What is a minimum subscription period?

A minimum subscription period is a fixed term during which your customer won’t be able to cancel their subscription.

For example, you have a monthly subscription, however you want your customer to engage themselves to pay it for an entire year. Setting up the minimum period to 12 months, will allow you to let your customers pay month by month, but prevent them to cancel their subscription until they paid their 12 months. After the 12 periods, they’ll still pay month by month but will be able to cancel at any time

No Woocommerce or EDD inbuilt solution

Currently it’s not possible to set a minimum term in Woocommerce Subscription or EDD Recurring Payment. What you can do is request upfront payment that covers the minimum period.

For example if your minimum period is 12 months and the subscription is $20 per month, you’d set up a sign up fee of $240 (12 x $20) and set up the monthly cost to $0.

The inconvenience with this are

  1. The upfront payment can get really high for high value subscriptions. That could scare potential customers off.
  2. After the minimum period the customer have to manually re-subscribe and pay again the next minimum period upfront. 
  3. There is no way to roll out the subscription automatically period by period and give your customer the flexibility to cancel.
  4. In term of accounting it’s the $0 per period is not ideal 

A second option is to set up a yearly subscription of $240, but the point 1, 2 and 3 above are still relevant to this solution. Plus you don’t have the same administrative record of each period subscribed by your customer, it’s only one big period.

Minimum Subscription plugin

There is a way to get a minimum period and  avoid all the above inconveniences.

The minimum subscription plugin is a very simple add on for WooCommerce Subscription and EDD recurring payment. It works with Paypal subscription as well as stripe and payment other gateways.

It adds a field minimum period in each subscription product. It allows you to set the minimum number of payments required before allowing your customers to cancel their subscription from their Account page.

The advantages:

  • No high upfront cost
  • You make sure you get the minimum amount for each subscription while spreading the cost
  • Automatic roll out subscription so your customers don’t have to do anything to carry on their subscription after the minimum period
  • You give a maximum of flexibility to your customer allowing them to cancel at anytime after the minimum term.
  • More accurate accounting record for each period compared to the previous alternative.

Take a look at this minimum subscription plugin for Woocommerce and Easy Digital Download.

Why would you need a minimum term?

It avoids you to have to require your customers to pay their subscription in advance at the time of sign up. So the cost is still spread but you still get your minimum buy-in. After the minimum period subscriptions are set to be automatic renewal period by period and your customer will be able to cancel at any time.  

A few use cases:

Rental or Service subscription

When renting properties or material you may want to ensure your client stay a certain amount of time:  6 months,12 months, 24 months…

Once your customer has signed the rental/service contract, they will have to use and pay for the service or property for the minimum subscription period fixed by you, paying period by period (weekly, monthly, quarterly…). 

Once the fixed period has run out, the rental will carry on, paid period by period, until either the end of the subscription you fixed or your customer cancel their subscription.

Magazines and subscription boxes

When you run a magazine or subscription box business your customers could pay issue by issue. But you might want to give them a discount if they engage themselves to receive a certain number of issues.  

Having a minimum subscription terms allow you to make your customers pay issue by issue, but also ensure you get a minimum amount of issue per customer, helping you forecast how many items you’ll ship every week or month.

Once the fixed period has run out, the subscription will carry on up to either the end of the subscription you fixed or until your customer cancel their subscription.

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