6 SaaS Pricing Models Explained

Understand the different SaaS pricing models and why pricing is key to success. Get all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Pricing is one of the most critical factors to get right when it comes to running a successful SaaS business. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most challenging to master. 

Pricing models need to be carefully tailored to the specific needs of your users and the competitive market. They should be regularly reviewed and adjusted as necessary to ensure profitability and sustainability. 

In this article, I’ll explain the various SaaS pricing models and methods so you can determine which is ideal for your SaaS business. I’ll also explain why SaaS pricing is critical to the success of your business and what differentiates it from other product pricing. 


What Makes SaaS Pricing Different?

SaaS pricing is different from standard product pricing in several ways. SaaS pricing typically uses a subscription model rather than a one-time payment. This means users get charged a monthly or annual fee for access to the software. 

Additionally, SaaS pricing often involves tiered plans with different levels of features and services, allowing users to choose the plan that best fits their needs and budget. Finally, SaaS pricing is often more flexible and customizable than traditional pricing, allowing users to scale up or down as needed.

Why Is a Pricing Strategy So Important for SaaS?

A pricing strategy is essential for your SaaS business because it allows you to capture the maximum value while still providing your users the right offering and price point. This enables you to build loyalty and increase customer lifetime value.

A pricing strategy can also help you to understand your SaaS business' cost structure, including costs associated with customer acquisition and retention, and to ensure that pricing is profitable. In addition, the right pricing strategy helps you differentiate your products from competitors and ensure your pricing is competitive. 

6 SaaS Pricing Models Explained 

There are many different approaches to pricing your SaaS product, but most companies use one of the following models.

1. Flat-Rate Pricing 

Flat-rate pricing is a model that offers users a fixed fee for access to a service. This fee is not tied to usage, features, or number of users and does not change over time.

Flat-rate pricing is popular because it offers users a predictable monthly fee they can easily budget for. It’s ideal for SaaS businesses that provide a simple, standardized service that does not require any customization. 

It is also an attractive option for SaaS businesses that want to offer a low-cost entry point for users, as the flat-rate fee will typically be less expensive than other pricing models.  

2. Tiered Pricing

In the tiered pricing model, each tier provides a different set of features and usage limits.. By offering multiple levels, tiered pricing enables businesses to attract users of varying budgets and needs. 

Users can choose the tier that best meets their needs, whether the most basic tier with limited features or the most expensive tier with all the bells and whistles. This pricing model allows users to upgrade or downgrade tiers as their requirements change. 

3. Usage-Based Pricing 

Usage-based pricing is a model where users pay based on the amount of resources they use rather than a fixed fee, giving them the flexibility to adjust their usage based on their budget and needs. It’s ideal if your SaaS business offers highly customized services, as the pricing can be tailored to usage. 

For example, users might pay based on the amount of storage they use. This way, users can pay for only the amount they need, rather than paying a fixed monthly fee for all full storage capacity. 

4. Per-Feature Pricing

Per-feature pricing is a model that charges users for each additional feature they use instead of charging a flat rate. It allows SaaS businesses to target specific customer needs and lets users pay only for what they require, while those with more complex needs can pay for additional features.

The advantage of this pricing model is that it allows companies to generate revenue from previously unused features. It also gives users the freedom to pay only for the features they need, which can be cost-effective compared to traditional pricing models.

5. Per-User Pricing

Per-user pricing in SaaS is a pricing model in which the user pays an additional fee for each person using the service. This fee is usually paid monthly or annually based on the number of users or subscribers actively using the software service. 

Per-user pricing is a popular choice for SaaS businesses that offer services for teams, such as collaboration or project management tools, because it allows them to scale their pricing and increase revenue as the user base grows. It also enables SaaS businesses to calculate the service's cost more accurately and charge users accordingly.

6. Freemium Pricing 

Freemium pricing is a SaaS pricing model that offers users a free, limited version of a service, with the option to upgrade to a paid version for additional features and services. It's a popular way to attract users to try a service before paying for it. 

The Freemium model aims to provide enough value to the user with the basic set of features so that they will find value in upgrading to the paid version. Examples of companies that offer freemium pricing include Dropbox, Slack, Evernote, and Trello.

5 Common Pricing Strategies for SaaS

1. The Cost-Plus Pricing Strategy

Cost-plus pricing is a simple yet effective pricing strategy. It's calculated by adding the cost of development and delivery of a software service to the desired markup. This cost can be calculated by taking the total cost of the software, such as development and operational costs, and adding to it a desired percentage of the total cost. 

For example, if the costs to provide a software service are $100 and the markup is 20%, the selling price would be $120. This method of pricing helps SaaS businesses to cover their costs and make a profit.

2. The Competitor-Based Pricing Strategy

Competitor-based pricing is a pricing strategy in which companies set prices relative to their competitors’ prices. This strategy is often used when there is an existing price leader in the market or when a company’s products are similar to those of its competitors. 

Companies will adjust their prices up or down depending on their competitors’ prices to gain market share or attract users. This strategy can also be used to increase profitability in a crowded market and set prices for new products, as companies can use their competitors’ prices as a reference point.

Competitor-based pricing can be a powerful strategy as it allows businesses to remain competitive and adjust their prices quickly in response to changes in the competitive landscape. However, it can also be risky if you are unaware of your competitors’ pricing strategies.

3. The Value-Based Pricing Strategy

Value-based pricing is a strategy in which the price is determined by the perceived value of the service to the customer. This strategy considers the customer’s perception of the product or service and sets a fair price for both the user and the business. 

