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PayKickstart Alternative: Zendo For Connecting Sales With Clients

PayKickstart alternative: Zendo for connecting sales with clients
If easy subscription management combined with a proper client portal solution is just what you’ve been looking for — check out our article covering Zendo as the best PayKickstart alternative out there.
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Having originated a decade ago in Carmel, Indiana, United States, PayKickstart seems to be a reasonable solution for selling subscription services, as well as digital and physical products.

But once you dive deep into your research, PayKickstart starts to show some serious red flags, even before attempting to start the free trial period. ⛳

Any of which may make you tempted to look for a PayKickstart alternative immediately.

4 Reasons To Look For A PayKickstart Alternative

For one, the bad reviews.

If you were to compare PayKickstart’s reviews placed on G2 with those submitted on TrustPilot you’d start to question reality.

On G2, the reviews are near perfect, with a 4.8 star rating consisting of only 4 and 5-star reviews. TrustPilot, on the other hand, comes in with a bunch of scam warnings and angry customers, constituting for a 2.1 score and as much as 56% of the reviews being 1-star ratings.

The polar-opposite of PayKickstart’s review profiles is truly astounding, but it’s not the worst part.

The many scam accusations made us heavily hesitant to even try using PayKickstart, especially since you do have to provide your credit card details to get your 14-day free trial. Unfortunately, PayKickstart doesn’t bother to address any of those comments on TrustPilot either.

For two, the expensive plans & additional costs.

From Starter, which gives us payment integration, subscription management, reporting & analytics, checkout templates, or sales conversion tools, but also costs $99 per month and comes with an additional 1% fee for every processed transaction.

Next, we can choose the Growth plan for $199 each month that comes with some additional features and integrations, like Apple & Google Pay for payments, affiliate management, dunning management, customer retention, in-app notifications (for some reason only from the second-tier plan), API & Webhooks, or cancelation saver sequences. This time the transaction fee stands at 0.75%.

Lastly, we can go for the Scale plan, which comes with a custom price and some more features, including advanced customer insights, CRM integrations, unlimited users, but also priority support.

Every plan can be topped with a CONNECT processor for payments to lower the transaction fees, instead of using any third-party providers, like Stripe or PayPal.

The next reason that may trigger your need to look for a PayKickstart alternative is mixed communication shared by the company.

Just as the reviews give mixed signals, so does PayKickstart’s website messaging. On one page we can read that the invoices are “coming soon”, on others invoices are very much already available in the app. Another example would be trying to reach the app’s knowledge base to learn more about the product — unfortunately, there, we’re met with an “archived page”.

Lastly, being experts in everything client portal related, we have to mention PayKickstart’s minimum client portal options.

The solution offered by PayKickstart is mostly a billing management tool for your clients to check their purchase history or cancel their ongoing subscriptions. Not covering the absolute basics of a proper client portal solution, like file sharing or communication. And CRM integrations are only available in the highest-tier plan.

So if you’re looking for an alternative solution that covers all those points and more, check out our in-depth description of Zendo below. 👀

Zendo: Introduction

Zendo is a modern SaaS solution, founded in 2021 by Jakub Gaj with his team at Massive Pixel Creation. It started as a simple tool for client communication paired with some efficient request management, but over time evolved to a complete solution for selling services online.

With a particular focus on service productization, subscription management, and some useful client portal features, Zendo turns out to be that one and only tool for managing your business online.

Substituting tools like email, Slack, Memberstack, Trello, a separate client portal tool, and more, all while being extremely affordable.

The first-tier plan that Zendo offers comes completely for free, forever, and ensures all the essential features for setting up and managing your business.

The following two subscription plans come with even more advanced features and complete white labeling options. The Pro plan costs $49 and includes 2 users in the price, while the Max plan comes with unlimited users — perfect for bigger teams — for $199 per month.

Trying out either of the plans does not require providing your credit card details and allows canceling or downgrading to a free forever plan, anytime. 

