Startup#7 Utility Payment Rebate/Refund via Coupons

Coupons is big business – they are loved by discount shoppers and more people would use it if it were easy.  While that is a business for another day, today we link a coupon aggregating business with an online utility payment business.

Idea –  Customer comes to your site/App to pay the bill and not the utility site because you “refund via Coupons” up to the same amount.  So $50 bill payment gives the customer $50 worth of say 10 discount coupons.  As an aggregator of utility payments your website or App uses the Utility website’s API to Payment method to make it easier for their customers to pay their bills.  Over time, as you build partnerships, your site provides multiple utilities at one place.

Revenue Model –

  • Commissions charged to the Utility provider and to the Coupon provider.
  • Upfront fees charged to access the best, popular Coupons.  Coupons compete, the best coupons of the week, get a price attached to access them.

Challenges

If the above sounds too good to be true, it is because this is no easy business.  Margins can be wafer-thin, Coupons need to be tracked and honoured else you lose a customer, Utilities and Coupon providers have to agree to pay you commission (and on time).  Some of them may change tactics once you’re in business and dependent on them!   This is just like the TV channels and the cable companies – who pays whom depends on who is in demand, which can change season to season!!!  It took an entrepreneur 2 attempts to get this model right, as in the video below.

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