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Sumaleth
09-19-2004, 08:56 PM
Phi1 and I (ie. Installatron.com) are playing around with designs for a DA "billing manager" plugin. We don't know if we'll make it yet, but we're toying with designs to see what would be involved.

Our aims with these designs are for something that can be a low-cost alternative for server administrators who don't want the expense or superfluous features found in the various high-end billing managers.

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So, the first question I'd like to get some feed back on is:

Q1. Do you all your user accounts come up for renewal on on the 1st of the month, or do they come up for renewal on their own day (eg. the day of the month they signed up?

In other words, if the new user 'Timmy' signed up on the 15th for a $10/month account, do you charge him $5 for the remainder of that first month and then bill him $10 for renewal on the 1st of each month thereafter, or do you charge him the full $10 and each month he is renewed again on the 15th?

In our case, all our users have their own renewal day, which is the day of the month that they signed up. But I was curious to know how other server administrators do it?

I'm keen to hear how everyone does it, not just people who might be interested in the billing manager.

Rowan

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http://www.installatron.com (DA auto-installer plugin)

blacknight
09-20-2004, 07:13 AM
We'd usually go by the day that they signed up for shared accounts, as the billing system would handle it on that basis.

matrixx
09-20-2004, 07:41 AM
We use worldpay futurepay so whatever day they signup they pay on each month.

HTH!

Rob

interfasys
09-20-2004, 09:47 AM
We also renew on the day they signed up.

Why not offer your services to Modernbill so that they can improve the DA Module? Or maybe you can sell your own plugin for Modernbill?

nobaloney
09-20-2004, 10:48 AM
Most of our clients were signed up when we still required 1st-to-1st billing, but we now do anniversary billing. Why? Because we like having income throughout the month :) .

Jeff

Sumaleth
09-21-2004, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the responses everyone. Very useful.

interfasys: ModernBill is way too expensive for a lot of small hosting services, ourselves included. whois.cart is nicely priced, but lacks the customizability we need to make it work with our particular service. We also think we can make a tidier, more streamlined biller, and there are potentially benefits in making a biller that is integrated as a DA plugin. But we're still just playing with the idea at this stage.

More questions likely to follow.

motobrandt
10-17-2004, 02:46 PM
I'm sure the questions that really need to be asked are.

1) How many Current users would buy a plugin for DA to bill and setup accounts? (you could probably assume a fairly high percentage of NEW direct admin purchasers would add this option right away)

2) How much could you charge. I know, personally, that I would pay a $100-$150 one time per server billing system. DOH! Wouldn't it be fabulous if you could purchase another server license that would just pop in to the currently running billing system that an administrator could choose which server to create the accounts on?
:D

Just go for it mang! Along with Installatron a billing system would virtually complete Direct Admin as a full web hosting solution. The only other "essential" plugins would be A site builder plugin, and a Horde plugin.

Count me in.

nobaloney
10-17-2004, 03:11 PM
I'd be interested if:

a) it included automatic provisioning

b) it stored CC information in a manner that was consistent with the new rules set forth by MasterCard.

c) it automatically did recurrent billing itself, not using the recurrent billing option built in to any payment processor.

d) it handled extra charges for bandwidth (transit) disk space, etc.

e) it allowed me to add fixed one time miscellaneous charges up to the day before the auto billing took place, so the recurrent billing and any extra one-time charges would be included in the same charge ticket.

f) it allowed me to set up clients, and bill clients, in addition to webhosting clients.

g) it allowed me to bill clients on dates other than their preconfigured billing dates.

h) it had a complete web interface for my users to use to look at their account, billing, open invoices, etc.

i) it sent invoices automatically and could be configured for monthly, two-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual billing

j) it could work with the particular payment processor I use, which happens to be Blue Pay.

I know it's a long list.

And I suppose other people would have as long a list.

Jeff

blacknight
10-17-2004, 04:31 PM
Unless DA was able to handle multiple servers I can't see how a billing plugin would be of any benefit.
A product like whoiscart only costs a few dollars and is able to do most of what people would need in a billing system.

Sumaleth
10-19-2004, 03:46 AM
motobrandt:

Multi-server support is something we'll look at down the line if the product is successful.

I'm still undecided how much of it I think should be the DA plugin and how much should be external.

Personally I really like the idea of it all being a DA plugin, because you've got the theme system all worked out and it will be completely integrated into the control system most used by admin and users alike -- it's not a separate thing with a separate login like other billers.

But there are probably benefits to making most of it an external program. I'm still leaning towards the full-plugin approach though.

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jlasman:

Interesting list there. A couple of questions:

a) What do you mean by "automatic provisioning"?

f) You would like a generalized "client manager", which can manage hosting as well as other services?

The rest is all pretty much on the agenda (some further down the line than others).

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blacknight:

Yeah, whois.cart will definitely be our main competition.

We think we can make something that has better DA integration, is easier to set up and use, and that is more widely useful. But we are thinking about something in that sort of size, it won't be competition for the likes of DRAMS and ModernBill.

blacknight
10-19-2004, 04:08 AM
As long as you go down the plugin route it should be fine :)

nobaloney
10-19-2004, 01:18 PM
Originally posted by Sumaleth
a) What do you mean by "automatic provisioning"?
I mean my client can order webhosting through my system/your system, and the hosting account will be automatically set up on the server. Same for domain names... Same for certs.

All of course with my choice of registration provider and my choice of cert provider (hey, a fellow can dream, right :) ).

f) You would like a generalized "client manager", which can manage hosting as well as other services?
Absolutely. I do more than just host websites. I offer additional services, such as conslting, design, domain names, email only hosting, secure certs, etc. And I only want one billing system.

Yes, this leads to some degree of complexity, but since I need to do it anyway, better one system than multiple systems.

Jeff

l0rdphi1
10-19-2004, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by Sumaleth
Multi-server support is something we'll look at down the line if the product is successful.
Actually, I plan to implement multi-server support in the first go. Of course, that may change, but I think it's easier that way. :)

Cheers!

Phi1.

rldev
10-21-2004, 07:25 AM
I would love this, but one installed plugin must be able to control multiple DA servers. Also make sure you have pro-rated billing as an option(1 of month).

You also need some reports for billing as well and perhaps a QuickBooks Export feature :) .

Sumaleth
10-21-2004, 07:46 AM
Also make sure you have pro-rated billing as an option (1 of month).

How do you deal with a user signing up on the 15th?

Do you 30/15*monthly_fee for their first payment, or does their first half month cost a full month fee?

rldev
10-21-2004, 08:19 AM
Accounts are pro rated to the 1st of the month. So client pay for remainder of month and all of next month. I think it is more desirable to have just pay the prorated amount at signup and not the next month.

matrixx
10-21-2004, 08:44 AM
If I could add the request for Worldpay Futurepay integration and although we don't use them at the moment Paypal is popular.

:)

Rob

jlandes
02-01-2007, 07:43 PM
I don't mean to reply to such an old thread, but I happened to just see this and was curious if anything was ever done with this. I think it would be great to have a billing system integrated into DA. :)

ocs-hosting
02-27-2007, 07:26 AM
for what its worth, we bill per calender month, we calculate the month down into 29 days, price per day * days remainging in month, for the first payment, then the package amount is pay'd on the first. and re occurs on the first