How Does CollabPay Work? The Complete Workflow

Published on 5 January 2023
Updated 23 May 2023
How CollabPay Works
Table of Contents

In short, CollabPay automates the process of calculating and paying your product creators their cut of sales.

If you have collaborated on products with another person or company, you can now easily calculate their earnings of the profits and pay them automatically.

It’s a completely automated process, so once they are set up, then you can sit back and let CollabPay do the work.

Here’s an example:

You own the store and then collaborated with Jim to create a product together. The deal is that you both earn 50% of the profits each, split 50/50.

You would need a way of calculating Jim’s earnings from the sales of that product in your store. This is where you would install CollabPay onto your store and then invite Jim as a Collaborator to get a free account and connect with your store.

You would assign Jim’s account 50% of the earnings of that product. Then once a sale comes in of that product, CollabPay will automatically calculate how much Jim is owed and then add that amount to a pending payout.

You can set the payout frequency. Let’s say you set it to pay him once per week. Jim will get paid weekly as long as there are sales of that product.

Visual example of the workflow with many Collaborators

Here is a visual example of a $25 order with 3 Collaborators – two of them earn a percentage amount, and the other one earns a flat fee. Then the store keeps the rest for itself.

You can see that the Shipping and Tax amounts are being deducted before the split calculation takes place:

Click the image to enlarge

About the options

Account types & pricing

CollabPay consists of two types of accounts:

  1. The Store owner account
  2. The Collaborator account

The store owner’s account will show differently by including options to create Collaborators, attach Collaborators, add payout options, change calculation rules, and much more. Store owners are the only ones you pay for the CollabPay subscription.

The Collaborator account is quite limited and only shows relevant information as to what the collaborators are earning from. It will show the products they are attached to, orders they have had (without personal information from the order), payout address options, and profile options. Collaborator accounts are free and only work by connecting to Store owner accounts.

Shipping & taxes

The amazing thing about CollabPay is that you can account for tax and shipping costs. That means you can set it to deduct the tax and shipping amounts from the total price before it calculates the earnings.

This means you are both getting 50/50 on the profits of the sale. Then you, as the store owner, can hold the tax and shipping costs in your business account to pay for them.

Gateway costs

The gateway costs are the transaction fees charged by your payment provider. These fees are included in all online transactions around the world and on every provider. Usually, the fees are around 2% of the total order and a small flat fee of around $0.30.

CollabPay gives you the ability to enter the gateway information and deduct it from the calculations before the earnings take place. That means the store owner can keep 100% of the gateway costs to cover the fees.

Learn more about gateway costs.

Payout frequency

The payout frequency is how often the Collaborators will be paid. You are able to customize this for each Collaborator. You have the option to pay them daily, weekly or monthly.


The integrations are for connecting your CollabPay account to multiple stores or platforms. This allows you to only pay one subscription fee for your CollabPay account.

For example, if you connect a store on WooCommerce and a store on Shopify to your CollabPay account, that would be two integrations. If you had two Shopify stores, this would be two integrations.

The only thing to note is that you can only use one Payout option for one CollabPay account. If each integration has its own PayPal account to pay from, then you will need to create a CollabPay account for each integration.

Flat fee shipping calculations

If you want to pay shipping costs to the Collaborators, you can do this when you assign products to the Collaborator. When you are asked what type of earnings they will receive (% or flat fee), select “Flat fee”, and then the “Shipping calculations” section will appear. Here is where you can add value for the Collaborator to earn.

For example, if you set the “Shipping calculations” for this Collaborator to be 100%, then 100% of the shipping costs of the product they are attached to will be paid to Collaborator.

Breakdown of the calculations

You can also see a breakdown of your calculations by:

  1. Go to an “Order” page
  2. In the Collaborators section, click on the (i) icon
press the (i)
  1. This will open a breakdown of the calculation for that product and collaborator
order breakdown of calculations in collabpay

How do the payout payments work?

Using automatic payouts by connecting PayPal – best method

The store owner that installs CollabPay to their eCommerce store can connect their PayPal business account to CollabPay and give them permission to make payments on their behalf.

This way, CollabPay never takes or holds your money. The money is paid directly from the store owner’s PayPal to the Collaborator’s PayPal.

CollabPay strictly only calculates and initiates the payment on behalf of the store owner.

This works by using a feature from PayPal called PayPal Payouts. It allows a business PayPal account to be connected to an app, so the app can make payments on its behalf and send mass payments.

Payout fees

CollabPay does not charge transaction fees. To use CollabPay, all you get charged for is the monthly subscription.

If you set up automatic payouts using PayPal, you will be charged a fee for their service. Sending a payout via PayPal Payouts will incur a fee of roughly 2% of the total transaction amount for each payout, and the fees cannot exceed the total value of $14 USD for domestic transactions and $90 USD for international transactions. This may vary depending on your currency. See more about PayPal Payout fees here.

