Here's the HN discussion from when I posted the first version a couple of years ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5698741
I already got approval from dang to post again since it's been so long and a lot has changed about the app.
I know that then its just like the others, but really its not like the others. The small differences are huge to a user.
A monthly fee will help stabilize the income.
Also, at $10/mo you'll make the same revenue every year as selling the whole thing. For comparison, basecamp is $29 or $79 per month.
A few years ago I read somewhere that "privacy is dead" and I thought it was an exaggeration. Not anymore.
Sorry for the rant and good luck with your app.
It might sound flippant but I'm serious. There's no hard fast line between off-site backups and whatever you are claiming is the terrible idea of storing important things in the cloud. If all my 'important things' were stored locally I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.
Yes, those are external hard-drives that are moved to a different location, and which can be restored in a matter of minutes or hours.
I won't put my stuff in a cloud backup the restoration of which will take several weeks (supposing it doesn't fail during the process)...
In theory. More realistically, most don't take DR very seriously and it would be more in the days to weeks range.
For example- that backup you have- is it in any way hardware or base OS image dependent? Are you absolutely sure of that? Do you have unused backup hardware offsite with the OS on it and ready to go in case there is a fire in the rack at the server farm?
For a self-hosted app, I would want more information about it before I considered buying it sight-unseen. Maybe consider providing a small PHP script that I could run on my server to validate all the requirements?
Also agree about a validator script. I'll work on that too.
If you are not profitable yet maybe you should consider increasing the price, you're much cheaper than the competition based on your pricing page.
You should definitely split test all of this and pretty much everything you do, honestly.
Use a giant unreasonable number for the unlimited plan with 1 month of phone support, 12 month same business day email support, you will install it for them, all the ACH and Credit Card processing through you (and you through stripe), etc. A HUGE list of features to go along with the $574 price tag.
Then drastically back off of that pricing for the 10-25 team ($249), 5-10 ($199), 2-5 ($149) and solo ($99) plans. You need to also reduce the features, support windows, contact method as you drop the price, not just the number of users.
Additional Revenue Streams:
1) Include your own payment processor and accept payments on their behalf, if you have 500 customers doing a few thousand each month on average, you processing fee will drop a lot. Always default to ACH via Stripe (0.8% fee, and a 25 cent transfer) bill the customer at 2% + $0.30 and you are making money.
2) Annual licensing. Don't give updates away unless it is a bug fix. And make sure to always be improving your product (which it sounds like you are)
3) Cloud hosted. As someone else said take the annual price divided by 12 and add a premium to it (25% or so). Also push updates to this channel regularly and add a few extra premium add-ons to it (like the a custom domain name self hosted has but for an extra $5/mo)
4) Plugins to various other solutions for $49/piece.
I know this is probably a side project, but you could turn this into a viable small business with an additional 1-2 developers.
Conclusion: I'm totally buying it before you potentially take any of my advice ;)
What's the benefit to the customer (and you) of this, vs letting them plug in their own Stripe account credentials (and handle chargebacks etc themselves)?
I have a side project and we've let people enter their own details thinking it would be less hassle for us (customers: 3). Curious what I've missed..?
As a side note, someone else decided that my blog was worth posting on HN, so if you have any questions or comments, you can ask them over there: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12409577
I was a product developer for 8 years. Developing tools in the SEO, Reputation Management and Email Marketing space. Eventually you find little tricks that just work across the board.
Then I left that job for corporate america and I regret it every day.
I now work directly with our marketing team, but they hire out to vendors for the email marketing bits, the retargeting and ad spends. I just provide my 2 cents every now and then and go back to developing in house products.
You might be about staying away from that sort of thing on principle but there's another angle. Being the one making those decisions, you have the ability to reduce the short- and long-term harm they make by picking good strategies. Schemes in marketing and driving profit up are inevitable. What's not inevitable in general is inaccurate information, highly-biased profiling, products that don't work (or do harm), customers getting fewer products than they want, technological lock-in, and so on.
Consider getting with the right companies pushing a collection of useful products or less harmful services vs other garbage on the market. Then all your schemes and optimizations would be benefiting people since the right companies would be benefiting. Companies you can vouch for. Best if they've been in business over a decade with good practices and/or are a non-profit with sustainable revenues. Just a thought.
Then make a plan for say up to 15 or 25 users that is substantially more expensive and finally the unlimited user plan could be even higher.
Because you're able to do so much inside of one application I could easily see companies paying $1k+ for parts of this on a yearly basis especially when they had 20+ users of something like the task management tool.
Personally I'd also suggest modularizing your different pieces (so you can just buy the project management or just buy the invoicing etc.) As teams get larger they may want to do more or do less inside of one application, you dont want to have people feel like they're paying for things they don't need if they arent using them.
