Cost is definitely very important for us as a bootstrapped company. I would rank it as a 3, but first and foremost, the quality of the product has to be top of the line and handle everything we need it to do.
Founder & CEO - iPyxel Creations
You don't yet know the value of things, so you try to learn how to do things effectively so you don't your blow money. It’s nice when there’s a 3 month trial period for a tool. You get hooked in, you figured it out and you’re happy to spend money on it. A lot of the stuff we’re using we got lucky finding them. When we found Blossom, we got to try it out for free for 3 months. Now that we have funding and know what works and doesn't, we’re more open to spend the money upfront if we haven’t tried it because we’ve learned from other tools and can see if it will be a fit quickly.
Co-founder & CEO - Impact Health
2. It's more about efficiency than cost.
Co-founder & CEO - Concord
Founder & CEO - Peerlyst, Inc.
If a tool is valuable and it will empower someone on our team to do a better job, or increase the effectiveness of their day, we will buy it.
Co-founder & CEO - LeafLink
It will always be 3-4 for this company.
Founder & CEO - Roomi
I would say a 4.5 because we’re a nonprofit, so we’re not accustomed to spending lots of money on anything. But our decisions are made considering a combination of cost, features, and value add.
COO - Venture for America
4- Cost is a huge factor. That doesn’t mean we’re unwilling to spend on a worthwhile tool, but we’re always cognizant of cost. Cost always has to be an extremely important factor, no matter the stage of your business.
Co-founder & CEO - Priori Legal
3- The great thing is, most of the tools we’re using have a startup plan for testing. Like with SendGrid and MailChimp, you don’t pay until you go over a certain limit. In the future, when we scale and have more users, cost will be more of a factor. When we scale, it will be at 4-5 because we would want to keep operational costs down.
Co-founder & CTO - Tutorlist
5. It was the most important thing when I was getting started. I’m spending a little more now, but I’m still hyper-conscious about money. We’ve raised angel money, so we’re not as cost-conscious now about services like designers and data scientists, but in terms of tools, we’re still very cost-conscious.
Founder & CEO - Social Data Collective
4.5. It’ll become less and less important as we grow, but it’s always going to be important. There’s a big difference between smart financial decisions and the super scrappy and dirt poor phase of a business.
Co-founder - Mexicue
Probably a 3. We are definitely conscious of cost, but at same time, it’s something that requires balance. Are you getting enough productivity gains to justify the costs? A lot of times, you are. So you don’t need to spend time trying to find the cheapest alternative. If it’s going to work quickly, and do the job, it’s worth paying for.
VP of Product Development - RescueTime
4. We won’t be completely cheap, but we really choose our tools carefully. Choosing something is a big deal for us. We’re not big spenders, and if there’s a big price difference, we’ll choose very carefully.
Founder & CEO - Reactful
4.5. We’re a bootstrapped startup, so we definitely trade off functionality for cost right now in a lot of ways.
Founder & CEO - Knowtify
Right now, I would rate cost between 3-4, but when we were starting out, cost was a major factor for us. I’d rate it at a 4-5 at that point because we didn’t have any money! At the stage we’re currently at, I’d go higher with cost for things like Intercom, but I would not pay for Marketo, Domo, RJMetrics, or systems like those just yet, since those numbers still don’t make sense for us.
Founder & CEO - Shoppimon
It was a 4 at the beginning, but now it’s a 3.
Co-founder & CEO - Comeet
Any angel or seed level company should be completely allergic to cost. No one cares if you’ve invested in a cool tool, or hacked it in Excel, when you’re starting out. You have to be scrappy and frugal, and willing to do things that are silly. As you grow, it’s equally silly to do something by hand if you can pay to have it done. But that $10,000 matters at the beginning. The shift is much more dramatic at the beginning, and much less dramatic when moving from series A to series B.
CEO & Founder - x.ai
5, but it’s all about cost versus value, and cost doesn’t always equal value. For example, we pay $0 for Slack, but it’s one of the most important tools we use. And I pay for Intercom, but it’s worth paying for because it really brings value to our company. Obviously, if there’s value for no money, that’s the best value there is! But for almost every category, there is a startup program available where you can try something for free, or freemium versions that you can try before having to pay.
