right now the challenge is to get our billing into better shape.
We are considering using the combination of Freshbooks.com for billing and their partner Authorize.net as the credit-card gateway. In this way we can:
- Send our bills out either via email and/or via snail mail.
- Accept payment via credit cards with a single click on the billing email.
- Provide return envelopes for clients who want to pay by check.
In the longer term, we could:
- Integrate our website with Freshbooks.com so when a client changes their service level, this would be automatically reflected in the bills we send out.
- Integrate with a CRM solutions (perhaps Obrius or Batchbooks) to support sales.
- Integrate with an accounting package, such as Outright or Xero, ? perhaps quickbooks ? or something else
If we go this direction, or costs will be: $29 / month (which allows us to bill 275 clients and allow 2 staff to login and update the database, which should be enough for us) plus $0.99 / letter (in quantity 500) , zero when I bill them with email.
Then, for authorize.net $17.95 per month and $0.10 per transaction. (Set up fee of $99.)
And then the cost of a merchant account with my bank which I have not found out yet.
What are we trying to accomplish? Here are our goals in selecting billing solutions:
- Reduce risk of customer loss during transition
- Be able to scale up easily
- Having a good answer to the "why should I trust you w/ my credit card?" problem for new clients (6)
- Is pretty cheap long term (5)
- Relatively simple to set up (4)
- Relatively simple to use once set up (5)
- Allows the user to set up payment directly (3)
- Avoid having to have people's CC numbers and therefore reduce the possibility of liability
- Supports a process where work can be done remotely (7)
- Having something that empowers us (I have heard that paypal can be a problem to work with)
- Allow us to support several different desirable payment methods including CC, PP, echecks, google checkout – what else SHOULD we be interested in?
- Allow us to support the “give me your credit card now and I'll start billing you in 60 days if you don't cancel service before that.” style of marketing. (Freshbooks.com doesn't seem to support this in a way that allows me to keep myself free of all knowledge of credit card numbers.)
What are other better options than using Freshbooks.com and Authorize.net?