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Feedback on current pricing structure


#1

@brryant @thesergie and the webflow staff:

Please tell me if I the following assumptions are correct and if possible give me a short statement on your intentions behind your pricing policy:

If you have 20 different customers who want a website+CMS you have the following possibilities:


1st POSSIBILITY: You "buy" a Starter plan and create 20 different accounts for your clients.
For this webflow charges an overall amount of 400$/month. Of course you can now try to sell your client a hosting for 20$ per month, which I agree is possible (if the client has no idea how much a hosting usually costs). Unfortunately this could cause some "why did you sell me such an expensive hosting" discussions once they find out that you usually pay 5-10$.

Side Info:
I tried to sell it to one of my latest clients right after the CMS launched and I got familar to it. But the following proplem occures in such situations: The client doesn't care a single bit about the tool I use to create the website (and the ones who do care are strictly against webflow because they insist on their actual CMS like silverstipe/typo3 or wordpess ...). The only thing that is important to my clients is that they are NOT bound to a single designer or a CMS system that nearly nobody can work with. They always want the opportunity to be able to change the designer and the developer (actually they never do but giving them the opportunity often seals the deal). But if they ask me if that is possible with webflow my honest answer is NO. The reason for that answer is simply because webflow isn't big enough and nearly nobody can evolve an existing website in webflow. So if I ask a client if he wants his website to be custom made by my developer (based on a free CMS) OR if he wants to pay more to be bound to me as designer (and to webflow as a tool) + increased costs, I am pretty sure you can imagine the answer of my clients.


2nd POSSIBILITY: You buy a Personal plan and create 20 different websites on your account.
Let's do the math again with 20 different customer websites incl. a CMS. Webflow will now charge 10$/month for each of the sites (and if I understood correctly for only one domain? - not sure about that because it makes no sense due to the fact that some clients need multiple domains for one site). My first thoughts on this: nice price! - a little bit more than an I usually charge for hosting but it's an really awesome CMS so I guess it's ok. Overall price now: 20$/month (account) + 200$/month for all of the sites...

... BUT

if you continue to be successful and get more and more customers you soon have to pay 42$/month and then 84$/month. That alone isn't the problem (although 84$/month for a single tool is pretty insane). The real problem in my opinion is now that you won't ever be able to cancel your 84$ subscription because all your clients CMS-sites are on this account. So if you cancel the subsciption all sites will be unavailable, right? So what if I don't wanna use webflow in 3 years anymore because a better tool is on the market? Or maybe I quit my work as a freelancer cause webflow needs a new CEO? I could continue this but if I assume correctly you cannot cancel your subscription anymore if you don't want your clients to kill you – so you continue to pay webflow just because they force you to.


Some thoughts:
Riot Games developed a game called League of Legends. Over the years it became the most successful game and gained a huge user base. Why? Simply because it is a good game and due to the fact that you can play it for FREE. So you might assume that other big games, for example like World of Warcraft, which force the player to pay ~12$/month, still create far more revenue. But the truth is that Riot made 1,5 billion dollar in 2015 (twice the amount of World of Warcraft - please don't nail me on that, I just googled it).

How did they manage to do that? They offered the user to pay cosmetic items in the game which actually have no impact on the game itself. But users who have more money spend FAR more than 12$ each month and so they compensate the millions of users who pay nothing and just play it for free. In my opinion this is a very clever strategy because every single user strenghtens the userbase and the game grows and grows and so more of the paying users will occur in the future.

I know that's kind of a poor comparison. Webflow is not a game and you need a different pricing policy for such tools. The reason I used this comparison is simply to show the different mindset of those companies. On the long run it can be better not to squeeze money out of the clients and force them to pay forever with some sneaky subscription plans.

Please don't get me wrong. I don't want to use webflow for free or for a cheap price. It's an awesome product and if you want to use an awesome product you have to pay for that. And as I mentioned I wouldn't mind paying far more than 20$/month. But I don't wanna create my business based on a company that forces me to stick to them forever. (BTW it's same reason why my clients are happy when I tell them that they can continue to work with everyone else if they decide to do so for whatever reason.)

