A lot of people considering TalentLMS ask us pricing / cost questions, so we put together this article with the commonly asked questions to help you, as well as plenty of tips to get the most out of your subscription and keep costs down.
We cover a lot in this article so skim straight to your section of interest if you wish (top tips at the end!)
Can you start TalentLMS for free?
Yes, you can absolutely start for free, and there’s no need to enter your credit card details. All you need to go to the Get Started link on the TalentLMS page and enter your name, email and of course a name for your portal. The Free plan has all the core functionality of the system and allows you to have up to 5 users and 10 courses. On the Free plan you won’t have access to custom reporting, automations, SSL for your custom domain, single sign on support, a Success Manager or Live Chat - all of these apply to paid plans.
Is the TalentLMS “Forever Free Plan” actually free forever?
Yes, it is, and it's a brilliant way to try TalentLMS out, or for customers with a very limited use-case, this plan may actually provide all that you need. While 5 users sounds low (and it is!) you could deactivate users manually to get by if you are a very small organisation and just need to run a few courses as one-offs for your people (e.g. inductions).
For most customers, though, the user restriction will mean that you need to upgrade to a paid subscription, and the next level up from the Free plan is the very reasonably-priced Starter plan which is priced at USD$59 / month for up to 40 users and unlimited courses.
What is the difference between TalentLMS Standard plans and Active plans?
OK, this topic causes a lot of confusion, but it needn’t. A simple way to think of it is this: with a Standard plan, you are buying a plan with set number of “seats”, and with an Active plan you are buying a plan with a set number of “users logging in within the billing month” (i.e. active users).
The key thing to understand is that the Active plans count a user logging in as a user who logs in at least once in a billing month, not the number of logins that user performs. It doesn’t matter if they log in once or 50 times within the billing month, they are still counted as just one user login.
The awesome thing about Active plans, and the reason that they seem more costly, is that you have unlimited seats! So you could have 1,000 users (or 1,000,000) but if you only have 40 of those users logging in within the billing month, you would still be within your Starter Active plan limit (as an example).
Should I choose a Standard plan or an Active plan?
Great question, and it depends on the pattern of your user logins. As a general rule, if you are selling courses through TalentLMS, you should go for an Active plan. The reason for this is that your customers who have purchased a course may want to login to the system at any time to purchase another course, or complete the course they have purchased (subject to the course access time limits you have set). If you are selling courses you will (hopefully) have a large user base over time and hence you’ll benefit from the unlimited seats and only want to pay for the users who actually log in. An Active plan satisfies this requirement.
The other critical thing to remember if you are selling courses is that if you are on an Active plan, the limits are always “soft”, meaning new users can be added at any time, and if they log in (or signup, which is typically followed by a log in) you are simply charged a small additional fee per user logging in over your limit.
If you’re on a Standard plan the limits are “hard” meaning your users simply won’t be able to sign up anymore, which can cause major issues if your customers have paid for a course but can’t sign up! (more on hard and soft plan limits shortly)
If you have a set number of users, such as a company with a certain number of employees, a Standard plan is usually the most cost-effective. This is especially the case where you may have annual refresher training (e.g. compliance) where there is a large surge in logins. If you had an Active plan in this scenario, you would face a steep increase in charges due to the “overage” costs (more on that shortly!)
What are the prices of TalentLMS Standard plans?
The pricing for Standard plans is shown below (click the image / current at 6 June 2021). Note that these prices are all shown in US dollars, and the large orange text shows the monthly amount when you pay annually in advance. You can also pay monthly, for the higher amount shown in the black text beneach the orange text for each plan. Larger plans are available - contact us for special pricing for these.
What are the prices of the TalentLMS Active plans?
The pricing for Active plans is shown below (click the image / current at 6 June 2021). Note that these prices are all shown in US dollars, and the large orange text shows the minimum monthly amount when you pay annually in advance. It's a minimum because you are also liable for "overage" costs if your number of users logging in for the billing month exceeds your plan, and this will vary depending on how many additional users log in.
OK, I have decided upon the plan I need…what is the cost if I go over my plan?
As touched on earlier, the limits differ between Standard and Active plans.
All Standard plan limits are “hard” meaning they cannot be exceeded. That means if you are on the Plus (i.e. Standard 500) user plan, you simply won’t be able to add any more users and you’ll receive an error message. You can “deactivate” users to free up seats though. Once you’ve de-activated all the seats you can and you still need more seats, you’ll need to move up to the next plan to add more users.
All Active plan limits are “soft” meaning that you can exceed the number of users logging in within the month. The additional users logging in within the billing month are simply charged as an additional fee, called “overage” (and it has nothing to do with legal age / drinking age!) The overage fee differs, depending on which plan you are on; it may be USD$4, USD$3, USD$2, etc. - refer to the image above.
The soft limits for Active plans are of course a double-edged sword!
On the positive side, your users will never be prevented from logging in (or signing up, if you have self-sign up configured). This is a great thing, especially if you are selling courses (or even if you are providing free courses which you want to be unrestricted).
