Free SaaS tools for companies on a budget (and a pre-formatted budgeting sheet)

· 5 min read
Free SaaS tools for companies on a budget (and a pre-formatted budgeting sheet)

Not every SaaS company has endless spare money.

It might be because you’re bootstrapped. It might be because you have a limited runway. Maybe you just enjoy really thinking about what you spend your hard earned dough on.

When we think about what SaaS companies spend on, we tend to consider the big things:

  • Office costs
  • Hiring and salaries
  • Equipment
  • Taxes

Fundera has a great list of 14 common small business startup costs if you want to think about these common things more.

However—the one cost that often slips our mind is the tools we use in our everyday work.

Tool costs are easy to not think of as a “big thing”. SaaS companies tend to use a lot of tools for their everyday operations. Most of them aren’t outrageously expensive.

So, what’s another 20 bucks a month for a service that makes your life easier? However, how many of these “only 20 bucks a month” tools do you already have? Do you know?

It adds up. Big time.

We all want quality tools to run our business, even if we’re on a budget. That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily empty your pockets for it.

Canny is a fully bootstrapped company. We know exactly what it’s like to be mindful with money.

So—in today’s post, we’re going to do two things:

1. Look at the main operating areas of a SaaS company, and list some free (or cheap) tools to use
2. Provide you with a pre-formatted spreadsheet for easy calculations of what your tool costs really are, all combined (and what they could be)

You can make a copy of this spreadsheet, and then use it for either:

  • Building your starter toolkit as a company just about to launch, so you can predict future costs
  • Analyze your current toolkit costs as a fully operational company, and see where you can improve

Let’s roll!

The SaaS tool categories

We’re going to be looking at the following big categories for SaaS tools:

… and list a few options that have a free plan.

We’re not going to go into super hacky alternative options for saving money (e.g maybe you can just use a Google Doc for team chat?). Nobody has time for that.

But, hopefully you will find some new and cool (and free!) tools to check out.

PS: there’s a little next to the tools we use or have used and/or would recommend. If you have questions about our experience with them, you’re welcome to reach out to us!

Internal communication

♥ Slack

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $6.67 per active user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

♥ Twist

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $5 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Fleep

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $5.60 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Marketing and external communication

Communication

♥ Missive

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $10 per member/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Email

♥ MailChimp

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $9.99/month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

EmailOctopus

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $19
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Hubspot’s email marketing tool

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $800 for the entire marketing hub
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Social media management

♥ Buffer

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $15/month (1 user)
Pricing page
Third party reviews

HootSuite

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $29/month (1 user)
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Customer support 

Tickets

FreshDesk

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $15 per agent/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Zoho Desk

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $12 per agent/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

NPS

♥ Wootric

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $89/month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Delighted

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $89/month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

CRM

HubSpot CRM

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: none
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Task management

♥ ClickUp

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $5 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Trello

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $9.99 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Asana

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $9.25 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Documentation

♥  Notion

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $8 per member/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Metrics/analytics

♥ Profitwell

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: free
Pricing page
Third party reviews

ChartMogul

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $100/month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

♥ Airtable

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $10 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

♥ Mixpanel

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $779/year
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Design

♥ Figma

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $12 per editor/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Invision Studio

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: free
Landing page
Third party reviews

Wake

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: enterprise, custom price
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Engineering

Cloud Services

♥ Amazon Web Services

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: custom
Page about free tier

Cloudflare

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $20/month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Google Cloud Platform

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: custom
Page about free tier
Third party reviews

Code Editing

♥ Atom

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: free
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Sublime Text

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $80
Purchase page
Third party reviews

Visual Studio Code

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: free
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Code Repository

♥ GitHub

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $9 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

GitLab

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $4 per user/per month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Error Reporting

♥ Sentry

Free plan: yes
Entry level pricing: $26 a month
Pricing page
Third party reviews

Happy budgeting! 

Hopefully you found some new, cool, and wallet-friendly SaaS tools to check out for your team.

Have anything awesome to add to the list? Let us know!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out that budgeting spreadsheet.

Looking for an affordable option for a customer feedback tool? We offer discounts for early-stage companies!

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Elen Veenpere

Marketer at Canny. Elen enjoys drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, typing words, and filling out marketing spreadsheets.

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Avatar

Elen Veenpere

Marketer at Canny. Elen enjoys drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, typing words, and filling out marketing spreadsheets.

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Canny is a user feedback tool. We help software companies track feedback to build better products.

Leave a comment

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Alex Bugeja
Alex Bugeja

For affiliate marketing, ReferDigital.com could be added to this list – it doesn’t have any sign up or monthly fees. It charges only a fraction of actual commissions earned on sales from affiliates (no sales, nothing due).

I.O.

Great list, thank you I actually didn’t know about some of these!
All the best with Canny!

Pier-Luc Gendreau
Pier-Luc Gendreau

I like Rollbar as well for error reporting. It’s not quite as fancy as Sentry but it gets the job done!

Anon

Discord definitely deserves a place in the Internal communication section

Droffats

So Azure does not qualify as a valid cloud service option?

Biji

Actually, Zoho has integrated suite with 1 dollar per month per user for all tools including CRM, Helpdesk, Docs, HRM, Finance, Marketing, Mail, Analytics, Business process and lot more as an integrated tool. Also, they provide free tools in some applications up to 5 users.

https://www.zoho.com/one/

Maartin

For virtual bug testing you can add https://w3dart.com/ to your list.
It has free plan and starting price of $19/Month for unlimited users.

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Elen Veenpere

Marketer at Canny. Elen enjoys drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, typing words, and filling out marketing spreadsheets.

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