Just my $.02 I know all this takes a lot of work, but the product looks great, I hope you can figure it all out!
Best of Luck!
Think of it as being like BaseCamp, but with complete control of the data. It's a feature, and to some people, it should be worth more.
Your pricing plan of 1/2/Unlimited Users doesn't really capture this. The plan before unlimited should probably have 100 users or more. That way, larger customers who want to control their data can pay the right price (and feel more comfortable doing it, as @patio11 has pointed out-- you can be too cheap for people to buy).
For corporations this isn't big money. They'll worry more about ongoing cost of a sysadmin looking after the installation.
No.1 lesson from my dad was "think of a number, then double it, they'll always pay more"
No hard feelings, but you didn't back your work (or even offer to troubleshoot the problem) so I won't be buying again.
If you're interested in trying the new version please open a ticket (http://duetapp.com/ticket) and I'll just give you a copy of 2.4, the current version. No fee. Just let me know what email you used when you made the original purchase.
BTW, thanks for the offer but I'm happy with what I'm using now. Best of luck to you.
Why would you be entitled to a refund? Do you buy a Hyundai Accent and then come back the the seller asking for a refund because you saw a Mustang drive faster than you?
What system(s) did you choose for these? I have a small side project and finding support software that doesn't suck or cost the earth or make my life more difficult or make providing support slower, is a nightmare!
EDIT: I should add that if someone legitimately can't use the app, I would give a refund. I'm just pointing out that unlike SaaS apps that have a policies that provide refunds regardless of the reason, I would rather work with you to solve the problem, because 99.9% of issues are solvable.
If someone feels they can't use your product - for any reason - it's going to feel unfair to them that they can't get a refund, no matter who's fault it is.
Note that the top reply to your thread is a dissatisfied ex-customer who felt obliged to post about his bad experience (fair or otherwise), and I bet that may have almost immediately cost you a few sales.
I'm not saying give everyone a refund who asks for one, but just saying "it's not a SaaS product and I can't turn it off" might not be the best rationale (and certainly won't impress any customers who are legitimately unable to use your product).
I would err on the side of trusting your customers, and accept that some might rip you off but most won't, and you'll partially salvage a bad product experience with some good customer service.
We did this with my VERY last product working at Humankind (Bullet Viral Traffic). It was a WordPress plug in, and you bought site licenses for it 1 site, 10 site and unlimited.
Every function call did a "phone home" to validate the license. When it came back unverified, we would only print an error message to the screen.
Can this be subverted, yes, but 99% of the time it wasn't, and, honestly, it was just a lead-in to training.
I realize this is your bread and butter, but maybe work training in on the back end for a little more money. Lead them in with this outrageously low price, then stun them with offering a recorded seminar/webinar for only a couple hundred bucks.
My company dropped $20k on training for InfusionSoft AFTER dropping $1200/mo just for the service. There is more money to be had in training than the product (99% sure).
This is terrible. I won't even consider trying Duet after hearing that.
If you're an independent software developer, the absolute worst thing you can do is to treat your customers poorly. Refusing refunds shows that you don't have faith in your product or your customers.
There's a reason that almost every successful online company has liberal trial and refund rules.
This is absurd. I know that most people are used to get refunds for anything, but if you know nothing about the problem you can't say they deserved the refund (I'm not saying they do, I'm saying we don't know).
You go to a fast food restaurant and get a hamburguer, but it's a rat? refund and lawsuit.
The same restaurant but you get food that is really disgusting and you notice as you receive? Either free meal and/or refund are ok.
You go to the same restaurant, get the food, enjoy it, and then ask a refund because they had blue balloons in there? No.
> Refusing refunds shows that you don't have faith in your product or your customers.
Considering when to refund and when not to also means that you value your product.
You can also enter time directly on the invoices.
Or you can drag a task that has time entries onto an invoice and the line items will be created automatically. Improving the docs is pretty high on my next steps list.
Are your clients mostly tech companies? If not, how do you manage the setup for non-tech companies?
Unless you want to focus on only one of them (I would choose non-tech for market size if I were to choose).
If you've got maybe tens of thousands of dollars of time (and money?) invested in your app, what's another $40-80/mo for better hosting (e.g., 8GB/4 cores on Digital Ocean is $80/mo), in case something like this traffic spike happens? The app reaches the top of HN, where thousands of people that use Trello, Basecamp, and/or Freshbooks (I use all 3, every day) will be frequenting, and you've lost all that revenue.
EDIT: And we're back :) Sorry it took so long.
EDIT: ...and we're back in business. :)
What kind of backup/restore capabilities does this have? If I were in the market for this, that'd be one of my primary concerns in deciding between self-hosted vs. cloud. Ideally one atomic operation to back up all my data, and another single operation to restore, such that I could install Duet on a new host, restore the backup, and be back on my feet.
