Quick Start Guide

  1. What is Cheddar?
  2. Signup
  3. Quick Setup
    1. Create a product account
      1. Product Creation Tips
    2. Create a Pricing Plan
      1. Basic Pricing Plan
      2. Advanced Pricing Plan Options and Tracked Items
    3. Select a Payment Processor
    4. Integration
      1. API Integration
      2. Hosted Pages
    5. Go Live
  4. Dashboard
    1. Tracked Items

1. What is Cheddar?

Cheddar is a simple and powerful platform that manages all the complexity of billing-- including usage tracking, SaaS metrics, customer communications, and more. Cheddar’s unique, usage-based approach to billing makes it easy to get started, and even easier to iterate pricing in the future.

You simply set up the rules for how you’d like your customers to be charged. Then, throughout the billing period, you tell Cheddar about signups, cancellations, usage activity, or plan changes. When it's time to bill your customers, Cheddar calculates how much to charge them using the rules you've configured and transacts them via your payment processor.

Cheddar also offers optional payment processing for customers banked in the US. And no matter what payment processor you use, you can always change to a different one without changing a line of code.

2. Signup

Sign up here to create a user account and get started for free. All of Cheddar's features will be available for testing and transactions will be simulated, so you can get everything set up the way you need before going live.

Only pay when you're ready to start processing live transactions.

3. Quick Setup

Now that you're signed up, you're ready to move on to the Quick Setup. The Quick Setup takes you through the minimum configuration necessary to go live with Cheddar using a basic flat subscription model:

  1. Creating a product account

  2. Setting up pricing plans

  3. Selecting a payment processor for simulation

  4. Integration
    At this step, you'll be ready to start developing your integration with either our API or our Hosted Payment Pages.

  5. Going live

You can exit the Quick Setup and view your Dashboard anytime by clicking on the cheese logo in the upper left-hand corner. Return to the Quick Setup by selecting the step you’d like to visit in the Quick Setup dropdown menu.

3.1 Create a Product Account

Now that you've created a user account in the signup step, it's time to make your Cheddar product account.

Here's the difference:

  • A user account is your personal account for logging into Cheddar.

  • A product account (or product) is essentially an account for your entire business -- usually, you'll have one product account per legal entity (although you can have multiple products). It contains all your pricing plans, metrics, and customer records for that entity. Each product account can have multiple authorized users, and users can have access to multiple products.

By default, every new product account is in Developer mode, meaning access is totally free and all transactions will be simulated until you're ready to go live.

Create your first product here to get started!

3.1.1 Product Creation Tips

  • Your product name will show up in emails to customers, so you’ll want to use a name that your customers will recognize.
  • Your bank country is the country where your deposit bank account is located. This is important for determining which payment processors are available for you to use with Cheddar.
  • Each product account is associated with a currency in Cheddar. This is one of the reasons a user might have access to multiple product accounts.

First product created

That's it, you've created your first Cheddar product account! Now it's time to create some pricing plans.

Remember, you can always change any of your product settings as long as your account isn’t live.

3.2 Create a Pricing Plan

In step 2 of the Quick Setup, you'll be prompted to create your first pricing plan.

Think of pricing plans as sets of rules that you define to tell Cheddar how often and how much to bill customers for their usage or subscriptions. Once you've configured a few pricing plans, you tell us which plan a customer is subscribed when they sign up and we'll take care of the rest.

Cheddar will use the pricing plan settings to automatically calculate and bill your customers the correct amount at the correct frequency.

As we’re working through creating your first pricing plan, here are some of the terms you’re going to see:

  • Pricing Plan: Set the amount you charge customers for their subscriptions and usage

  • Subscription fee: a flat fee charged at a regular interval (such as $99/month)

  • Usage data: a record of your customers' usage of features, packages, or other functionality in your platform. Usage data is sent to Cheddar via the API.

  • Usage fees: optional variable fees you charge your customers based on their usage data

3.2.1 Basic Pricing Plan

Let's start by creating a pricing plan for a basic flat subscription. A basic pricing plan consists of a base recurring fee that's charged on a fixed frequency (for example, $99/month). This is what you use for a simple, subscription-only pricing model that does not charge for or track a customer's usage data.

Naming your Pricing Plan

You can name your plan whatever you like, as long as it makes sense to you. Our customers often choose names that match their advertised subscription plans, like FREE, STARTER, PREMIUM, etc.

Base Recurring Fee

Under How much will you charge?, you'll choose the flat subscription fee for your pricing plan. Every customer on this plan will be charged this amount on every invoice by default.

To get a variable charge for each customer based on their usage of your services, you'll want to do some further customization with what we call Tracked Items, which you can read more about here.

Billing Frequency

Choose a fixed interval (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc) for Cheddar to bill customers subscribed to this plan. Both subscription and usage fees will be charged according to the frequency setting of the customer's pricing plan.

Add Plan

That's all you need for your basic pricing plan setup. Click "Add Plan" to create your first pricing plan!

Add More Plans!

If you have a good idea what all your pricing plans might look like, you can go ahead and configure them here in the Quick Setup by repeating the last 4 steps as needed.

You can always come back to add a new plan or modify existing plans by going to Configuration>Pricing Plans.

