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It may be a one-off cost but writing a billing system is still a few weeks work. Pro-rataing on upgrades/downgrades, support for one-off overage fees, refunds, credits. Plus dealing with the fallout when you get a decimal place wrong in a tax calculation and accidentally charge a customer a hundred times what you were supposed to (guilty).

One of my clients paid $700 for Spreedly kickstart plus their percentage transaction fees, plus a couple of hours for me to integrate it. Significantly less money then three or four weeks of my time to write a billing app from scratch.




Maybe the math works out like that when you bill four weeks for a two day job. Startups can and do find programmers that write robust billing code with those features in a day or two. I've done it more than once. I run both ecommerce sites and subscription web apps -- the billing code handles upgrades, downgrades, pro-rating, one-off overage fees, refunds and credits. Once you've done it once, doing it again and testing for another site is a few hours work.




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