Per-creation billing is a great option for creators who want a flexible billing solution for their memberships. While per-creation offers more control over billing(patrons are only charged when you charge for a post), we’re going to share some details about how it works to help you decide if it’s right for your membership business.
What we'll talk about:
Some terms we’ll use:
paid post = when you make a post and choose “Charge patrons”
monthly limit = a billing max that patrons can set
back catalogue = posts published before a patron joins
pending bill = a bill set to process on the 1st of the upcoming month
Making a paid post. Billing your patrons
To publish what we refer to as a “paid post,” click the Charge patrons box when publishing an All patrons, or Public post.
Once they’ve joined your page, patrons get access to your entire back catalogue of patron-only posts. This is true for all Patreon billing options – patrons get instant access to your content once their membership is confirmed.
When are my patrons’ bills processed?
- On the 1st of the following month: When you make a paid post, a pending bill is placed on patrons’ accounts. We process your patrons’ pending bills on the 1st of the following month. So if you make a paid post on June 1st, a pending bill is placed on active patrons’ accounts. These pending bills will be processed on 1 July. Once processed, the funds can be found on your Payout and Taxes page.
- Immediately when a patron cancels their membership: When a patron cancels their membership with a per-creation creator, we attempt to charge them for all pending bills on their account.
The patron monthly limit
Sometimes referred to as a “monthly max,” a patron's monthly limit is the maximum amount they will be billed for paid posts in a given month. The monthly limit ensures that patrons are never charged more than they’ve agreed to when they joined your page.
This limit is set during membership confirmation and can be edited throughout the month. Don’t worry, lowering the monthly limit doesn’t remove pending bills. If a monthly limit is not enabled, patrons are eligible to be billed for every paid post you make.
Does this mean patrons lose access after they’ve been billed their monthly limit?
No. Patrons will have access to all paid posts and patron-only posts published as long as they have an active membership with you and do not have a declined bill.
Example: Jake joins your £5 tier on 12 July and sets a monthly limit of two paid posts, or £10. Jake has access to and can comment on all of your paid and patron-only posts after joining. You make paid posts on: 13 July, 22 July and 30 July. Jake has pending bills on his account for your 13 July and 22 July paid posts. Jake is charged £10 on 1 August for his July pending bills.
Review patrons’ current monthly limits
You can review your patrons’ current monthly limits by downloading a CSV of your Active patrons. To do this:
- Head to your Relationship Manager
- Set Membership type > Active patrons, and click the CSV button.
Patrons’ monthly limits will be in column Q, or the column labelled as max amount, of the CSV you download. The amount listed shows the amount of the limit (i.e. Jake’s £5 tier with a monthly limit of two paid posts will populate as £10). This limit reflects a patrons’ current monthly limit and does not show historical limits.
Posting as a per-creation creator
Although you’re a per-creation creator, you have the option of setting post access in a variety of ways. Below, we’ll talk through the different ways you can post on your page. The most important thing to take away is that you can set access in two different ways for paid posts (Patrons Only, or Public).
In this section we’ll break down how you can set access for these two types of posts:
Posts you can charge patrons for
Patrons Only paid post
Patrons are billed with a pending bill, and the post can only be accessed by patrons. Non-patrons who come to your page will not have access to the content of your post. We process pending bills on the 1st of the following month, or immediately when the Patron cancels their membership to you.
Public paid Post
Patrons are billed with a pending bill and the post is publicly visible. So all of your patrons and non-patrons can view this post. We process pending bills on the 1st of the following month, or immediately when the Patron cancels their membership to you.
Patron-Only unpaid Post
Patrons are not billed for this Post, however, all Patrons (at any Membership level) have access to the Post.
For specific Patrons unpaid Post
Your Patrons are not billed for this post and it is only visible to the Membership value that you’ve selected.
Public unpaid Post
Your Patrons are not billed and the Post is publicly visible. This means that all of your patrons and non-patrons can view this post.
Will my Patrons be billed for every paid Post that I publish?
No. To ensure that Patrons can still support per-creation creators even if they’re on a budget, Patrons have the option to set a monthly billing max. Patrons will be billed for every paid Post you make while they have an active membership, up to their monthly max
. Check out this article that explains monthly maxes for Patrons, here: How do I set a monthly max to my membership?
Q: What happens if a patrons’ payment declines?
A: We always want to process your patrons’ payments. If a payment is declining, it typically indicates that the patrons’ credit card issuer (bank or PayPal) is blocking the charge for some reason. When a patrons’ payment declines, that patron immediately loses access to your patron-only and paid posts. They’ll only regain access once they resolve their declined payment.
Q: How do I know if I should use per creation?
A: In the end, whether or not you should use per creation billing is entirely up to you! A few things to note:
- As per creation creator, you won’t be paid upfront. When you make a paid post it does immediately put a pending bill on your patrons’ accounts, however, you’ll need to wait until the 1st of the next month, or if the patron cancels to receive their payment. It’s important to ask yourself if you’re okay with waiting until the 1st.
- You're not selling a “thing” to patrons. Your patrons have a membership with you which grants them access. Per creation billing is simply how you bill them for that membership.
- You’re not guaranteed that every patron will be billed for every post. As we mentioned, patrons agree to pay a certain amount every month. We’re unable to exceed that limit
When we’ve seen per creation work great:
- Creators who publish quarterly work, like reviews, Zines, and anthologies.
- Creators who don’t post every month. If you don’t post content every month for patrons, it makes sense that you might not want to bill them every month. Per creation billing offers that flexibility.
Q: I forgot to make a paid post last month, can I still charge my patrons for that month?
A: Unfortunately, no. We're unable to bill patrons once we’ve entered a new billing cycle. The billing cycle begins at 7 am GMT on the 1st of each month.
To bill patrons for a given month, you’ll need to publish a paid post (click charge patrons when publishing).
Q: What should I do if I published a post and forgot to select “chargepatrons”?
If you’ve already published a post and forgot to select charge patrons
, you’ll not be able to edit the post to then charge patrons. If you’ve already published your post and realised that you didn’t select the option to charge patrons, our best recommendation is to publish a new post with the content and check the box to charge patrons
. Once you’ve published your paid post, you can delete your previous post. Here's how to delete posts: Edit or delete my post
- Tip: It’s helpful to add an amendment to your new post letting patrons know why there are seemingly “duplicate posts.”
Q: Why do patrons get access to all of my back catalogue when they join? Why aren’t they charged?
A: An important thing to note is that per creation billing is our legacy billing and was not set up with the idea that posts are a “thing” you are selling your patrons. It was built with the idea that your patrons want to support you and think your work is more valuable than ad revenue.
Instead of thinking of your paid posts as things that your patrons have “purchased” try to think about your paid posts as content you’ve created and your patrons have a membership that unlocks access to your content. Patrons value that content at different levels of support.