We use recurring subscriptions here at UpStream.
Some people ask why we do this. Why not charge a one-time fee? Why not offer lifetime licenses?
This post is our attempt to answer those questions.
Reason #1. Quality and predictability
We want to make UpStream even more useful for you. We want to:
- Give you better features.
- Have your products ready for each new WordPress version on the day it’s released.
- Answer 100% of your support tickets within 3 hours.
- Get close to 100% customer satisfaction.
But, to make that happen, UpStream needs more developers and a bigger support team. To hire extra staff, UpStream’s business model needs to be more predictable.
How can you hire more developers if you can’t predict your revenue in 2 or 3 months time? Recurring subscriptions are the only way to be able to accurately predict your revenue.
One-off and lifetime fees provide us with no predictability. We would always be nervous about the next month and we’d be unable invest in the future.
Reason #2. Feed our staff
Our team loves working on UpStream, but they have families to feed, kids to support, and mortgages to pay. Without a solid revenue base, our team would be smart to leave and go work for a company that can offer them a predictable income. This is not a hobby for us. We take UpStream seriously.
Reason #3. Continuous development
WordPress plugin development is not a one-off task.
Plugin require continuous maintenance and development. Our team needs to upgrade the code for every new WordPress version, even the minor ones. We are also constantly updating them to work with other WordPress plugins, to fix bugs, and to meet the changing needs of third-party services.
Reason #4. Support the free product
Here at UpStream, we provide a free version on WordPress.org and we actively provide support for it. That’s only possible because of the support of subscribers.
Each support ticket costs us an average of $12. So every free user who asks for support is an additional expense. We can only bear that cost because of our subscribers.
Reason #5. Grow in a competitive market
It’s not easy to build a strong and sustainable business.
That’s true whether your business is in construction, retail, food, farming, or any other industry.
It’s definitely not easy to build a strong and sustainable business in WordPress. The platform is over 10 years old and the user-base is active, but not growing as fast as it once was. The marketplace is also hyper-competitive. There are many options in every WordPress niche, including project management.
With subscriptions, we have a solid base of loyal customer to help us compete and grow.
What if I don’t like recurring subscriptions?
That’s understandable. We’ve heard from a good number of customers on this.
If you don’t like recurring subscriptions, you can continue using UpStream without a subscription. You can continue using the subscriptions even after your subscription expires.
We also promise to treat you fairly. We’re upfront about that fact that we use recurring subscriptions, and always give refunds if you forget to cancel a renewal.
The majority of WordPress companies have moved to recurring subscriptions, and several have explained their thinking:
- Major Pricing Changes At WooThemes
- How to Make Money with WordPress, with Matt Mullenweg
- Should Premium Themes Automatically Renew Licenses? Data from Thousands of Theme Sales
- Pippin’s Plugins, after moving to recurring subscriptions