I can't talk for others but that is the reason why I don't wanna use webflow which in my opinion is the most awesome tool of the last decade. Sad but true.

Cheers
Daniel

PS: Sorry for the wall of text and for my clunky english. It's kinda hard to deliver all those thoughts if you are not used to write in english.


I'll Give $50 If You Can Show How Daniel Spatzek's Navigation Works!
#2

Webflow is a new tool though, we have to give them some time to develop new features. No-one can't expect it to be anywhere near open-sourced CMS like Wordpress who has lots of developers and has been around for decades.

If anything, it sounds like your workflow right now should be:

Design using Webflow > Export code > Integrate with Wordpress (2-4 days) > Host on client's server or on your VPN (you charge for hosting)

^ That's what I'm doing. Personal plan works well for this.


#3

@samliew

That's exactly what I was doing all the time (Design in WF > export code > ...). But that's not the problem. I am not even sure if you got my point.

So I can say I agree with your post but it has nothing to do with the problem I mentioned in the first place. The point I desperately try to deliver (and as it seems no one understands) also has nothing to do with the features or development of webflow.

Personal Plan works for this if you don't mind deleting sites after you reached an amount of 20 (and if you don't wanna use the CMS, have a developer,...)


#4

It is an interesting point with regards to the CMS.

I've sold 2 clients on a CMS package....which is like 150% more expensive that a local hosting plan, and then im also vulnerable on the Rand Dollar exchange...if my President decides to be an idiot (which has happened allot lately) my hosting fees go up quite a bit.

But then i take my clients through the visual CMS editor and its such a win, for both of us...so they're like 'we'll pay the extra money' because its worth it for them.

I do worry i don't have an exit plan if things go south.

Hopefully an export dynamic content function will be available in the near future, so that i can migrate... if for whatever reason i need to. Which lets hope i don't.

Its still by far the most amazing product i've seen in the web space....the opportunities are endless.


#5

This is something I'm having to give serious consideration towards also. I'm currently building two websites for clients, one is quite large-scale and will be essential to the running of their business. Part of me is thinking it would make more sense to just pay a web developer to build what I need, instead of using Webflow. Which isn't what I want to be doing.

Rather than seeing new features within the editor, I'd much, much rather see a way for me to invoice clients for their hosting, monthly or annually. Having to take an annual payment from a client, then pay Webflow monthly - with fluctuating exchange rates - is not practical. I would also like to hear and know more about what you guys are doing behind the scenes!! I like transparency. Your customers will appreciate it and it will help you build trust and integrity as a brand. Even if you don't have every feature, integrity is more valuable than anything else.

I feel uncomfortable using Webflow. Primarily because of this^.

Paying to white-label sites seems somewhat crazy - understandable, but still crazy. Especially for those on professional and agency plans...

I think another key point you made @dnlsptzk is that once you have over a certain number of sites, you can't downgrade your pricing plan, which essentially locks you in - especially not being able to export client sites with database functionality in-tact. Which I imagine is a very large job on Webflows part to create that kind of functionality and not something coming anytime soon. However, it is possible to transfer a site to a client... If you're paying $42 a month for a professional plan. But then it makes it more challenging to manage and moderate their site for them.

And as I mentioned I wouldn't mind paying far more than 20$/month. But I don't wanna create my business based on a company that forces me to stick to them forever.

I've used Adobe Muse, Wix, Squarespace, Webydo, Macaw - pretty much every visual code editor / CMS that's out there. I've got years of experience with Wordpress and various other CMS's that I've set up and built websites with. I got that bored with all of these that I ended up learning front-end development, which is something I said I'd never do. I don't need Webflow to build sites, I use it because it's practical and it has unique database functionality.

Webflow is the best of it's kind, which is why I'm investing in it. Your CMS functionality is brilliant. There's a good community. You have a good design sense. The idea is genius. Really, there's not much I can criticise. However if some of these issues are not addressed fairly soon or at least made transparent, I'll have to go back to basics and outsource the web development work.