These are PayPal fees, and CollabPay is not in control of this. Every payment processor in the world has a transaction fee, so this is unavoidable.

You will not be charged any fees if you use the “Mark as paid” button on the payouts.

Using manual payouts

If you do not want to connect your PayPal account to CollabPay, you can pay your Collaborators manually. CollabPay can be used as a calculation tool.

CollabPay will create payouts on the Payouts page. Once the payout is finalised (Pending), and no more orders are added to the payout, you can mark it as paid by going to the payout page and clicking the “Mark as paid” button.

This then allows you to pay your Collaborator in any way you please, such as bank transfer or similar.

What if the order or product is refunded?

When a product or whole order is refunded CollabPay will adjust any payouts for collaborators. There is two ways this happens.

Unpaid payouts
The amount paid to the collaborator for the order will be reversed and remove from the payout.

Paid payouts
If the payout has already been paid and the order/product has been refunded then we will create a negative charge on the next payout to recoup the fund.

How to pay Collaborators

There are two methods for paying Collaborators. You can either:

  1. Automatic payouts – Set up and connect your PayPal account to enable automatic payouts to Collaborators
  2. Manual payouts – “Mark as paid” on the payout and pay them manually in your own way like bank transfer etc.

1. Automatic payouts with PayPal

You can connect your PayPal business account to CollabPay, and CollabPay will automatically pay from your PayPal account directly to the Collaborator’s PayPal account.

You will need to get access to PayPal’s feature “PayPal Payouts” to enable this. All you need to do is drop Paypal a message and request access to “PayPal Payouts”.

This allows the CollabPay app to initiate payments on your behalf. Learn how to connect your PayPal account to CollabPay here. It’s as simple as:

  1. Go to CollabPay settings
  2. go to “PayPal Payouts”
  3. Click the “Login with PayPal” button
  4. Approve CollabPay to make payouts.
  5. Remember you will need to be approved and given access to the PayPal Payouts feature by contacting PayPal, otherwise, the payouts will fail.

2. Manual payouts with “Mark as Paid”

The “Mark as paid” feature works on the payout level. So once your payout is pending to be paid, you can “Mark as paid” to finalise it. Once it’s marked as paid, you can then pay your Collaborators.

How do Collaborator accounts work?

There are two types of accounts with CollabPay:

  • Store owner account
  • Collaborator account

Store owner accounts

The store owner accounts are the ones who install CollabPay to their eCommerce store and invite the Collaborators to earn a percentage or flat fee of sales from selected products.

As a store owner, you will see in the navigation:

  • Collaborators – here, you can invite Collaborators to handle the earnings and product attaching.
  • Orders – all orders in your store.
  • Products – all products in your store.
  • Payouts – a full list of payouts for all Collaborators.
  • Settings – customise all of your settings here.

As a store owner, you will need to:

  1. Invite Collaborators to create a free account, and they will automatically connect to your account
  2. Assign Collaborators with a percentage or flat fee earning on products you choose
  3. Connect your PayPal business account to pay them automatically, or pay them manually and mark the payouts as paid.

Collaborator accounts

The Collaborators accounts are free, and you can invite someone to join your store as a Collaborator. Collaborators only earn from store owner accounts.

For a collaborator to get paid, all they need to do is enter their PayPal account email address into their account settings. As sales come in of their products, they will see their total earnings and when they are going to get paid.

The Collaborators can see in their account:

  1. Orders (without personal information of the customer)
  2. Products they are attached to and what percentage or flat fee they are earning
  3. Payouts – a list of all their payment transactions that they have been paid by the store owner
  4. Settings that they can customise

What do the payout statuses mean?

  • Paid – the payout has been paid.
  • Pending Payout – the payout has been finalised and is ready to be paid. No more orders will be added to it.
  • Active – the order earnings are still being added to Active payouts.
  • Failed – the payout has failed to pay. Reading the payout page will explain why it failed. Read below for more info.

What happens if the payout fails?

You will be notified by email and on the Payout page if the payout fails. It will attempt to payout for 3 days (once per day), and if they fail every time, the payout will be marked as “Failed”.

From here, you will need to fix the problem that caused them to fail and manually Payout the payment yourself. You can either:

  • Click the “Manually pay via PayPal” button
  • Or use the “Mark as paid” button, then pay your collaborator in your own method (bank transfer or similar)

Please make sure you check and find out why the Payout had failed. It usually fails because of one of two things:

  1. PayPal has not given you access to use their feature PayPal Payouts. Have you had confirmation from PayPal that they have given you the ability to use the feature?
  2. The collaborator has not provided their PayPal payment email address in their Collaborator account. They need to enter this to get paid.

Video walkthrough


Please see our Beginner’s Guide tutorial if you want to learn how to set up CollabPay.

Avatar for Ben


CollabPay Founder, lead developer and amateur bowler.