How do you bill for customisations in your SaaS offering?


We provide a customisable SaaS solution, and have adopted the classic billing model of a monthly user subscription fee. However some of our clients also require us to make customisations to their instances from time to time.

Currently, if the customisation can be refactored into the main / shared codebase (thus allowing all of our clients to benefit from it), we do not bill for it. But the majority of customisations are client-specific, in which case we bill per hour (albeit at a significant discount to market-related hourly rates for software development).

I know of some companies that don't bill for their time at all, and others who bill for everything. What are your thoughts on the various strategies?

Pricing Strategy Saas Billing

asked Feb 24 '12 at 18:38
Kosta Kontos
216 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Question: If the customer pays for the upgrade then who owns the upgrade or that part of the code? I suppose this would be handled in your contract or terms of service for your SAAS but this could turn into a real dilemma if not handled correctly. If you still own the code at this time then what's the harm with charging them for an upgrade they request, I especially like that your rates are lower, this shows integrity I think. Some other firms would gouge knowing that the company needs the upgrade and no one else could do it but you guys. – Tim 10 years ago

2 Answers


If it is a good idea I want to see globally in my SaaS, I do not take money for it.

If it is specific for only one customer, they need to pay the customization. You have also to consider if this customer can get upgrades of your product later or if the version is really forking away... in the later case this might become pretty expensive if you don't bill the change.

The best way would be to have a plugin architecture in place which does not (or less) conflict with the mainstream app. Again, I would work on a monthly rate.

Not billing for customization... well, not my cup of tea.

answered Feb 24 '12 at 23:22
3,590 points


We have a couple products and we handle it like this:

  • Good idea for a feature: We tell the client we will add it to our feature log which we work off of based on the priority we think is most important for all of our clients. However, if this is critical and you would like to pay for the feature we can expedite it and move it higher up the list. Yes, you will be paying for this and the feature will be given to everyone else as a standard product upgrade.
  • Bad feature idea / specific to them: This feature is going to take your developers off of your core product and prevent you from helping the rest of your customers for some period of time. Yes you better charge for it and you better make it worth it to you :] Some SaaS/Product companies make a fortune at this charging HIGHER then market programming rates. This is also difficult for you to maintain long term as they are not on the standard shared code base. Their monthly fees and everything should be altered to compensate for this.
answered Mar 26 '12 at 00:50
Ryan Doom
5,472 points

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