Stream News

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Association membership platform costs, what to look out for?
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Association membership platform costs, what to look out for?

08 Aug 2019

Let’s assume that you are ready to invest in a new Association Management System (AMS), you’ve done some research and have a fairly good idea of what your new system should do. Once you gather together the various quotes from your final list of providers, a part of the comparison is to compare pricing models.

Often Implementation costs are incurred upfront as one off costs, whilst other fixed service costs may be incurred on an ongoing basis, for the duration of the licence or contract. There may also be ongoing variable costs related to turnover or consumer numbers.

If implementation costs look low, and monthly costs look high, the overall cost of the platform may cost significantly more over the life of the platform.

Stream Interactive's philosophy is to provide transparent pricing up front for development and implementation costs, all inclusive, including front end design. We believe it's in our customers best interest to keep ongoing costs low, and provide support on an as required basis. We don't believe in clipping the ticket on your revenue streams. We value ongoing partnerships, and open communication to ensure ongoing client needs are met.


Take a long term view, it could save you money

Recent quotes for a membership platform that would cater to 500 members.
The implementation costs with Stream, $40k vs another provider $60k for a similar offer.

Once an allowance had been made for ongoing costs, Stream's overall lifetime cost after 8 years was $80k vs the other provider at $280k.

AMS Cost Comparison

Don't underestimate the impact of high ongoing costs across the platforms total life span.

Here are some pricing tips when comparing providers.

Up Front Costs

Membership Platform Data/Admin  A charge to configure and deploy the platform. Be sure pricing includes both standard and custom elements if required, and understand custom limitations.
Front end websites  Make sure costs include front end website pages, and that you understand the level of design provided.
Self setup  Include the cost of your own team to set up and learn the platform, and understand changes required due to limitations in a platform.

Ongoing Costs - Fixed

Support-Fixed Fixed support (ie a fixed monthly cost) is great for cashflow, but not great if you don't utilise it. Work out costs over the solutions total life span, 'pay as you go' support may be a better option. Make sure you know what constitutes support, vs development.
Licence fees High ongoing license fees will add up considerably over time. Be sure to factor across the lifetime of the platform.
Hosting Often charged monthly this cost can vary greatly depending on your data back-up and disaster recovery requirements.
User licences May be either monthly or annual, typically does not impact on delivery cost unless support is included. Make sure you consider costs across the full life of the solution.

On going costs - Variable

Support - Charge as required The only downside is that un-budgeted expenses can be incurred.
Transactional based costs Be wary of ongoing costs that are based on a % of revenue or the number of front end users. Include on whole of life calculations.
Payment Gateway Typically payment gateways will charge a small account setup fee and take a percentage of charges (similar to credit card charges) Be sure you understand the implications/costs of using your suppliers preferred gateway.

Ad hoc Maintenance Costs

SSL certificates Minimal ongoing costs, for online security certificates, be sure at least domain validation security is included.
Domain name management Check to see if your existing domain management arrangements are sufficient - It may be practical to transfer this to your association management company. Cost differences should be minimal.

AMS Price Calculator

Download our FREE cost calculator spreadsheet here

Try different pricing configurations to see how it impacts your bottom line for the life of your system.

DOWNLOAD

Ongoing development

If your platform is shared with others, you may receive updates from time to time. This becomes particularly problematic if your platform has customised features that may or may not be considered well in future upgrades. If the platform is not customisable in any way you may benefit from those upgrades, but you are also surrounded by walls where there is no scope to change functionality to suit, you'll often have to bend your requirements to suit the platform.

Upgrade cost may be an integral part of the licence fee, or there may be separate charges that are incurred. A branched platform that is truly your own gives serious power to tune processes and functionality.

The good news for this approach is that you get to develop your platform based on your growing organisational needs, and your budget.


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