Co-founder & CEO - Veed.Me
3-4. Cost is definitely important. If you’re a startup like us, that didn’t come from a family with a money tree farm, chances are you had to bootstrap and learn to be resourceful and scrappy. You will research and find tools that are free and outstanding, like Asana. And then you’ll get hooked, you’ll understand the value of the software, and as your company grows, you’ll be willing to pay for a Pro or Business version. I really do believe the freemium revenue model works, but businesses providing these tools and services also need to realize that the price jumps need to make sense. For example, some of the tools we have tried started off free, and then wanted us to pay $200/mo once we crossed the boundaries of what was free. This doesn’t work, and we did not pay for the upgrade. The price jump should initially be more like $0/mo to $40/mo to keep customers happy, and then you can scale up pricing as your customer’s company grows and hits certain usage benchmarks.
Co-founder & CEO - Commonwealth Joe
2. Cost matters, but honestly, the spot where the action is, for founders, is payment terms. Having to pay monthly, versus yearly, versus having deferred billing, makes a huge difference. Sticking with the wrong tool to save money, or because you’ve already paid for it, is like shooting yourself in the face, but I see it all the time. Our price point is higher than some other tools, and when I see people haggling over $5, I understand it, but you have to understand that you’re paying just a tiny bit more to save yourself hours of work every month. Cost is a thing to be managed, but making decisions based on cost is not good.
Founder & CEO - Justworks
I would say 5 for most of them. Some that are really inexpensive or low one-time costs aren’t that big of a deal, like the Audio Memos Pro for example. But as a small company, I’m always worried about keeping costs down. Specifically with the listening tools, costs can dramatically range, and they often have hidden costs or rather surprise costs; for example, Hootsuite seems very price effective until you want to use their reporting offerings. With a lot of the platforms, the pricing information is kept with their sales teams, so it can be quite annoying to get the actual costs of some of these tools. But you have to make sure you spend the time to understand what the real, and total, costs will be!
Co-founder & CEO - Sociality Squared
Cost was about a 2 with total vendor selection. Our 5s are not cost, they’re functionality and efficiency.
Senior Network Administrator - Smartsheet
3. Cost is something I think about, but the vast majority of tools available now are reasonably priced, so price is not a differentiator. We try to use things for free first, and most products offer a free trial period, so it’s easy to work that into your budget.
Co-founder & CEO - Fieldbook
4. If a tool or service is important for us, we need it, and it has been proven, we’re definitely willing to pay for it.
Co-founder & CTO - Spree
Cost has certainly not been the first consideration for us, so I’d put it at a 2.
Founder - Qbox
When we started the company, it was a 4, but now it’s a 2. If it’s the right tool, we’ll pay for it agnostically.
CEO - Zumper
Since we’re founders, and in an early stage, cost is a 5 at this point.
Co-founder - Chrobrus
4. If there’s a difference between one tool and another, and the difference is $50 or $100 per month, I can handle that price difference. But if the difference is $1,000/month, that’s a totally different conversation. When you’re spending more money, but you can see the greater good, I can go with that. For example, with choosing TriNet over a cheaper option, the price difference was something like $150/month/person vs. $50/month/person. But TriNet makes HR easier for employees, and makes us feel more like a “real” company, so there’s added value there.
Founder & CEO - Dibs
4. Small businesses care about costs, but $30/month for Shoeboxed to sort my expenses hasn’t made a difference. But choosing PayPal over Stripe was big. Basically, anything below $250/month makes no difference, but anything above $250/month, makes a difference.
Founder & CEO - Venwise
4. We’re a small company, and we watch every dollar we can. We always focus on whether a tool adds value for the customers, or if it’s something we need internally to make our lives easier. If it will add value for customers, cost becomes less important, but we’re not dumping tons of money into internal systems right now. We’d rather put that money toward customer value.
Co-founder & CEO - PivotDesk
5. Cost is most important, and I try to minimize expenses as much as I possibly can. It’s all about the bottom line. I don’t like to spend money on useless advertising, and I’m a firm believer in social media and word of mouth. That is what works around college campuses.
