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Why Maker Billing is better than Editor Billing; Coda is 90% cheaper than our competitors


You’re probably reading this because you’re a Coda customer, or are considering becoming one. As the head of Coda’s Enterprise Sales team, I’m here to tell you that our billing model, known as Maker Billing, is extremely generous, and will allow you to save money when comparing to other tools. Specifically:
Maker Billing is different than Editor Billing - which is how most software is priced. In short:
Editor Billing - AKA “user billing”, charges any person who uses the product and makes an edit (adds a task or changes some text). Asana, ClickUp, Notion, Trello, and Smartsheet are examples of companies that use Editor Billing.
Maker Billing - charges only people who create docs - editors are always free.
We built Maker Billing because we wanted to ensure that Makers - people who create processes and tools for their teammates - were at the center of everything we do, including our pricing
A Doc in Coda can be a very large use-case, and comprise hundreds of users, dozens of workflows, and only “cost” a single “Doc Maker” license
We analyzed a representative sample of our customers’ spending patterns and found that, on average, Maker Billing saves the customer 80% when compared to the pricing model of a competing tool (Notion). It’s also much less expensive when comparing to ClickUp, Asana, and Airtable.
If you have any questions, drop me a line at joe at coda dot io . 👋: ✉️

"Maker Billing” means that only the person creating the doc costs money - and everyone else is free

Since we launched Maker Billing as part of our , we’ve received some questions about the pricing model. Unlike most SaaS productivity tools which charge on a per-seat model, Coda doesn’t charge for all users equally, but only for “Doc Makers.” These are the people who create docs — structuring them, adding content, and building entire new workflows for their team. Anyone who modifies, edits, or views those docs is free. (A detailed breakdown of the differences in those roles .)
It might be helpful to contextualize just what we mean when we say “doc.” In Coda, “doc” doesn’t necessarily mean a simple Word doc or a one-table Google Sheet. Coda docs can be quite large, and contain an , or a , or a research team’s . Simply put, they can be big and involve hundreds, even thousands, of end users. (It’s worth noting that they don’t have to be big. A doc can also just be about a specific proposal. My point though is that Coda docs can take you pretty far.)

In an example like a product roadmap doc, there might be one person who is the Doc Maker, the Head of Product, creates the doc, names it, adds tables for her team to update. Then her whole team piles in — all 10 PMs, 80 engineers, 10 designers — to update content, add pages, and customize the way that content is viewed. They can even add additional tables (databases), or pages - the things on the left-hand side of a doc. All those people are editors. They are adding or updating content within an existing doc, but didn’t create the doc itself, so they are all free users within Coda’s billing model.
Image 2021-10-28 at 10.21.47 AM.jpg
Pinterest runs their entire Product, Design, and Engineering OKRs in a single Coda doc
As a result, Coda can initially be much more affordable than other competing software products. Teams can get by with very few Doc Makers plus a larger number of editors and viewers.

Why would we only charge for a small number of users? Because Coda spreads when people realize what it can do.

A maker is at the center of any important work product. They create the workflow upon which teams operate, and often take a risk in sharing a new way of working to those teammates. If an enterprising sales manager makes a new pipeline doc with Coda and the , spending the time to learn Coda and configuring her doc just so, we don’t want her to also have the headache of wondering whether sharing her doc with her sales team is going to drive up the Coda bill. So when we launched Maker Billing about two years ago, we made sure that , pure and simple.
In Google Docs, every time a doc is shared with a new person it adds to the cost; with Coda, only the Doc Maker is charged.

What this means in practice is that when organizations adopt Coda, it is usually fairly inexpensive. They might purchase one or two Doc Makers plus dozens of editors or viewers for a blended cost of a few dollars per person, which is much lower than a lot of enterprise software with similar features. (You can play around with cost per user on our , which has a handy calculator on the top.)
Sharing Coda docs doesn’t result in additional costs for our customers. Share a doc with a team of 5 or the entire sales team of 500 — it’s the same price.
Over time we find that companies start to use Coda for more than their initial use-case; they realize it’s pretty helpful! So they branch out from that initial sales pipeline doc, for example, to a doc to help managers and their direct reports have better or to improve the way a team manages . As these new docs get built and shared around the company, Coda exposure grows and so do the number of Doc Makers. We are betting that as more people see the value in Coda, usage and customer investment goes up. But that the whole time, we are still only charging for the people who are critical for the work - the Makers themselves.

Coda is less expensive than our competitors - on average 80% - 90% less

We created the below scatter plots, which show the price of Coda relative to a few competing tools (Notion, ClickUp, Asana, and Airtable), all of which use Editor Billing, and based on a random subset of our user base and their actual usage patterns. Specifically, we analyzed what these companies are actually paying for Coda, and what they would pay if the users were paying on the Editor Billing pricing model of the competitors. This analysis includes both the monthly and annual prices for the competing tools, as well as ours - so they are apples-to-apples comparisons.
We did this analysis for our non-enterprise pricing tiers (Pro and Team), and compared with the competitors’ actual pricing on similar tiers. In the diagram, orange is a workspace on the Pro plan and blue is a workspace on the Team tier. The y-axis is the price of the competing tool on a monthly basis, given the number of editors (aka users) the customers have; the x-axis is the price of Coda given the number of Doc Makers these customers actually have. The dotted line shows the point on the chart at which each tool is the same price given the team’s size and deployment pattern. Above the line and Coda is cheaper, below the line and Coda is more expensive. You’ll see that almost all the dots on the charts are above the line.
Overwhelmingly, the data shows that Coda’s pricing model is a better deal for our customers than our competitors.
A subset of companies with teams of 20 or more using Coda - above the line and Coda is less expensive than Notion.
A subset of companies with teams of 20 or more using Coda - above the line and Coda is less expensive than Asana.
A subset of companies with teams of 20 or more using Coda - above the line and Coda is less expensive than ClickUp.
A subset of companies with teams of 20 or more using Coda - above the line and Coda is less expensive than Airtable.
And the cost savings aren’t small numbers - the team highlighted below would spend almost five times as much if they were using Notion instead of Coda with the same number of users. Their monthly bill with Notion would be $510 - with Coda it’s only $108. (This example is for a team of 50 users.)
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In fact, we looked across all our accounts on the Pro and Team tiers and found that the median customer saves 78% when compared to Notion, for similar-sized deployments. For Airtable, ClickUp, and Asana that savings is 90%.
And these savings remained true over time - even when we looked at a subset of customers who had used Coda for awhile, they still saw significant savings when compared to Notion.

Don’t take my word for it - see for yourself!

This is the part of the blog post in which I get back into my role as a salesperson; if you’re still not sure about Maker Billing, but you’ve read this far, you’re probably curious enough to try it out at your company.
Sign up and learn more about our pricing plans at
Or , and they can schedule a customized demo assessing how Coda can be useful for your team, and just how many (or few!) Doc Makers you’ll need.

Happy Making!
Joe DiMento
Head of Enterprise Sales
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