Tenant Billing is a system that allows you to bill your end users for services you provide over the top of the Skyetel Network. For example - this system is perfect for customers who are using Skyetel to sell their own Hosted PBX product or a direct SIP Trunk product.
Due to the size of the Tenant Billing platform, we have broken down our documentation on it into separate articles. These are the articles to reference when learning about Tenant Billing:
Limitations & Expectations
Please read all of these items. They are important!
Tenant Billing is in Beta... sorta.
We have extensively tested Tenant Billing ourselves and with customers in our Alpha group, and have total confidence in its reliability. However - we are putting a "Beta" moniker on Tenant Billing for the first month since it will be the first time it will be used at scale.
We're trying to be extra cautious since this involves our Customer's relationships with their own End Users. Once the first round of scheduled invoices completes normally, we will remove the Beta moniker :). We're just keeping an eye out for you!
When we set out to design the Tenant Billing system, we had a few very important principles we decided on.
1. Skyetel is not, and never will be, an accounting platform
This principle is very important to understand. Our intention with the Tenant Billing System is to simply provide you with a way to send an invoice to your customer and have it paid through a third party. We will not do special reporting, billing exports, integrations into accounting software, etc. We believe that accounting/reporting features are done much better by a platform expressly designed to handle billing. We want to stay in our lane.
2. Your end user billing should be portable; You should be able to leave Skyetel anytime and keep your billing intact.
One of the greatest fears many of our customers expressed to us was that by using the Tenant Billing System, they would be trapped with Skyetel; and if Skyetel's service quality declined, they would be helpless. We heard this concern, and intentionally built the Billing System to be detachable.
The way we do this is simple - we do not send the invoices, a third party does. We do not store extensive reports, transactional data, credit card information, etc; all of that is held by a third party that you control independently of Skyetel. Should you decide that Skyetel is no longer the right fit, you simply disconnect us and move on.
3. We are not accountants
Telecom billing and taxation are complicated, and we are not experts in it. We outsourced all of our taxes and compliance to a third party (CSI), and rely on them for advice as issues arise. We intentionally built this system to encourage you to do the same thing for customers who enable the taxes on this system (more on that below)
4. We should not make money on this system
This is an ethical thing. We do not believe we should make a cut of your billing - we aren't doing any of the work to maintain your relationships, so we do not deserve any part of your billings. It's that simple.
The only exception of this is for Phantom Tenants - that is, Tenants that do not have any usage. We wanted to avoid having this system be taken advantage of and so we charge a fee for an invoice sent to a Tenant that has no usage. We discuss that more below.
The Skyetel Tenant Billing system exclusively uses Stripe in order for you to bill your customers. We do not intend to offer other payment gateways for the foreseeable future, and do not intend to integrate this billing system into any accounting software. Stripe has a very wide array of integrations, exports, reports, etc that you can use to keep track of your accounting.
You will need to setup an account with Stripe at www.stripe.com in order to use this system.
Tenant Billing is in Arrears
The Tenant Billing system relies on data that is generated from the Tenant Statements at the end of each month. Because of this, all invoices that are generated by this system will be backwards looking. For example - the invoice generated in May will be for the month of April. It is not possible to do a rolling 30 day period.
The Tenant Billing system schedules the sending of your invoice via stripe when the statement is generated for your Tenant; we do not schedule the sending of invoices mid-month. We do this to insure that we have a complete picture of your Tenant's usage prior to being able to send them a bill.
For example, if today is May 15th, and you schedule a billing profile for your Tenant for the 20th day of the month, the first invoice will be generated on June 20th, not May 20th.
If you need to send an invoice before this schedule, you will need to use the one-time invoice option to manually send the invoice.
Phantom Tenant Fee
The Tenant Billing system is completely free for Skyetel customers who are using Skyetel as the carrier for their customers. In order to protect our Billing System from abuse, we will charge a $5 fee per sent invoice for any "Phantom Tenant." We define an "Phantom Tenant" as a tenant that has less than $5 in total usage associated with it's Statement. This fee is hard coded into the Tenant System and it is not possible for Skyetel Support to reverse it.
Tenant Address Updates
In order to insure that the Tax Rating the Billing system uses is accurate, we require you to validate the address of each Tenant prior to creating a billing profile for them. This allows to make sure that we are rating the Tenant's Tax Obligation correctly.
It's Okay To Outgrow This System
The Tenant Billing System was designed for Skyetel customers who are billing under ~100-150 customers. We recognize that as your business grows, your billing will become more complex and more tailored to the platform you are building for your customers. Furthermore, customers who are that large will have other needs we cannot offer - like CRM integration or permissions sets.
This system is a bridge that takes you from "I'm just getting started" to "We're good at this now." Being a part of your growth story is important to us - so you won't hurt our feelings if you end up needing a more powerful billing engine later on.