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Decoding Pricing SaaS Models: A Comprehensive Guide

Decoding Pricing SaaS Models: A Comprehensive Guide

SaaS product
8 min read

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has emerged as a game-changer for businesses seeking scalable, cost-effective solutions. With the rise in demand for SaaS products, understanding the intricacies of their pricing models has become crucial.  

The dynamic nature of the SaaS business means that companies are constantly evaluating and improving their charging policies to maximize profits. According to the OpenView study,61% of companies have adjusted their pricing over the past year. So how to choose the right pricing model? 

Arounda has created strategies and designs for several SaaS businesses, including Metricly. This article will dwell on our team’s rich experience, empowering you to make informed decisions about your SaaS pricing model.

What is SaaS Pricing?

A SaaS price model determines the cost of software solutions hosted online and on demand. Instead of traditional on-premise installations, SaaS solutions are subscription-based and available online.

How To Price A SaaS Product?

Pricing a SaaS product is not a one-size-fits-all operation. It requires careful analysis, flexibility, and constant reassessment. Here are the essential factors to consider:

  • Audience’s needs. Companies should understand their end customers' specifics in-depth. It also includes grasping the value of a product’s features and how much they can invest in the desired solution.
  • Market specifics. Keeping a pulse on market trends is another vital component of SaaS pricing. Changes in customer behavior and technological advancements can alter the market dynamics drastically. It impacts the product’s perceived value. 
  • Competition. The competitive landscape of the SaaS industry plays a critical role in pricing. A thorough competitive analysis provides insights into your direct and indirect rivals’ pricing strategies. It’s worth analyzing the pricing models SaaS vendors offer to determine your product’s competitive position.
  • Product’s value. A clear assessment of the product's value proposition and associated costs are equally significant. The SaaS price should reflect the value it offers to the customer. And at the same time, it should cover the expenses for developing, maintaining, and enhancing the product. 
  • Ongoing evaluation. Finally, a successful SaaS pricing strategy demands continuous testing and refinement. The initial pricing model adopted may not be the best fit. As more data becomes available, SaaS companies should reconsider their pricing models regularly. 

Favored Pricing Models in the SaaS Industry

A SaaS business can choose a pricing strategy based on the above data. Now, let's consider the most common SaaS fees:

1. Flat-rate pricing

This model entails a fixed price for access to a product or service, regardless of usage. Customers pay a set fee (usually monthly or annual) to access a software product's functionalities.

The simplicity of this model is its most significant advantage, as customers know what they get and understand the price. It eliminates the uncertainty that sometimes arises with other pricing SaaS models.

2. Usage-based pricing

Here, the service’s cost is proportional to the customer's usage. You only charge customers for the resources they consume or the service they use.

This flexible model aligns the customers' costs directly with their usage patterns. That's why it suits fluctuating or uncertain usage. 

However, usage-based pricing takes time to implement correctly. This approach requires accurate tracking and billing systems. Additionally, customers may find it challenging to predict their costs, mainly if their usage fluctuates.

3. Tiered pricing

This strategy involves various levels or "tiers" of services with different costs. Each tier is a package that fits a specific budget.

Customers select the tier that offers the best value for their needs without paying for unwanted features. This way, they gain control over their expenditure and the functionality they receive. 

With tiered pricing, businesses segment the market. This model also offers upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

But too many tiers often lead to decision paralysis for customers, impeding sales. Moreover, businesses must construct each level to ensure the perceived value matches the price point. 

4. Per-user pricing

In this model, customers’ payments depend on the number of users (or "seats") consuming services within a given period. This model creates a predictable and scalable revenue stream for providers since costs increase with the number of users.

For the customers, per-user pricing enhances flexibility and scalability. Businesses add or remove users as their team grows or shrinks, enabling them to align their costs with their actual usage. 

Companies may try to share accounts to keep costs down. It leads to a sub-optimal user experience and potential breaches of the service agreement. To mitigate these challenges, some service providers turn to specific variations of this model, like per-active-user pricing. 

5. Per-active-user pricing

This pricing only charges customers who actively use the software during a given billing period.

From a SaaS provider's perspective, it encourages broader adoption within customer organizations. By removing the risk of paying for unused seats, companies tend to register more users. This model can also make a SaaS product stand out in a competitive market.

On the other hand, defining an "active user" is challenging and differs depending on the product and its patterns. It also requires robust tracking and reporting systems to identify and bill active users.

6. Per-feature pricing

Here, customers choose specific features and customize their subscriptions to suit their needs.

The primary advantage of per-feature pricing is its flexibility. With its help, customers pay only for the most valuable features. It also benefits SaaS providers, capturing more value from customers with premium access. 

But determining the right price for each feature and establishing the billing process is complex. Moreover, customers might not understand this approach and compare the costs if there are multiple options.

7. Freemium pricing

Freemium pricing combines "free" and "premium" elements. In this model, essential services are free, while more advanced ones have a paywall. 

The freemium model lowers the entry barrier. Many users can try a product at no cost. It leads to rapid customer base growth and generates opportunities for word-of-mouth marketing. Over time, some of these free users become paying customers, contributing to revenue growth.

From a user's perspective, the freemium model allows testing software before committing financially. It reduces the perceived sales risk.

The most critical challenge of this approach is determining the right balance between the product’s free and premium features. 

SaaS Consumers’ Types

Now that you’re familiar with SaaS pricing models, it‘s time to explore the most widespread types of consumers you may deal with.

Individual Consumers

Such users need SaaS applications for personal or professional purposes. They often focus on cost-effectiveness and specific features catering to their requirements.

Small to Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs)

Often need SaaS solutions to improve efficiency and productivity but have budget constraints. SMBs look for SaaS products that offer value for money, scalability, and user-friendly interfaces.


Large corporations or enterprises value customizable features. They also seek robust security, high scalability, and integrations with other software. 

Educational Institutions

Educational institutions often use SaaS platforms for administrative tasks, online learning, and management. 

Build strong SaaS products with Arounda!

Setting the most suitable SaaS price model is a tricky task. It's like a balancing act where you should meet customer expectations, keep in line with the market, and address your business goals. Success lies in combining a deep understanding of these aspects with a data-driven approach. 

Also, remember that making necessary adjustments is vital. This way, SaaS companies create pricing strategies that attract customers and help businesses thrive and expand.

Contact us if you'd like to build or redesign your SaaS product! Arounda has over five years of experience in digital product creation (including SaaS). Let’s maximize your growth potential together!


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FAQ on UI/UX design services

What is the SaaS pricing system?

The SaaS pricing system refers to the company's strategies and models to charge customers for their digital products. The proper pricing model varies widely depending on the product’s nature, the target audience, and the company's business goals. Also, it significantly affects software value and customer behavior.

What are the four pricing models?

The four most common models are flat-rate, usage-based, tiered, and per-user pricing. Flat-rate pricing involves a single fixed fee. Customers pay it to access software, usually monthly or annually. Usage-based pricing charges customers based on their specific service usage. For example, it may dwell on the data stored, the transactions processed, or the hours of service usage. Tiered pricing offers different packages (or “tiers”) of a service. Each level has a separate set of functions and costs differently. Per-user pricing calculates charges based on the number of users accessing software.

What is a SaaS tiered pricing example?

Adobe Creative Cloud offers a classic example of SaaS tiered pricing. Adobe provides from a single-app plan to an all-apps program, with costs rising accordingly. Each of them meets the needs of a different customer segment. Thus, customers select a tier that provides the best value for their needs without paying for unwanted features.

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