Has any dealt with setting up a SaaS?

by anotherevan. Posted on Sep 11, 2020    6    23

I'm currently in the final stages of our initial development to release our wire-frame to investors. Only hurdle now is figuring the best way to keep the app behind a SaaS subscription wall. Have any of you dealt with this before any ideas/solutions?


Edit**We already have our investors, we are past a beta phase. Need advice from someone who has already operated a SaaS, no advice needed for attracting clients or investors**



I've been running one for 7 years, feel free to message me.

slower-is-faster 1

It sounds like a technical question. You need “users” of the app to be authenticated (you know who they are), and authorised (that user has access to that feature/data). So you need to build payment processing and account management. But I’m not sure if this is what you are asking.

PageKeeper 2

In a nutshell:

Frontend: make the paywall dialog and a blurry background. See NYT or others.

JS checks for existence of session cookie. if it reached max free views (max free views can be 0), just trigger the dialog. The frontend will not have any essential info (e.g. stuff behind the wall) sent by the backend.


Backend: Probably you use a MVC framework. Controller first checks (cookie) if the user is authenticated and authorised . If not, don't send anything, just some response to indicate that the paywall needs to be shown. If yes, send the article/content.

I can implement this in PHP / Golang. DM me if interested.

  anotherevan 1

I have a thousand questions

xMassTransitx 2

I’ve built, raised financing for, and sold 2 SaaS startups. Feel free to DM me any questions.

dexx4d 3

I've worked on implementation of a few SaaS products before in various roles from dev to management.

For B2C tools, we kept the base version free (account required) and locked the advanced features (that a business or advanced users would require) behind a paywall tied to the account.

For B2B tools, we tied system access to the account credentials, with different pricing tiers providing more accounts on the team, multiple teams, better auditing and reporting, advanced usage metrics, larger data throughput, etc.

Credentials need to be supplied for all system access - API or web UI. The accounting and payment processor service is usually adjacent to the main functionality, and set info on the user account which the main functionality checked before doing the things.

In terms of business organization, the accounting/payments dev team usually worked more closely with the customer accounts managers to resolve issues that came up. Customer accounts passed requirements to the product team from their clients which pass through the product owner and engineering leadership for analysis and scheduling. (Though in smaller companies, that was all one person.)

  anotherevan 1

Happy Cake Day! Yeah I think it's time to take a step back and evaluate how much backend we will be needing for mutual compliance. it would be nice to have updates and additional datatables to send clients along with auth. The program is built in python, so I'm not sure whether Django, Flask or apache is the best route.. sooooo many questions

I'm the Sales-Guy/founder, so my programming extent is gamedev and making tiddies jiggle in blender.

dexx4d 2

Thanks! Feel free to hit me up via PM if you have any further questions - I'm on my third fourth SaaS project now.

Good luck!

akirkwoodAk 3

I’d would recommend keeping your platform free of charge until you get out of your beta period. This way you can acquire as manny users on our software as possible.

Also, most investors are going to want to see market traction/validation before investing.

MaxPast 1

I would just add that getting even free beta testers is not that easy, so you will soon change your attitude from "how to make them pay?" to "how to make them try?" :)

  anotherevan 1

Our product is extremely niche, the only people who know about it absolutely need it and are already begging to pay. Thankfully there will be no payer remorse!

MaxPast 2

You are truly lucky to get highly motivated customer from the very beginning!
Don't be disappointed if it's just a single company at the moment, there will be much more if you look deeper :)
Even if you think that your niche is small, you will definitely prove the opposite if you are persistent in marketing and sales, not just in product development.

  anotherevan 2

Tell me about it! I operate a consulting firm. I recognized a need for a certain sales tool in an industry. Built a GoogleMaps API version, then a CRM implementation, then a Datatable query, combined them and viola two former clients have signed contract. the only new hurdle is ensuring that the new clients do not have access if they don't continue their consulting contract

MaxPast 2


So, if you have no problems with customers, I can share my experience of setting up a paywall.
I usually do that by introducing an extra "status" field in the users table of the service which I update manually from an admin interface or automatically based on payment processor callbacks or a scheduled script to check for expiration of unpaid accounts. It gives some extra level of flexibility rather than doing it automatically.

The rest is purely technical, it's just a concept that works great for me.

And, if you are looking for ways to limit access to the service without rewriting everything, you can go for something like Apache .htaccess/.htpasswd files which will be updated based on the database of users. A temporary but fully functional solution which you can develop with several lines of php code. Even if your service isn't in php, you can still use Apache as a proxy and it will handle service limitations as a quick-and-dirty hack.

  anotherevan 2

That's pretty much exactly what I'm seeing. Originially I was thinking django and stripe bit after reviewing our payment SOP's we will be collecting monthly invoices and the program is really just icing on the cake. so an apache check function will most likely be easier. I guess paywall isn't really a good description haha

CrusaderQB 3

That concept blew my mind. Really explained well. A very simple and elegant solution ❤️👍😂

Shivayl 2

I have a question about this. Are beta users on a free account forever, or you tell them that it's for a limited period?

  anotherevan 2

for our service we used 2 small companies for shallow basket market research and allowed them to use our services in exchange for some beta testing and some of their data to play with.

CrusaderQB 1

Very nice!

akirkwoodAk 2

Beta is only free for a limited time period.

  anotherevan 2

Thankfully we already have our investors. We have piloted the tool for almost 2 years as a free service to our 2 pilot partners."Initial Development" in this case means we a producing our wire-frame for approval to begin the liquid funding.

tuangeek 4

Not sure what your SaaS model is. But I run an API service that I built from the ground up. It uses Stripe for payment processing, subscription management, and usage tracking. The API sits behind Kong Gateway which has an API key plugin for authentication. Kong Gateway is awesome. It does all rate limiting, logging, and protects my API service. Everything else is custom built for my use case.

  anotherevan 1

Yeah I've been down the Django, Flask, Stripe rabbit hole this morning. Our firm offers a full suite of services which is directly invoiced to face to face clients. really I just want to "pull the plug" on clients if they don't pay or are out of contract.