Also: how easy is this for non-technical users to install? It might be worth your time to make guides for one or more specific hosting companies, taking them through the process to purchase hosting, domain name, etc.
Since I have no control over where Duet gets installed, and my customers have a wide variety of server capabilities, I try to keep everything as simple as possible. Install takes about 5 minutes and all you really need is the ability to ftp to your server and the know-how to hunt down your mysql credentials. 99% of the time when people have trouble it's just a matter of helping them figure out their correct credentials.
Maybe a future version should provide easy backups (to Amazon S3 or even just a "click here to download a zip of your data") and a periodic warning to users who have not backed up in a while.
A zip backup method would be fairly simple to implement. I'll definitely think about that for a future release.
It would be nice if it used GIT too!
Man, that would be pretty sweet.
Edit: Let me rephrase. I've tried at least once a month to install taigia following their instructions and also by trying to use some 3rd party docker files. I've been met with failure every time.
It's delivered as a zip.
And the source is technically 'open' meaning you can modify the source code when you purchase it, but it's not free, and access to the source requires buying a license, and even then you're limited to the terms of the license. The biggest term that's different from most open source software is that you can't redistribute it.
Looks great, but I personally don't like the collaboration tools mashed into the dash board. It looks cluttered. It also wasn't clear what information the client's would see. If they saw dollar amounts, it's a deal killer-- I work with too many clients and am assigned to work with other non-management employees.
Also, for reports -- I only saw a graph. I need to see who's behind and take action to get paid, and follow up with phone calls, emails, and letters.
I'd also like to see the ability to print invoices to mail them to clients. Some clients are overwhelmed with email, but a paper invoice gets paid.
My complaints with most projects in this genre I've evaluated -- they seem to be written by freelancers who've never had bad clients, never had to chase people down for payment, or never been in a relationship that turns sour.
Work for one bad client, and it will change you, and how you do business.
* InvoicePlane - self-hosted, open source (PHP). https://invoiceplane.com/
* Invoicely (formerly Invoiceable): http://invoicely.com
* Hiveage: https://www.hiveage.com
I've mainly been using Invoicely (free if you just create invoices and send them as PDFs), but now feeling bad about it because: https://medium.com/@prabhaths/invoicely-a-hiveage-rip-off-b9... I really like free, though, so thinking about switching to InvoicePlane.
It's pretty easy to see whose behind, but I agree, it can be improved. One thing I really want to add for myself is a daily email from the system giving me a list of late invoices, tasks due that day, etc.
Invoices can be downloaded as PDF and then mailed. You can download them or the client can.
Also, the demo let's you log in as a client. Just use the options in the bottom right corner. Every client can see everything about their projects, including dollar amounts. Obviously any info related to another client's account can only be seen by admins.
In my opinion I would offer SaaS for a low price, say, $5 a month or something so single users can use it and then provide a separate area of business, much like Github Enterprise, where you will meet with companies and charge for the full product as a yearly license with installation and update fees and possibly support contracts.
Even the developer hour to just evaluate this tool would be more expensive already for any company.
Imo: push the price to somewhere between 299 and 599 - maybe make the invoice feature the premium reason
OK, but do you realize how long that is in Internet years?
Can you give me some insight into your existing customers? Do they come for privacy or price or because it's better than Trello/Basecamp/Freshbooks? If they had to pick one, which would they choose?
Best of luck!
I love how simple it is. Really good job at breaking complex behaviour down into smaller interactions. I think this looks even better than Asana. Dependencies on a "parent task" planned?
This challenge is not just for the client it is for you, the developer too. You must make sure they have a way to update their product and you to continue to develop in one place.
Once the demo is back online, I'm looking forward to giving it a test drive.
I have a couple questions before I buy. Could you or someone knowlegeable about the product reach me, please?
Contact info in HN profile.
I've seen questions about
- Required tech specs
- Potential upgrades
- Trial periods
- Varying pricing schemes
- General support
These things are handled differently with SaaS.
Its easier to address with continued income too.
But I like the idea of a 1-click Digital Ocean install. I'm going to work on that asap
I don't spend much time in Show HN, but if constructive feedback is encouraged, check out your CSS on Nexus 6P. Overall looks great but menu and comment widget are slightly off screen to the right.
"plus... Duet has everything you need to run your business"
"Client Portal: Give _you client's_ access..."
Should that not be "Give your clients access" ?
: according to mail in the footer on this website.
Ha, that appears to be the case now as I can't load the page. :)
I certainly wouldn't run a self hosted service at our work that wasn't open source, I couldn't imagine going back to a world where we couldn't inspect or contribute to the source:
"Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner."
You're also in an uphill battle against Colony, who are the new hotness in this space.