Remember my post a few months ago, about Craftybase? (Part One; Part Two) Well. They sent out an email a few weeks ago, and honestly I read it and was like “this is so low on my list of things I care about right now it doesn’t even appear on my radar” and so I didn’t really plan to do anything … but then their Facebook group EXPLODED and I was like… Dang. Well. Choices are being made and lines are definitely being drawn in the sand, here. Uh… should I start shopping around…? Here’s an excerpt from their email:
Since we began the Craftybase story way back in 2011, we have designed our plans around the number of sales channels (“integrations”) you connect to. The theory was that as your business grows, so too would the number of online places you sell, so it made sense that our plans should increase as your channels grew in number.
Over the years, however, we have learned that this is far from the reality of most maker businesses – we have seen that it is common to experiment and change sales channels until you find a combination that delivers the best traffic and customers to your products.
Continuing to move the product forward has also become challenging over time, as we have some customers on feature-locked older plans. These “legacy” plans have become difficult to support and have increased our development time. We are forced to work through dozens of complex configurations to ensure these customers have continued access to the exact features they originally signed up for.
Aligning all customers on our new plans and pricing this year will allow us to further invest in our infrastructure, support, and development, meaning we can ship features faster, provide a more reliable service and ultimately find more ways to help you, as a small DTC seller, solve your inventory and manufacturing challenges.
A lot of this I am completely sympathetic to. I’m a small business myself, after all. I certainly haven’t stayed exactly the same for thirteen years. And people in the thread over on FB got that, too. They understand that prices have to be raised in order to do things like hire new people. However.
- every “legacy” account is being canceled and moved to one of the new tiers (tiers are now $24, $39, $79, $119, call us for a quote, PER MONTH) on September 1st
new plans are (roughly) based around how many line items you sell per month – not how many total sales you have, how many total ITEMS you sell
- if you go over the number of line items per month that your plan offers, they will automatically bump you up to the higher plan, and charge your credit card on file (I gather this is averaged over three months, but still)
if you later go down in number of line items, you can manually change your plan to a cheaper plan. They will keep the extra money you have paid (say, if you pay by the year instead of the month) and apply the credit to future months or years
- some of the features that people SPECIFICALLY use Craftybase for (for example, tracking materials cost per product made) are being taken away from the lower tiers, so that if you want to use those things you have to pay more, regardless of how many items per month you sell because they’re now only offered to the higher tiers
People in the thread are LIVID. Not necessarily about the price changes, but about the cancellation of the legacy accounts, automatic upgrade if you sell more than x-number-of-items per month, and having to pay much more for some features that are currently available (my personal price wouldn’t go up much, $14/month, but some people have done the math and for the tiers they need, their price is going up over 300%. That is INSANE). They feel, especially people who have been with them since the beginning and have accounts that are like $10/month, that they are being pushed aside. That people who make many small ticket items are being penalized whereas people who make few large ticket items are being rewarded with lower fees. They say they’re coming out with a calculator so that we can all see how many items we sell per month, on average, to help us make our decisions.
But people are already talking about leaving. A *lot* of people. I wasn’t initially thinking of leaving – like I said, mine goes up $14 and while I don’t love it, I could eat it. But after reading some things in the forums, talking it out with some friends… I have some concerns.
- one reason for raising prices is that they’re not making enough; are so many people going to leave because of the price increases, that they go under?
- when people were asking, in the thread, “so what improvements are you going to make to justify me staying with such a price increase,” the line “we have a roadmap to where we want to go with the company” is repeated and repeated – but nowhere have I actually seen them list out the improvements they plan to bring and at what point they plan to implement them
- it does feel that people who make and sell many smaller ticket items (say, jewelry makers, soap makers) are being penalized with having to pay more than people who make and sell larger ticket items. It looks like a soap maker who sells 300 bars of soap in a month is going to be charged $79 per month, whereas someone who sells, say, a dozen handpainted silk scarves can get away with the least expensive tier (as long as they didn’t need something that’s only offered in one of the higher tiers)
For example, I could go down to the $24 tier. But that one doesn’t offer a Schedule C (one of my needs), and if I sell more than 50 items in a month, I’d just get bumped up to the $39 one anyway. They say that they’ll be sending emails when you get to 80% of your allotted item numbers, but… what are you supposed to do then? Put your shop on vacation and not sell anything else for the rest of the month?