Founder & Owner - Campus Delivery
I’d say around a 2 or 3. It’s not hugely important. For me, when I’m making these implementation decisions, usability and support are the two biggest factors. Obviously, we want to use what is most efficient. We have no time to waste by going with an inferior product just to save a few dollars. We always go with best-of-breed. And as we use solutions that are startups themselves, we always go with the more mature products.
Head of Finance - Dots
Cost is ranked as a 3 or 4, but weighed against the benefit.
Senior VP Communications & Marketing - Karmic Labs
5. Cost is the most important factor for us. Depending on what stage you’re at, the importance of cost changes, but there are so many incredible and powerful tools out there that are free or low-cost. They almost all allow you to upgrade when you need it. We’re in the lean-startup mentality, and we have yet to run into a situation where we’ve needed the fully paid enterprise version of something right from the start. The free version of what’s out there is more than enough to get started.
Founder & CEO - Blinkbuggy
I’d say a 3 or 4. If it’s a really good tool, we understand that we should pay more for it.
Co-founder - Simple Texting
5. I have funded this business myself, so cost is very important. That being said, we decided not to outsource to India even though it would’ve been a third of the cost. So while cost is important, I do not prioritize cost over everything else.
Founder & CEO - messageLOUD
Cost wasn’t a factor for us. We just wanted stuff that worked. I know most startups don’t have that luxury, but they need to remember that nothing is ever going to fit their needs 100%. But if it works for 90% of your needs, and it’s low-cost, go for it. Later on, you can move to something else, and you can always merge platforms later on.
Chief Operations Officer - CTRL Collective
Cost is not too much of a factor. I always look for free alternatives first. However, if something is compelling enough, like Salesforce, cost is not an issue. If it makes us productive or holds business value, we’ll pay for it. For business, I will only pay for tools I love and use.
Founder & Head of Operations - Wheelhouse
3. It was factor in all of our decision-making, but we chose expensive tools when they were the best. Cost is always a consideration, but not the deciding factor.
Co-founder & CIO - Enplug
4. Cost is definitely a factor in everything, but it’s not the most important. Usability is more important.
CEO & Co-founder - Plum Print
4. It’s important, but tools like Intercom and AWeber, while not the cheapest, are the best for what they do. They are worth the price we pay for them.
Co-founder & COO - RealLife Global
4. It’s very important. We’re a profitable company, but we are self-funded, so it’s not like we have $20 million in VC funding to blow through. We’ve very careful about what we spend and what we get out of that spending. For example, we’ve been on Slack for a year, and only last month upgraded to the paid option.
CMO & EVP of Sales - ExecRank
4. Cost is always important. But we’re picky, so if it’s worth it, we’ll pay for it.
Co-founder - GoKid
3. Cost is important, but we’re 10 times more interested in purchasing and paying for something if they offer a lot of integrations.
Vice President & Content Strategist - DK New Media
3. Cost is not the most important factor. For example, Wordsmith is outrageously expensive, like $700/month, and Brightpod is $50/month, but it’s all about the impact. I don’t mind spending money if it saves time.
CEO & Founder - DK New Media
My view on this has evolved a little over the years. In the beginning, it was a 4. Now it’s more like a 2. At this point, I am much more interested in whether a tool is the best solution for the problem. Harvest is the best example of this. It is more expensive than other programs, but you get to the point where you say it’s worth the money.
Founder - Built for Teams
Hopefully everyone says that cost is a 5. There are some products where, if they were free, or even paid me to use them, I would never choose to use them--like QuickBooks. The only reason you don’t choose Salesforce is cost. It’s always because of cost. There’s nothing better than Salesforce, but it costs a lot of money. Cost is a 5 because if it’s not the important thing, I would get Marketo, Salesforce, etc. I would also pay more for Intacct than NetSuite because they have a better API.
CFO - Makeable
We’re pre-seed, so cost is very important. Crazy burn rates are not what you want to be dealing with at this stage. But you also have to be careful not to bring on tools that are too cumbersome. We’re fortunate to be in a time where there are tons of free or very low-cost tools that can get the job done, so it’s perfectly realistic to find tools that won’t burn your budget.
Co-founder & CEO - BarterSugar
When we started, it was 5. Now we’re at a 2.
Founder & CEO - Alley
Cost is a 3. Because it’s just me and Ivan, automation and integration are more important than cost. If something costs $15/month, but it saves me time, it’s totally worth it.
