Over the past year, we have had hundreds of conversations with prospective customers around pricing. We have learned a great deal about how Calcapp is used in businesses of all shapes and sizes and we have used this knowledge to create a preliminary pricing model. In August last year, we felt we had gained enough confidence in our pricing to put it in writing in the form of a web page. Since then, we have shared this web page privately with everyone who has been asking us about our future pricing.
The time has now come to share this information publicly. Here’s our pricing preview page. (Be aware that all prices are preliminary and subject to change.)
Three paid plans, three plan categories
When you select a plan, we first ask that you select whether your app is private, public or embedded. All apps that you can create today, using the beta version, are public apps.
We then ask that you select one of four plans: Free (the default plan for all apps), Starter, Business and White Label. If you opt to pay annually, you’ll get a sizable discount.
The Starter plan is great for simple apps used by small teams with a small number of fields and panels. The Business plan is right for the vast majority of apps and allows for much bigger apps which can be launched more frequently and support sending a larger number of reports. The White Label plan is for apps which are larger than allowed by the Business plan and where you may need to control all branding aspects. (The other plans will discreetly mention Calcapp in the apps themselves.)
These plans will evolve over time, both in terms of cost and in terms of the features that are included. For the foreseeable future, we intend to use grandfathering when introducing new plan versions, meaning that if we raise prices, you’ll still be on your original plan and will be locked into the original price.
If you go over any of the limits of our plans and you’re on a paid plan, we won’t disable your app or do anything to disrupt your usage. We’ll simply reach out and ask that you consider a different plan.
We have come to realize that most apps built using Calcapp are used internally in organizations and may contain sensitive information about pricing, internal processes and staff members. As such, these apps should be protected to ensure that they can’t be accessed by anyone who has access to the app link.
You can treat an app link as a password of sorts — with billions of app link combinations, nobody will guess that your app is accessible at, say, connect.calcapp.net/?app=b7r3td. However, what if you want to prevent a contractor no longer associated with your business from accessing an app he or she once was authorized to use?
With a public app, you’ll need to stop sharing the app and then share it again, thereby generating a new random app link. While that works, you’ll then need to communicate the new app link to all your users, who will need to remove the app from their home screens and add it yet again. Adding insult to injury, all your users will lose the information they have stored in the app (in the form of persistent fields).
Enter private apps, which will require users to sign in. You will maintain the list of authorized users through Calcapp Creator. When an employee leaves your organization, simply remove his or her account to prevent said user from signing on. We also hope to save the data entered in persistent fields in the cloud, enabling your users to access their data on whatever device they happen to have available.
Plans for private apps will include a certain number of users. The Starter plan will include two users, the Business plan will include three users and the White Label plan will include six users. If you require additional users, simply add them to your plan.
We only count active users, meaning that you only pay for users who sign in during a given month. That means that you can offer an unlimited number of users the ability to sign in, but if only ten users actually do and ten users are included in your plan, you’re in the clear.
With the private plan, you pay per user and not per app. That means that you can create additional apps accessible to your users without paying more. You can determine if all these apps should be accessible to all your users, or only to some of them.
How will that work? Our account editor will support assigning tags to your users, so you can diffentiate between, say, employees, partners and contractors. You will then be able to instruct an app to only allow employees to sign on, while another app may also allow partners to log in.
You’ll even be able to use a new formula function to determine if a user has a certain tag. You can use this feature to make a certain list panel option or calculation panel group only visible to certain users based on their tags, for instance.
All apps created with the beta version of Calcapp are public apps. While you may not necessarily share the app link of your app publicly, anyone with the link can access the app.
For many apps, this is precisely what we want. Let’s say that you run a car rental agency. Your pricing is public, so making your pricing app public is the right choice. Anyone can install your app (or run it through a web browser) to compare how your pricing stacks up against your competition, and that’s how it should be.
With public apps, you pay per app and not per user. If you have a large team and few apps, public apps may be less expensive than private apps.
If you want to use a public plan for an app not meant for public use, that’s fine. We won’t ever publish app links to public apps. (We have no control over whether they are accessible through search engines, though.) We recommend private apps for apps you wish to keep confidential, though.
