98% of SaaS businesses have achieved positive outcomes by implementing essential changes to their pricing strategies.

Do you aspire to be a part of this impressive 98% success rate?

Making this dream a reality requires dedicated effort and time when pricing your SaaS product. This applies to all B2C or B2B SaaS companies, whether they are just starting as startups, or have established themselves in the industry.

In the ever-evolving landscape of software as a service, understanding the fundamentals of successful pricing models is not just an advantage; it's a necessity.

So, let's delve into the world of SaaS pricing models, where the right approach can transform your product into a thriving success story.

6 types of SaaS pricing models you should be aware of

Software as a Service (SaaS) has revolutionized how businesses access and use software tools. One of the critical aspects of SaaS is its pricing model, which dictates how customers are charged for using the software.

Understanding the various pricing models available can help you decide which SaaS offering best fits your needs. Here are six types of SaaS pricing models you should be aware:

1. Per-User Pricing

User-based pricing model is a widely used SaaS model for product pricing, where the cost is determined by the number of users accessing the software.

In this model, each individual user is counted, and the subscription fee increases as the number of users grows.

This one of the best SaaS pricing model is particularly beneficial for businesses where many employees or team members need access to the software. It ensures that companies pay for the exact usage and the value they derive from the software.  

This is common in collaboration and communication tools, project management software, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the per-user based pricing model. 

Advantages

  • Per-user pricing is cost-effective for small teams or businesses as they only pay for the number of users they have, making it suitable for companies with varying team sizes.
  • As your team grows, you can easily scale up by adding more users to the subscription. This scalability makes it adaptable to your evolving needs.
  • As your team grows, you can easily scale up by adding more users to the subscription. This scalability makes it adaptable to your evolving needs.
  • The subscription cost in this type of pricing is directly tied to the number of users, providing predictability in budgeting and expense management.
  • Since you pay based on the actual users, it's a fair model that aligns costs with the value gained from the software.

Challenges

  • The cost can deter onboarding new users, especially for larger teams, potentially limiting software adoption.
  • During periods of lower activity, you might end up paying for users not actively using the software, leading to underutilization.
  • Some pricing tiers might limit access to certain advanced features, which could hinder the full usage of the software.
  • Managing user counts, especially in organizations with fluctuating team sizes, can become administratively complex.

But, its effectiveness depends on your team size, usage patterns, and budget. It's essential to carefully check the advantages and challenges of this model compared to other SaaS subscription models to determine the best fit for your business.

2. Tiered Pricing

Tiered Pricing, a popular pricing strategy for SaaS, offers different levels of features and services at varying price points. This model enables businesses to cater to diverse customers, from those seeking basic functionalities to those hungry for advanced features.

Usually, a basic or entry-level tier comes with essential functionalities. As you move up the tiers, you unlock more advanced features, better support, and increased usage limits. 

Being one of the best pricing models, it allows customers to choose the best tier with their specific requirements. It can be especially useful for businesses with differing needs within their teams.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the tiered based pricing model. 

Advantages

  • A significant advantage of tiered pricing is that it accommodates a wide range of customers by letting them select a package that matches their needs and budget.
  • Customers can seamlessly upgrade to higher tiers without switching to a different service provider as they grow and need more advanced features.
  • This popular SaaS pricing model lets you capture value from different market segments, maximizing revenue potential.
  • Tiers can highlight the software's full potential. Customers may start at a basic level, and as they experience value, they'll be motivated to explore higher tiers.
  • The lower-tier pricing of this common SaaS pricing model makes it easier for potential customers to try out your software without a substantial upfront investment.

Challenges

  • Too many tiers can confuse potential customers, challenging their decision-making process.
  • Offering various features across tiers could result in some features going unnoticed or underutilized.
  • If higher tiers are priced significantly higher, potential customers might question the value they get in return.
  • Managing support expectations across tiers can be challenging, as higher tiers often demand more personalized and prompt help.  

It's a win-win strategy that provides flexibility, scalability, and the potential for increased revenue streams.

But, striking the right balance between tier differentiation and clarity is the key to successfully navigating this pricing model.

