Pricing… Both Sides of the Spectrum

With QuickBase, we cover the spectrum from folks feeling it is expensive to others finding it cheap. Let me cover the cheap first, as these folks are delighted with the value they are getting from QuickBase,though sometimes they do worry… "How can you provide this service for this little $$?"

The answer is volume, and it is one that Intuit understands well. When QuickBooks first came out, plenty of business accounting packages were available for a few thousand dollars; QuickBooks was about two hundred dollars. There were people that would have spent the thousands for business software, who got QuickBooks for "cheap". However, there were many, many more that never would have purchased the several thousand dollar solution, but did purchase QuickBooks. So, when folks tell us that they’ve:

  • avoided the $75,000 of a traditional CRM system;
  • saved $50,000 in software, hardware, and training costs for project management software; and
  • replaced a $200,000 event management system;

…all with QuickBase (and actual customer stories), we don’t worry that we are an order of magnitude less than the prices they would have spent. We want to provide this value to the masses of folks who could never have spent this type of money to get a high-quality solution like this.

Now, let’s cover the "expensive" side of the spectrum. On this one, I’m going to stay where we get the most questions, but if you have others you want answered, just comment and I’m happy to do what I can to explain. The most "it’s too expensive" comments come around data and file attachment space charges, as they are much more expensive than just buying your own disk space. This is an understandable comparison, so let me explain why we aren’t as crazy as it appears on the surface.

The charges for data and file attachment space for your applications aren’t related to the amount we pay for the storage, but rather are related to the value you get for your specific application. The comparisons to pricing on storage space don’t map, as those options do not give you the functionality around the data or file attachments that QuickBase offers. For example, with QuickBase file attachments integrate into your process, are searchable across attachments, and contain revision history and locking capabilities, etc. None of this comes with the disk drive you can buy.

The reason we allow pricing along these lines is that everyone is different. Some folks have lots of users, and little data space, but lots of file attachments, where as others have lots of users and lots of data space, with no attachments. Our objective was to give you flexibility.

The next place the "expensive" conversation comes is when folks are only using QuickBase with a small number of folks (<5) for only one application. This is a bigger subject that we can talk about more too. The one answer the kind of sums this one up is a quote from Todd Porter of Honeywell… "QuickBase is limited only by your own imagination." Rev up your imagination and get some more things going in QuickBase! :-)

As always, we’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Pricing is a BIG topic and I’ve tried to be brief, so I’m sure there is plenty I’ve missed.

  • Lon

    The service is very expensive. File Storage is throught he roof. INTUIT need to re-examine it’s pricing for this service!

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  • Lon

    The service is very expensive. File Storage is throught he roof. INTUIT need to re-examine it’s pricing for this service!

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  • http://www.quickbase.com/ Jana Eggers

    Lon, Can you tell us more about your application? What type of files? How often are they accessed? How long do you need them?

    And again, uou aren’t paying for file storage, but rather for the functionality of having files within QuickBase. We are trying to be flexible to what different people need. We could just wrap it into the per user price, and thus raise that price overall, but we’ve tried to be flexible based on the different patterns of usage people have.

    Thanks,
    Jana

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  • http://www.quickbase.com Jana Eggers

    Lon, Can you tell us more about your application? What type of files? How often are they accessed? How long do you need them?

    And again, uou aren’t paying for file storage, but rather for the functionality of having files within QuickBase. We are trying to be flexible to what different people need. We could just wrap it into the per user price, and thus raise that price overall, but we’ve tried to be flexible based on the different patterns of usage people have.

    Thanks,
    Jana

    [Reply]

  • http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/4246560 Larry Cohn

    I work with nonprofits, and in most cases, they find the cost prohibitive. Even small organizations often have large files to track clients or donors. Their only comparison is to a volunteer creating an Access database for them running on their network. I would love to see a significant discount (like 50%) for nonprofits with budgets of less than 3 million.

    Larger organizations appreciate the value and can afford to pay more. To them, Quickbase looks like a bargain.

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  • http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/4246560 Larry Cohn

    I work with nonprofits, and in most cases, they find the cost prohibitive. Even small organizations often have large files to track clients or donors. Their only comparison is to a volunteer creating an Access database for them running on their network. I would love to see a significant discount (like 50%) for nonprofits with budgets of less than 3 million.

    Larger organizations appreciate the value and can afford to pay more. To them, Quickbase looks like a bargain.