What about using the power of Calcapp to implement your own sign-in flow in a public app? We actually see this being done with increasing frequency — you can add fields where users enter their sign-in information and only make the next panel available if the credentials check out using conditional logic.
While that may appear to work, such an arrangement is not secure. When an app is launched, it is downloaded in its entirety and stored for offline use. A moderately technical user can easily gain access to this data and thus to the information stored in your app, including formulas (slightly obfuscated in the form of computer code). By contrast, private apps require users to sign in before the app is even downloaded and are thus secure by design.
A large number of apps are embedded in web pages and are not run as standalone apps. Many features added during the course of the beta program have been created with this use case in mind — customizable colors and fonts, single-panel apps that no longer get a navigation bar if there is no panel title and the ability to disable the loading screen (which looks out of place when apps are embedded). Also, we have significantly upgraded our server infrastructure to accommodate embedded apps, which often are launched much more often than standalone apps.
When introducing paid plans, we will continue investing resources in embedded apps. In particular, we recognize that embedded apps are often different from standalone apps in many respects. Whereas a standalone app may contain hundreds of panels and thousands of fields, embedded apps often include only a single panel and a few fields. By contrast, though, you may want 30 of your pages to include calculators and thus require a large number of apps.
Because of these unique characteristics of embedded apps, a large number of apps will be included in every embedded plan. These apps won’t support as many fields and panels as private and public apps, though, and they will only work when embedded.
What if you want to build truly large apps and embed them in your site? What if you’d like to enable your users to install apps to their home screens and not just use them through their web browsers while browsing your site? What if you want to embed an app requiring users to sign in?
For those use cases, use private or public apps. They work not only when run standalone, they also work as well as embedded apps when embedded in web pages.
The intent with having separate plans for embedded apps is to make the standard use case — many simple apps with one app per web page — affordable. If your needs are different, feel free to use a private or public plan for your embedded app.
Private and public apps are meant to be run as standalone apps, possibly installed to a user’s home screen and run just like a regular (native) app. Users expect standalone apps to work even if they don’t have Internet connectivity and private and public apps don’t disappoint in that regard. However, Calcapp’s offline feature isn’t useful for embedded apps, as users are by definition always online when running embedded apps. As such, the offline feature will likely be disabled for embedded apps, which has the added benefit of apps not taking up any storage space on your visitors’ devices.
Transitioning to paid plans
We are keenly aware that many businesses run on Calcapp. By investing your time and energy into creating apps through Calcapp and by asking your staff, partners and contractors to transition from legacy processes to apps, you have placed an enormous amount of trust in us, in our ability to evolve Calcapp without breaking your apps and in our ability to maintain the service so you don’t have to go without your apps. We value that trust and we will do everything in our power to ensure that your business will not suffer any disruption as we make this transition.
When our new release has gone through our quality control process and we’re confident in its quality, we will release this version in the same way we have released all prior versions. All beta accounts will be transitioned to trial accounts, meaning that when we make the switch, all apps will continue working normally for an additional 30 days. Once we have made the switch, we will send an e-mail to all account holders (regardless of whether you subscribe to the newsletter) and invite you to subscribe to our paid plans.
You’ll be welcome to take out a subscription to a paid plan at any point during the 30-day trial, but your card won’t be charged until the trial period expires. When it does expire, your apps will smoothly transition to a paid plan and your users won’t notice that anything has changed.
Corporate and enterprise plans
Calcapp started life as a product we used internally when doing contracting for large multi-nationals in the health care industry. As such, we are no strangers to the requirements of enterprises and we’d be happy to discuss your needs and devise a custom plan tailor-made to your requirements. Such plans can include custom features, custom integration work to ensure that apps work well with your existing systems, on-premises installation and generous support options.
Contact us to learn more.
The Free plan
We will also support a no-cost plan, which in fact will be the default plan for all new apps. You will be able to have an unlimited number of apps on this plan, which means that you can store copies of your paid apps at no extra cost — say, for backup or archival purposes. (When you create a duplicate of an app in Calcapp Creator, it is automatically on the Free plan.)