Plus, there’s just something about it that doesn’t sit right with me, but I’m still not sure how to put a voice to that. Is it a trust thing? What if they do this again in a year? Or what if so many people leave it drives them out of business?
So I decided that, while I might wind up staying with Craftybase and sucking up the $14 every month (and hoping I don’t ever sell so much that I get automatically bumped up to the next level)… I should look at some options for other programs. Either, like Craftybase, one that does both accounting/bookkeeping and inventory, or one that does one and a second one that does the other.
And holy shit are there some choices out there!
Here’s the chart I made for myself. This might or might not work for you; this post is about what I need, not an intro post to or recommendations for a bunch of different programs. This is really just to try to keep my head straight because I’m having decision fatigue. For example; all of these programs have multiple plans at multiple prices, but under my “price” column I’m only putting the price of the plan I’d be using.
|Program Name||Price||Cloud or Local||Bookkeeping||Inventory||P&L/Schedule C||Notes|
|CraftyBase||$39 (up from $24)/month||Cloud||YES||YES||YES||will automatically be moved up to $79/month if I sell more than 250 items per month|
|Craft Maker Pro||$147 one time fee||Local||no||YES||YES||irritatingly had to put the software in my cart to find out what the price is|
|Inventora||$19/month||Cloud||no||YES||No? Does COGS report tho||has free version but pay for more features including integration with Shopify (Shopify even has add-on)|
|Manager||free/$49||Local/Cloud ($)||YES||no||does P&L, can’t tell about Schd C||has screenshots but are so tiny you can’t see details, and there’s no zoom in|
|NCH||$159 one time fee||Local||YES||as add-on||YES||has additional Inventory program ($259)|
|OneUp||$9/month||Cloud||YES||YES||can’t tell||seems to be run by AI? It “learns” you and your spending/savings habits as you go and… does stuff? This seems weird|
|Paper & Spark||$97 one time fee||Local||YES||add-on for $77||I think so? Hard to tell.||I’ve heard good things about this one but honestly just looking at the screenshots of the excel-like spreadsheet format gave me anxiety|
|Quicken||$10||Cloud||YES||no||YES||Ubiquitous (like QB) and gets either five or one star reviews, hard to say if it’s good or not that way
Could use for both home and business
Edited to add QuickBooks back into the running, because I just found out about QuickBooks Self Employed. $15/month for bookkeeping, or $25/month with TurboTax integration. I genuinely can’t tell if it’s cloud-based or something you can download to use on your computer, but I’m assuming cloud-based. It does accounting/bookkeeping, but not inventory, so I’d need a separate thing for that. It does do a Schedule C. Like pretty much everything else out there, the reviews are either “I wish I could give it six stars” or “I wish I could give it zero stars” so neither is really helpful in the decision process.
This next little list are ones that I looked at and decided after about five minutes weren’t for me, because I know someone will chime in with “hey did you look at ___”. If I have a reason why I decided not to consider them, I put why I didn’t look more into them; if I didn’t put anything, the website was too hard to navigate and if I couldn’t find the info I wanted in five minutes, I clocked out. I get that you can design a great program and maybe not a great website, but damn. There are clearly a gazillion things out there, I don’t need to spend half an hour trying to decipher a website.
- Akaunting ($84/month for inventory and Shopify integration, out of my price range)
- FreshBooks (I really wanted to like this one but they lost me on the page for self-employed professionals with “professional invoices, online payments, and automated payment reminders” — none of which I need)
- GoDaddy (formerly Outright, and I’ve used it before – that’s what I left to come to Craftybase; however, the website for the accounting program lists neither prices, nor how to sign up for it, and the links that say “learn more about accounting” actually take you to the GoDaddy email page)
- Katana ($129/month? Way out of my league)
- QuickBooks Online ($85/month for both accounting and an inventory system, and that’s way out of my price range)
- Sage50 Cloud ($48/month, out of my price range)
- Wave (a friend uses this and loves it but it doesn’t offer a Schedule C)
- Xero (seems like the main focus is sending invoices to clients)
- ZipBooks (seems like the main focus is sending invoices to clients)
- Zoho Books (level that includes syncing with Shopify is $120/month, way out of my price range)
So. I’m looking at….
- Staying with Craftybase
- Moving to a combination of Inventora and Quicken for roughly what I’m paying now
- Moving to a combination of Craft Maker Pro and Quicken that would be an expensive purchase of the one but then a much lower price per month for the other
Oh my lordt. Why do I have to be the boss and make this decision? Work at home, kids! Live the dream!