3. Usage-Based Pricing

Usage-based SaaS pricing, aligns costs directly with how much a customer utilizes the software. This model operates on the principle of “you pay for what you use,” making it an attractive option for businesses seeking cost-efficiency and flexibility.

For instance, using a cloud storage SaaS, you'd pay according to the data you store or transfer.

This pricing structure particularly appeals to businesses with fluctuating needs or those looking to avoid overpaying for unused resources.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the usage based pricing model. 

Pros

  • Businesses only pay for the resources they actually consume, making it a budget-friendly option, especially for varying workloads.
  • As your usage changes, your costs adjust accordingly, enabling you to scale up or down seamlessly.
  • Customers feel they're getting value for their money, as they're not locked into a fixed plan that might not match their actual usage.
  • Usage-based pricing encourages optimizing resource allocation, leading to more efficient operations.
  • Small businesses or startups can easily access premium software by starting with minimal usage and gradually expanding.

Cons

  • Monitoring and calculating usage can be complex. It makes billing and tracking challenging for providers and customers.Not very easy to learn
  • While flexible, usage-based pricing can make budgeting less predictable, as costs vary according to usage fluctuations.
  • Customers need to be conscious of their usage to avoid unexpected costs. It might need educating and setting usage limits.
  • Building long-term relationships can be challenging since customers are more inclined to leave when they're billed based on usage.  

4. Flat Rate pricing

Flat-rate pricing, a straightforward SaaS pricing strategy, offers simplicity and predictability in a world often dominated by complex pricing models. In this approach, customers pay a fixed amount for using the software, regardless of usage levels or additional features.

It's like checking into an all-inclusive resort – you pay a single fee, and everything is yours to enjoy. This model particularly appeals to businesses that want to avoid usage-based billing complexities and maintain steady budgeting.

Flat rate pricing is often used for basic SaaS products or specific plans with fixed features.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the flat rate pricing model. 

Pros

  • Customers appreciate the straightforwardness of this pricing option, as they know exactly what they're paying each billing cycle.
  • Businesses can easily budget for their software expenses, knowing the cost won't fluctuate based on usage.
  • Users don't need to closely track their usage levels or be concerned about exceeding limits. Thus, making it a stress-free option.
  • This model is user-friendly, especially for those who might not be tech-savvy or prefer uncomplicated billing structures.

Cons

  • Customers might question the value they're getting if they feel they're not fully utilizing the software's potential.
  • As businesses grow and need more features, they might outgrow the limited capabilities of the flat rate plan.
  • Some flat rate plans might not include all the advanced features that high-usage customers need.

5. Per-feature pricing

Feature-based pricing, an innovative SaaS pricing strategy, lets you pick and choose specific features or modules of software and pay only for the ones you use.

Instead of a bundled package, you select individual features that align with your needs, and each feature comes with its price tag. This approach benefits businesses seeking highly tailored solutions without paying for unnecessary extras.

For example, imagine a project management software where you can include task tracking but not the advanced reporting module. With a feature-based pricing model, you'll pay only for the task-tracking feature you chose.

Pricing based on feature is particularly useful for businesses needing specific functionalities or experimenting with different features before committing to a full package.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the per feature pricing model. 

Pros

  • Businesses avoid paying for features they don't need, leading to cost savings.
  • You have the power to create a software environment that perfectly suits your workflow.
  • Per-feature pricing allows you to test different features before committing to a full package, minimizing the risk of over-investment.
  • As your needs change, you can add or remove features, accommodating growth or evolving priorities.

Cons

  • With many features having separate costs, understanding the total price can become complex.
  • Ensuring all the chosen features work seamlessly together might need extra effort in terms of integration and compatibility.
  • If a business requires many features, the cumulative cost might exceed that of a bundled package.  

6. Freemium Business model

Freemium combines the words “free” and “premium” for a reason – it offers a basic version of the software for free, often with limited features or usage.

This free version is a teaser, allowing users to experience the software's value firsthand. Users who find the free version beneficial and want more can opt for a paid, premium version that unlocks additional features, increased usage limits, or enhanced support.

This model caters to a broad audience, attracting budget-conscious users and those seeking an upgraded experience.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the freemium business model. 