Founder & CEO - Writing It Right For You
4. We are trying to be as lean as possible, so price is a big consideration as we try to keep our costs as low as possible.
Director of Marketing and Operations - mbaMission
5. Cost is always one of the first factors we look at. As a bootstrapped company, I cannot foresee a time when it won’t be a key factor. But that’s not to say we won’t pay for a great tool; some of the tools we use have a premium price. Price is important, but we will always invest in a good tool if it will solve a problem for us
President & Founder - SmarterU
1 and 5 because value is most important. If it’ll make me more efficient, it saves me time and money.
Founder & CEO - Halo Life Science
Cost is a big factor, but we’ve realized that, given our stage, some tools are worth the money as long as you can justify it. In our very early stage, cost was a deciding factor, but slowly we’ve gotten used to paying for software that adds value. Tools that are worth the money for us are Mixpanel, Google Apps and Xero.
Cost is pretty important because we’re bootstrapped. But I will pay for tools that demonstrate value--that allow my team to be more efficient, and that allow us to grow and learn about our business. Intercom, for instance, has shown us a lot of value, and it does a lot of different things for us, so I’m saving money by not having to get separate tools for different functions.
Founder - Brightpod
We prefer anything with a free tier, that allows you to only pay more as you grow. That’s how we work, and that’s how to keep costs down. But it’s not about choosing what’s cheapest, it’s about choosing what’s best. For example, we could’ve gotten a mailbox at the UPS store and probably saved ourselves about $10/month over using Earth Class Mail, but we knew a UPS mailbox would not provide us with the flexibility to grow. We always choose what grows with us best, even though it might not be the cheapest. We are constantly asking how we can lower our costs, and maintaining a strong sense of our costs/person.
Co-founder - Quill
5. Price was very much a factor. That said, we wouldn’t pass on a great service if it was expensive. For example, Ambrose was more expensive than us doing every part of our HR individually, but it was totally worth it to pay to have the headache of doing everything piecemeal. All things being equal, not having tons of admin costs at a 35-person company is a big priority.
Co-founder - Aviary
Cost is a big factor, but the real emphasis is on value. I’m always looking for something that will create the most efficiencies on my team, and I'm happy to pay the price if we're getting the most value.
Co-founder & President - Work Market
1. For us, it’s less about actual cost, and more about what we’re being offered. For example, Close.io is pretty expensive, but it’s essential. And Zapier could get away with charging us way more, and we wouldn’t resist. But lots of products have good alternatives, so in those cases, we choose the one with a lower cost. But if something is better, cost is irrelevant.
Founder & COO - Book In A Box
5. This is the first non-venture-funded startup that I’ve done, and I’ve had to be much more price-conscious than I have been in the past. But I do see a point where price will be less of a factor, and I definitely see us in the near future worrying about price less and less. We are definitely willing to pay more for anything that has to do with direct interaction with our customers, like TeamSupport. We bought TeamSupport early on, and it has been an expense that was well worth it. We try not pay for a lot of things at this point, and we tend to use LiveBinders for as much as we can. And we’re good testers, so we can test out our own product.
Co-founder - LiveBinders
When we were starting out and we were pre-revenue, we had a much a smaller budget so my willingness to pay for tools and services was lower. Now that we are more established and have revenue, I am willing to pay for more convenience. However, it all depends on the absolute cost of a tool or service and the value of its capabilities. Cost will always be a consideration, but not always the defining factor for deciding which tools and services to use.
Co-founder - Bundle Organics
4. Our general philosophy is that, even when we build our own software, we should never build or purchase something before we have a clear understanding of what we need it to do. We really want to establish as much as we can manually first so we have a clear understanding of what we need to build or buy.
Founding Partner - Blueprint Health
QuickBooks, Google Apps. We're being super scrappy right now. We're intentionally not setting up things that are nice-to-haves (benefits, HR). Once we finish the seed round, we'll start looking at that sort of stuff.
Founder & CEO - Hardbound
2. I really believe that you should use a flexible tool that can be implemented quickly, and both of those things are going to mean that the tool is worth money.
Founder - SenseHealth
We viewed many tools as a way of automating some of our workflows. Costs typically had to remain very low, or there had to be a significant value-add to our business (greater efficiency, long-term cost savings, higher security, lower margin of error, etc).
