@garyf, I wanted to chime in really quick.
People talk about the subscription vs. perpetual licensing quite a bit and I wanted to share my thoughts on it.
The Subscription Model is Better
3D Studio Max is a piece of software I use to buy. I think it cost around $3,495 or so. And then you could upgrade to every new release for $1,995. So in a three-year period, I would spend $7,485 on 3D Studio Max.
And the reason I would upgrade was because they came out with new features every year. Usually not amazing features, but features that were important enough to stay competitive in the 3D industry.
Now, you can get 3D Studio Max for $195/Month or $1545/Year or $4170/3-Years. So, in short, I can get 3D Studio Max now for a 6-year period that will cost me $7,000 less than it would have with perpetual licensing.
And this is true for almost every subscription service. It is true for Photoshop, Illustrator, Substance, Cinema 4D, SoundsOnline, and so forth.
What is even better is it is allowing companies to develop new features much faster. Instead of having to look at their long-term expected growth-rate, they can look at their monthly income and invest back into development costs. This is why a lot of these companies offer a better price with a year commitment. It allows them to predict how much revenue you’ll drive over the next 12-months and how much they should invest into development now.
That is worth every penny in my mind. Getting faster updates that are much more revolutionary than they would have been under perpetual licensing.
From the Perspective of the Developer/Designer
I’ve consulted with a great deal of business owners over the past 20-years, and one of the things I’ve realized is that a lot of people don’t look at the cost of doing business correctly.
In fact, a great number of people approach their business with an everything is an expense mindset. The problem with this approach is that the point of doing business - whether it is as a freelancer or otherwise is to grow. When you look at certain costs as an investment, then you’re growth-oriented. If you look at those same costs as an expense - then you have a survival mindset.
In other words, if I purchase software, then I expect it to have a positive Return-On-Investment (ROI). If I pay $39/month for some software title, I expect it to at least allow me to generate revenue above and beyond the cost of that software.
It doesn’t matter what your living expenses are or how much money you need to eat every week. Investments are paying yourself first. In other words, if you invest $19 this month in Wappler, that is an investment to generate more money. And it is that positive ROI that you will pay yourself and live.
The approach a lot of people take is, “I have a total of $x in expenses every month and I can’t afford anymore.” Well, now we’re talking about survival. Not growth. That isn’t sustainable. It has no forward momentum and it keeps you from making rational and informed decisions that can help your situation.
A Working Example
Let’s say that I’ve been using WordPress for years to do projects for clients. I’m getting really sick of having to update plugins daily, and making sure that the sites are secure. I’m also sick of the load it puts on my hosting.
I’m starting to recognize that I need a way to take my business to a new level.
I purchase a subscription for Wappler.
I have someone call me that needs a website - they own a large hair salon. They want a blog, and they want the ability for their customers to schedule appointments. The requirements include separate schedules for each employee and a list of services that the employee offers. This way the customer can choose what they need to get done during their slot. They also want it to tie into their POS and track customer loyalty points.
Right off the bat, the customer says, “A friend told me that WordPress can do a lot of this and that we can get plugins or something to fill in the gaps. Can you do that?”
Here is the conversation:
Chad: Absolutely we can do that. I’m a little curious about something though. Is security important to you in regard to your customers?
Client: Yes. Why do you ask?
Chad: Well, WordPress is the most hacked web platform on the internet. There are millions of bots visiting websites every day looking for security flaws, and as soon as they find one - they exploit it. Would it be harmful to your business if your customers saw porn or something on your website one day?
Client: Shocked Yes. Oh my, that would be terrible.
Chad: I’m not trying to scare you. It is just the nature of having a website. You may go years without any problems, or you might get hacked rather quickly. Worse is when they put a backdoor on your website and start using it to distribute illegal material.
There’s that. There’s also the fact that the plugins and site will need to be updated daily. You also have the potential issue of the developer that makes a plugin you are using go out of business or moving on with their life. Then you end up with a website that doesn’t work anymore and this can cost you tons of money to get it developed all over again,
Client: Wow. I hadn’t really thought of any of that.
Chad: That’s okay. I’m here to help you. Let me ask you another question.
Client: Go ahead.
Chad: You have a vision of what your website should be doing when it is complete. As your business grows, your vision is going to evolve and your business is going to head into new directions based on trends in your industry, your customer’s needs, and your goals as a business owner. Do you think there would be any value if your website was able to evolve with you every step of the way?
Client: Absolutely. I think that would be really important.
Chad: I hear you. It’s important that your website reflects your business in real time. Particularly when trends and technology change so frequently these days.
I actually think a better solution for you might be a website built from the ground up.
Client: Won’t that cost a lot more?
Chad: That’s a great question. Years ago, the answer would have been yes. And to be honest, even today the answer could be yes. But, we’ve invested in new technology that allows us to program complex systems visually. The benefit for you is that we can develop much faster, which means it will cost you a lot less and it can be done in a relatively short time.
More importantly though is the fact that the system will be 100% secure. There will be no daily maintenance, and you won’t have to pay a large fee every month for different plugins for WordPress. Better even is the fact that it can be developed with your specific future in mind. If your customers give you feedback on the functionality of your scheduling system, and you want changes - we can do them quickly and easily this way. That’s going to save you money and keep your customers happy.
Client: This sounds great Chad. How much are we talking?
Chad: We need to spend some time going over the dynamics of how your website will work, what pages you’ll want, and so forth. But, I can tell you this right now: It’s not going to cost much more than WordPress - particularly when you consider the cost of plugins and theme builders.
And when it came to writing the proposal, I would include a monthly subscription service where we call them once a month for a two hour conference. The point is to discuss how the system has been working, what issues they’ve seen, any feedback they’ve gotten, and start talking about directional changes for the future. This monthly subscription would be a direct positive ROI for the Wappler investment. It would also allow me to build a relationship with them that allows me to grow their business and become an asset to them - rather than “the website guy”.
What all this means
This is a lot of stuff I’ve written. But the bottom point is this:
Wappler is an investment. And when you meet with potential clients, you need to sell that investment to them. Wappler isn’t just another way to do a website. It is a way to start really listening to the pain points your clients have, and selling them ideas that will help them.
WordPress, Webflow, and all these other platforms have an inherent problem where the solution has to be shaped around the software’s limitations or plugin offerings. With Wappler, those limits are lifted and you can now give your clients something that corporations can usually only afford: Tailor-made custom solutions that fit their needs and vision perfectly.
And for $19/month - that’s an incredible deal.