Pros

  • Using freemium pricing model includes offering a free version, encouraging users to explore the software, and increasing engagement and familiarity.
  • Users can try out the software without any upfront costs, lowering the resistance to adoption.
  • When users realize the value of the free version, they are more likely to upgrade to the premium version for added benefits.
  • The free version acts as a marketing tool, potentially attracting a large user base that might convert into paying customers.
  • The free users can provide valuable feedback, helping to improve the product and cater to their needs.

Cons

  • Not all free users will upgrade to paid plans, and finding the right balance between free and premium features is crucial for revenue generation.
  • Ensuring a clear distinction between free and premium features while maintaining a cohesive user experience can be challenging.
  • Providing support for free and paying users might strain resources, especially if free users need significant help.
  • Convincing free users to upgrade can be a tricky process that requires a well-designed conversion path.

Factors that influence SaaS pricing

1. Value metrics

The metrics directly correlating with the value delivered to customers are crucial in determining pricing. This could include factors like the number of users, storage space, processing power, or specific features that address customer pain points.

2. Customer segmentation

Pricing your SaaS product also depends on customer segments with varying needs and willingness to pay. Tailoring pricing plans to cater to these segments ensures that each group finds a plan that aligns with their requirements and budget.

3. Competitive analysis

Studying competitors' pricing strategies is essential for positioning a SaaS product within the market. Pricing too high might deter potential customers, while pricing too low might undervalue the offering.

4. Cost structure

Understanding the costs associated with developing, delivering, and supporting the SaaS product is essential for setting a pricing strategy that ensures profitability while remaining competitive.

5. Market demand

The level of demand for a SaaS solution in the market can affect its pricing strategy. When the solution addresses a critical need, customers are often willing to pay more for it.

This is because the software provides a vital solution, and businesses or individuals value it highly, making them more open to paying a premium price for its benefits

6. Perceived value

How customers perceive the value of the SaaS product compared to its price can heavily influence their purchasing decision. Effective communication of the product's benefits and differentiation can enhance perceived value.

7. Usage patterns

When a SaaS product is billed based on usage, it's crucial to anticipate how customers will utilize it.

This insight enables businesses to create pricing plans with different tiers, catering to diverse usage patterns, and ensuring customers get the most value from the product while aligning with their budget constraints.

8. Scalability

SaaS products built to accommodate a customer's growth require pricing models that mirror this scalability.

The pricing structure should be flexible enough to support a customer's expansion, making them confident that the product can seamlessly grow with their business without imposing prohibitive costs. This approach encourages long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.

9. Free-trial strategy

Providing free trials is a strategic move that can shape how potential customers perceive the value of a SaaS product. It serves as an opportunity to showcase the product's capabilities and encourages users to experience its benefits firsthand.

10. Economic factors

Economic conditions, including factors like inflation rates, currency fluctuations, and the overall economic climate, can significantly influence pricing strategies, particularly for SaaS providers operating on a global scale.

These external factors may necessitate periodic adjustments to pricing to maintain competitiveness and ensure that the cost of the service remains aligned with changing economic realities, ultimately safeguarding the provider's profitability and customer satisfaction.

11. Renewal rates and churn

The rate at which customers renew their subscriptions and the churn rate (customers leaving) can impact the long-term viability of the pricing strategy. High churn might show pricing dissatisfaction.

12. Pricing psychology

Behavioral economics principles, such as anchoring (using a reference point to set perceptions of value) and price framing (presenting prices in a specific context), can influence how customers perceive the SaaS product pricing.

13. Regulatory environment

Meeting these standards often entails investments in security, data protection, and adherence to specific guidelines.

These additional costs may necessitate adjustments in pricing to ensure that the SaaS provider can sustain compliance and deliver a secure and compliant service to its customers while maintaining profitability.

14. Feedback and iteration

Regularly collecting customer feedback and analyzing their responses can provide insights into the effectiveness of the pricing strategy. Doing pricing changes based on feedback can lead to better alignment with customer preferences.

15. Innovation and differentiation

A SaaS product that provides distinctive and innovative features can often command a premium pricing strategy due to its perceived competitive advantage.

Customers are typically willing to pay more for a product that offers unparalleled solutions, advanced functionalities, or a unique value proposition, which can contribute significantly to the product's success and revenue generation.

