Understanding Online Project Management Application Pricing Models

The dominant pricing model used by desktop applications today is per user (or “seat”) –  a license for an install or user account on each individual computer in your organization as needed. In the online project management space, by contrast, there are three main factors that play into pricing:

Number of Users: How many users have access to the tool, measured by unique user accounts set up.
Number of Projects: How many “active” projects you have running at any given time. Some vendors allow for retired or archived projects to be retained and not count against your total (check in advance).
Storage: How many megabytes (MB) or more typically gigabytes (GB) of storage are available for your uploaded images, audio/video clips, creative, documents, and so on.

Also in the mix are graduated feature sets –  at higher price points incremental functionality gets unlocked. This may include more advanced custom branding options, for example, to provide a more tailored experience for staff, partners, or clients.

Vendor pricing plans vary substantially the factors they stress and the level of functionality they provide at each price point. The factor that matters most to you is a function of your individual or organizational needs. Are you a one-person creative shop with multiple small client-facing projects active at any given time? Then focus on plans that allow for large numbers of active projects (and high storage ceilings, if you are a creative shop), even if the number of concurrent users is low. By contrast, are you selecting an online project management tool for a large team that manages a single conference once per year, and you prefer to treat all aspects of that event as a single project? Then focus on plans with high user limits and don’t worry as much about the limits on number of projects.

Pricing is typically listed as a monthly rate for a given set of user/project/storage caps. Simply multiply by your desired number of months to project quarterly or annual costs. Pay close attention to the details – some vendors list prices on a per user or per project level. Note that plans can often be adjusted quickly up or down, to meet your changing needs. Don’t feel trapped by your initial plan, but do pay attention to how close to the user/project/storage caps you are and upgrade (or downgrade as the case may be) far enough in advance to avoid being caught with hamstrung work teams or wasted fees. Refer to each individual vendors plans for specifics.

In terms of range, most online project management vendors offer a free or cut-rate (e.g. $ 4.99/month) package that is ideal for very small teams or for larger teams during in the evaluation stage. On the other end of the spectrum you will usually find an “all you can eat” package with either a high-end monthly rate listed, or a “call us for a quote” option to work with the vendor on a custom package and price quote.

Find the right solution for your project management needs by viewing features, pricing, screenshots and user reviews on dozens of online project management tools at OnlinePMTools.com.

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