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Why White Labeling Costs $50 Extra

This is the thing about CoachAccountable for which I definitely take the most heat, that the right to white-label and style it as your own adds fifty bucks to the monthly subscription price.

I can appreciate that $50/month for this can be hard to swallow, and yes, I am aware that the Coaches Console offers this for free.

So why would I do this?

No, it’s not a ploy to get more CoachAccountable brand exposure out to potential customers, I’m going to go out on a limb here to surmise that the overlap between people being coached and people who might become customers is vanishingly small.

Here are the real reasons.

First it represents a sort of price segmentation that ultimately leads to lower pricing for coaches who can do without.  CoachAccountable remains a completely self-funded start up.  This is lovely, for as such I can focus on deliberately and methodically crafting a great product without investors breathing down my neck looking anxiously for their return on investment. But it means I still need this to be profitable enough for me to make a living off of it.

So charging larger outfits a little more for a premium add-on helps me grow the platform in this still-early phase of CoachAccountable’s existence.

Consider the grid below.   Larger, more established coaching practices generally fall in the lower-right quadrant.  They pay a little more for the premium add-on and it’s win-win.  The push back I get about the surcharge generally comes from the upper-right quadrant.   I totally understand the sentiment.  In those cases I actually encourage coaches with smaller client rosters (i.e. the situation in which the $50 flat fee amounts to a high per-client price hike) to consider that white labeling isn’t all that important, and that clients generally don’t think any less of the coaching experience when it comes with the CoachAccountable branding.

Price Sensitivity to a $50 surcharge High No worries, don’t need it. Potentially mistaking superficial aesthetics as genuinely important to providing real coaching value.
Low Can take it or leave it, no biggie either way. Generally a nice win.
Low High
Perceived Importance of having White Labeling

Indeed, the results one gets being coached are going to be the same whether it’s the CoachAccountable logo at the top of the screen or some other.

The second reason is to hold myself tightly to the cause of making a substantially value-adding piece of software.  If matching or beating someone else’s price is my way of earning the business of a paying customer, it means I can get away with a shoddier product.  So for now, as with the other premium add-ons (and even the core system), I’d rather be on the hook to make while labeling great and truly worth the cost.  If it turns out it’s not worth the money, no worries.  Rather than bargaining down, let me go back to the drawing board and make it better (and gracefully accept going out of business if I fail).

Finally, the premium surcharge for white labeling enables me to give due credit of earnest usage to those willing to pay the $50/month.  I still regularly take suggestions and feedback direct from my customers, from the $20/month Starter plan on up.  While I continue to evolve this platform, the whole pricing structure of CoachAccountable assures me that I’m taking my input from people who are vested enough to invest a few bucks a month into their system, ones who expect so much more than some cheap CRM with the word “coaching” on it.

So that’s why white labeling costs $50 extra per month, and similar reasoning applies to Courses and recently released Groups.  It’s not a popular choice, but a very deliberately strategic one.  To those who mind, I apologize and hope you’ll bear with me.

For those who don’t, I thank you for your enabling role in CoachAccountable’s growth.

5 Comments »

  1. Dr John Kenworthy said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

    Well I just gotta weigh in, John :-)

    It is true that coachesconsole(CC) has whitelabelling within the price, and you create, what is essentially, your marketing website in it. As a CRM for coaches, it is good – I used it for a couple of years and quite happy about it, but I needed a journaling feature and the email reminders for actions to keep my clients on track. So I added journalengine (JE) to the mix. Thus I had CC and JE – worked well though clients had two logins and, the branding was not completely consistent (OK at all consistent).
    Then I wanted courses and groups with online tutorials – using pages in CC didn’t work (or track), JE didn’t give me enough flexibility to change a course for an individual ad hoc. So I got hold of Jigsawbox (JB).

    (This is my personal experience in using these systems, they may have added features, or maybe I couldn’t find them at the time)

    Thus the combination of CC+JE+JE was giving me pretty well what I needed for my clients (both individuals and groups). 3 logins, 3 domains and 3 almost slightly similar whitelabeled experiences. Clients struggled with it, but they were having it easy compared to me.

    Of course, eventually, you got around to re-starting CA with Version 2.
    So apologies to the delightful folk at CC, JE and JB – all great services, but I jumped onto CA.

    And, having just done the maths to check (you realise, of course, I now have vast swathes of spare time to write long, obscure comments, because it only takes me 20 minutes in the morning to catch up with all active clients…)

    For 20 clients, white-labeled, courses and groups (at the full price) = 290 a month on CA
    To get the same necessary features to support individuals and groups and courses that I need CC+JE+JB – for unlimited clients = 293 a month
    Yes, unlimited clients, and ‘free’ white-labeling’ (albeit 3 different ‘white-labels’).

    It is true, that increasing the number of active clients on CA will increase my monthly fee. When I have 100 live clients, that would be costing me around 570 a month (or less than 1% of my then income)

    Once we have the team and enterprise version available, you will have completed my wishlist. Then, the only other single platform system that offers all the same features, functions and ease of use would cost 1200 a month for 100 active clients. Sure it includes ‘free’ white-labeling.

