A SaaS pricing strategy is like a roadmap for deciding how much to charge for your products or services.

When considering SaaS pricing best practices, avoid setting prices too low as this can harm your business in the long run. On the other hand, pricing that is set too high might limit your growth, regardless of the SaaS pricing strategy you choose.

SaaS pricing isn't about getting customers in the door; it also affects how long they stick around. Once you've acquired a customer and are confident they won't leave, consider whether there's a way to provide them with even more value. 

Could you make more money by offering different options or upgrades? This is where your product improvements and pricing plans come together.

What is SaaS pricing?

SaaS pricing models determine how software companies charge their customers. 

Subscription pricing

The most prevalent model is subscription pricing, where customers pay regularly (usually monthly or annually) for continued access to the software. 

This model is favored because it aligns with the idea that users continuously experience and benefit from the software, so they pay as they go. 

Subscription pricing also provides a foundation for agile product management, enabling companies to adjust and improve based on user feedback and changing market needs.

Competitor-based pricing

Competitor-based pricing is a valuable strategy for new market entrants who need more substantial usage data to guide their pricing decisions. 

Here, businesses look at what their competitors are charging for similar software as a reference point. This helps them position their pricing competitively and attract customers in a crowded space.

Penetration pricing

Another strategy, particularly useful for startups and newcomers, is “penetration pricing.”

This approach involves initially setting a relatively low price for the software to gain traction and capture market attention. 

Once the company establishes a reputation and a customer base, they gradually increase their pricing. This strategy helps early-stage businesses break into the market and then capitalize on their growing recognition by raising prices over time.

Why is a pricing strategy so important for SaaS?

  1. Financial sustainability

No matter how you charge your customers, setting your prices too low means you need to make more money to keep your business running properly. On the other hand, charging too much can limit how much your business can grow.

  1. Impact on customer base

Your pricing plan affects not only how many new customers you can get, but also how happy your current customers are and whether they stick around.

  1. Finding more value

Once you have a customer who loves your product and plans to stay, there might be more you can offer them. You can make more money by allowing them to pay for extra features or a better product version.

However you set your prices, it's important to get it right and be willing to adapt as your business grows and changes.

SaaS pricing strategies

Let's explore some key SaaS pricing strategies:

  1. Free Trial

Some SaaS companies offer free trials, allowing users to experience the product's full capabilities for a limited time. 

For instance, Microsoft offers a 30-day free trial of its Office 365 suite. 

Benefit: Gives users a taste of the product's value and encourage conversion 

Drawback: Varies in effectiveness for different-sized organizations

  1. Freemium 

Freemium models provide a basic product version for free, with advanced features available for a fee. Dropbox offers free storage but charges for additional space and features. 

Benefit: Can attract new users and create growth loops

Drawback: Users may not fully appreciate the value of premium features

  1. Reverse trials

Reverse trials give users access to premium features for a limited time before reverting to a basic version. Trello, a project management tool, offers this with its Gold plan. 

Benefit: Allows users to experience the full product value

Drawback: Users may not grasp the product's value before the trial ends

  1. Inverse pricing

Inverse pricing customizes pricing based on user groups. For instance, a business intelligence tool might offer discounted rates to startups to encourage adoption. 

Benefit: Personalizes incentives and improves conversion rates

Drawback: Potential for pricing inequity among users

  1. Flat-rate pricing

Flat-rate pricing offers a fixed set of features for a single price. E.g., Netflix charges a monthly fee for unlimited streaming of its content. 

Benefit: Simplicity in pricing

Drawback: Lacks flexibility and may not cater to all user requirements

  1. Usage-based pricing

Usage-based pricing charges customers based on their service usage. 

E.g., Amazon Web Services (AWS) bills customers for the computing resources they consume. 

Benefit: Aligns billing with actual usage

Drawback: Challenges in revenue forecasting

  1. Seat-based pricing 

Seat-based pricing charges per user or seat. Slack offers per-user pricing with different plans for individuals and businesses. 

Benefit: Simple acquisition, intuitive pricing

Drawback: Challenges with license-sharing

  1. Tiered pricing

Tiered pricing offers different packages with varying features and support levels. Mailchimp provides different pricing tiers based on the number of contacts and features. 

Benefit: Appeals to varying customer needs

Drawback: Finding the right feature mix can be challenging

  1. Customized bundling

Customized bundling combines various products or features into packages at a single price point. For instance, Adobe Creative Cloud bundles multiple creative tools for a monthly fee. 

Benefit: Highlights underused features and encourages upsells

Drawback: Some users may not see value in bundled features

Best SaaS pricing templates

When you're figuring out how to price your SaaS product, having a solid starting point can make a world of difference. We've compiled a collection of the best SaaS pricing templates. 

  1. Basic package pricing

This SaaS pricing model offers a simplified version of your product at a lower price point. For example, Mailchimp, an email marketing platform, provides a basic plan tailored for small businesses. 

