Time-Based Billing

Time-based billing is a pricing model that is based on the amount of time a customer commits and uses a subscription service.

What Is Time-Based Billing?

Time-based billing in subscription businesses involves a pricing approach where the subscription’s cost is determined by the length of time a customer commits to the service. This billing model is prevalent among subscription-based businesses, where customers regularly pay for a product or service, typically on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. 

In the time-based billing framework, the subscription fee is directly linked to the duration of the subscription period. For instance, if a customer initially pays a $50 monthly subscription fee for a service, and later switches to a quarterly subscription, the monthly cost decreases, resulting in a total charge of $150 ($50 x 3 months) for the three-month subscription. 

An illustration of time-based billing featuring two hands adjoining a small clock and a dollar coin.

What Are the Benefits of Time-Based Billing?

Time-based billing in subscriptions offers several benefits for both businesses and customers: 

Accurate Pricing 

Time-based billing allows businesses to accurately price their services based on the value they offer. Different services or tasks may have varying complexities and resource requirements, and time-based billing allows businesses to factor in these differences in their pricing. 

Flexibility for Customers 

Customers have the flexibility to choose a subscription duration that aligns with their needs and budget. They can opt for monthly, quarterly, or annual subscriptions based on their preferences. 

Cost Savings 

Time-based billing can provide cost savings for customers who commit to longer subscription durations. By opting for a longer subscription period, customers can take advantage of discounted rates compared to monthly subscriptions. 


Time-based billing provides predictability in financial planning for both businesses and customers. With fixed recurring payments, customers can budget their expenses, and businesses can forecast their revenue streams. 

Streamlined Administration 

Time-based billing simplifies administrative processes for businesses. With automated invoicing and billing systems, businesses can efficiently manage subscription renewals and payment collections. 

Improved Customer Retention 

By offering flexible subscription durations and cost savings for longer commitments, time-based billing can increase customer satisfaction and improve retention rates. 


It’s important to note that the benefits mentioned above are general advantages of time-based billing in subscriptions. The specific benefits for each business may vary depending on factors such as industry, pricing strategies, and customer preferences. 


What Are the Challenges of Time-Based Billing?

Data Analysis Complexity 

Implementing time-based pricing can be challenging due to the need for robust data analysis capabilities. Businesses need to gather and analyze significant amounts of data to accurately predict demand and set optimal prices, requiring sophisticated data analysis capabilities. 

Difficulty in Adjusting Pricing 

Time-based billing can make it challenging for businesses to adjust pricing in response to changing market dynamics or customer expectations. This inflexibility may limit the business’s ability to remain competitive in the market. 


Related Terms


Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) 

Recurring Billing 

Subscription Pricing 

Tiered Pricing 

Usage-Based Billing 

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