You can downgrade a paid app to the Free plan at any point. We think this will be perfect for apps used seasonally — save money by only paying for the app when you expect it to be in use. That’s one of the great benefits of subscription software, you only pay when you need the software.
As you may or may not know, apps can not only be run through app links when shared, you can also run them through Calcapp Connect. To do so, visit connect.calcapp.net and sign in using your own credentials. You are then presented with a list of your apps, enabling you to select one to work with. (If you only have one app, you’re taken straight to it.) This is a great way to preview in-progress apps on your mobile device without having to create a duplicate copy to share, but it can also be used to run your own apps.
The Free plan will enable you to run your own apps an unlimited number of times through Calcapp Connect. If you have created an app for use at the gym, in the kitchen or to assist you with a woodworking project, the Free plan will be a great match.
However, the Free plan isn’t meant for sharing apps with others. While you’ll be able to share apps and create app links, you’ll only be able to launch apps shared this way a very limited number of times. We think that sharing apps on the Free plan will predominantly be useful for copies of paid apps used as beta versions, shared with a small group of beta testers.
We recognize that a number of useful, non-commercial apps will be lost due to the limitations of the Free plan. That’s truly unfortunate, and we have tried to mitigate this issue to an extent by reaching out to many non-commercial apps used by a significant number of people and offered them our Complimentary plan, which is an invitation-only variant of the Free plan. If you have created a useful, non-commercial app bringing value to a large number of people, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.
Subscription software versus one-off payments
We recognize that not all Calcapp users will be happy to learn that we only plan to offer Calcapp on a subscription basis. We understand that many users would prefer paying once instead of every month or every year.
Calcapp has been built as a modern, cloud-first experience. Apps are stored in the cloud and run from our servers. We offer additional services, such as reports, which also require Internet connectivity. Reports, in particular, are generated on our server and are sent by a third-party e-mail delivery service. We pay recurring fees to use these services and our business model thus requires you to do the same.
Simply put, we can’t easily make Calcapp run locally on your computer and produce apps you distribute through a distribution mechanism separate from our infrastructure (such as app stores), because the product wasn’t built that way.
We think that these decisions have helped create an easy-to-use product that doesn’t require installation or maintenance. We find that the vast majority of our users are happy to pay a recurring fee for this convenience, but recognize that others wish that we had built a different product.
In particular, if you have used Calcapp to build an app you intend to sell through an app store for a one-time fee, you may feel that paying us a recurring fee is not in your best interest, especially if you don’t know if your product will generate significant revenue. We’re sorry, but Calcapp is not in its present state a great fit for what you’re trying to do.
That doesn’t mean that we’re opposed to creating a product more suitable to creating standalone apps for distribution through app stores. We’ll be sure to revisit this topic in the future.
Payments, currency support and VAT
We have partnered with Stripe to provide the payment infrastructure. On top of their service, we have built a custom payment experience into Calcapp Creator.
Initially, we will only support credit card payments. We recognize that other payment methods are popular, especially in Europe, and will work to add support for these if there’s enough interest. We won’t support PayPal initially. We will, however, support Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
While you’ll be greeted with a custom payment experience in Calcapp Creator, we won’t actually be privy to your credit card data. We’re using a Stripe feature enabling the input field for credit card numbers to appear to be part of Calcapp Creator, while in reality, it’s hosted on Stripe’s servers. (For the web developers out there, Stripe uses iframes to accomplish this.) That means that you don’t need to trust us with your credit card information; that information is only processed by Stripe, not us.
Initially, we won’t offer discounts to educational and non-profit organizations. We are interested in doing this in the future, though.
We will offer localized prices in the following currencies, in addition to USD: EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, SEK, DKK, NOK, BRL, INR, PHP and ZAR.
If you have a business based within the European Union, you’ll be pleased to learn that you’ll be able to enter your VAT (value-added tax) registration number as part of the payment experience, in which case VAT won’t be added to the cost.
If you have any questions about our pricing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.