The cost of our software is becoming increasingly significant as vendors move to subscription based pricing from that of the outright sale/upgrade model. It was very easy to understand what you were buying in the past but that isn’t the case as much today.
As I was considering various task management systems the price creep that I’m seeing was more significant not only in the increasing costs all of our software is having on us but the various aspects of pricing that has to be considered. What may appear to be the most expensive product may actually not be as bad as you think at all.
Subscription Based Pricing
Many a software vendor, to maintain an income flow, has moved to subscription based pricing from that of outright sale. Outright sale was simple when looked at initially. One product might be $49 and another might be $89. The difference is simple enough to figure out but then you also have to consider how cost effective any product is. A product that is effective can be considered low in cost.
Now you add in that some vendors are going to subsciption based pricing. As an example, Todoist is $34.99 CDN yearly whereas 2do is $69 CDN. Factoring in the pricing it immediately looks as if Todoist is more expensive but is it?
Sync often adds A lot to the Cost of a Subscription
When comparing various packages, you have to ask whether sync is included. In the case of all subscription model pricing it is as long as you take the premium service. Frequently, it’s free if you’re only using the software on one device. In the case of outright sale products it might be premium from the get go or not. You might think that to add in your own sync’g isn’t really much of an expense but let’s look at that.
Sync and it’s True Costs
If you’re using a task manager (this applies generally) in which you have to provide sync for the product to work that is a cost you might have not factored in. As an example, you can get Dropbox for free but only 2 gigsl
T0 get up to 18 gigs requires a lot of work by referring friends etc.
You might like the universal nature of Fruux. That will cost $40 a year. This is not a lot if you need it but if it is say for your task manager it is a cost.
2do vs Those that Include Sync
I use 2do just as an example of the confusion in pricing that can happen when you don’t factor in the cost for your network. To sync with 2do you have to provide your own sync tool. 2do recommends Dropbox. If you’re at your free limit, which is only 2 gigs, you’ll have to buy a plan which starts at a terabyte for $120.
Let’s say you’re considering TickTick or the high end program Omnifocus as your task manager against 2do. For all intents and purpose, 2do will seem like the more reasonable of the bunch but it actually isn’t.
With TickTick, The Hit List, Things, Omnifocus etc they all include sync. However with 2do you have to supply sync. Let’s say you choose Fruux a very good system that you might want to use for other purposes. It’s $40. Dropbox is $120 and both of these may only be necessary because of 2do.
Thus, is a program that doesn’t supply sync as good a deal as it first appears. The answer is likely no as no matter how you slice and dice it you are using bandwidth and that costs money. Further, it is hard to define the actual cost of your system.
These Costs Must be Considered
Subscription based pricing does not mean you have to charge for the internet but often the subscription is for exactly that. You could still pay for something outright that includes sync but most companies now call this their premium package.
When choosing a task manager, it is best to go with what you are absolutely comfortable with and what really works for you. The cost might have buried subscription based costs and you could choose something for the wrong reason.
It is ultimately best to use what works for you as you will use it. If something works for you that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg so be it. However, even if it’s Omnifocus, which is considered the most expensive of the bunch, if it works for you then the value will be there and it will be a win for you.
One Final Word
I use 2do just for a comparative analysis. If 2do’s system costs in total is say $80 one time and TickTick’s is $34.99 yearly you may immediately conclude 2do is the cheaper. However, if you have to pay $40 yearly for Fruux or $120 for Dropbox which now is the most expensive system? Clearly it is 2do.
However, you may have idle bandwidth or not. Regardless, 2do is considered an excellent task manager unto itself. For this reason and that you like it, this is the one that will work for you leading to many payoffs.
Pricing is complicated where it comes to the kind of packaging we’re seeing now. It is easy to be fooled as to which is the most cost effective. Considered correctly then that whole paradigm may change. Regardless, the most expensive task manager is the one that doesn’t work for you.