#6

You nailed it @JoeMillion


#7

For those interested in signing up for the client billing beta, you can do so here: http://forum.webflow.com/t/host-client-sites-with-webflow-looking-for-beta-testers/23888

Also, our client billing is being built in a way that will address many of the concerns you listed.


#8

A post was split to a new topic: Archive unused sites


#9

I am not a developer/programmer, I am a visual person. Webflow helps me save time building a site. So far, I love it very much. However, as much as I love to use Webflow as a one-stop complete solution for my web designing side of business, I do not see(not sure how) much control and flexibility I have over pricing and managing my clients' site.

Sure this is an awesome tool, but for a small start-up like myself, I currently do not have the resources and need to commit to anymore than the Personal plan, as I do not have the client base yet. I am sure there are many freelancers and small start-ups like myself with limited resources would love to be able start out their business using Webflow.

it'd be awesome to be able to (personal plan and higher) to...
a)Publish a mock/WIP site within our personal domain.
b)Transfer site. (I am not an agency yet, 20 projects is a good start for me).
c)Individual pricing and billing for each site. (I would want to be able bill some business clients higher and NGOs lower). :grimacing:
d)Copy and move entire page between different sites.
e)To have my personal domain+hosting bundled with the Personal plan. This way, all the Sites/Projects I create would kinda be under my roof (better management maybe?).

I am new to Webflow, If so happened the above features are already available, please point me to the right direction, because trying to dig thought the forum is a little too overwhelming for a newbie. :sweat_smile:


#10

I just found out about WF a few days ago, but after watching a few videos about it and playing around with it myself, I'm really impressed in love with how easy it is to visually code responsive websites.

I think WF would be perfect for starting a freelance business, however I also question the way pricing currently works. What concerns me the most is the fact that if I ever decided to cancel my subscription, my client would also lose their website. I wish my client could keep paying for hosting or even pay a "one time fee" to export the code of their website, should I decide to stop freelancing, or cancel my subscription.

I do see that client billing is being implemented, so I'm definitely interested to see how it will work. I might be signing up for the personal plan soon, at least so I can try all of the features, including code export.


#11

The client would not loose their website unless you stopped publishing it. The site stays live online even if you ever decided to cancel your subscription. Hosting is separate from your plan.


#12

Really?! I got a different impression reading through similar topics on the forums. Knowing this, I see no reason why I shouldn't use WF. Thanks for the info. :+1:


#13

League of Legends is a Freemium game. You may play it for free but it's slow, and crafted to build frustration, so you're inclined to buy things. Expensive things.

There is a dirty secret in the freemium industry: most of the revenue is brought by a tiny fraction of the players, but that tiny fraction is extremely addicted and will spend hundreds or thousands.

if you really want to google things about LOL, read about their disputable business model: https://www.google.fr/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=league%20of%20legends%20business%20model


#14

@vincent Sorry my friend but I am tired of arguing on this topic so I just give you 3 statements:

  • First and most important MY quote on the LoL-comparison:

I know that's kind of a poor comparison. Webflow is not a game and you need a different pricing policy for such tools.

  • Second: your Quote ...

You may play it for free but it's slow, and crafted to build frustration, so you're inclined to buy things

is simply wrong. Actually you can win the LoL world campionships without spending a single dollar. All buyable items (for real money) are cosmetic items and won't ever give you advantage in the game. Everything else can be achieved by simply playing.

  • Third: It doesn't matter ...

because my reference to Riot's pricing policy was only for one reason: To deliver my point (which I am not going to repeat again^^)

Cheers


#15

Is that confirmed? I just wonder why webflow staff isn't telling me that though it would be an obvious solution to some of my concerns ...


