Hi everyone, Paul here from OwnerRez! As we reach the end of 2020, I wanted to reach out to everyone and explain some changes we're making to our pricing. Yes, that pricing - the monthly fee you pay to use our awesome software.
Please note that if you joined OwnerRez before November 2020, the new pricing you see on the website will not affect you for 5 more months. Until March 31 of 2021, pricing will stay the same as before for all pre-existing accounts. If you did just join OwnerRez right now (hey, welcome aboard!) the new pricing model will affect you immediately.
Here at OwnerRez, we believe deeply in providing a quality product that focuses on customer success. As part of that, we have created a "People First" culture, and we believe in having honest transparent conversations with our team (ie. those that work here) and our customers. In fact, as we fill out our new website with Feature and Why pages, we are highlighting our story, team and philosophy as a company, and we hope you take note of those pages as we flesh them out over the coming month.
The Main Pricing Changes
There are a variety of things we've tweaked, but here's the main differences:
- The minimum price to use OwnerRez is being raised to $35 per month. This will continue to include 2 properties like before.
- Our full Channel Management premium feature is now free for all users and no longer carries its own monthly fee. This includes all API channel integrations, our Channel Bridge tool and all other channel-related features.
- The per-property pricing tiers have new amounts which are slightly higher per property than they were before. You can see those new tier amounts on our Costs & Fees article.
- For the PM, Hosted Sites and QB premium features, the first property starts cheaper but the second property is no longer included in the base fee.
Will My Price Go Up or Down?!
The price for nearly every user will increase. There are a couple of rare scenarios where the price might remain the same or decrease, but those are extremely rare and typically only affect single property homeowners with many premium features turned on.
Simply put - you should expect that your base service fee will increase, typically in the range of 15 - 30%, depending on your number of properties and the features you use.
You can find out the exact amount right now now by going to our pricing calculator and putting in your number of properties and selecting your premium features. Keep in mind that any discounts on your account would not be picked up by the pricing calculator, so your invoice might be less after discounts kick in. Same thing with Add-On's like Damage Protection or SMS usage - those items would not show on the pricing calculator. But you can compare your main service charges to a previous invoice from your billing history.
Why We Did This
I know that there will be OwnerRez users who are frustrated by these price increases, and there's only so much I can say to assuage that anger, but I hope that you take a second to read and understand how we came to this decision and why it's necessary from our standpoint.
This is not a naked money grab, and this was not decided overnight. After carefully watching our costs and growth for about a year, we planned on announcing this back in April (to go into effect at the beginning of summer) but COVID forced us to wait.
There is never a good time to raise prices, but they do need to be raised. Here is a peek behind the curtain on our thought process...
We are committed to being financially responsible and staying in control of OwnerRez
Chris and I strongly believe that OwnerRez is better off in our hands than outside investors. As they grow and succeed, it's common for small businesses to approach (or be approached by) outside investors who want to invest. Whatever the investment is called - seed funding, capital call, angel investment - the outside investor gives the company money in exchange for ownership. The company gets the money they need to hire more employees, increase marketing, and become a more-mature company. The investor gets a seat at the table and a share of the profits and..... has a say in what the company does.
For years, we've watched as companies have grown and died around this model, or - worse yet - lost focus on their product and customers. This is not what we want for OwnerRez. As a People First company, we want our customers and team to be the sole focus of our attention, not the demands of outside investors and banks.
OwnerRez has been profitable and debt free for several years. As we grow - adding team members and corporate overhead - it's hard to maintain that without compromising quality in our product, pushing our team members beyond a healthy work/life balance or by trading ownership and control for outside investment. We aren't willing to do any of those things, so we realized that we need to increase our prices so that we can continue building a sustainable company, happy team and awesome product.
(Side note: If we did get outside investment, the same type of price increase would happen immediately - and much larger - because that's the first thing investors demand: higher profit margins. Outside investors focus entirely on ROI and profit margins, not the people who use (or are behind) the product.)
