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Streamline 2.0 Billing Guide

Managing your recurring billing and automatically processing electronic (EFT) payments is one of Streamline's most powerful features. This guide explains the key concepts and everything you need to know to bill your customers accurately and effectively.

Customers and Membership Services

A Customer in Streamline is simply a person’s name, address, phone number, etc. By contrast, a Membership Service is a service you provide to a customer on an ongoing basis, such as a gym membership or personal training punch card. You can optionally set up recurring billing for the services you provide.

In most cases, you will set up a single service for each customer (i.e. their gym membership). However, Streamline allows you to set up multiple services for each customer, if necessary. For instance, a customer may have three separate services for her gym membership, tanning and child care. Each of these services can be billed to a different credit card or bank account, and each can have its own billing schedule.

Furthermore, Streamline allows you to associate multiple customers to a service. This is useful when you have a group membership, say, for a family or company. Each service has a Primary Customer who will be financially responsible for its associated fees.

All customers you enter are listed on the Customer List screen, and the services for those customers are listed on the Membership Services screen. You can quickly see a customer’s services by right-clicking her name in the Customer List and selecting the Jump to Services menu option.

Setting up Your Membership Plans and Punch Cards

Before you set up services for your customers, you must tell Streamline about the types of membership plans and punch cards you intend to offer. This allows Streamline to automatically default the service period, billing schedule, and other settings appropriately each time you sell a service.

To set up your plans and punch cards, follow these steps:

1) Access your Products & Services list by selecting Products and Services from the Tools > Manage main menu.
2) Select Membership Plan or Punch Card from the "Add new" dropdown in the upper-right corner, depending on the type of product you are setting up.
3) Enter the information about this product. Click here for information about each setting.

Once you have saved the new product, it will appear on your Products and Services screen. You can view/edit the details of a product either by right-clicking it and selecting Edit, or by simply double-clicking it. Likewise, you can delete a product by right-clicking it and selecting Delete, or by selecting it and pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.

Creating Membership Services

Services can be entered into Streamline via the Membership Services screen or via a sale.

Adding a Service via the Membership Services Screen

If you are not collecting up-front fees from the customer, there is no reason to create a sale. Instead, you should enter the service information directly on the Membership Services screen. This is useful when entering information about existing customers into Streamline, or when making changes to services you previously set up.

To set up a service manually, follow these steps:

1) Access your service list by clicking the Membership Services button in the Streamline toolbar.
2) Select the type of service you wish to set up using the "New" dropdown in the upper-right corner.
3) Select the primary customer. If you have not previously entered this customer’s information, you should do so at this time using the Add a New Customer button.
4) Confirm and/or change the default service dates, billing schedule and Auto-Pay settings.

Once you have saved the new service, it will appear on your Membership Services screen. You can view/edit the details of a service either by right-clicking it and selecting View Service Details, or by simply double-clicking it. Likewise, you can delete a service by right-clicking it and selecting Delete This Service, or by selecting it and pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.

Adding a Service via a Sale

In the course of normal business, you will usually want to collect money from a new customer on the day she joins. In this case, you will add the service(s) to a new sale, and Streamline will create the entry on your Membership Services list automatically.

To set up a service via a sale, follow these steps:

1) Select New Sale from the Jump To main menu. Alternatively, click the Make a Sale button on the Quick Launch screen, or click the New Sale button on the Sales Register.
2) Select either New Customer or Existing Customer, depending on whether or not this customer’s information has been previously entered.
3) Add the membership plan or punch card to the sale item list. Streamline will display the settings for this new service so that you can confirm and/or change the defaults. If this plan requires a setup fee, Streamline adds that fee as a separate line item automatically.
4) Collect payment and click the Save & Close button to complete the sale.

When you complete the sale, Streamline will automatically add a new entry to your Membership Services screen for each service on the sale.

Recurring Billing

To charge your existing customers for the services you set up, you need to perform billing. For each service that is ready to be billed, Streamline will create a sale in your Sales Register and then advance the service’s bill date according to its billing schedule. If you have entered Auto-Pay information for the primary customer, an EFT payment will be automatically processed. You can initiate the billing process at any time with the click of a button, or you can instruct Streamline to perform billing automatically each night.

To better understand how it all works, let’s look at each step in more detail.

Controlling the Bill Date and Amount

The two most critical settings of a service are its Next Bill Date and Bill Amount. As you can probably guess, these determine when and how much the primary customer will be billed. Streamline defaults these values when a service is created according to your product settings, but you can override the defaults at any time.

A service is considered "ready to be billed" if its bill date is today or earlier. In some cases, Streamline may simply advance the bill date of a service during the billing process and not create a sale. The next section describes the situations when this might occur.

The Billing Process in Detail

To initiate the billing process, select the Perform Billing option from the Tools main menu. Streamline will show you a summary of services ready to be billed. Click the Show Details button to see a list of these services.

When you click the Start Billing Now button, Streamline will review each service listed to determine if a sale should be created. A sale will not be created if any of the following are true:

  • The bill date is outside the Service Date Range.
  • The bill date is on or past the customer’s Cancellation Date.
  • The bill date is within the Freeze Period, and the freeze amount is zero. *
  • You have disabled automatic billing for the service.
  • * Annual fees for services will still be charged, even if the service bill date is within the freeze period.

    If Streamline creates a sale for the service, and you have entered Auto-Pay information for the primary customer, an EFT payment will then be posted to the gateway for the amount of the sale. This will result in the sale having a zero balance (i.e. paid in full).

    Whether or not a sale was created, Streamline will automatically advance the bill date of the service. This allows you to safely perform billing on your own schedule without worrying about billing someone twice.

    To review your EFT payments, go to Reports and view the Approved EFT Payment Details and Unapproved EFT Payments reports. You can customize these reports to include payments posted within the date range you specify.

    Handling Exceptions

    If a customer is not set up for Auto-Pay, or if her EFT payment was not approved, the sale created during the billing process will have a balance due. This balance will be reflected in the customer’s total balance.

    When the customer provides payment, you can enter it into Streamline using the Receive a Payment option on the Tools main menu. Alternatively, you can right-click the customer’s name on almost any screen in Streamline and select Receive a Payment. Check the box next to each sale the customer is paying for, and then click the Accept Payment button to record the payment.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What do I need to do to accept EFT payments?

    Q: Why do I need a payment gateway account?

    Q: How much does EFT payment processing cost?

    Q: Should I bill all my customers on the same day, or should I bill them based on their join date?

    Q: How do I temporarily suspend billing on a service?

    Q: How do I change a customer’s membership plan?

    Q: How can I set a customer’s bill amount to automatically change in the future?

    Q: How do I credit a customer who I erroneously billed?

    Q: How do I set up Streamline to perform my billing automatically?

    Q: How can I view a customer’s entire sales history?

    Q: How do I cancel or reinstate a customer’s account?

    Q: How do I view the changes made to a customer’s Auto-Pay information?

    Q: How do I know which customers have credit cards that will be expiring soon?

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