    I checked everything out whilst patiently awaiting CA’s re-launch and, if I may, here is my take on which system coaches might review:
    If you want a CRM with email marketing, website and simple setup and private space for clients – look at CoacheConsole.
    If your main need is to ‘nag’ your clients to keep moving froward with their development and review themselves regularly… JournalEngine
    If your need is courses and selling those through a portal, then JigsawBox
    If you want a top-notch, enterprise system, look at Chronus Mentor – or wait a few weeks/months for Mr Larson to get CA enterprise ready.

    And, one other thing I know about John Larson. He won’t have a problem with me mentioning his competitors here and steering some of you, perhaps, away from CA and to them. If that’s what works for you and your business, great. Hopefully, this comment has saved you a little time in deciding.

  2. Michael Leahy said,

    October 17, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

    John, I have a couple of thoughts for you re- this:

    Don’t become too emotionally attached to your product. You run a business, and your software is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. Granted, setting a premium price for your added features may make you feel better about your product, and may be acceptable to a small number of larger practices, as you mentioned. You seem to have made peace with yourself about this. But what about serving the needs of your customers?

    As you know, I’m a one person shop. I have about 20 1-on-1 mentoring clients for whom I use CA. But my plan was to enroll ALL of my group mentoring clients on the platform as well. I expect that # alone to exceed 100-200 clients by this time next year. I’d love to have them all using CA and to use white labeling and courses. But it’s just not cost effective for me, especially since the two separate systems I was using were costing me less than $100/mo and meeting most of my needs.

    These added features are a valuable addition to ANY SIZE client, and to hear you imply otherwise, i.e. the bigger coaching practices can afford it so I’m ok with that, is disappointing to hear. OK, maybe you didn’t day that directly. But that’s what it feels like.

    I wonder how many clients you have paying $50/month for WL and $80/mo for courses, and how many more you’d have if you charged half that or 1/3 or even 1/4. With all due respect, this is where I find software developers fail as businesspeople – they overvalue and thus overcharge for their product. I feel like your product it top shelf, but I also feel like I pay for that in the base pricing. But to be hit with these premium feature costs, too, is in my honest opinion short-sighted on your part.

    BTW, we all (your customers) are making a big investment in your co. and your success, and are investing a lot of our time reworking our practices to get them to work with your software. So it’s NOT OK to us if you happen to miss calculate this and happen to go out of business. Maybe you just meant to say that as a trite statement, and I’m sure it’s true that it’d probably be easy for you to just go off and create another product solution and start all over. But we don’t have that luxury.

    OK, so I know you well enough by now to know that’s not what’s really in your heart. But I hope I’m making my point clear here. We clients are your business partners. You succeed if we succeed, and vice versa. And so watch your added feature sales numbers closely. If we’re not buying it (the high monthly prices), maybe you should come back to us and ask us just what we’d be willing to pay you for it. Then redo the math. If only 10% of your customer base is willing to pay you $50 a month, but 50% would pay you $25/mo., and 100% would pay you $15/mo, what does that tell you? Why on earth would you hold out for the higher fee knowing this?

  3. John said,

    October 18, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    @Dr. John: May it please you to know that when I recounted your comment to my wife this morning, her first words were “Darn it, we should’ve taken a picture with you two together when we had lunch back in Singapore, everyone’s now gonna think Dr. John is a made up character!” Thanks as always for the delightful and insightful context you provide. I never realized a fully stocked 20 client subscription would actually work out to cheaper than cobbling together 3 systems, how fun!

    @Michael: You bring up some great concerns, and I thank you for ’em. This is good stuff, rather than duke this out in the comment section flame war style, I’m gonna move our exchange more center stage, to it’s own blog post.

  4. Fin said,

    October 27, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

    I’m still in the free trial stage, so you can look at me either of two ways. No skin in the game or the prospective user’s valuable point of view.

    In this area of pricing, I know a bit about it from the software technology end of things. I was consulting for a healthcare documentation software that went under for the very attitude that I’m seeing represented here. Long story short…the cost and energy in software development is mostly up front. Or at least it should be, because that indicates that the product was vetted and tested well and actually works as advertised from the get-go. The hobby software projects are cute, but seldom last unless they are opensource.

    Customizing is an important value added option and there is a value to it, which should be paid for. That said, the buyer expects things to go a certain way (right or wrong) from the perspective of user experience and history with technology in general… the price goes down and the features improve with time.

    In coaching, we are known to say there are three options, YES, NO, or RENEGOTIATE. I’d say these are the options for everybody in this thread. At this point I could care less what happens to CA, but you can bet I’ll be watching closely how this issue is handled.

  5. David Frank Gomes said,

    November 22, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

    My observations are that is seems to be more of a philosophical argument you present John.
    The truth for me is WL is of little value to my clients. They don’t care one way or the other, so I don’t see it as a critical piece of why I use this platform.

    What it points to for me is that you are selling a add- on that has no real world value to what my clients hold dear
    ( they want to feel better about something in their lives), and this add on cost 600 a year?

    That tells me your strategy is interesting and may be true, but is it getting you what you want? It’s to your benefit to have every coach using it. I would imagine very few coaches on CA have pulled the trigger on WL, but colour me surprised if you can tell me otherwise.
    This might be a 29 dollar a year add-on for me as a vanity piece, although I’d prefer to see it as part of the package.

    My informal discussion with folks in the coaching community here in my city has given me a rather unscientific idea why many coaches who would benefit from your platform won’t use it, but i’m sure you know what that reason is. But at the end of the day, it’s your universe and you have to do what feels right for you…. thanks for the openness of your approach…very refreshing

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