When evaluating options for subscription billing software, custom solutions are an attractive option for many SaaS businesses owners.
Some opt to build in-house, but that comes with many complications. Others find highly customizable "out-of-the-box" software that's nearly as personalized as a completely bespoke solution.
We’re going to focus on the latter in today's article, answering questions like:
- What are the pros and cons of springing for custom invoicing software?
- Can an out-of-the-box solution come close to competing with an in-house build?
- Is the spend worth it for your subscription business?
Let's find out.
Custom billing software is tailored specifically to your needs.
Let's be honest. Anything made especially for you is pretty cool, custom invoicing software included. Particularly in niche industries, it’s advantageous to have custom billing software designed to accommodate all the quirks of your business model.
Depending on just how quirky your needs are, though, it may be better to opt for an industry-specific solution. For example, there are medical billing systems on the market that satisfy relevant privacy and data requirements that other billing software solutions may not.
For the average SaaS or subscription-based business, however, a highly-customized billing software ensures things like reporting tools, your product catalog, and more function exactly the way you need them to. Getting that assurance with little to no work or responsibility on your shoulders is a pretty great deal.
After all, when you compare:
- a fully bespoke billing software designed from the ground up by your development team (or one you've hired),
- standard out-of-the-box functionality maintained by industry experts (with options to customize nearly all key features),
the latter looks pretty good. You still have software tailored to your business, but with a lower price tag and without the responsibility of maintaining ongoing compliance.
It's the best of both worlds, isn't it?
But what are the cons?
There's nothing quite like custom software for financial management. Especially if you have relatively complicated billing processes, made-for-you software makes invoicing and payment processing something you don't need to think twice about. You know it's being taken care of exactly the way you need it.
But, like all good things, custom billing software has its downsides. While the price point is certainly higher than that of its out-of-the-box counterpart, how else does it stack up?
Customized billing software development takes time.
When business leaders shop for automated billing software, they've often already realized something is wrong with their current billing process. Whether they're leaking revenue or spending way too much time on invoice creation and distribution, they need a solution sooner rather than later.
Highly customized software, unfortunately, comes with lengthy development and implementation times. Even without hiring a software development team to build a solution from the ground up, customization takes months, if not longer. You often can't use your billing software for a year or two when you build.
How much leaking revenue will slip through the cracks in that time?
We've seen automated billing help businesses recover $600,000 in leaking revenue every year and others decrease time spent billing by 90%. When you’re dealing with numbers this big, a quicker time to implementation is a game-changer.
A less-customized solution can have businesses up and realizing the benefits of automation in just a month or two.
Many out-of-the-box solutions are almost as customizable.
Though not created especially for your business, you may be surprised at the amount of customization possible with out-of-the-box online billing software.
With the right billing automation solution, you can easily customize:
- dashboards and reports,
- hosted registration pages or customer portals,
- integrations with other pieces of software in your tech stack,
- the product catalog,
- invoice delivery and revenue recognition schedules,
- and more.
What's more, even though a high level of customization is possible with these billing software options, the customizations don't take forever to implement. Often, it's something that can be done in just a few minutes on your own or with your onboarding manager.
What if you don't want or need customization? There’s no need to over-complicate things. Just use the elements that come standard with your solution.
Does your SaaS business really need custom billing software?
If you're billing with spreadsheets or outdated software solutions, your SaaS billing operations certainly require some sort of automated upgrade. But does it need to be specifically tailored to your business?
If you're an enterprise-level software business with a complicated billing process and a healthy budget, custom billing software development—or increased customization of an out-of-the-box solution—might be worth it.
But if you're in the startup or rapid-growth phase, or need to be up and running on your billing software as soon as possible, perhaps not. Cost and time to implementation might hinder businesses that need to patch revenue leaks and increase billing efficiency ASAP.
There are benefits to customizing your billing software. However, for many businesses, the drawbacks likely aren't worth it. For those businesses, billing software options like Fusebill exist.
With plenty of native and customizable reports, built-in payment gateways that accept multiple payment methods, the most flexible catalog on the market, and more, there's plenty of customization available at an affordable cost and with a quick implementation turnaround at Fusebill.