How MoonClerk Helped SaaS Startup, Referral Rock, Start Taking Payments Overnight
Posted by Dodd Caldwell · Mar 9, 2016
Joshua Ho, founder of Referral Rock, talks with us about about how he used MoonClerk to take his SaaS app from a free beta to paying customers overnight.
The Beta Period
When I first started, I was just another SaaS founder operating his business in beta. I didn’t know if customers were willing to pay for my referral software, Referral Rock. Moonclerk helped me get over that hump.
While Referral Rock was in beta I had customers using the software for free. They were setting up referral programs and having their customers refer their friends and I was feeling pretty good about the business. At that time, I had other sources of income and I wasn’t working full-time on Referral Rock, so I wasn’t concerned it wasn’t making any money.
During our beta, my startup friends told me I needed to start charging. But I had my doubts – the typical doubts where I felt the software wasn’t ready or the software didn’t deliver enough value or generate enough referrals for my customers.
In hindsight, I now realize I didn’t actually HAVE customers because no one was paying me for my product. Also, as long as I wasn’t charging, I was in a bubble, thinking I had a success since people were using the software and generating some referrals. In reality, I hadn’t proven as much as I thought.
The Overnight Challenge
I’ll be honest, part of my reluctance to charging customers was the dev work involved in making that happen. In the past I’ve implemented and it took at least a week of development time to get all the hooks into the database, webhooks set up, and user interface in place. In the past I’ve even implemented good ol’ Authorize.net. But even with my past experience implementing payment systems, I was not excited about taking on that challenge again.
So, I challenged myself with a “sprint” to test my resourcefulness. How could I implement payments overnight? I told myself I could use other tools but only if they weren’t cost prohibitive. That’s when I found Moonclerk and realized it fit the bill in more ways than one. MoonClerk was already set-up for recurring payments and it had just about everything I needed to charge customers for my referral software.
Within an hour I had payment forms and plans with MoonClerk, along with all my preferences. Now I could have stopped there and handled the rest manually with each paying customer but I was able to do a little development work and automate everything. I wrote a simple call to the MoonClerk API to check if my customers’ accounts were in good standing. With that functionality, I was able to validate my customer was an up-to-date paying account and also manage their cancelation process. Check and check! All the magic happened in the postback URL after the form was complete!
I also wanted to be able to easily change plans and pricing… so I used the Moonclerk form URLs as settings in config files in my app. That allowed me to easily change things and even send people links to a custom plan.
Setting everything up with MoonClerk happened overnight and I was excited to find out if my referral software had wings.
Now that I had everything set-up, all new signups were required to pay to make their referral programs active/live. Within 2 days I had my first paying customer. Two days later, another! It took a lot longer for the third one but I eventually found a middle ground in my onboarding process and gave my customers a 14-day free trial.
8 months later we had over 80 paying customers and we still use MoonClerk to manage our entire payment process!