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  • Andrew Rex

    I also work at a small organization. I admit that Quickbase is a great program. The storage prices are too expensive though. We have some excel spreadsheets that we would like to put on quickbase….problem is that they are about 20MB each (complex sheets). It would eat away at a majority storage space. We would also upload some photos….they are large files too. I can’t justify to management that we should spend 250 a month just to have some photos and spreadsheets online. If only it was 1/2 the cost…

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  • Andrew Rex

    I also work at a small organization. I admit that Quickbase is a great program. The storage prices are too expensive though. We have some excel spreadsheets that we would like to put on quickbase….problem is that they are about 20MB each (complex sheets). It would eat away at a majority storage space. We would also upload some photos….they are large files too. I can’t justify to management that we should spend 250 a month just to have some photos and spreadsheets online. If only it was 1/2 the cost…

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  • Joe

    Disk space and bandwidth are dirt cheap these days. You guys need to take another look at your pricing.

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  • Joe

    Disk space and bandwidth are dirt cheap these days. You guys need to take another look at your pricing.

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  • james lacorte

    I understand the value reason for file attachement costs. It is a beter value then plan file storege. But it does appear to be too high. We have people using the application that link to files because they cannot justify to their managers the cost. There seems to be a delicate balance and I think right now the fees are on the high side even with the value proposition

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  • james lacorte

    I understand the value reason for file attachement costs. It is a beter value then plan file storege. But it does appear to be too high. We have people using the application that link to files because they cannot justify to their managers the cost. There seems to be a delicate balance and I think right now the fees are on the high side even with the value proposition

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  • Mike Chatelain

    You get what you pay for. If you research QuickBase’s competition, which I did, you’ll find the other services either limit your applications to sales or finances, or they require too much programming work. The other services may be cheaper, but not nearly as well designed and engineered, or as flexible, as QuickBase. QuickBase provides an amazing service at a fair price.

    I really like that Intuit or QuickBase is not going to go under or get sold. You spend months working out your application and don’t want the company to change hands. Some of the other on-line services are run by just a few guys who might get better jobs and simply leave.

    I wish, however, that Intuit would take a tiny part of its $1.3 billion in annual gross profits, or some of its $697M cash reserves, and invest it in much more QuickBase documentation, customer training and support.

    Microsoft and other big companies are stepping up their on-line database services and may give serious alternatives to QuickBase in the near future. Whichever company makes it easiest for their customers to reach their on-line goals will win the game. For now, QuickBase is in the lead!

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  • Mike Chatelain

    You get what you pay for. If you research QuickBase’s competition, which I did, you’ll find the other services either limit your applications to sales or finances, or they require too much programming work. The other services may be cheaper, but not nearly as well designed and engineered, or as flexible, as QuickBase. QuickBase provides an amazing service at a fair price.

    I really like that Intuit or QuickBase is not going to go under or get sold. You spend months working out your application and don’t want the company to change hands. Some of the other on-line services are run by just a few guys who might get better jobs and simply leave.

    I wish, however, that Intuit would take a tiny part of its $1.3 billion in annual gross profits, or some of its $697M cash reserves, and invest it in much more QuickBase documentation, customer training and support.

    Microsoft and other big companies are stepping up their on-line database services and may give serious alternatives to QuickBase in the near future. Whichever company makes it easiest for their customers to reach their on-line goals will win the game. For now, QuickBase is in the lead!

    [Reply]

  • Scott_S.

    I understand the value/expense scenario that you outlined. I work for a large company and yes, they do see value. Trying to get it to come from a single cost center is another story. I also see non-profits, small businesses, and individuals that simply have to pass because it’s too much.

    I suppose the question is just how elastic the demand is? Could you profit more by lowering the price and make it up in the “volume” that you elude to? QB is a great product. Lowering the price would create some great buzz and I think the orders would roll in.

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  • Scott_S.

    I understand the value/expense scenario that you outlined. I work for a large company and yes, they do see value. Trying to get it to come from a single cost center is another story. I also see non-profits, small businesses, and individuals that simply have to pass because it’s too much.

    I suppose the question is just how elastic the demand is? Could you profit more by lowering the price and make it up in the “volume” that you elude to? QB is a great product. Lowering the price would create some great buzz and I think the orders would roll in.

    [Reply]

  • Uwe

    Why have you discontinued your cheaper options like the small business plan??

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  • Uwe

    Why have you discontinued your cheaper options like the small business plan??

