Many business owners have been inspired by success stories from companies such as Design Pickle, rushing out to build their own unlimited service business. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all.

A recurring services business does indeed bring many advantages to the table. But what kind of business type can offer services that are billed regularly?

The advantages of a recurring service

New and old businesses alike often struggle with their cash flow. They’d like to invest more in their expansion, but are looking at a scarce source of income.

Here’s where recurring services come in: instead of hoping that the next month will be better, they allow you to accurately predict your income. A recurring service can be billed

  • weekly or bi-weekly,
  • monthly,
  • quarterly, or
  • annualy.

These are the most common types of billing periods used by many business owners. Depending on the client management software you use, you might be able to set up your recurring services differently.

To keep it simple, a monthly, quarterly, and annual pricing structure is ideal. Here’s why:

  1. The annual pricing allows you to bind your clients to your company while also offering a discount.
  2. Quarterly subscriptions are still valuable, but the discount should be smaller than for annual subscriptions.
  3. Lastly, the monthly pricing should be fully priced as a client can always cancel easily, leaving you with a lower cash flow.

Ignoring the monthly recurring revenue, you can plan your cash flow by looking at the quarterly and annual subscriptions, and plan three months ahead. This should give you enough wiggle room to hire new personnel, invest in software, and more.

Next, let’s look at a few businesses that would profit from a recurring services model.

1. Unlimited design businesses

As mentioned previously, Design Pickle is the number one inspiration for any designer looking to launch a subscription based business. And there’s a good reason for it: it’s incredibly easy to come up with a sustainable pricing model.

Here are a few things to take into consideration:

  • set yourself apart from the competition by offering something new
  • charge a higher price for a faster turnaround time
  • offer a plan with a dedicated designer

These are just a few business ideas to think about. One thing that doesn’t work in most cases is using a lower price to set yourself apart. Low prices attracts clients with low budgets, leaving your business struggling to make ends meet due to a low profit margin.

2. Content writing businesses

Many content writing businesses have been focusing on a per-word pricing structure. While it isn’t a bad one, it’s not that attractive. The number one issue is that nobody knows exactly how many words they need. Potential clients are stuck at a pricing calculator asking them to choose their word count so they can put in an order.

Instead, use a pricing structure such as this one:

  • offer word-count bundles (10,000 words, 50,000 words)
  • charge more for native English writers
  • discount your prices for high-volume plans

The idea is to offer a recurring service that your ideal client would find suitable. For instance, many small and medium sized businesses struggle to write content. They simply don’t have the time for it, which is why they are looking to outsource this activity. By offering monthly recurring packages, you fill their need perfectly.

3. Video editing businesses

Video editing, specifically in the podcast niche, are becoming increasingly popular. The interesting thing about podcast editing is that it’s an easy recurring revenue. Anyone who launches a podcast will try to keep it alive for as long as possible.

There are two possibilities to integrate a recurring billing model:

  1. offer a regular video & audio editing service for established podcasters
  2. help newbies launch their podcast, and transition them to the first plan

The launch plans could include a certain number of episodes that will be edited plus the creation of intros/outros, distribution, and more.

A successful launch increases the chances that the client remains with the podcast editing business. The company can then transition the client to the regular podcast plans (billed monthly, quarterly, annualy).

4. Social media businesses

The number of social media users has hit an all-time high of 4.20 billion according to a study published by We Are Social and Hootsuite. It comes to no surprise that many companies invest heavily in their social media efforts. And some businesses are trying to help them with their efforts.

Many former social media managers have productized their skills into monthly management plans. Here’s what some of them include:

  • a certain number of posts published each week to a certain number of social profiles
  • monthly reporting of social media activities that track engagement
  • some plans include a dedicated writer, editor, and manager

Setting yourself apart from the competition could be a bit more difficult than with other businesses. The key might be to focus on specific industries depending on your industry knowledge. For instance, if you’ve worked in the travel industry, target travel agencies looking to extend their social media footprint.

5. Book publishing businesses

Hybrid publishers have been successfully productizing their business for many years. A reputable hybrid publisher (as defined by IBPA) needs to meet a variety of criteria, such as respect industry standards, and demonstrate respectable sales.

To do that, they need a business model that works well for both parties. Most hybrid publishers have a one-time fee that includes the provides services for the entire book launch:

  • editing
  • design
  • marketing

Interestingly enough, there don’t seem to be many publishers using a recurring service model. What it could include would be the services mentioned above plus an ongoing marketing service that keeps promoting the book. Most books struggle to sell after the initial launch, so promoting them with ads should keep the momentum going.

Final thoughts

The above article demonstrates that many business owners have the opportunity to offer recurring services. In most cases, they should reduce their workload, and improve the cash-flow. This allows businesses to expand their operations and edge out the competition.