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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kolodner

FormAssembly’s Price Increase

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

It’s been a couple of months but I haven’t had a chance to talk about the fact that FormAssembly has raised their prices. By a lot. It makes me sad. And I think they should be ashamed of themselves.

Freebie magically creating a form.
Freebie magically creating a form.

I’m saying this as someone that is still a huge proponent of FormAssembly and while I continue to be a FormAssembly partner and likely to recommend it when clients are looking for a form tool.


I don’t get anything personally as a FormAssembly partner. Other than access to the partner site (which I basically never used in the past, but now have to use to find the prices), the benefit to being a partner is the ability for clients I refer to get a discount on their pricing. I assume those clients could negotiate essentially the same discount on their own if they worked at it, but I can save them a step.


Given the inflation of the past couple of years and the reality of the marketplace, I’m not actually that surprised or concerned when prices go up in the normal course of things. My own consulting rates go up, for example, and I don’t apologize for that. (I like to think I also give more value with each passing year as my knowledge grows, but maybe that’s another blog post…) But FormAssembly has basically tripled their pricing for nonprofits.


I suppose a small caveat is in order: FormAssembly for anyone with a current account is not going up in price. They are all grandfathered at their current pricing and feature level and FormAssembly has said that is “forever.” [Surely it can’t be forever, but it’s at least for the foreseeable future.]


Opacity

To make matters even worse, they’ve also made their pricing less transparent. Wait–did I say “less transparent”? They’ve made prices practically a secret.


They don’t seem to realize just how much that skeeves out nonprofit people and will hurt their business among this community. Not that long ago you could go to the FormAssembly website and find a nice clear pricing page that showed about four tiers you might choose among with their costs in black and white. Now all you see on the “pricing” page is links to start a trial, get a demo, or compare features. If you’re anything like me, it feels uncomfortably like this is going to be an experience like buying a car. Blech. 🤮


It’s slightly better for FormAssembly partners because we can log into their partner site and actually see something resembling a pricing grid. I’ve pushed them hard to make that grid available publicly. I think they’re concerned that the pricing is now confusing so they don’t want to make it public. (They’re right that it’s confusing, by the way. But I still think transparency is better for business, particularly among the nonprofits that have always been strong champions for FormAssembly.)


I should note at this point that FormAssembly’s competitors are equally opaque about their pricing, so the transparency issue isn’t my main beef. What I’m really concerned about is that FA has become so much less affordable.


What Does It Cost Now?

I noted, above, that FormAssembly doesn’t want to make pricing transparent because they’re concerned that it’s confusing. I think they are afraid that potential customers will be scared off if a higher bottom line is the first thing they see when they might be comparing FormAssembly with a lot more features to a competitor’s tool at a bargain basement price that can’t do any of the amazing things FA can do.


OK, I can understand that fear, I’m just not that sympathetic because at an apples-to-apples level the rise in FormAssembly cost is still outrageous.


In one of my very first posts I noted that I recommended clients get FormAssembly’s Premier level (now discontinued). Premier for nonprofits was about $1,700/year but was worth it because of the amazing prefill connector. In FormAssembly’s new pricing structure, if you want the same features that most of my clients use you’re going to have to pay more like $5,000 per year for their Essentials plan!


I’m actually of two minds about that:

  1. I think it’s an utterly absurd price rise, not to mention a pretty steep annual cost.

  2. I still think it’s probably worthwhile for a whole lot of nonprofits. My clients that already have grandfathered prices are probably getting that level of value out of FormAssembly with the prefill connector.


Complexity in Pricing

If we want to get into that complexity that FormAssembly thinks you might not be able to handle, Essentials comes with a few features that Premier did not, such as Dynamic Picklists and multiple users on your FormAssembly account. So from FA’s perspective they’re providing more value.


But other features are á la carte. So, for example, you’ll have to pay $600 more per year if you want credit card processing, which was included in Premier. In fact, the Salesforce connector is already an add-on to Essentials, but I’m counting it in the baseline because from my perspective a form tool without a Salesforce integration isn’t very useful. (See also: Google Forms.)


Dynamic Picklists and multiple FA Users are features with which I have a love/hate relationship. (That’s a topic for another post.) But suffice it to say that I’m not sold on paying so much more to have those features, at least not with their current challenges.


Essentials is not the cheapest FormAssembly plan. You can get as low as $2,800 for “Basic” (with a nonprofit discount—there is no additional partner discount on Basic). Basic, of course, does not have the prefill connector (not even as an add-on), so you lose what I always think is special about FormAssembly. Basic also doesn’t allow CSS, so you probably can’t make your forms look as branded as you would like. (They won’t be as ugly as Google Forms, but that’s a low bar.)


In my opinion they have crippled Basic enough that you might be just as well off with another form tool.


What Do I Recommend?

It’s a whole lot harder now to know what to recommend for a client that’s just looking at getting a webform tool. I think I still come down on the side of FormAssembly, but it’s much less of a slam dunk at four thousand dollars than it was under two.


If you are going to have more than just one form and you know your forms are going to get a lot of use, then the prefill connector is going to allow you to do things to reduce duplicates, improve your users’ experience, and save you money in the long term. In that case, FormAssembly Essentials will be worth it for you.


Even without prefill, FormAssembly’s connector after the form is submitted can do a lot more than just insert a single record into Salesforce. So Basic might be worthwhile because I assume FormAssembly priced it to compete with the others in the marketplace.


But there are other form tools to consider, some cheaper than FormAssembly, that may be able to do what you need. If you have only basic form needs, you probably have a lot of options to sort through. (The nonprofit Salesforce community is working on reviving a project to help with this kind of decision. But that effort is not at fruition quite yet.)


There is also the possibility of using a screen flow exposed on a public Site that has gotten a good amount of discussion in the community recently. I think the complexity of building and maintaining this puts it out of reach for most organizations. But if you’re that organization that was just going to have a single form, it could be worthwhile to invest the time in building this and then have something that is completely free. Even if you have to pay a consultant to change or maintain it every so often, that’s going to be cheaper than a recurring form tool cost.


I guess the best I can recommend is: It depends.



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