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  • http://www.quickbase.com/ Jana Eggers

    Thanks for all the feedback. It seems from some of the comments that several folks just equate the price to disk space, and that’s a hard connection to break. For more feedback from those folks, does it make more sense to put that added value in the user cost (i.e., raise prices there), and then make the data charges closer to “market” prices?

    For the other set of folks, don’t freak out… I’m not saying we’ll raise prices… I’m trying to learn different perspectives!

    As for the question regarding raising the volume by lowering the $250/month starting price. I’m not sure. After the $250/month price, the per user pricing goes to $3/month (and lower based on volume). So the highest we are is $25/user/month. (On the QuickBase Workgroup plan.) And, it starts going down from there. For what we offer in functionality, stability, reliability and security, there isn’t anyone any where near this price. Again, not to say that someone couldn’t be at some point, as you mention some folks are entering this space. We do have several years on them, and while I have great respect for those folks, it isn’t easy either.

    Which leads us to the last question… we are focused on building a durable business, which means we have had to make some tough calls, like discontinuing our “Small Business” plan. It wasn’t growing enough (we have more people on the Workgroup plan in three years, than we had on the “Small Business” plan in four), and it was costing as much to support. We couldn’t make a business out of it in the way that it was designed at the time, and couldn’t risk the opportunity to build a great market on the workgroup side.

    The reason Small Business is in quotes above is that the reality is that QuickBase is affordable for many small businesses at $8/day. You don’t have to save much time, or have the opportunity to make many fewer mistakes or delight more customers to have a payback with that kind of cost. We have plenty of Small Businesses that happily use QuickBase and get great value from it.

    Again, thanks for all the feedback! It definitely makes a difference to us to have such an interactive community. We appreciate your taking the time to make sure we hear your voice.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.quickbase.com Jana Eggers

    Thanks for all the feedback. It seems from some of the comments that several folks just equate the price to disk space, and that’s a hard connection to break. For more feedback from those folks, does it make more sense to put that added value in the user cost (i.e., raise prices there), and then make the data charges closer to “market” prices?

    For the other set of folks, don’t freak out… I’m not saying we’ll raise prices… I’m trying to learn different perspectives!

    As for the question regarding raising the volume by lowering the $250/month starting price. I’m not sure. After the $250/month price, the per user pricing goes to $3/month (and lower based on volume). So the highest we are is $25/user/month. (On the QuickBase Workgroup plan.) And, it starts going down from there. For what we offer in functionality, stability, reliability and security, there isn’t anyone any where near this price. Again, not to say that someone couldn’t be at some point, as you mention some folks are entering this space. We do have several years on them, and while I have great respect for those folks, it isn’t easy either.

    Which leads us to the last question… we are focused on building a durable business, which means we have had to make some tough calls, like discontinuing our “Small Business” plan. It wasn’t growing enough (we have more people on the Workgroup plan in three years, than we had on the “Small Business” plan in four), and it was costing as much to support. We couldn’t make a business out of it in the way that it was designed at the time, and couldn’t risk the opportunity to build a great market on the workgroup side.

    The reason Small Business is in quotes above is that the reality is that QuickBase is affordable for many small businesses at $8/day. You don’t have to save much time, or have the opportunity to make many fewer mistakes or delight more customers to have a payback with that kind of cost. We have plenty of Small Businesses that happily use QuickBase and get great value from it.

    Again, thanks for all the feedback! It definitely makes a difference to us to have such an interactive community. We appreciate your taking the time to make sure we hear your voice.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.brofort.com/ Rick Whitley

    Here is why your storage pricing does not work for me. I would like to use quickbase to be able to update our customers for work we do for them. Our business is to install Point of purchase displays and materials in retailers across canada. Tracking all of the paperwork etc. for a 2 hours job in 300 stores using emails and spreadsheets is brutal. Quickbase can make the whole process easier and cheaper for everyone, while speeding the whole process as well.

    But here is the problem, in this business digital photos are pretty much mandatory. Taking 3 photos in 300 stores, means I need to be able to attach 1000 photos, for one single project for 1 customer. Given the costs of storage on quickbase it is prohibitive. The value proposition you speak of in terms of what you can do with attachments holds true in some situations but not this one.

    The result is that in order to facilitate using the internet to track projects such as this, I am having to look into other alternatives, such as Microsoft Sharepoint.

    I love quickbase, it is perfectly suited for this type of business, but the storage space costs make it cost prohibitive to use.

