For a company that has just started, when should we show prices to customer? Right when the application is live on day one or when the application is stable enough to be used by real customer?
What is the downside for each approach from your experience?
We are currently left in the middle whether we should show the price right when we have our application live or when the application is valuable enough to be used by the customer (GA version).
When we are live on day one, we are still in beta version. So we are not expecting any paid customer yet. So basically the question should be revised: "Should I start showing prices during starting from beta version or only when the application is out of beta version"
I would say you have to do your research before deciding on the pricing and not visibly experiment with users.
You can go live with a beta version so users can play with it. Once you think you have v1.0 ready/stable you should announce the pricing and stay with it for a certain time, say 3/6 months before fine tuning it.
Put yourself in users shoes, Nobody would become a paying customer if they know the site is not stable enough.
So the best option would be:
beta phase (no pricing info) - iterate with customers (you can also interact with your users privately in this phase to gather feedback on your pricing)
live phase - pricing announced
I suggest showing prices early, it will put the customer in a 'customer' frame of mind rather than a 'this is nifty' frame of mind. You will find you get different feedback, and you will learn faster what is truly valuable to the customer and whether they are willing to part with dollars for your application.
Short of charging, you can also simply show them the price and ask them if they would be willing to pay, it's not as good but it's a better simulation than just showing the product and asking what they think.
The short answer is simple: put yourself in the shoes of your clients and figure out when THEY would like to know the price.
As a customer, I would like to know upfront exactly how much it is going to cost me a given product or service.
If for whatever the reason you are not able to come up with a specific price, make sure you have a good reason that your customer will understand. However, my recommendation is to show the price as soon as possible.
Danger! "Right when the application is live on day one or when the application is stable enough to be used by real customer?" Does this mean your live software is unstable?
Personally, I think the sooner you answer the full question "what will this cost me?" the better. And by full, I mean providing answers to:
The non-monetary costs can often outweigh the price as a factor.