Director of Operations - Inxent, Inc.
Most SaaS products are cheap, and definitely worth the cost.
COO, Developer - Lightmatter
4 overall, but it really depends on what it is. We’re a full stack startup, so many times, it’s quicker for us to build our own tools than pay another company for theirs. But for some things, you really don’t have a choice. For example, SMS short codes are outrageously expensive, but if you are SMS-based, like us, you have no choice but to pay a lot for short codes. But we’re not going to pay a company tons of money for something we can build ourselves, like a link shortener. We were using Bitly to generate the short URLs we sent to our users via SMS. We started getting warnings from Bitly, so we called them to upgrade. The pricing they quoted us was outrageous, moving us from a free plan to one that would cost us thousands per month. And they told us we were crazy to even think about building our own URL shortener, so we should just pay them, and they would give us a discounted price, which was still outrageous. So we built a link shortener ourselves the very next day, and released it on GitHub. We also built our own ad service because we tried AdMob and a few other companies to serve video ads, and we were totally content to give them a cut, but not many could have the ads show up natively, and the ones that did, did not work reliably.
Co-founder - Claim It!
3. We're willing to pay for a good tool if it is well-designed and well-thought-out, even if it's expensive, but we're very mindful of our money. For us, on the backend side, there are a bunch of infrastructure/hosting tools that we'd prioritie paying more for, because they're so integral to our operations, and also Slack has become indispensable to us, so even if they upped their price, we'd probably pay for it.
Co-founder - Cloudo
4. At the end of the day, if we can find something that is efficient and is good on cost, why not use that over another product? But cost is not always the final decision maker.
Founder & CEO - Sociallybuzz
3. Cost has never been that much of an issue; it’s all about value. We always ask ourselves, “Am I getting $X worth of value out of spending $X?” And if switching to a lower cost tool doesn’t meet our needs, we’re definitely not going to do it.
Vice President of Technology - Golf Genius Software
We're always cognizant of cost, especially since I keep our books. Success is highly correlated with 1) luck and 2) frugality. So you control what you can :) I've always been on the tight-belt plan, but I let myself be easily convinced that it's worth spending money on tools to help our business grow. For instance, Recruiterbox was a little more than I wanted to spend, but it was a no-brainer because its value was so clear. Anything below $200/month is an easy yes, anything above $500/month is a maybe, and anything above $1,000/month is a hard sell.
CEO - Katch
3. We're willing to pay for tools that are great--that's one of the reasons we invested in Salesforce Marketing and Service Cloud. I’m not opposed to bringing on but expensive pieces of software early on, as long as they add value to the company. If you cheapen out and don't invest in good tools, you'll wind up with a big mess. That said, there are a lot of amazing tools that are free (e.g., Trello).
Co-founder & COO - Casper
4. As a startup, we don’t want to spend too much money if we don’t have to. We are pre-revenue, so if there are 2 products, and one is free, we are more likely to go with the free product. And most free products are good enough for an early stage startup.
Founder & CEO - UnifiedVU
Cost was a pretty big factor in the early days, and we tried to stay super lean and save a buck. Now, productivity and time savings often come before price in our buying decision calculations.
Co-founder & COO - Betterment
5. If a tool is less than $100/month, then it’s really easy to think about. Anything above that price point, and it becomes a hard conversation.
Editorial Director & Editor-in-Chief - ReadWrite
Cost is a very important consideration. We pay for 1Enrol because it's a great tool that controls our whole operation, and it would have cost a lot more to do all of that ourselves.
Jose de Andrade
Founder & Director - Hello Australia
5. Cost is huge. You should not be spending a lot of money when you’re in the seed stage.
Founder - Jurnid
In the beginning, cost was very critical, as we were a small company. Now, it's becoming less important, but it's still an important factor. In the beginning, we did a lot of things with spreadsheets, though we were willing to pay more for tools in certain categories--CRM (Close.io is fairly expensive, but it's such a great tool), BI/analytics (New Relic is amazing) and customer support, because it's so critical in the beginning.