Flexible Payments With No Additional Fees

Zendo gives you the option to sell your services using two main types of payments, either Stripe for collecting any credit card or mobile payments and manual payments for everything else.

Now, no matter which type of payment you’d go for, there are no additional fees collected on top of the regular fees required by the third-party processor you’ll be using.

Stripe For Automation

Starting with Stripe — go for this payment processing option if you’re longing for complete automation in the whole process and beyond it.

Zendo integrates with Stripe directly, meaning Stripe powers its upfront payments in the checkout and supports collecting subscription payments, as well as managing them later on. Which removes any manual work on your part.

Zendo powered with Stripe will automatically check whether your clients have completed their payment, mark your services and subscriptions as paid, notify and prompt your clients to complete their payments, automatically count the subscription days, even with pauses, and renew subscriptions.

Plus, Stripe is not just for collecting credit card payments, it also allows you to add any popular payment options to your Zendo checkout, like Apple and Google Pay, Klarna, BLIK, and more.

Something you’d only get in PayKickstart’s second-tier plan for $199 a month — you get in Zendo right from the free forever starter plan. 

Manual Payments For Everything Else

However, building our solution, we did receive a whole lot of feedback saying that either Stripe is not available for some countries or that some just prefer to use different payment gateways.

This prompted us to add the option of manual payments to Zendo, allowing you to operate your services using any global payments, like PayPal or Square, or going for something more off grid, like crypto payments.

Whatever your choice of payment processor is, with manual payments you simply instruct your clients to complete the payment on the desired platform, either sharing a link or details of your bank account for transfers, and collecting the payment outside of Zendo.

This requires a bit more action on your part, like checking whether the payment was completed or marking a connected service as paid once it was.

But once you do mark your services as paid, everything else will be taken care of by Zendo. We’ll track the subscription days, pauses, cancellations, and more.

Easy Service Selling

Collecting payments is nothing without your services, and with Zendo you get to create 4 types of services — productized one-offs, custom services, subscriptions, and free services.

The type of service you choose determines the options you get.

And that’s how you get to:

  • Create different items along with add-ons for one-off services, defining the prices upfront.
  • Define your packages, highlight the best option, add a free trial, allow your clients to pause their subscription, add a sale price, and more with subscription services.
  • Offer your clients a custom option with a description and the option to issue the quote later, once you discuss all the specifics.
  • Create a free-of-charge service and use it for collecting customer feedback, collaboration requests, inquiries, or simply support for your services.

Now, no matter the service type you choose, Zendo makes sure that you can set up the whole checkout process from start to finish.

Example customizable checkout page in Zendo, covering an order form, service description, image, items, prices, add-ons, and more

From adding a customizable order form to adding the service’s image and description, to defining the payment options that will be displayed on our automatically created checkout page.

But the customizable checkout pages are not there to only look good — they’re also there to help your clients self-serve.

Sharing with your clients or embedding your checkout pages on your website, your clients can browse your services and order them completely autonomously.

Going a step further, you can bundle up your individual services into a whole Service Catalog, and share or embed that page publicly so that your clients have an even wider choice of your service.

Example Service Catalog can be found here. 👀   

Complete Subscription Management

Zendo is not just about setting up and selling your services, though.

You also get to care for your clients post selling your services, with many client portal features, including a real-time chat, a Kanban board, or the possibility of submitting requests.

But we’ll leave those features for the next paragraph. In this one, we’ll tackle recurring billing management specifically.

We’ve already mentioned self-serving — clients being able to purchase your services, including subscriptions on their own, and the difference between Stripe and manual payments, but let’s dive deeper into what happens post purchase.

Zendo as a PayKickstart alternative offers a whole Subscriptions tab with the most essential details about purchased subscriptions collected in one place

With Zendo, you get a whole Subscriptions tab where you have bird view access to all purchased by your clients subscriptions, the exact package selected, its state, whether it’s trial, canceled, paused, active, or pending payment, price, start and end date, date of next payment, and request limits used.