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  • http://www.brofort.com Rick Whitley

    Here is why your storage pricing does not work for me. I would like to use quickbase to be able to update our customers for work we do for them. Our business is to install Point of purchase displays and materials in retailers across canada. Tracking all of the paperwork etc. for a 2 hours job in 300 stores using emails and spreadsheets is brutal. Quickbase can make the whole process easier and cheaper for everyone, while speeding the whole process as well.

    But here is the problem, in this business digital photos are pretty much mandatory. Taking 3 photos in 300 stores, means I need to be able to attach 1000 photos, for one single project for 1 customer. Given the costs of storage on quickbase it is prohibitive. The value proposition you speak of in terms of what you can do with attachments holds true in some situations but not this one.

    The result is that in order to facilitate using the internet to track projects such as this, I am having to look into other alternatives, such as Microsoft Sharepoint.

    I love quickbase, it is perfectly suited for this type of business, but the storage space costs make it cost prohibitive to use.

    [Reply]

  • Craig Gorin

    I think in fact it should be the other way around. Put the price of the initial value, for the functionality, and r & d as high as you need to. The additional memory is not costing that much, and you could charge a relatively much lower price if you are not including qb running costs into it. The company I am working for values the environment and ease of organization QB provides, and can find ways around the memory storage issues.

    In response to Rick, QB seems to provide a great database with internet access. They may not wish to provide the increased memory, pictures just take up room. If I were in your situation, I would use my own server, with a 250 gb hard drive for a one time 50 bucks, and create links to these pictures. Then, you can place a url link to the pictures you have placed online in the QB database, not taking up any memory but giving your customers an easy and organized way to access it.

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  • Craig Gorin

    I think in fact it should be the other way around. Put the price of the initial value, for the functionality, and r & d as high as you need to. The additional memory is not costing that much, and you could charge a relatively much lower price if you are not including qb running costs into it. The company I am working for values the environment and ease of organization QB provides, and can find ways around the memory storage issues.

    In response to Rick, QB seems to provide a great database with internet access. They may not wish to provide the increased memory, pictures just take up room. If I were in your situation, I would use my own server, with a 250 gb hard drive for a one time 50 bucks, and create links to these pictures. Then, you can place a url link to the pictures you have placed online in the QB database, not taking up any memory but giving your customers an easy and organized way to access it.

    [Reply]

  • Peter

    I like what QuickBase provides, however for certain work I just don’t need some of the functionalities, for example project management. If I just want file sharing – as this is the sole purpose of some people’s needs, there’s no way people would pay this much. Microsoft’s sharepoint is much cheaper for this relatively simple need (and of course it kind of sucks on the interface). And for the amount of money, the space that Quickbase allows for storage is simply pathetic in today’s world.

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  • Peter

    I like what QuickBase provides, however for certain work I just don’t need some of the functionalities, for example project management. If I just want file sharing – as this is the sole purpose of some people’s needs, there’s no way people would pay this much. Microsoft’s sharepoint is much cheaper for this relatively simple need (and of course it kind of sucks on the interface). And for the amount of money, the space that Quickbase allows for storage is simply pathetic in today’s world.

    [Reply]

  • Chris

    Any new developments on pricing since the last post (August 2006)? It seems the QB data storage pricing has become even more cost-prohibitive, one year later.

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  • Chris

    Any new developments on pricing since the last post (August 2006)? It seems the QB data storage pricing has become even more cost-prohibitive, one year later.

    [Reply]

  • Bill

    I have a client that I think QB would serve very well, however, since they are a US Army military unit, they have concerns about the security of the service. I have looked for information on the site regarding support to the DoD or Federal and did not find any. Do you have something that would talk to current military customers, and how you allay their security concerns. In a related note, such a customer may be the type to want to purchase their own server for QB, and not have you host it. Can you talk to the pricing for such security conscious customers? Do you happen to have any U.S. military customers who have already bought the server product that our client could consult with.?

    [Reply]

  • Bill

    I have a client that I think QB would serve very well, however, since they are a US Army military unit, they have concerns about the security of the service. I have looked for information on the site regarding support to the DoD or Federal and did not find any. Do you have something that would talk to current military customers, and how you allay their security concerns. In a related note, such a customer may be the type to want to purchase their own server for QB, and not have you host it. Can you talk to the pricing for such security conscious customers? Do you happen to have any U.S. military customers who have already bought the server product that our client could consult with.?

