How much should it cost?

Talk Hiring sells its mock interviewing tool primarily to nonprofit job training programs, and more recently, high schools. There are playbooks online on how to price online educational tools for schools, but not as much for nonprofits. I’ve spent many days squirming around, trying to figure out the optimal strategy for pricing the tool, and I thought that walking you through my pricing evolution may be helpful.

June 2019: No Longer Free Forever. We offered custom flat-rate discounted pricing based on the number of potential users. New programs were offered 6-week free trials.

August 2019. No free trials. Instead of free trials, we offered 60-day money back guarantees and continue to price based on the number of potential users. It was the early days of charging for Talk Hiring, and I wanted to work with only serious prospects with budget. For the programs that decided that they didn’t like the product, they could effectively run a free trial with us with our money-back guarantee.

Why we moved away from this pricing:

Once Talk Hiring is more mature, I would like to revisit this pricing strategy. It works well when potential customers have a high-degree of confidence in your business and the price that they’re paying while testing it out is relatively low.

October 2019. Free Trials + Usage-Based Pricing with an Upper Ceiling.
We had a price calculator on our website where programs could enter the exact size of their enrollment, and get monthly and annual price quotes for their program. We changed our pricing to offer $10 per mock interview, with an upper ceiling of $20 per user per month. The upper ceiling was to give customers the assurance that the cost would never be above (# of users) * $20 in a given month.

Why we moved away from this pricing:

November/December 2019. Pay What You Want Pricing and Tiered Pricing.
Pay What You Want: I read a book by Tom Morkes on Pay What You Want pricing one Saturday morning and was intrigued. Nonprofits (especially religious institutions and museums) use this pricing strategy all the time. Plus, I was getting tired of trying to figure out how to price this tool, and thought, why not dare my customers to tell me how much they would pay for it. Given that my customers know me well, I thought that it would be awkward for them to decide to pay $0 or something only a little bit above $0. I also thought it could help generate good will amongst my customers.

Tiered Pricing: I talked to as many financial professionals at nonprofits as I could (CFO, VP of Finance, etc) to learn how they like to purchase software. The overwhelming majority wanted a predictable, good price (with a nonprofit price discount).

How I tested these two pricing strategies:

We still run tiered, flat-rate pricing to this day.

April 2019. Simplified, tiered pricing. I came to a few realizations:

As of writing this post, here is a screenshot of the Talk Hiring pricing page.

image I’m sure in a few months, I’ll have a new take on our pricing, but for now, I’m happy with it!

Final Thoughts: Flat-rate tiered pricing is the norm for selling SaaS products, but the real challenge is figuring out what the different price points and package features should be. I don’t regret the winding road that took me to this point. By experimenting with so many different pricing strategies, I was able to learn what works and what doesn’t work for Talk Hiring’s customers.