Co-founder & CEO - sli.do
2. Cost is important, but it’s definitely secondary to choosing the right tools for your stage of business. In our case, most of the right tools happened to be cheaper options, but that’s not why we chose them. We selected those tools just because we weren’t ready for the next step up.
Founder & CEO - Do
3-4. Cost was always important, especially when we bootstrapped in the beginning. But we’ve always been the kind of company who tries to do the right thing from a business perspective. For example, since security and reliability are our number 1 and 2 priorities, we bought an SSL certificate from the start. It’s expensive, but you don’t skimp on something like that. We’re always willing to pay for something if we’re getting value for it. So cost is definitely a factor, but if something is going to substantially help our business, it’s worth the money.
Co-founder - Eager
3. There were certain things that were very important to us that were taking up too much time, so we were willing to pay more for tools to take care of those workflows.
Founder & CEO - Nine Naturals
3 We always want to watch our costs, but of course we will spend money to get something right. These companies have a lot of competition, and we’ve found that, across the board, the prices they have on their website can be negotiated. They’re fully aware that there are a lot of people vying for their business.
Partner - DXagency
Cost was the biggest factor for us. At such an early stage (pre-funding and still at MVP), there’s no point in signing up for an expensive tool, as this business might not be viable.
Founder - Good Zing
We need tools that work and aren’t a pain more than we need super cheap services or new tools that might break on us.
Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer - Contently
Cost is a very big factor--we're Seed-stage. In general, if a tool/service is less than $100/month, that’s fine; from $250-2,000 cost matters a lot; and if it's over $2,000/month, it's not gonna happen at our size.
Founder & CEO - Knozen
It's so different for each part of the business. For CRM is it's a 1; for the HR side it's a 3; for email marketing it's a 5; BI/analytics gets a 2; internal communication is a 4; project management it's a 1; and file sharing gets a 4.
Co-founder & President - ALICE
2-3. We're spending so much money on development that, unless the tools are hundreds of dollars a month, it's not an issue. If a tool speeds things up for us, that's more important at this point so that we can use our time wisely.
CEO & Chief People Person - Founders Bloc
Cost is a big part of it. But as long as the amount of money you put into the service creates at least that value in return, it's worth it. Tools like Indinero, RelateIQ, ZenPayroll, etc., aren't cheap. But the time those have saved me (especially not having a background in accounting, HR, etc.) is 100% worth it.
CTO - Bowery
4. We'll pay for something if it's objectively valuable in and of itself (Kount, for example, is reasonably priced but not cheap, but we think it's well worth it). If we feel like a tool isn’t worth its cost, then we won't get it. The thing we're always aware of is that what a software company charges has nothing to do with how valuable or difficult the tool is. Instead, it has to do with the economics of their business. That means their pricing may be unreasonably expensive because they're just trying to make money. When that happens, we question how much the product is worth, and consider saving that money for future use.
Co-founder & COO - TeePublic
Choosing time savings for a reasonable product at a reasonable price is better than taking the cheapest route.
Co-founder & CEO - SponsorHub
Price is important when you're a Seed-stage company, but as you scale, you need your system to scale in a nominal way. You can't just base your product decisions on price.
Founder & CEO - Socure
Cost was 100% a factor, depending on what I was looking for. If the tool came highly recommended through a trusted resource, I would pay up for it.
Founder & CEO - Coin Out Inc.
For some tools, cost is not negotiable. I can't NOT use Heroku to store apps. I can't NOT use tools that are directly related to the user experience. I think this question really needs to be broken down category by category.
Ron J. Williams
Managing Partner - proofLabs Group
It really depends. It's all about finding a strong balance. Sometimes it makes sense to shell out extra money to save manpower.
CEO & Founder - inSparq
3. Collaboration in real time is key. In my mind, you should pay what you need to in order to communicate with your team effectively, but stay within reason and budget for other services.
Head of Content - CreativeLive
Cost is a big factor for us, especially at such an early stage.
Co-founder - Drop Global
It depends on the tool. I'm willing to pay more for the right CRM platform because it either fits our operations and helps us sell or it’s worthless. I'm not willing to spend money where it's not necessary, like on HR or communication.
CEO - DeansList
For anything that's internal, price is pretty sensitive. It can be ugly, it can be clunky, we don't care--we'll deal with it. If it's external-facing, we want the best because that's what our customers deal with. We want the best server, the best payment processor, because people get annoyed if it doesn't work. When it comes to file sharing, or anything that's all on our end, we'll deal with the hiccups.
