As we reach the end of 2022, I wanted to reach out to everyone and explain a price increase that we recently put in place.
Please note that if you joined OwnerRez before October 2022, the new pricing you see on the website will not affect you for 6 more months. Until April 30, 2023, 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.
If you recall, our previous price increase occurred about two years ago, and I used this space to explain the increase and our motives behind it at the time. Before we move forward, please take a second to read that blog post again. Our team culture, relationship with our customers, and philosophy about being financially responsible (and independent) have remained exactly the same. For sake of brevity, I'm not going to write all that out again, but please read it. As our team and product have grown, those commitments have only strengthened over time.
- The Main Pricing Changes
- Will My Price Go Up or Down?!
- Why We Did This
- Feature Changes & Coming Roadmap
- Thank You!
There are a variety of things we've tweaked, but here are the main differences:
- The minimum price to use OwnerRez is being raised to $40 per month and includes 1 property.
- The 2nd property is no longer included for free. The price for the 2nd property is $15. That applies to everyone with 2 or more properties.
- The per-property pricing tiers have new amounts which are higher per property than they were before. You can see those new tier amounts on our Costs & Fees article.
- WordPress Plugin has now been split off from Hosted Website and turned into its own premium feature with its own pricing. This helps reduce confusion and allows us to target different pricing for different use cases.
- Portal Access is being split off from Property Management (PM) and will be free for all users. If you have PM turned on, solely for the portal feature, you will be able to turn off PM completely.
Most likely, your price will go up. There are a couple of very rare scenarios where the price might remain the same or decrease, but those are extremely rare and typically only affect single property users who turn off PM because Portal Access is now free. For the vast majority, the price will increase noticeably.
You can find out the exact amount right 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. The same thing is true 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.
Like the last time, this is not a naked money grab, and this was not decided overnight. We spent a lot of time researching price points and looking at our budgets for the upcoming years (2023 - 2025). We planned a price increase a few months ago, then tabled it and started over again. As a People First company, it kinda feels icky talking about raising prices, but we knew we needed to do something, so we went back to the drawing board.
Like the last time, our goal is to strike the right balance - ie. make sure the increase is big enough to strengthen our internal needs while also being fair to users.
There are a variety of software products I use that send me notices every 6 months with new pricing tiers and the increases feel constant. It feels like the company's focus is mostly on its next price increase, not its next feature release. And those are the better companies! Some just raise prices while saying nothing, and I notice it on my monthly bill! At OwnerRez, we don't want price increases to be a frequent thing. We want them to be well-thought-out and come every few years as necessary. But that also means each price increase needs to be future-oriented so that our team has what it needs to stay strong and focused on new features, enhancements, bug fixes, and top-notch customer support.
From the beginning of time, we've always offered two properties for the price of one. This seemed right back in the day, but it's created interesting problems with evaluating "what is a fair price" at OwnerRez. Not only has the second property always been free, but there was a giant drop-down at 3-9 properties as well.
When we ran the numbers, we either had to increase the minimum (1-property starting level) up to a $55-60 price point or increase the 2-4 property folks higher. We have a lot of 1-property homeowners that use OwnerRez, and it seemed unfair that they would bear an extra cost just to maintain the "2 properties included" tagline, particularly as our pricing increases in the future. So instead, we left the 1-property minimum with a small increase and are asking 2-property owners to pay an additional $15 for the second property and increasing the third property from $7 up to $15. The fourth property is $10 and then 5-9 drops back to $8 per property.
This creates a more gradual rise that matches how many properties each user has instead of there being a hole in the 2-9 property area.
Looking around, I believe this is why so many of our competitors have a larger minimum to get started. The lowest minimum tends to be $60 - 75, with some at $100-150, at the low end. Of course, I'm referring to competitors that are on the same level as OwnerRez and not everyone, so your research may vary. But the higher levels of entry are set because software companies know that the cost of quality support and heavy features like Channel Management and PM/Accounting bring with them a large amount of investment. Customers who are looking for a $10 or $20 minimum cost of entry aren't worth the investment on the backside. This is conjecture on my part, but it checks out. At OwnerRez, we decided not to jack up the low end because that would push many of our 1-property homeowners to look for other platforms. We need to make the ramp more gradual.