But it’s also the one place for all the essential actions, including submitting a request within the connected subscription, canceling the subscription, pausing and resuming, or viewing the connected order form, requests, and invoices.

Zendo automatically takes care of renewing your clients’ subscriptions, counting the remaining subscription days, including with pausing and resuming days, as well as issuing invoices for any purchases made.

On top of that, if you’d like you can also easily sell unlimited subscriptions.

How so?

Thanks to request limits we’ve briefly mentioned.

Zendo’s subscriptions allow you to add different types of request limits to your subscriptions, including a number of overall completed requests within a specified period of time, a number of concurrent active requests, and the total number of requests a client can have in their queue, aka, the total number of pending and active requests combined.

The limit that is actually going to help you set up an unlimited subscription business is the one pertaining to concurrent active requests — because you can’t work on an infinite number of requests all at the same time.

Setting it to 1 or 2 is an industry standard, but that number will definitely depend on your team’s capabilities and size.

Once the limit is set, Zendo will automatically track your clients’ requests and make sure that it’s not possible to go over the limit. For example, when viewing their requests on the Kanban board, your clients won’t be able to move their request to the active board if they’ve already reached the limit.

A notification informing them of the reached limit will show up, but your clients can also always check on the limits in the Subscriptions tab, as well as right on the dashboard.

That’s how you can easily recreate any of the popular unlimited businesses, say DesignJoy, Design Pickle, Penji, or Video Husky, all with one tool — Zendo.

Customizable Client Portal

From self-serving for purchases, through submitting requests, and Zendo automatically tracking your client’s subscriptions and request limits, you have to come to one conclusion — Zendo is a major time saver.

But we haven’t even gotten to the best part just yet. So let’s talk a bit more about Zendo’s client portal.

Just as covering all bases for selling services, Zendo is also a full fledged client portal option. And a modern one, too.

It offers all the essential client portal features, including sharing files, checking on invoices, managing purchases, completing payments, ordering services, but also submitting & managing requests, and checking on all the important information.

Besides covering the basics, Zendo also comes with some extra features that we’ve purposefully left out to talk about them in more detail below.

The first feature we want to highlight is Zendo’s real-time chat that’s available for every user.

We know just how tedious it can be to spend hours digging through your email inbox in an aim to find that one comment about your recent project.

Back-and-forth emails do not make anyone happy, so we’ve decided to let you get rid of email completely. At least for your client & team communication.

Real-time chat in Zendo allows for efficient client and team-based communication and real-time project or request updates

With Zendo’s client portal, each request your clients submit comes in the form of a real-time chat box, which you can use to chat away with your clients, but also:

  • Easily update the status of their request,
  • Check on the essential details of their request using custom fields and customizable order and subscription requests forms, 
  • Send payment requests and check on the payment status,
  • Share files,
  • Check on the connected quotes & invoices,
  • Assign agents,
  • Impersonate clients.

What’s distinctive about Zendo’s chat is also the fact that it combines customer communication with private team communication, happening right next door. All you have to do to chat with your team is switch the “Reply” option to the “Note” one, and you’re safe to share anything you’d like with your teammates, free from the clients’ eyes.

Now, the second set of features we want to have a special place on stage today are the various customization and white label options you have with Zendo.

From basics like connecting a custom domain to white label the URL of our client portal and any client-facing pages, like our Service Catalog, to more advanced options like connecting a custom email domain to ensure consistent communication on all ends — Zendo comes with a bunch of customization options.

But one we want you to take a closer look at is definitely the possibility to customize the client portal sidebar.

With Zendo, you get to customize your client portal to your heart’s desire, from choosing the best color schemes to renaming the buttons, sections, and tabs, or adding your choice of icons.

Zendo as a PayKickstart alternative offers the possibility to create a client portal for each of your customers separately, including the option to customize it with colors, headings, tabs, icons, and by embedding external applications

But you also get to embed any external applications you find essential to your clients or processes. Connecting Figma for sharing the project visuals, Calendly to make booking appointments easy, or Post Affiliate Pro to take care of the affiliation part of business.