Co-founder - Cooperatize
Cost was not a factor, as most tools we chose were free anyway.
CEO & Co-founder - SideProjects
2. If I've heard a tool referred by a million other founders, and if it's easy to sign up and integrate, I'll spend more on it.
Founder & CEO - NextGenVest
I put cost at a 3, but I put usability at a 5 and integrating with all of our other software at 4. We try to understand not just the current cost, but the longer-term value. Cost is a factor, but we're a product company, so we want to pick the best software.
CEO & Co-founder - Movable Ink
It really depends. The importance of cost has changed over time as our company changed. When it was really early, we were VERY price-sensitive, but that got less and less true as we grew. It also really depends on how often we use a particular tool. How critical is it to day-to-day operations? If I use it all the time, then it's really important to me that it runs smoothly, but if it's something I use once a month, then I'm willing to put up with a bit of hassle for the lower cost.
Co-founder - Keen IO
We're trying to be capital-efficient, but we also understand the need to save as much time on our end as possible. We're not too price-sensitive if the tool in question is really going to change our workflow for the better.
Founder & CEO - Framed Data
I don’t think price matters much. In my opinion, you get what you pay for most of the time. If you buy something terrible in order to pay less, it'll just make more work for you down the road. We just signed up for a service that costs us $1,000 a month, but it was just a no-brainer. Time is money, so don't only take the price into consideration. When you scale, you'll end up switching to the better product anyway. I'd rather pay as much money as I need for something that helps you grow, rather than waste money on a placeholder.
Founder & CEO - Founder Shield
Cost is pretty important, and it's the reason we haven’t switched to Mixpanel from Google Analytics yet.
CEO - Dasher
3. It really depends on how important the tool is. If it's a tool we’re using every day, we're willing to pay. Sometimes there isn't an alternative, though. But at the end of the day, it's about maximizing the ratio of what you pay versus what you get.
Co-founder - Tuckerman & Co.
5. Cost is really the biggest factor for us. We always try to go for the free option first. It's all about the value. I would upgrade to enterprise if the money was no concern, but right now the ability to retain our cash is more valuable.
Founder & President - Upraised Learning
Between a 1 and a 2. Price is generally the last thing we think about. What's more important to us is whether or not you have a free trial. Beyond that, it just comes down to whether or not the price is outrageous. If the pricing is insane, we won't do it, but we expect to pay for tools.
Co-founder & CEO - Zapier
2, only because I think most of these tools are very similarly priced for companies of our size. At our scale, you're using a product that's either free or very cheap--there are very few meaningful cost differences between products. This is a great time to be an entrepreneur because there's so much competition, so there are some really cutting-edge tools that are very affordable for startups.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief - The Information
2. It's not that important, but you need to operate within reason.
CEO - Splash
There's really nothing you can't live without (except for Google Apps). Everything can be done with email, docs and spreadsheets if you're willing to fight for it. When we pick tools that are for the developers and sales, cost is probably a 2. Anything else is more like a 4 or a 5.
CEO - Canopy Apps
3. Cost is somewhat important, but functionality is more important.
COO - Citia
We have to be cost-conscious in everything we do, so the goal is to find the most cost-effective solution and service, while accomplishing what we need.
Team Lead - Muse Games
4. At any startup, you have to focus all of your money on what generates sales. We really wanted to figure out which tools were "good enough" and get them for cheap, and which tools we really needed to avoid trouble--legal or otherwise. Our order management tool was the only one we decided to go ahead and use without a free trial because that was sales and legal related. For other tools, like Salesforce, we did trial runs and switched over when we thought the tool would be helpful.
Co-founder - Journey Bar, LLC
I would say at least 4. Early stage, cash is everything. Though I would pay more for something that would give me the flexibility to get out of it quickly.
VP Finance & Operations - willa
4-5. We've always tried to minimize expenses. SF was always one of the bigger decisions because it's so pricey, but sales is so critical to our organization that we made it a priority.
Co-founder & CEO - Manicube
4. As you grow and make more money, cost of course becomes less “important.” But it continues to remain a big obstacle for us!
