Pricing strategy dilemma for SAAS marketplace web app


We are stuck on which is the most appropriate pricing strategy for our Saas marketplace web application. We have consumers who post details of their problem x and service providers y who propose their offer to x.

The transaction is done externally with the service provider and the consumer.
We have two options on our table that we were considering:

  • Subscription model for the service providers to be able to use the service and have access to these consumers
  • Free for service providers but would pay a percentage fee if consumer chooses to go with them.

Both have advantages and disadvantages respectively, so I am looking for peoples opinion and advice on both options and to shed light on any options we may not have considered!

Pricing Saas Marketplace

asked Nov 6 '13 at 09:32
113 points

2 Answers


Looking at the general market, you have the likes of Ebay, Freelancer, 99designs etc, none of whom require a subscription for service providers/sellers.

Considering that what you are creating is a network-effects type model business, every barrier you put up, that gets in the way of attracting both sellers and buyers, will dramatically reduce your chances of success.

In general, most people prefer pay as you earn models - it reduces their risk of loss, and they don't mind sharing the reward if they are successful.

Caveat: maybe in a niche where you can provide a curated service (ie certified, trusted professional, etc) to benefit the consumer, and a big audience to benefit the supplier, you could potentially go with a subscription model as a base. I would still have a per-job fee as well though.

answered Nov 6 '13 at 10:17
96 points


Nobody here can tell you what the right business model is - only your customers can do that. Except, you don't have any customers you only have users.

You've created a two sided market place and, probably for ease of technology, allowed the transaction to occur outside of your system.

This means that you have no control. Your second option above - to charge a commission fee on the point of transaction is, currently, going to rely on the honest and diligence of the contractor (y) - because you simply don't know if a transaction has occurred, or for what price.

A subscription model, might work, depending on a) how niche your market is, b) the competition and c)the quality of (x) and (y) that you have in your system.

The only good advice at this point: Talk to your users, ask them what problem they think you are solving, and what value that creates for them (and then experiment with charging newcomers appropriately) and what other problems they have (solve those for payment).

answered Dec 6 '13 at 19:46
Nick Stevens
4,436 points

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Pricing Saas Marketplace