We blogged about new pricing ideas back on February 29th and then followed up with emails to all merchants. Those communications led to many one-on-one emails and phone calls with you over the past 3 months. And those conversations helped us design the substance and timing of this new pricing & feature release.

First off, we’re rolling this out over the course of June and July:

If you sign up ON OR AFTER June 1st, then you’ll be on one of our new plans from the start.

If you signed up BEFORE June 1st, then we’ll assign you to the new plan that’s equivalent to your old plan, BUT you’ll have the whole month of June to confirm or change your new plan. You’ll pay your old plan price in June and then your new plan price starting in July.

We’re rolling out new features that will only be available on our new plans, so some older merchants may decide to start on a new plan even before July.

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM MERCHANTS

In the many interactions we had with merchants about this, a few things became clear, like:

* You’d like our pricing system to stay largely the same as it is today.

* You’d like an easier “ramp” from plan to plan as your business grows. The “bump” from, for instance, the old $99 plan to the $349 plan, was a bit painful as you grew from 500 customers to 501. You don’t mind the “bump” if you want the next-higher plan for other reasons, such as a new feature or a better level of support… but you’d like the option to “ramp” up from plan to plan if that makes sense for you.

* You don’t mind paying for your non-paying (free) users on our system, BUT you’d like to pay very little, like 1 cent each, and you’d like to get some for free. Most of you are happy to pay more for your paying customers if that means paying less for your non-paying users.

HOW NEW PLANS COMPARE TO OLD ONES

Here are the differences between old and new plans. The image below just shows a few details. Click on it to see support levels, number of customers and non-paying users included with each plan, etc.

* Free Plan: Our free “Developer” plan remains unchanged. You can try features and use almost all API functions (with the exception being “Chargify Direct”).

* Customer Count: In this respect, the new plans are almost identical to the old ones. You’ll notice that each new plan has a number of included customers, and in most cases, those numbers match old plans exactly. We increased the smallest plan from 10 to 20 customers, and we combined the 2 largest old plans into 1 new plan. In all cases, once you reach the maximum number of customers for your plan, you will NOT be “bumped” to the next plan. That’s what we used to do. With these new plans, you can stay on your plan and just pay a small “ramp up” fee for each new customer. (See “Ramp-Up Fee”, below, for more info.)

* Features: All new plans have the same set of basic features as the old plans, which is to say, they have the Chargify features as of last week. New and enhanced features are coming, starting this week, and they will appear on various new plans. For instance, the new Webhooks Control Panel starts on the new “Small Business” plan, and Webhooks Replay starts on the “Small Business +” plan. Higher plans include all features of plans below them. As new features are released, they will be added to whatever plans make sense. For instance, “Small Business” will be the core plan and will have a good package of features, but “Small Business +” will always have a few extras.

* Support: This hasn’t changed… each plan has a certain level of support. The two least expensive plans only have application-level support (“Level 1” support). All other plans have app-level support PLUS access to API/programming-level support (Level 2 support). We prioritize based on your plan level, plus the liklihood that the issue is affecting other merchants, plus the degree to which the issue is stopping you and potentially others from doing business. Thus, the highest priority goes to a bug that causes transactions to fail through one of the popular payment gateways, as it affects many merchants and actually stops their business. Below that severity, we divide up work based on the criteria mentioned. This allows you to pay for more or less attention on support, depending on your needs.

* API Access: This hasn’t changed… all plans have access to our API, but we’re continuing the practice of limiting access to some newer parts of the API. So far, that just means the “Chargify Direct” part of our API… that’s been available on our $99 and higher plans, and will continue to be available on the equivalent new $129 and higher plans. This means that our free and lowest-priced plans have access to almost all of our API, but they do not have API/programming-level tech support. Some merchants use our API docs without any support on our free or least expensive plans, while others start out on our $129 and higher plans so they can get API-level support.

* Webhooks: This hasn’t changed… all plans have still webhooks enabled. What we are doing, however, is adding new features like a Webhooks Control Panel and Webhooks Replay that layer atop the existing webhooks functionality, making it easier and faster to investigate webhook issues (such as re-sending webhooks if the URL you have us send them to was unavailable for awhile). These new tools will only be available on certain plans and above.

Right Around the Corner…
The following new plan attributes probably will not be in place on June 1st, but they’ll be in place reasonably soon thereafter:

* Ramp-Up Fee: Each plan has a “ramp-up” fee that makes business growth smoother: If you exceed the number of paying customers included on your plan, you can stay on the plan and just pay a small amount per customer. You don’t have to bump up to the next plan if all you want is more customers. However, at some point, you will actually pay less if you move to the next plan up. Your plan selection page will show the cost on each plan, given your customer count, and then you can choose based on features and support. Click on the chart graphic above to see details.

* Non-Paying User Fee: Each plan has a 1 cent fee for your non-paying users (free users), BUT each plan also includes a number of them at no cost. Most merchants will not be affected by this because the included number is high enough to cover their needs. Click on the chart graphic above to see details.

Again, all of the above things only apply once you’re on a new plan. For merchants who sign up starting on June 1st, you’ll be on a new plan right away. For merchants who signed up before June 1st, you won’t see these things until July 1st unless you decide to move to your new plan sooner.

LET US KNOW IF YOU NEED HELP OR SPECIAL ATTENTION

We designed these changes to have a relatively uniform impact on all merchants, but there are a few merchants for which these changes will have an unusually large impact. For instance, one merchant on our $99 plan has a very high number of non-paying users, so their bill will increase a lot. We’ll help them export those users and/or give them extra time to ramp up to the new fee structure.

Please let us know if you need something like that.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS

I’m happy to discuss this with you, and our support team is always here to help, too.

Thanks.

—- Lance Walley, co-founder/CEO
—- Chargify

—- lwalley@chargify.com
—- Cell: +1 415 244 0349

—- support@chargify.com
—- +1 800 401 2414