Thinking of switching to a cheaper tool? Here’s why that could be a bad idea

That little decision to fifty bucks a month by switching tools could be costing you your business.

Here’s why.

When I speak to people about different automation tools and what they do and don’t like, one thing that comes up a lot is price.

Price is a big motivator for people to seek replacements for their current tools.

There are at least 3 tools in our business for which I’d rather not spend as much as we do. But we continue to pay a higher amount than I’m not happy with, for a very good reason. 

It would cost a lot more to switch than to stay. 

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For a moment forget any differences between tools. Pretend two tools have exactly the same feature set. One is $30 a month and one is $90. 

You’ve been using the $90 one for a few years and it is an ingrained part of your process. But you’ve seen this $30 one. It looks super attractive, and a great way to save $60 per month. 

$90 down to $30 sounds like a huge saving right? It’s a THIRD of the cost, after all.

However it’s not that simple of just switching off one tool and turning on the other. 

There are a bunch of other things you’re going to need to change. 

  • Everything you had set up in one needs to get re-created in the other*
  • You need to get accustomed to the new tool
  • All your processes that mention the tool need to be re-done
  • Your team need to be re-trained
  • Any external integrations need to be re-done

* Some tools have migrations from other tools, but even then it likely won’t work in the exact way you want it to

All of these steps require time. You may even run into unforeseen problems, like the way you used to integrate doesn’t work the same in the new tool. 

Take a very conservative estimate here. Say it costs you one day – 8 hours – to switch. That includes all productivity loss of learning the new system, moving everything over and updating your processes. 

In reality, it’s going to be a LOT more than this, but let’s roll with it. 

If you value your time at $100 an hour (which you should, at a minimum), that’s $800. 

That $800 one off cost is going to save you $60 per month. 

$800 / $60 is 13.3 months. 

In other words, it takes you 13 months to break even on the change. You could have just kept your current tool for 13 months and you’d be in the same position. 

In those 13 months, do you think your business would be better off? Is that $60 going to mean as much as it does to you now?

Probably not. 

You’ve just wasted valuable time you could have spent on actual important stuff.

And this was using a conservative estimate with a fairly significant cost saving. If the time is worse than that, or the price difference is only $20, things are much worse. 

What if that switch eats up 3 days? Remember, we’re also including lost productivity in learning the new system. Everything you do in that tool is going to take longer while you become familiar with it. So yeah, 3 days is still pretty conservative. 

Now we’re talking over 3 years to get payback on that switch. Change the price saving to $30 and that’s 6 years!

This doesn’t even take into account that the cheaper tool probably doesn’t work as well. It might:

  • have less features, costing you time finding workarounds to features that you used to have
  • be slower, costing you more time every day
  • be less reliable, costing in downtime

And in 3 years, that tool you were already using could be way, way ahead of the cheaper one. Your business could have grown into a place that now you actually need all the features that you used to think were unnecessary. 

These are all things that you need to think about when making big business decisions like this. It goes so much deeper than comparing $30 vs $90.

Wasting a 1-3 days now might sound like something you can handle easily right now. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But if unchecked, this mindset could be costing you getting where you want to be.

Take a step back and take a look at how you make business decisions. If they are all like this – saving money without looking at the time cost – then you may just end up spinning your wheels trying to save money instead of pushing your business forward. 

James Rose

James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare - a software platform that helps professionals collect content & files from clients.

Once an automation engineer, his new priority is to help business owners regain their lives, be more productive and get more done in less time.

Learn how to save 25+ hours every week with automation. Get the guide when you sign up for the productivity newsletter. Click here to get it..

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