This approach allows customers to access important features without committing to a higher-priced plan.

  1. Pay-per-user pricing

With this model, customers are charged based on the number of users who access your software. A notable example is Slack, a collaboration platform where teams pay a fee for each user. 

This pricing structure ensures that businesses pay only for users, making it cost-effective for companies of all sizes.

  1. Feature-based pricing

Feature-based pricing tailors the cost to a customer's specific features. CRM software provider HubSpot employs this approach by offering various feature tiers. Customers can choose the tier that aligns with their requirements, allowing for flexibility and scalability in pricing.

  1. Usage-driven pricing

Pricing is directly linked to the amount of service a customer consumes. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a prime example, where customers pay for their cloud computing usage. 

This model ensures that users are charged proportionately to their actual utilization, promoting efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

  1. Customizable pricing bundles

Customizable bundles involve creating packages of services or features that customers can tailor to their unique needs. This concept is commonly seen in telecommunications companies offering personalized bundles for services like TV, internet, and phone. 

Customers have the flexibility to select and combine services according to their preferences.

  1. Per-transaction pricing 

Ideal for e-commerce and financial platforms, this model charges users based on the number of transactions they conduct. PayPal is a classic example of per-transaction pricing. 

Users are billed according to the volume of financial transactions they initiate, making it a transparent and transaction-focused pricing structure.

  1. Tiered pricing

In this pricing model, multiple pricing tiers are provided, each offering increasing service levels. Zoom, a video conferencing platform, adopts this strategy with free, Pro, Business, and Enterprise plans. 

Customers can choose a tier that suits their needs, allowing for scalability as their requirements evolve.

  1. Contract-based pricing

Customers commit to long-term contracts in exchange for reduced pricing. Hosting services like Bluehost often offer discounts to customers who subscribe to annual plans. 

This pricing model incentivizes long-term relationships and provides cost savings for those willing to commit upfront.

  1. Dynamic pricing

Dynamic pricing involves adjusting prices based on real-time market conditions or customer behavior. Airlines frequently employ this strategy to optimize seat occupancy on flights. 

Prices may fluctuate based on factors like demand, time of booking, and seat availability, ensuring revenue maximization for the airline.

Challenges of choosing the right SaaS pricing strategy

Your SaaS pricing strategy can make or break your success. Here's why navigating it is an important challenge:

  1. Market competition

Pricing decisions are influenced by what your competitors are charging. Setting your prices too high might discourage potential customers, while pricing too low could compromise your revenue. Striking the right balance amidst competition is an important challenge.

  1. Customer segments

SaaS products often cater to a diverse audience with varying needs and budgets. Finding the optimal pricing structure that meets the expectations of different customer segments can be a complex task. Pricing too high for some may result in lost sales, while pricing too low may leave money on the table.

  1. Product maturity

SaaS products evolve over time. New features are added and existing ones are refined. As your product matures, your pricing strategy should adapt to reflect the increasing value you provide. Failing to adjust pricing accordingly can lead to missed revenue opportunities.

Overcoming SaaS pricing challenges

Here’s how you can overcome such challenges:

  1. Market research

To address the challenge of market competition, conduct thorough research on your competitors' pricing strategies. Understand what they offer and at what price points.

This knowledge can help you position your product effectively.

  1. Segmentation

Tailor your pricing tiers to different customer segments. For example, offer a basic plan for cost-conscious customers and a premium plan with advanced features for those willing to pay more. 

This segmentation ensures that you meet various customers' unique needs and budgets.

  1. Flexible pricing

Recognize that your pricing strategy is not set in stone. Be open to adjusting your pricing as your product evolves. 

When you introduce new features or enhancements that significantly enhance value, consider increasing prices for the corresponding plans. Ensure that customers perceive the value they receive justifies the cost.

How does Spendflo save for you in SaaS buying?

Choosing the right SaaS pricing strategy is a big deal for any business. Going with lower prices than your competitors might get you some customers, but better long-term plans exist.

Your pricing strategy should match how your product fits in the market. You can charge more if your software is way better than the competition. But remember, this might mean only some people are willing to pay the higher price.

Nowadays, we have lots of data to help with pricing. SaaS companies should be ready to try different pricing methods. You can start with low prices to get customers and then change it up based on what's happening in the market.

Learn how Spendflo can supercharge your SaaS purchasing and save you up to 30%

Get your free saving analysis

Guru Nicketan
Content Strategist
Karthikeyan Manivannan
Here's what the average Spendflo user saves annually:
$2 Million
Your potential savings

Dust those extra SaaS costs off

(without adding 3 more tools to your stack).

Our free savings analysis tells you how much you’re guaranteed to save with Spendflo. Learn more about cleaning up and automating your tech stack from our experts.

Get a free saving analysis
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Need a rough estimate before you go further?

Here's what the average Spendflo user saves annually:
$2 Million
Your potential savings