16. Long-term value

In the long run, considering how much a customer is worth to a business can affect how it sets its prices. This helps create flexible pricing strategies that take into account how loyal a customer is.

Need to know about SaaS Pricing Models

As a SaaS business owner, understanding SaaS pricing models is not just a luxury; it's a necessity that shapes the very foundation of our success. Here's why diving into the depths of these models is crucial:

1. Financial precision

You're all about efficiency, and that includes costs. Knowing the complexities of pricing models means you can tailor your expenses to match your actual usage. It's like paying for what you consume—no more or less.

2. Strategic planning

Running a business is a journey, and a clear pricing strategy acts as your North Star. With the right pricing model, you can map out your budget, ensuring you're equipped to handle the challenges and seize the opportunities that come your way.

3. Growth on our terms

You want your software solutions to grow with you as you expand. Understanding pricing models allows you to scale seamlessly. You're not locked into a rigid plan; you can evolve our usage as your business evolves.

4. Investment justification

You're in this for the value, and that's where pricing models shine. By comprehending these models, you can justify your investments—ensuring that what you pay aligns perfectly with the value you receive.

5. Delighting our customers

Your customers are your lifeline, and pricing models directly affect their satisfaction. By choosing the right model, you show them that you're not just here to make a sale but to cater to their unique needs.

6. Decisive leadership

Our choices steer the ship, and choosing the right pricing model is no different. With this knowledge, we can make strategic decisions that resonate with our business vision.

7. Staying ahead

In a competitive market, knowledge is power. Understanding the latest pricing trends and models gives you an edge, helping us stay ahead of the curve and offering the best to your customers.

8. Navigating negotiations

When you negotiate with potential partners or providers, understanding pricing models gives you an upper hand. You're not blindly agreeing but shaping agreements that align with your needs.

9. Risk management

You're adventurers, but you're also cautious. With knowledge of pricing models, you can explore new software solutions without diving in headfirst. It's like testing the waters before making the big dive.

Ready to choose the right SaaS Pricing Model?

As we wrap up our journey through this guide to SaaS pricing models, it's clear that pricing isn't just numbers—it's a tailored strategy that blends value, growth, and customer satisfaction.

After exploring different pricing models, we learned that they offer a unique approach, from Per-User simplicity to Usage-Based flexibility, like pieces of a puzzle that fit your business.

Remember, your pricing strategy isn't just a decision; it's a commitment to value and success. So, as you navigate the seas of technology, may you choose the right SaaS pricing or billing model among the SaaS pricing models to grow your SaaS business by increasing your brand's recurring revenue. 

Apart from this, if you need assistance to boost your SaaS business, from building website to optimizing it for search engines to do marketing, contact webdew.

Recommended Reads

From zero to hero: 10 SaaS Marketing Examples you can learn from

SaaS Marketing 101: Crafting a winning plan for sustainable growth

13 best SaaS Marketing Tools for enhancing your marketing efforts

Frequently Asked Questions

SaaS model pricing refers to how software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies charge customers for using their software. Instead of a one-time purchase, SaaS follows a subscription-based model where customers pay monthly or annual fees to access and use the software. This approach offers flexibility and often includes updates, maintenance, and customer support.

Some of the most successful SaaS pricing models include the “Per-User” model, where pricing is based on the number of users accessing the software; the “Tiered” model, which offers different feature levels at varying prices; and the “Usage-Based” model, where charges are based on the extent of usage. These models cater to customer needs and usage patterns, effectively attracting and retaining customers.

SaaS companies determine pricing through a combination of factors. They assess market demand, competitor pricing, their software's value to customers, and the cost of developing, maintaining, and supporting the software. Customer feedback and willingness to pay also play a role. A/B testing and experimentation help fine-tune pricing strategies for optimal results.

The SaaS hybrid pricing model combines elements of different pricing approaches. It might involve a mix of subscription-based pricing, where customers pay a regular fee, and usage-based pricing, where additional charges are incurred based on usage metrics like data storage or active users. This model provides flexibility for customers with varying needs and usage patterns while allowing the SaaS company to capture additional revenue from increased usage.