Like the 2-property side, there was another major pricing drop-off on the high end. Years ago, we didn't have many users with 100+ properties, so we basically stopped our pricing there and left it at $1 per property above that. In the years since, our PM/Accounting, Website, and other features have matured significantly, and a lot more (and a lot bigger) PMs have joined OwnerRez. This has expanded our focus (not changed, but expanded!) to the needs of those larger customers. We recently announced our new Deposits feature that is designed to work with small homeowners but also PMs with thousands of properties who process hundreds of credit card payments per day. We have a huge pipeline of changes coming for PMs, both in general accounting and owner management, so the investment on the large-PM side has also expanded. Whatever we do at OwnerRez, we always strive to release quality features that are complete, so these changes will take time over many months and years.
As we looked across the industry, we wanted to remain cheaper for large PMs than our competitors' prices, even though we believe we are better than most of those competitors, and we know that we are quickly closing the gap in the few areas where others may have better (or different) features. We want our pricing for large PMs to be fair, and many of our competitors are not fairly priced. So instead of matching competitor pricing, we simply "brought up" the tail on our pricing. Where before we were $1 per property after 100, we raised the 100-199 tier to $3 and then left 200+ at $2 per property. This increases our revenue curve on the high side while still remaining competitive
For a long time, we avoided talking about this but, like everyone else, inflation has caught up to OwnerRez.
In general, the cost of goods and services has soared over the last two years. You probably already know this, having seen your grocery bill during that period, but if not, here is what has happened over the past several years:
That chart is showing general inflation numbers (ie. US Bureau of Labor), but some things like food inflation are far worse. Rent and services have also soared.
This affects us internally because, beyond our infrastructure costs (eg. servers), the cost of taking care of our team and hiring new team members has increased accordingly. In fact, had inflation not been as severe as it has been, it's likely we would have held off on this price increase until the end of next year, giving our users three full years between price increases. That was our original goal, but unfortunately, the inflation numbers pushed the discussion forward. Also, the size of inflation itself pushed the amount of increase higher.
As mentioned above, we not only changed prices, but we also re-aligned some features to work better with this pricing, and we'd like to share with you our vision of the future.
In the past, a common complaint was that users had to turn on (and pay for) the PM module in order to get Portal Access. So if they wanted a friend or housekeeper to see a calendar or guest information, they might have to pay for PM access even though they don't manage owners or commission and wouldn't use 90% of the PM area. This is now a thing of the past. In a few days, we are going to be releasing a major update that brings Portal Access outside of the PM area and into a new Team Access area with a new "Staff" section where you can grant access to internal employees. Team Access, Portal Access and the new Staff sections will all be free and included for all users. Whether you have 1 housekeeper or a staff of 20, you will get all the portal options for free.
This also includes all the white-label branding and personalization that goes along with portal access. Your portal can be configured on your own domain name, use your own logo, and the emails and app never mention "OwnerRez" anywhere. This will all be configurable in the new Team Access area, so look for that coming out shortly.
As mentioned above, a new Team Access (for both portal and staff members) is being rolled out soon, and it will now be included at no additional cost. Originally, back when we first tasked it, it was going to be a premium feature on its own and/or included in PM, but we are going to give everyone Team Access right out of the starting gate, and it will remain free into the future.
When it's initially released, Team Access will allow you to grant full access to other users who need to use your OwnerRez the exact same way you do, and you can also hide reports. Soon after the release, we will be following this up with additional access levels for things like read-only users, sales agents, operations admin, and other more-granular types of permissions. You'll be able to show/hide different menus as well.