#16

I think this statement is only partially true at the moment. If you stop paying for your account, then you can't access your WF sites - however, somebody needs to pay for the hosting. I believe that would still be the account holder + card on file for the time being... Until that is explicitly discontinued within the account then I'm under the impression the hosting charges would continue. Maybe at the higher rate since you would no longer get the WF account discounted rate? I don't know.

I think much of the confusion will be addressed in the near future when they release the client billing feature. They've openly spoken on the fact that it is in the works & coming soon. Everybody just needs to sit tight until they work things out. An "exit" plan so to speak does need to be in place. Sometimes people have a change of heart & career path. Agencies close up shop, things happen. I believe they will be addressing it so that they don't lose the sites that are being hosted. Especially with the CMS driven sites - which isn't even doable at the moment. I think the ability to at least export a CMS driven site with the dynamic data rendered out as static would be a way to handle that - and of course, client billing that is somehow not tethered to an individual or agency.

It's a work in progress folks, they've done a great job up to this point in listening to their user base & providing new/better features. CMS took a lot of resources to work out, it turned out to be great & they are improving upon the initial release all the time, they are now working on rolling out client billing, an API, and eCommerce. Three large & highly anticipated features.

This is why it costs money every single month. Adobe releases a couple of toy features once a year without ever addressing root issues - like figuring out a way to actually get two of their flagship products to play well together - Photoshop and Illustrator. It's only been 20+ years and you still can't simply export a relatively simple layered file out of Illustrator and into Photoshop with layers in place without implementing workarounds.


#17

@Mogeek
This
is
actually
the
first
good
answer
I
ever
got!

You understood my key concerns ("exit" plan, etc.). To be honest your post gives me hope for a brighter future. Right now the plans are very confusing (you said yourself: "I don't know") but I will wait for improvement.

I already mentioned it a couple of times but I wanna repeat it once again: Webflow really deserves to be paid VERY well because it's awesome. So if they show me that they won't force me into a spiral towards dependency I will reactivate my account though I don't need it at the moment. Just to support them in order to be able to create more/better features.


#18

I just had a chat with Waldo in support and he asked me to post my feedback on pricing here as well for posterity.

I recently had a client meeting which included their IT manager. He brought up some fair points about pricing when it comes to paying for additional user seats on both the CMS ($6/user/mo) and Designer ($35/user/mo I believe.)

He basically disagreed with the pricing structure of forcing a client to pay for additional user seats on the CMS and likewise, for the Designer access within Teams. His argument being that this discourages the use of individual credentials and encourages the sharing of credentials which, as you know, is a terrible practice. This is something that even the Webflow terms of service takes time to point saying:

"You are responsible for maintaining the security of your account..."

and that,

"We will not be liable for any loss or damage from your failure to comply with this security obligation."

His primary argument here is that you should be charging for features and not user seats especially if it will encourage insecure practices in clients such as credential sharing. This is a sentiment that I agree with.

My question to Webflow would be: do you agree that this user seat charge contradicts with Webflow's overall philosophy of creating a better internet and web development environment? If not, I would love to hear your counter argument to this so I can create better conversations around this with my clients. If so, then I think it is vital that within your restructured fee system, you encourage good practices when it pertains to quintessential safety concerns such as this.

Thank you for any context you can provide on this topic. I would also love to hear from anyone else that has had this concern or any other situations that you found yourself in while "defending" Webflow to a traditional back-end developer. I worked as a traditional front-end developer for many years alongside back-end developers and had some great relationships. But, talking about Webflow to a traditional back-end developer can be difficult sometimes when strong opinions on development start coming up. It also doesn't help that Webflow's flagship introduction video on their own homepage really paints these developers in an almost insultingly negative light.

What do you think?


#19

Here's a reason to not use webflow @JF426 . If you grow too much, you'll have to jump from paying less than $20/mo to over $70/mo for a single tool and little added functionality. I have just run into this and am in a bit of panic trying to figure out what I will do moving forward. I'd gladly pay more than $20/mo for a team plan but the gouging of $78/mo and never even owning the software is a slap in the face to the loyalty and evangelism I had for Webflow.


#20