3.2.2 Advanced Pricing Plan Options

Cheddar's pricing plans, when combined with an API integration, can accommodate all kinds of pricing models beyond just flat, subscription-only.

  • Want to try out metered billing? Check out our super-powerful Tracked Items feature.
  • Looking to customize first invoice date, add free trials, or customize plan change behavior? You can set up all of those features and more once you complete the Quick Start Guide by visiting your Pricing Plans page, found under the Configuration menu.

3.3 Select a Payment Processor

After you've set up your pricing plans, the next step of the Quick Setup is to select a payment processor. At the end of every billing period, Cheddar calculates how much to charge your customers and uses your payment processor to run online transactions for you.

You can select our built-in credit card payment processor (if you're banked in the US), one of our other compatible processing/gateway providers, or PayPal. Cheddar also allows you to use external payment methods, which are payment processing methods that are not connected to your Cheddar product account (like ACH or payment processors not supported by Cheddar). If you place a customer on an external payment method, Cheddar will still calculate charges and compile invoices for them, but it won’t automatically transact the invoices.

While your product account is still in Developer mode, you're really choosing a payment processor for Cheddar to simulate while you get set up and test Cheddar. You can always change your mind by revisiting this step later. In fact, even after you go live, you can swap out payment processors without changing any code.

You don't need an active payment processor to test Cheddar in Developer mode. However, it can take time to acquire a payment processing account, so it’s a good idea to start evaluating your options and applying for accounts while you’re still testing.

Not sure what payment processing options are available to your business or how to get started? Our support team is happy to chat!

3.4 Integration

Now it's time to connect your app to Cheddar and start testing the full billing platform. While Cheddar takes care of managing billing logic and transactions, your customers will still interact with your application to sign up, update, and cancel their subscriptions. We need your application to tell us when these actions happen, so that we can bill your customers for the right amount at the right time.

There are two ways to do this, via the API and using our Hosted Pages.

3.4.1 API Integration

To unlock all the power of Cheddar's flexible system, including our usage-based billing features and fully-customizable billing behavior, your dev team will want to build an integration with our API.

Our Sample Integration Roadmap will walk you through all the basics of an integration with Cheddar. We've also got complete documentation of our API here.

3.4.2 Hosted Pages

Short on developer resources, or just want to get going quickly with a simple setup? We offer Hosted Payment Pages that give you access to basic recurring billing with Cheddar without an API integration. Check out this Knowledge Base article to find out more.

3.5 Go Live

Once you've tested your Cheddar integration and you're ready to start accepting transactions, it's time to go live!

When you’re ready to go live, visit the Go Live step here and enter your payment information. After submitting your payment information, you’ll be directed to a page where you can enter the credentials for the credit card processor you’ve selected and/or your PayPal business account. Once you’ve saved these details, your account will be live!

If you've reached the Go Live step, but you're not quite ready to start accepting payments from your customers, navigate to the dashboard by clicking the cheese in the top left corner. You can always revisit the Quick Setup to go live later.

4. Dashboard

The Dashboard is where you can view and manage every aspect of your Cheddar product, from pricing plans to customer communications emails.

  • For our usage tracking and usage-based billing features, see below for instructions on getting set up.
  • Under your product name, view your product account dashboard or create additional products.
  • In your product account main dashboard page, you'll be able to see your product metrics and revenue stats at a glance. Click on the little gear next to any metric to see details.
  • Click the “Quick Setup” dropdown menu to visit any step of the Quick Setup. You can make as many changes as you need before going live.
  • The “Customers” menu gives you access to all your customer records. You can search your existing customers or add a new customer here.
  • Under “Activity,” search your transactions history, hooked activity history, view your error log, or see detailed revenue analytics.
  • The “Configuration” menu gives you access to advanced product-wide settings (like sales tax or requiring CVV), all your pricing plans, hosted pages configuration, webhooks configuration, customer communication emails and more!
  • Manage access to Cheddar for additional team members on the “Manage Users” page, found in the dropdown menu under your username.

4.1 Tracked Items

The special ingredient to Cheddar's flexibility is our Tracked Items functionality. Cheddar's Tracked Items can be used to create usage levels, control access to features, and iterate pricing without billing code.

Simply put, a Tracked Item is any customer activity in your platform that you'd like to track or bill for. People track things like API calls, downloads, text messages, users, views -- any activity that your code knows about and can associate with a customer is a potential Tracked Item.

Let's go ahead and add your first Tracked Item to one of your pricing plans.

  • From the Dashboard, go to Configuration>Pricing Plans and click "Edit Pricing Plan" next to the plan you'd like to add usage tracking to.
  • Give your item a name and a code
  • Configure how much you'd like to charge for this item on this plan
  • That's it! You're ready to start updating usage data via the API

Learn all about setting up Tracked Items in our Pricing Plan Basics article.

Curious how you can use Tracked Items to your advantage? Our support team is here to help!

Going Live

When you’ve tested and configured Cheddar to your heart’s content, revisit the final step of the Quick Setup to go live.

Have some questions you'd like to ask before going live? Our support team is here to help!

View Plans and Pricing   or   Get Started with Cheddar now →

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