Channel Management is now the default way of life
Given the state of the vacation rental industry, it doesn't make sense for a Channel Management feature to be an add-on with a separate price. We spent years beating down doors so that all users - both small homeowners and large PMs - can equally use our Channel Manager settings. We lobbied hard on behalf of small homeowners so that Vrbo would allow them to use their own credit card processing and were instrumental in piloting that program for Vrbo, which became a massive success.
All users, regardless of size, can now automatically distribute their listing content, rates, rules, availability on Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com, and the vast majority of OwnerRez users already do (or have told us they are planning to soon). Those users that don't use API integrations typically use our Channel Bridge tool to crawl and download data for their platform bookings. Channel Bridge is part of Channel Management so the cost to those users is the same.
You may not use every API integration or every channel, but Channel Management as a concept has become the default way of life for vacation rental homeowners and PMs. You rely on listing platforms to send you bookings, and you need your vacation rental software to manage that as a serious first-class part of the system in one way or another. And we've done exactly that - invested massive amounts of time into making Channel Management a fast, flexible experience that works really really well. As I write this, we are finishing up testing on new channel integrations that are coming soon, and we remain committed to partnering with others in 2021.
As we considered how much we needed to increase pricing, we realized at the same time that Channel Management should be included by default for everyone.
There is a minimum cost to providing quality, and that's more than 20/month
OwnerRez is more than just an app with features and settings. It's also about quality support. Our support - both what you read online and the responses you get from us directly - is a large part of what makes OwnerRez OwnerRez. We actively spend a good chunk of our engineering time on updating, changing and evolving our support - video libraries, accurate search functionality, careful messaging about updates. We've built systems under the covers that track our call logs, tickets and notes with you, and the problems you're facing, so that we can establish a rapport with users that lives across team members. Being People First means not giving in to "script robot" support systems or paying minimum-wage CSRs to copy/paste answers that you already found yourself.
Quality support has a cost and, as mentioned above, is not something we are willing to sacrifice as we grow. In fact, we're doubling down by adding more support and sales engineers so that our phone support can get better.
Our commitment to quality is also shown in how we monitor and update our system. Every week, we release dozens of updates (some of which are publicly documented) but many aren't documented because they involve infrastructure, networking or background work that would not make sense as a public update for users to read. As an engineer-led company, quality and attention to detail is in our DNA and the reason we want to maintain control of the OwnerRez path long into the future.
Quality and attention to detail has a cost. We know that most of you already pay more than the 20/month minimum, but we have many users that still hover around that price point. Even without Channel Management, that 20/month price point gives you tons of stuff - the world's best calendar import/export engine, widgets, triggers, messaging, CRM, reporting and much much more. But at 20/month.... quality is not sustainable. We are not willing to sacrifice quality, so the minimum has to go up.
We want to be competitively priced but not the bargain-basement option
One of the interesting things we noticed when analyzing our pricing was how we are, even after the price increases, still significantly cheaper than most of our competitors - many of whom have weaker products. Flashy designs notwithstanding, most of our competitors have clearly inferior products - the options are limited, the settings are buggy, updates take months to come out and support is nowhere to be found. We know this because we've tested their products ourselves and because we have a constant stream of new users telling us this, having left them behind. Why then, are those competitors charging 2-3 times as much as we are?
To be clear, we did not increase our prices to match competitors. That's not how we roll. But we feel strongly that OwnerRez is more than the "value product" in the industry and should not be selected because it's a bargain. These price increases allow us to comfortably take care of all the issues above while still being 25-30% less expensive than our competitors.
As we continue working on numerous partnerships, integrations, unified inbox, hosted website pages, PM overhauls, QuickBooks overhauls and other powerful updates, we will continue to outshine our competitors while leaving you satisfied that you're not over-paying and that your software is in the hands of a happy team that is focused on your success.
That's the position we want OwnerRez to be in.
As always, feel free to reach out and comment (here below the blog post) or send us an email with your thoughts. We will do our best to explain our viewpoint if something is unclear. Thanks for being an OwnerRez customer!