In the Billing Periods pane you set a cycle length, which defines the length of the billing period; and the number of times to repeat the cycle, which defines the length of the subscription. Cycle length can be days, weeks, months, years, or unlimited. Customers are billed on the first day of the billing cycle.
A billing period can also be a Trial Period, which is a short, introductory period at reduced cost, or free, with a single cycle—that is, it is not repeated. A billing plan with a trial period typically has a second billing period, which constitutes the body of the billing plan. With such a billing plan, you might choose not to have an email sent to the customer on first billing (if the customer account is configured to email before billing) to avoid confusing the customer if the trial period is free.
To offer a one month free trial period followed by a one year subscription that bills monthly, for example, create two billing periods. For the first period, set Cycle Length to 1 Month, and Trial Period to Yes, and set Email ON First Bill to No. Then add a second billing period with the same cycle length and set Repeat Cycle to 12 Times. You might also want to set Email Before Expiration to an appropriate number of days.
You can add as many billing periods to a billing plan as you need. Billing periods are active sequentially, according to the position they occupy in the billing plan (and are numbered Billing Period 1, Billing Period 2, and so on). The first billing period takes effect when you activate the subscription, and remains in effect until it completes its defined number of cycles, after which the next Billing Period becomes active.
To create a Billing Period, complete the following fields.
Enter a number and select a time period (Years, Months, Weeks, Days) from the dropdown menu. Cycle length defines the time between billings for the period.
Enter the number of times to repeat the cycle. Select Unlimited to have the billing cycle repeat indefinitely, or select Times and enter a value. For example, a Repeat Cycle value of 4 with a Cycle Length of 3 Months defines a one year subscription that bills four times.
Select Yes if this is a free trial period. Then add a second billing period.
Email On First Bill
Select Yes to generate a customer notification on the first billing date of the period.
If the Billing Period is free, select No to prevent your customer receiving contradictory billing notices.
Email Before Expiration
To send a warning notice to your customer, enter a value for the number of days before this billing period ends. If you leave this field empty, no expiration notice is sent.
Add Billing Period
Click to add another billing period.