Billing 2.0 - Soft Launch

If you run an enrollment-based or instructor-led business, payment plans and invoices are more than nice-to-have features: they are essential. While we've always known this, we couldn't afford to build our billing system in a way that gave people as many options as they wanted.

So, our first crack at solving our clients' billing needs was born way back in 2017. For better or for worse, it's taken us 4-5 years of working with our client base to establish a solid design for the second version of all things billing—and the redesign centers around two key concepts: payment plans and invoices.

We've been amazed at how long we've been able to meet clients' needs in over fifteen different industries, many of which have unique billing requirements. However, an overhaul of this core function inside Enrollsy is well overdue and getting us a little excited over here. But, that doesn't mean it hasn't been a top priority for a while. We've been carefully building and rolling it out while supporting a diverse and thankfully growing number of clients. We will formally announce the second version of our billing system in the next few weeks, complete with training videos, articles, and more. For now, the purpose of this post is to:

  1. Let existing customers know what's coming in more detail.
  2. Demonstrate our culture as a company with a mission to develop the best enrollment software in the world.

So, let's get into it!

Farewell Billing 1.0

The old billing system in Enrollsy allowed customers to choose between two basic models for collecting payment (in addition to one-time fees or free Programs):

  1. Installments.
  2. Tuition.

In the Installments model, enrollments accrued a balance of the total amount due, and then customers paid that balance down over time in equal installment payments. 

The Tuition model required enrollments to pay a set amount either monthly or weekly (or every 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 weeks, or months).

On their own, these two models appear reasonable, right? Not if you're building solutions for many industries and complex businesses with various enrollment models. Here are four key reasons why we redesigned our billing system:

  1. We have clients who want to run a business using the Installments and Tuition models. This dynamic led to some intense workarounds and challenges that were not entirely scaleable for them (or for us in supporting them).
  2. We have clients who need to offer not just one cadence of Installments or Tuition within a single program but multiple (I.e., monthly and quarterly Installments or monthly and semester Tuition).
  3. The Transaction History within an Enrollsy Account is like a bowl of spaghetti and needs a more structured organization model, like invoices.
  4. Supporting some clients didn't make sense to us financially due to how much we had to be involved, which isn't where we want to be because we want all of our clients for life.

Thank you to those who have worked with us through the growing pains. Almost all of you are still with us, minus a few tragic victims of COVID-19—fortunately, business fatalities, not human fatalities (although these are indeed tragic to an entrepreneur). Like COVID-19, I think we will all be happy to stop talking about and fussing over Billing 1.0, while we acknowledge and mourn any losses it caused. Now, on to the good news.

Hello Billing 2.0

The heart of our new billing system focuses on Payment Plans and Invoices. Payment Plans will allow a business to create an unlimited number (at least initially) of payment plans. Payment plans come in three types:

  1. Scheduled Plans
  2. Installment Plans
  3. Subscription Plans

Creating a Scheduled Plan consists of placing dates on a calendar for each payment event in a given Enrollment Period.

Creating a Scheduled Payment Plan in Enrollsy
Step 1: Name your plan and choose what type of plan you would like to create
Schedule Payment Events in Enrollsy
Step 2: Schedule the Payment Events directly on a calendar
Schedule and Automate Invoices in Enrollsy
Step 3: Schedule the sending of automated invoices in Enrollsy

Creating an Installment Plan consists of setting a frequency of installments that either commence at enrollment for a static number of payments (like ten equal payments beginning at enrollment) or are dynamically set based on an end date of your choice.

Creating a Subscription Plan consists of setting a frequency of subscription payments.

With each Plan, you'll have a different experience when attaching it to a Program or Class. For Scheduled Plans, you can let Enrollsy do the math and divide up your "Total Cost of Enrollment" or override that and set the values of each Payment Event in the Plan with specific fees and amounts of your choosing.

Applying pricing to a Scheduled Payment Plan in Enrollsy
The Final step in using a Payment Plan is to set the pricing for each event in the Plan

The impact to the Transaction History (in both the Admin view and in the Customer App/Portal) will be equally impressive. Billing events create the ability to do away with a generic Account Balance and have unique balances for each enrollment. Sure, the Account Balance will continue to be a thing, but gone are the days of fishing through the transaction history for specific charges and payments without ordered context. Instead, each enrollment will have a transaction history, and the sum of all the enrollment balances will create the new Account Balance.

Also, when the customer goes to make a payment, they will be presented with three options:

  1. Pay their full balance (the sum of all the Payment Events due for each enrollment)
  2. Pay for specific invoices
  3. Pay a specified amount (which is then applied to the oldest invoice forward until the specified amount is gone)

So, with Billing 2.0 in place, Enrollsy now easily supports the use-cases that were challenging or impossible with Billing 1.0:

  1. Our clients can have Installment and Tuition model billing AND subscription billing running simultaneously.
  2. Our clients can create all the Payment Plans they need.
  3. Invoices bring order to chaos and make it easy to view, edit, and pay for past, current, and future Payment Events.
  4. Onboarding and support meetings that took two hours in the past don't need to happen at all or take 20 minutes.

Culture and Conclusion

In conclusion, we thank our clients for their support and patiently waiting while we improve these things. When it is complete, this release is symbolic of our commitment to listen to and respond to the market's needs as we build the best enrollment software in the world, and do it The Enrollsy Way.

The Enrollsy Way

Our work is to listen.

We listen to understand.

We understand to: build, sell, support, and improve.

We build to achieve our mission.

We sell to finance our vision.

We support to exercise our values.

We improve to enjoy our work.

If you're not yet an Enrollsy client, schedule a demo and come join a movement that will never stop. In the process you'll transform your business and reach new heights.