Why We Don't Charge an Initial Start-Up Fee

September 20, 2019

Transitioning to an online course catalog is a long-term commitment. The brunt of the work occurs at the beginning, when we first import all your courses, programs, and degrees and make sure they display and function properly. Of course, we do all that work for you — you send us your current catalog, and we convert it to a fully functioning digital version.

Even though that’s a lot of work the first year, we understand the competing pressures facing colleges today, so we don’t charge for that initial set-up. Here’s why.

Our Business Model Is Based on Long-Term Relationships, not One-Time Fees

We're dedicated to providing a top-of-the-line product at a great price — with over-the-top customer support. At Clean Catalog, our customers are happy. Few leave our service. Once we’ve helped get those 7 committees over the initial decision hurdle, they find that our software makes their lives infinitely easier and they have no reason to discontinue using our online catalog.

We want all customers to feel that way. And when we bring on new clients, we want them to know that we’re with them for the long haul, and we’re not going to complete that initial build-out, drop it in their laps and then disappear into the ether. The initial set-up is where the majority of questions and revisions occur; after that, due to our intuitive design, customers are empowered to continue tweaking the system on their own. But we know that situations may arise in the future where our assistance is still needed, and so the ongoing fee structure reflects that.

Low Annual Fees Can Avoid a Lengthy Bidding Process

Many public colleges and universities have to take projects out to bid if the annual fee exceeds a certain amount — and a one-time startup fee almost always exceeds that limit. Often, however, Clean Catalog's annual fee is lower than the request-for-proposal limit. That means that if a college or university has decided Clean Catalog is the best fit for them, they can often just make the decision instead of going through the long and time-consuming proposal process.

Start-Up Fees Can Be a Tough Sell for Annual Budgets

Getting one-time budget approval for a large up-front expense is often a much tougher sell with committees and administration than a low annual fee. We typically do year-to-year contracts, so a low annual fee with no long-term commitment can be a much easier sell with campus stakeholders.

We know how challenging it can be to find several thousand extra dollars for a one-time fee. We know that it often takes 7 committees 17 months to make the decision to move to an online catalog in the first place! The last thing we want to do is increase the barrier to joining us here in happy Clean Catalog land. It’s easier to include a predictable, annual cost than to pay a big fee up front. Our fee structure represents our awareness of budgetary limitations, as well as our commitment to clients over time.


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