By pricing their products according to the product's perceived value to the customer, SaaS companies can maximize their profits while still providing customers with a product they perceive as valuable. SaaS companies have the opportunity to charge a higher price with this strategy than they would if using the cost-plus or penetration pricing methods (for example).

4. The Premium Pricing Strategy

Premium pricing is a strategy in which a business sets its prices higher than the market rate. This strategy often establishes a product or service as high-end or luxurious. It also shows that a product or service is higher quality or more exclusive than similar products. This enables a company to differentiate its product or service and attract users willing to pay a premium for quality.  

5. The Penetration Pricing Strategy

Penetration pricing is a pricing strategy in which a company sets its prices lower than the market rate to gain market share. This strategy allows companies to capture a larger market share, as users are more likely to buy the product at a lower price. 

This strategy can also increase awareness and demand for a product or service. Companies often use penetration pricing as an introductory strategy, followed by price increases as demand for the product or service increases.

Real-World Examples of SaaS Pricing Models

Here are three examples of SaaS companies that have nailed their pricing strategy. These examples can inspire you to find a suitable pricing model (or models) for your company. Note: As you’ll notice, using a mix of pricing models is common.


Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing platform that allows users to conduct virtual meetings, webinars, and video conferences. The company uses a freemium pricing model. It offers a free plan allowing users to host meetings with up to 100 participants for 40 minutes. 

Zoom offers paid plans divided into Pro and Business for users with more advanced needs. The pricing for paid plans ranges from $14.99 to $19.99 per user per month and provides additional features such as unlimited meeting duration, user management, and reporting. 


Slack is a cloud-based collaboration and communication platform that assists teams of all kinds in staying connected and organized. The company employs a mix of pricing strategies, including freemium, charging per user, and offering different tiers to users.

Slack's free version gives users access to some of the basic features of their platform including access to public and private channels, search capabilities, and file sharing, among other features.

Slack's paid plans include Pro, Business+, and Enterprise Grid. The pricing for paid plans ranges from around $8 to $14 per person per month and even higher for the Enterprise tier. The higher the tier, the more features and functionalities are available.


Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage and sharing service that provides users with a secure, easy-to-use platform to store and share their files, documents, and photos.

The company uses a freemium pricing model. The free version offers up to 2GB of storage, while paid plans offer more storage space and additional features such as access to advanced collaboration tools, file recovery, and more. The paid plans are available at different price points, making them accessible to various types of users.

The Benefits of Working with Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider 

Pay.com gives your SaaS business access to a full-service payment infrastructure. You can easily offer a wide range of payment methods and add new ones as needed. All you have to do is go to the Pay Dashboard and select the payment options you want to offer. These will be added to your checkout page.

Beyond adding new payment options, the Pay Dashboard streamlines payment management, enabling you to manage everything to do with payments in one place. This includes tracking the status of all your payments, updating customer information, issuing full or partial refunds, and viewing in-depth insights and analytics. 

Pay.com also offers significant advantages in terms of security and compliance. We’re PCI DSS level 1 certified, which means you don’t have to handle the burden of compliance and every transaction is protected at the highest level. We also support 3D Secure 2.0 for an extra layer of authentication to protect your business against fraud.

Our developer-friendly API makes it simple to integrate with your existing tech stack. We also provide simple no-code tools that allow you to customize your checkout and start accepting payments right away.

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The Bottom Line

Choosing a suitable pricing model and carefully crafting your pricing strategy is essential to increasing revenues and acquiring more users. But there is no one-size-fits-all approach for SaaS businesses. You’ll need to meticulously consider the needs and goals of your users, as well as your own business objectives. 

Of course, along with a suitable pricing model, you’ll also need a seamless and hassle-free way to accept payments that boost conversions and helps drive your business growth. Pay.com enables your business to take a wide variety of payment methods, offers world-class security, and is quick and simple to set up.

Click here to create your Pay.com account now!


What's the best way for a SaaS business to accept payments?

Pay.com is the best way for a SaaS business to accept payments. You can accept credit and debit cards and a wide variety of other payment methods and quickly incorporate new ones in just a few clicks. Because Pay.com is PCI DSS Level 1 compliant (the most advanced level), you don’t need to worry about compliance alone. Pay.com also supports 3D Secure 2.0 (3DS2), which adds an additional layer of verification to protect your business from fraud.

What are the most successful SaaS pricing models?

Several successful pricing models have become popular among SaaS companies. The Freemium pricing model offers a free basic version of the product, with the option to upgrade to premium plans with additional features. 

The Tiered pricing model provides multiple tiers of service, with each tier offering more features and benefits than the one before it. Usage-based pricing is another successful SaaS pricing model where users pay based on how much they use the product within a given period.

What is flat-rate pricing for SaaS?

Flat-rate pricing for SaaS is a pricing model where users get charged a fixed fee for access to a software service, regardless of usage. This pricing model is often used for services that require access to a certain amount of features or storage, with users charged a single fee that covers all the features they need. 

Flat-rate pricing is usually attractive to users who want to pay a flat fee for access to a service and is beneficial for SaaS companies that want to simplify their pricing plans.

What is per-active-user pricing for SaaS?

Per-active-user pricing for SaaS is a pricing model where the user pays a fee for each active user of the SaaS service. This fee varies depending on the type and level of service provided and the user's usage. Per-active-user pricing is beneficial for users because it allows them to only pay for the users who are actively using the product rather than paying for a fixed number of licenses that may go unused.

Meet the author
Anthony Back
Anthony is an experienced fintech analyst, content marketer, and copywriter based in Tel Aviv, Israel. With a deep understanding of payment technologies, he has worked with leading financial institutions and fintech companies worldwide.
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