CEO & Founder - Greatist
4. All things being equal, cost would win out. But often, cost is directly correlated with quality and scalability. For the first 2.5 years, we definitely chose the less powerful, less robust functionality to save money. But now, at our scale, we're starting to need enterprise-level applications, and that comes with a higher price tag.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO - Plated
Cost is important, and we liked to try out tools with free trial offers. If something is on the cheaper side, we're more apt to sign up for it. We explored HubSpot, and at first the reason we didn’t choose it is because it cost $300/month (on a startup plan). Same hesitation with Jazz for recruiting.
Co-founder & CEO - One Month
2. If a service solves our problems, then cost isn’t a factor. Only in the most extreme situations do we start to hesitate when it comes to cost.
Founder & President - Lionheart Software
2. We raised venture money, so we have the ability to spend on things like this, and I generally feel that these tools are not going to make up the majority of money you spend--the majority is on people. So if tools can make your people more efficient, it's almost always worth it to spring for the tool. Obviously, there are boundaries here, but I generally pick the tool that best fits the team.
Founder & CEO - Common
It’s a 3 for us, but it really depends on the value of the tool. Even though we're a small company, we're going to use what's right for us unless the price is absolutely crazy. As we grow, we'll become less and less concerned with spending money.
Co-founder and CEO - Fantasmo Studios
Cost depends on the ROI.
CEO & Founder - 15Five
Cost is definitely important. I would say that price is extremely important and always a huge factor, but it isn't the MOST important. For project management, I spent weeks to research different options, before I accepted that I couldn't find something for free. I would say the most important factor to consider is how a tool affects scalability. You need to think about what's happening six months to a year from now, and what would be the transition cost Also, it’s important to consider that the more people we add, the more expensive everything gets, as for most of these tools we pay by number of users
Co-founder Stage: Seed - Sailo
3-4, but it depends on how much value you're getting out of a specific product and if the cheaper/free alternatives provide the same amount of value. For instance, Google Apps is free, but they start to charge as your number of users grows, and we're starting to test the limits of that with our growing business. We’re also starting to max out the limits of Mixpanel--it’s expensive, but it’s the most comprehensive BI tool we have.
CEO - TreSensa
When we were bootstrapped, cost was more of an issue. but at this point, it's less so. Some of these services can add up for a seed-stage company, and you can find yourself with a bunch of different subscriptions, questioning whether you're really getting use out of them. If people are really a tool it and it's working, then you feel more comfortable overspending--so you need to think about the value it adds to the business or revenue you're generating. The costs that end up creeping up the most are those outside of revenue-generating activities, such as legal and financial.
Founder & CEO - Tinkergarten
Cost was the biggest factor for us.
Partner - Exubrancy
Startups usually don't have the cash to spend on very expensive online tools and services. So cost is a very important consideration.
Founder & CEO - AirHelp
It depends on what's available. If there's only one thing out there that does exactly what we need, and there's no other way for us to do it, then we'll buy that no matter the price. For example, we were implementing a visual tracking library. There was only one company that had anything that available. We paid $2,500 for it, but we would have paid $10,000 because it's cheaper than us trying to build it ourselves and there was no where else to go. We'll pay what we need in order to make it work, but I'm not going to pay for Slack when I have Google Hangouts for free. I also don't want to put everything we have onto something that's proprietary if I don't have to. The cost of putting all of our chats into Slack isn't just how much it costs for Slack--it's about how long it takes to move away from Hangouts, how long it takes to onboard someone and how long it will take us to transition over.
Founder & CEO - Pair
We have a slim budget, so cost is the biggest factor.
Co-founder & CEO - Vengo
The majority of tools that we use are free except for Sidekick. For the current version of Sidekick we pay $10 a month. MailChimp we have to pay $140 a month for, and that's a lot of money but we don't have much choice. In a couple of months we'll probably pay even more. When it's a production tool I'm willing to pay the appropriate amount. I really try to go for stuff that it's free, but when we need it I'll pay for it. You can do quite a bit of stuff with free tools, but when it's really core then you do what you have to.
Founder & CEO - EventBrowse.com
1%Stacklist Startups Are Using On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is “not at all important” and 5 is “most important”, how big of a factor was cost when you