We offer ongoing website support and maintenance for our clients. They have the option to pay monthly or annually. A few years ago, we began selling these plans through our website, to create automatic, recurring payments, and to make it easy for clients to sign up for the plan of their choice.
As a small agency, bookkeeping and invoicing is a drag on our time. So, having a system where we don’t have to worry about creating and managing invoices, reminding clients about upcoming payments and chasing after late invoices, is a key for us.
In addition to ongoing care and support, we also offer/sell “by the hour” service to our clients who need small tasks taken care of. We use as much of the hour as needed, and keep a record of time spent. When the hour is used up, the client can purchase additional hours or we can create an estimate for a larger project. This saves time for billing for just and hour or two, which is a significant time savings for us, and allows us to charge a slightly lower hourly rate for hours purchased “a la carte.”
Solutions for selling care plans online
When we started selling our plans online, we used iThemes Exchange. It was a lightweight, simple option. However, that software was retired when iThemes was sold. At that time, I looked into options and chose Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
I knew the team behind EDD, Sand Hills Development, was a well known and loved company. We didn’t need a full ecommerce solution like Woo Commerce, since we are not shipping anything, don’t need images, etc. So EDD was a great choice.
Easy to Set Up and Get Started
EDD was easy to use from the start. We connected it to Stripe, and created three tiers of Care Plans, plus the “By The Hour” service. Since we sell both monthly and annual payment options for each plan, we actually needed 6 “Downloads,” which is what EDD calls “products.” EDD offers the option to create automatically recurring payments, which connects to Stripe.
Since we don’t actually have anything to download, we just enter the price and plan information, and selected the option to Disable Quantity. We also created categories so we can group plans by Annual or Monthly if needed.
Displaying Plans and Purchase Buttons
EDD provides a shortcode which creates a button for the actual purchase. This allows you to control where the purchase link appears. With some Beaver Builder and some custom CSS, we really like the way this turned out:
From time to time, we need to create special plans for some clients, or offer a discount code. This is very easy with EDD. There is a Discount Code section, where you can set a discount amount or percent. You can also specify downloads this applies to (or excludes), a start and expiration date, a number of uses and a minimum amount.
Back End Reporting and User Account Information
EDD is very easy to manage on the back end. We can check payments made and details and search by client/user. We can also view subscriptions, and can cancel or update information easily. Sometimes we do this directly in Stripe, where we can actually edit a credit card if a client sends updated information. Updates made to customer subscriptions in Stripe will automatically update that customer in EDD.
EDD also offers reporting, which allows you to view earnings, payments, subscriptions and more by a certain period. You can also export this data as a csv file.
EDD also provides a customer account page, where our clients can manage their payment methods and update their contact information.
One of the challenges of selling care plans through our website for us has been that we use QuickBooks for our bookkeeping. We found that Stripe syncs with QuickBooks, however, it does not pass the customer information effectively, which made it challenging to connect a Stripe payment via our website with the related customer in QuickBooks. This was frustrating, because we were not able to view within QuickBooks all payments made by a particular client which included payments made to QuickBooks invoices and Stripe/EDD payments. After trying a variety of methods to solve this, we found software called Snyder, which takes information from Stripe payments (customer email) and connects that payment to a customer in QuickBooks. This has been a very helpful tool for us and saved hours of time trying to match Stripe payments to QuickBooks customers!
Recurring Revenue is Important
We rely on our recurring revenue as a significant percent of our annual income. Supporting our clients with their website needs is important. We pride ourselves on being super responsive and helping to keep websites updated and functional, as well as supporting our clients with content edits and troubleshooting.
Using EDD to manage our ongoing support plan payments allows us to focus on supporting our clients instead of using our time to manage invoicing and payments.