When to add paid options or premium membership to startup?


Would it be more wise to add paid options to a startup later on or from the start?
The paiad options would of course take extra time to develop since they would be an enhancment on the "free"version therefore taking more time and lengten the Time to market period left for a release.

I saw some big sites previoulsy adding the premium membership options on the sites like you have unlimited credits or you are full member without adding the full member features to the site, then at launch then added those features and removed the unlimited credits to say 20 or 50

  • what would be a good idea to handle this?
  • Making it free at first I think it will attract alot of users and free publicity but would cost me money for hosting costs.
  • And then at wich point would one add paid options?

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asked Feb 26 '12 at 01:26
139 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


You could spend a lot of time programming and then find not enough people want to use your product for it to be viable - or they are not that interested in the extra features.

Get a Minimum Viable Product out there first and get feedback from customers before adding more features. Or do some market research with a mock up and a survey. Your customers will tell you what they want including what price they are prepared to pay - or not.

This post by Eric Ries is really useful in explaining this concept more: Minimum Viable Product: a guide

answered Feb 26 '12 at 16:44
Susan Jones
4,128 points
  • Eric Reis lean startup seems a goood resource to apply to startup that minimum viable product is very good resource thanks! very valueable – Rubytastic 12 years ago


If the options are between "now" and "later", the answer is literally between now and later. Add the features at the time your users need them and your customers are willing to pay for them.

All you have to do is figure out how much user/customer demand you are prepared to wait for before you build the feature.

answered Feb 26 '12 at 21:59
Nick Stevens
4,436 points

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