If you haven't read about it yet, we encourage you to check our our new Deposits feature. Deposits is an all-encompassing feature that stretches from one side of the app to the other. Deposits will allow our accounting system to fully show to-the-penny settlements in your bank account as well as lead to upgrades for QuickBooks syncing, Airbnb transactions, and more. We are excited to see it being used, and it is included at no additional cost for all users.
While working on Deposits, we also added automatic imports for all Stripe and Lynnbrook users. This means that our system automatically communicates with Stripe and Lynnbrook every day and imports deposit data, matching up your payments, refunds, and fees with the net amount that actually settles into your bank account. We are planning to do the same automatic imports for Braintree, Authorize.Net, Converge, and others over the next year.
Thanks to the deposits work, we are now ready to automatically bring in Airbnb transactions, payouts, and resolutions directly into OwnerRez. No ETA on when that will be released, but it's at the top of our accounting agenda. This will allow you to get full financial data for Airbnb bookings without running Channel Bridge. If you don't know why this is a big deal, you probably are pretty new to OwnerRez or don't use Airbnb. For most of you, this will be a huge time-save and bring a lot of value to your existing OwnerRez account.
So what does the future look like at OwnerRez? More of the same, but also more of other stuff!
- PM and Accounting work are continuing at full speed. I documented the deposit and Airbnb stuff above, but we are also working on delivering a Year-End report for PMs/Owners before the end of 2022. With that, we are also changing owner statements to include a P&L style view and updating expenses to be more powerful. Commission, DP and Taxes will show as expenses for your owners so that the owner (and you) can correctly see all income and expense numbers together. This is already under development and partially finished as I write this, with more coming right behind it.
- QuickBooks is long overdue for an update, partially because we needed to wait on other necessary accounting upgrades, but the time has come for QuickBooks to get some long-awaited love. In 2023, we are working to sync deposits and fee data over to QuickBooks, but also syncing expenses for our PMs. Additionally, we are working on an entirely different sync method for PMs where revenue is held in liability and does not create QuickBooks invoices immediately.
- Channels, channels, channels. Work on channels never stops - every week we are updating some part of a channel integration. In 2023, we have laid plans to integrate with both Hopper and Google Vacation Rentals, both of whom we have met with and signed agreements with. Hopper should be finished first, as it is currently in the process of kicking off, and we anticipate that landing early in the Q1 of 2023. Google will be after that, but we are looking forward to that as well. Airbnb as mentioned above will be getting transactions and payouts very soon, and we are planning to sync content for Booking.com as well. In the background, we have half a dozen smaller first-class channels working on integration as well. These are channels like ECBYO, Whimstay and others.
- Unified messaging wouldn't be complete without inbound email, and inbound email is being talked about for later in 2023. But outside of email, there is great room for improvement across all of our messaging areas. Right now, messaging is fragmented to different parts of the system and our central inbox does not include all messaging, nor does it have a reading pane. Also, the guest thread is not central to the booking and management experience. There are also channels (Vrbo, Booking.com) that have platform messaging that needs to be brought in, some of which require waiting on the channel. We know about these things and plan to address them in the near future.
- Website pages, templates, ability to edit for mobile, and a lot more.
- Every year, we try to spend a quarter working on QOL (or "quality of life") items. Do you hate that the ribbon calendar doesn't scroll so that you can see bookings at the end of the month? That's what we mean by QOL. Go to our Feature Request forum, and sort by highest voted, and you'll see some of what I'm talking about. Now to be clear, we work on items like this all year long (did you notice that we released the Photo ID one a few months ago?), but the QOL quarter is when we really focus only on those items. We are planning to focus heavily on QOL during Q1 of 2023.
As we continue working on numerous partnerships, integrations, messaging, website options, PM, accounting, and other powerful updates, we will continue to outshine our competitors while leaving you satisfied that you're not overpaying 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! (And sorry for the bad timing of announcing this on Halloween! 🎃)