Catherine Geanuracos
October 31, 2020

Five reasons CityGrows is more affordable than other permitting software

Sometimes when we talk to people in local government they don't believe us when we share our pricing.

We understand that it may seem too good to be true: most other permitting software requires a minimum of $25-50,000 in annual license fees, and it's normal to see companies expect governments to pay first year/ setup costs of $100,000, $200,000 or more for implementations that can take 6, 12, or even 18 months. Given the current economic uncertainty, we think it's irresponsible for governments to spend that much money when there are solutions like ours that can cost so much less. Governments deserve a low-cost online permitting software option.

With CityGrows there's one flat subscription fee per year plus payment processing fees, no matter how many staff use the software and no matter how many workflows or applications you create. And you'll be processing permits online in weeks, not years.

How do we do it?

  1. We're new: We started building our software less than five years ago - the current state of technology means that a small team can build a very sophisticated product. Ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago (when most of our competitors started) building software was really expensive and time-consuming).
  2. We like small governments: Most of our competitors would be happy with fewer, bigger contracts. They'd rather spend many years and lots of money building a big system. Our goal is to work for small and medium sized governments (as well as big ones - the City of LA is a client!). We would rather have a lot of governments paying a little each, then just a few governments paying a lot.
  3. We don't charge for extras: CityGrows doesn't have any hidden or extra charges. Other software companies seem to want to charge for every little thing: for access to mobile modules, business licensing, training, even editing the questions on their online form once it's set up. Not us.
  4. We don't charge by number of users: We decided not to use the "seat license" model. There's no reason that more users should equal more $$ - the software is the same whether there are 10 or 100 people from your government using it. We want you to have accounts for everyone who needs access.
  5. We make you do more of the work: Our software is designed for non-technical people to set up and use. That means you and your staff build and manage your own digital workflows. Because you configure things yourself, our staff is small, so we can charge less.

We know that some governments have had really bad experiences with SaaS companies (Software as a Service) companies offering very low rates for the first few years, and then pulling a bait and switch and jacking their prices way up. While we can't promise that CityGrows will cost exactly the same amount forever, but we are more than willing to sign multi-year contracts if requested, We're committed to growing our company in a way that benefits both us as a business and the governments that use us.

Eventually we plan to do away with our subscription fees entirely ("freemium" software is quite common in the private sector), and solely charge payment processing fees. And the more governments that sign up, the faster we'll get there!

We truly believe that all local governments, no matter what size, deserve a low-cost, easy-to-use solution, and we're committed to maintaining our low-cost pricing strategy over time.

Catherine Geanuracos

Catherine is the CEO and a Co-Founder of CityGrows. She's dedicated to supporting local governments and helping them improve outcomes for their residents and staff members. She is a former VP of the City of Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission and co-founder of LA's Code for America Brigade Hack for LA. She's based in Los Angeles.

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