And the best part is you get to create a different client portal for every client you’re doing business with, as well as a distinctive one for your team, making sure everyone sees just the things they need.

If you’re a perfectionist — like we all are — you can create your client portal sidebar and save it in the draft form, not publishing it officially until it’s smoothly polished or take advantage of Zendo’s dedicated testing environment available for each workspace, the Sandbox mode.

Request Management & Automations

We’ve already mentioned the possibility of submitting and managing requests with the help of Zendo. But we definitely did not mention all the options that come with it.

To make your work life and your customer’s experience as pleasant as possible, you can take advantage of a few features.

For one, workflows.

Workflows are the thing giving systemization to all your processes. This is the place to:

  • Define the custom fields that should be connected with each service, from short or long message, as well multi-select options,
  • Set up the statuses you want each service to go through, including completely custom options,
  • Decide on the triggers that automatically prompt status change based on predefined scenarios,
  • Go through the additional settings, like writing an automatic message to be sent to clients after their purchase.

For two, the abundance of filtering and different viewing options.

Kanban board in Zendo shows the submitted requests in a helicopter view, offering the possibility to easily move them from board to board, status to status

You and your clients have the option to view all submitted requests using a plethora of filtering options. From the ever-so-helpful Kanban board, to a birds-eye Table view, and a detailed List view.

To make things even more interactive, you can allow your clients to use the Kanban board, not just look at it, and move requests from status to status, board to board, as they please.

Taking a step further, no matter how you decide to view your requests, using either view or sorting option, like sorting through unread/read messages or by specific service you offer, you can save the filtering settings you’ve just used for future access, either on private or global basis for the whole team.

Summary: Why Zendo Is The Perfect PayKickstart Alternative

Depending on your business’ needs, you may choose between different PayKickstart alternatives — even those that simply cover the selling of digital and physical products, complimented by some useful payment processors offered.

Zendo on the other hand is a tool made for those that wish to cover all their business needs with one solution. From selling services and complete subscription management to a customizable and efficient, self-service client portal.

But besides just offering a whole lot of useful features, Zendo is also a great value for money, offering three subscription plans, with the first-tier one being completely free.

Its user-friendly and modern UI, abundance of features, and a great armor of customization options should be your best reasons to give it a try!

You can use Zendo’s paid plans for free for the first 14 days or start with the free plan from the get go to set up and manage your business with no costs whatsoever.

The choice is yours.

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Frequently Asked Questions: PayKickstart Alternative

What Is PayKickstart?

PayKickstart is an e-commerce platform that enables businesses to sell unlimited products and services with various features, including custom checkout fields or a VAT tax integration.

Why Look For A PayKickstart Alternative?

You may start to look for a PayKickstart alternative for a few reasons. For one, its plans are pretty expensive, starting already at $99 per month. For two, it has some shady reviews placed online, even those accusing PayKickstart of scamming. Another reason may cover its inaccurate and mixed communication on their website or its lack of proper client portal features.

What Is The Best PayKickstart Alternative?

The best PayKickstart alternative to find is Zendo — a modern client portal software that covers all the aspects of selling services just as well. It comes with all the functionalities for selling, from customizable checkout, different payment methods, a whole Service Catalog, subscription management, and much, much more.

Can You Customize Zendo?

Zendo is an extremely customizable tool. From the possibility of connecting it with our own domain or email domain, to embedding external applications, Zendo gives you every white label option you can think of. You can truly make it your own, even adding personalized marketing features with an app of your choice.

How Much Does Zendo Cost?

Zendo comes with three subscription plans you can choose from — from the free forever plan that covers all the essential features for setting up and managing your business, through the Pro plan that costs $49 per month and comes with additional customization features and 2 users included, all the way to the Max plan that costs $199 per month, but comes with unlimited users and all the features.

Picture of Aleksandra Dworak
Aleksandra Dworak
Content Writer

Lifts weights at the gym and of off reader's shoulders to help them skip the daunting research part and get valuable information instead.
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