    [Reply]

  • Mohamed

    Hello,

    I agree about the value on the data side. The storage side value does not add up. I have about 1 GB of data to store and I do not care much about file revision or locking a file. I simply need to have a place convenient to store all that data and share with everybody in the company. The key word here convenience and I am prepare to pay extra for it but not $400/month ($100/month for 250 meg currently)! Especially when Xdrive for instance gives me 50 GB (!) for $100/YEAR! Yes it is cubersome to link both system and it adds the login into Xdrive but can you see why people are not too hot in paying for big storage with QB:

    1G: $400/month in QB versus $8.33/month with Xdrive!

    I am sure QB can find a comprise between those two extreme. Why not increase the per seat price ($3) which I am sure company will happily pay IF they can get a better deal on online storage (maybe 1G minimum) That way you increase your sales by not only increasing your price but also by attracting many potential customers who would love to use your great data system but are not going to do it because they also have a huge data storage need. I am doing it because I can see the value for data system but I am using Xdrive to store my big files. I am not happy about it but I cannot for the life of me convince my company to fork $400/month versus $8/month!

    Just a suggestion!

    Mo.

    [Reply]

  • Mohamed

    Hello,

    I agree about the value on the data side. The storage side value does not add up. I have about 1 GB of data to store and I do not care much about file revision or locking a file. I simply need to have a place convenient to store all that data and share with everybody in the company. The key word here convenience and I am prepare to pay extra for it but not $400/month ($100/month for 250 meg currently)! Especially when Xdrive for instance gives me 50 GB (!) for $100/YEAR! Yes it is cubersome to link both system and it adds the login into Xdrive but can you see why people are not too hot in paying for big storage with QB:

    1G: $400/month in QB versus $8.33/month with Xdrive!

    I am sure QB can find a comprise between those two extreme. Why not increase the per seat price ($3) which I am sure company will happily pay IF they can get a better deal on online storage (maybe 1G minimum) That way you increase your sales by not only increasing your price but also by attracting many potential customers who would love to use your great data system but are not going to do it because they also have a huge data storage need. I am doing it because I can see the value for data system but I am using Xdrive to store my big files. I am not happy about it but I cannot for the life of me convince my company to fork $400/month versus $8/month!

    Just a suggestion!

    Mo.

    [Reply]

  • Editor

    Since it appears the most recent comment here is four years old, I am guessing that QB is not being used much.  Conceptually, it appears to be a decent product, but it IS cost prohibitive for a small startup business.  We are trying to find a “cloud” based CRM that allows more than one sales professional to interact with each other, as well as the clients and prospects.  Not too much out there, that we have found so far. QB could potentially work, but not “starting at $200 per month.” We are not willing to enter all of our data for the first 30 days free trial and have to give that up because we simply see $2400 per year as way too much for our budget.  Given the capabilities, this should be priced at no more than $10 per month for up to 5 users, then something extra per additional seat beyond five users.

    Just my thoughts, but you have lost a customer because of pricing.

    [Reply]

    Intuit QuickBase Reply:

    Hi – I’m sorry the cost isn’t going to work out for your business. You may want to try an out-of-the-box CRM; they will be less flexible but will likely also be less expensive. Here are some alternatives to Salesforce designed for small businesses: 
    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/239095/salesforce_alternatives_5_crm_services_for_small_businesses.html

    Hope this helps! 

    ^Alex

    [Reply]

  • http://www.facebook.com/gcwagoner Gerry Wagoner

    QuickBase looks like a decent program, but is too costly for our liking. if it would import data directly from Customer Manager 2.5, (an excellent product that Intuit lured people into and then dumped) I might consider it. Regards, G

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  • Taz

    I would love to see special pricing for a small non-profit. Something like $50 a month with 1 application and up to 5 users. Then additional charges for additional users or additional applications. This keeps it under $1000 a year with room for expansion. This I would jump on and I bet you would get a lot of the smaller non profits as well. A whole new market.

    [Reply]

    IntuitQuickBase Reply:

    Hi Taz,

    Thank you for your feedback regarding pricing for small non-profits. We really appreciate your insight on new ways to make pricing more effective.
    As of now, we do not have a plan at the price point you suggested. We are evaluating our current price offering in order to better serve our customer needs.
    Please do not hesitate to check our blog for updates.

    [Reply]

  • mr

    very nice product. however, pricing is rich for small business enterprise — Need a product offering for up to 5 users and 3 apps @ around $49.99/mo. Sheesh, even Adobe provides their master suite with “affordable” price point with 1 year commitment.

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