The downside is that you may end up with a nasty surprise with your overage billing if you’re not careful! Imagine you are selling your courses and then you run a Facebook promotion which is wildly successful…suddenly you have an additional 100 users sign up to your portal…that could mean you are up for an extra cost of USD$400 in fees for that billing month! In such a scenario it would be far more cost effective to anticipate the increase (or through monitoring your users login activity) and increase your Active plan prior, as you’d pay far less overall by increasing your plan proactively. It’s much like the way phone SIM data plans used to work…if you go over on the wrong plan, whammo!
TalentLMS helps to mitigate this for you by providing a warning email when you are at 80% and 95%, so pay attention to these. But, if the spike is sudden this can still catch you out. To manage your plan effectively and keep costs down, you need to actively monitor your plan and seats or user logins. You can do this by running a report for your billing period or reviewing your subscription days / logins remaining. We can help you with either of these things if you’re unsure - contact us for help.
An example of a TalentLMS Standard plan which is a great price match for the customer
Our fictional customer Aroma Coffee Roasters Pty Ltd has 430 employees and would like to implement TalentLMS to assist with employee onboarding, inductions, annual compliance training and systems training. The business is growing at a rate of about 10% per annum. They select the Plus plan for 500 users. This provides 500 seats so they have about 70 seats free which allows for a couple of years of growth before the company employee numbers exceed their plan. They have some turnover of employees, but when employees leave they simply deactivate the users, which frees up the seats. Every June they have a focus on compliance training and nearly everyone logs in at least once to complete their courses. They will get optimal value out of their Standard plan and do not have any additional overage charges. Smart!
An example of a TalentLMS Active plan which is a great price match for the customer
Our next fictional customer MindBalm Pty Ltd has an online shop (Wordpress website with Woocommerce integrated) which sells candles and books, and wants to branch into offering online courses (using the TalentLMS plugin). They are just starting out, so commence with the Starter Active plan (40 active users / month). As they are able to cross-sell to their existing customer base, the new courses are very successful and in the first month they sell at least one online course to 55 users. Some users are buying 3 or 4 courses each, but they are only counted as a single active user.
MindBalm exceeds their plan in the first month and is charged an overage cost of USD$4 x (55-40) = USD$60, but that’s a good problem to have because with the courses they have sold, total course revenue for the first month was $3,000! As they plan to continue to promote the online courses and offer new courses, they decide to move to the next Active plan and will monitor logins carefully to see if they need to go to a higher plan again if sales expectations are exceeded. After 12 months, they have 2,450 users in the system and about 90 active users (i.e. users logging in) each month, and find that the Basic Active user plan (which allows for 100 active users / month) meets their needs, with no overage costs most months.
Can I change plans to manage costs?
Yes, TalentLMS allows you full flexibility to change plans at any time, and this includes:
- Changing up
- Changing down
- Changing between Standard plans and Active plans
- Changing between monthly and annual payment
Basically you are free to change as you wish and you are simply charged the difference (and can even get a credit).
Regardless of which plan you are on, you should monitor your usage, as this will enable you to shift up or down at just the right time, avoiding excessive additional costs or ensuring that your users are not constrained (for Standard plans which have hard limits). Get in touch if you need help and guidance on this.
In this report, there are 106 active users for the time period shown. Course completions are irrelevant from a billing perspective.
Top tips for managing your TalentLMS subscription
With over 10 years of helping clients getting the most out of TalentLMS, we know the best way to get maximum value out of your subscription and keep costs down! Here are our top tips:
1) Monitor your usage
- If you're on a Standard plan, that means checking how many users you have. Remember to filter on Active users, as deactivated users don't count towards your seats!
- If you're on an Active plan, that means checking your user logins (i.e. Active users) for your billing month, which is not the same as the calendar month! To do this, go to Accounts and Settings > Subscription, then review the number of active users against what your plan allows for. This will tell you if you are within or over at that time, and then hover over the little "i" icon to view the date at which the count resets, as shown in the example image below.
2) Deactivate users
This is a very powerful way to keep your costs down! If you are an organisation and have users leave, deactivate them right away if you're on a Standard plan. This frees up the seats and may even allow you to downgrade your plan.
3) Consider Automations
This is a very smart way to keep your subscription costs down, especially if you know your users will only do one course, for instance, an onboarding-only scenario. You can use an Automation to automatically deactivate a user once they have completed that particular course, meaning no administrative burden for you. There are a number of other pre-canned automations which can assist with deactivation for different scenarios. Note that Automations are only available on higher paid plans.
4) Consider making a course public
If you are selling courses, this is a great way to share your course "teasers" with your customer base without needing them to count as active users, until they actually sign up / purchase a course. Making a course public generates a course link, and once you've shared this with your users, they can complete the course anonymously. When the course ends, users are prompted to sign up (if the system allows new registrations) so that the system records their course progress.
Please get in touch if you need help and guidance on any of the tips above.
We're happy to do a free audit of your portal and let you know if you need to make any changes to get the most out of your subscription.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of the TalentLMS pricing options.
TalentLMS is free to try and the pricing is really amazingly low. It's low because support is limited, but with our Australian TalentLMS setup, help, training and phone support packages, you get the best of both worlds and only pay for what you need.
So, what are you waiting for? Get the confidence you need before investing your time and energy into TalentLMS.
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