Understanding CMMS Software Pricing Models: Asset-based vs. User-based

Are you in the market for a CMMS (computerized maintenance management system)? Throughout your research, you’ll notice that cost of CMMS vary among the different maintenance management systems out there. Although it seems like only your wallet will be impacted, there’s more at stake than that. The pricing structure of your CMMS can ultimately determine the success of your software solution. 

User-based vs. Asset-based Pricing

There are a lot of pricing structures out there, but most fall into one of two main CMMS software pricing models: user-based pricing or asset-based pricing. The differences are simple but impactful, and it’s important to understand them so you can pick the CMMS that’s right for your organization. 

User-based pricing calculates the cost based on the number of users in your CMMS. A user can be defined as anyone who enters your CMMS with an individual username and password. Most companies refer to these individual logins as “licenses.” For example, if you have five staff members and they each need their own username and password, you will pay for five separate licenses. Every new team member that’s given access to your CMMS comes with an additional cost.

Asset-based pricing means the CMMS calculates the price based on facility information. The total square footage of your facilities or number of buildings you’ll be managing with your CMMS may be taken into account. Usually when a CMMS prices per asset they allow for an unlimited number of users. This means that as your company grows, you’ll be able to open your CMMS to as many staff, tenants, or vendors as you need. If you add new facilities, these will be factored into your yearly cost however some companies offer discounts for multiple facilities.

How pricing structure can affect CMMS success

The pricing structure of your software can directly affect how your company utilizes your CMMS. Here are some examples that show the impact of asset-based and user-based pricing on different facility management scenarios.

Example 1

Business is booming, and your company adds five people to your team. Your leadership team predicts they’ll continue to hire on additional team members.

User-based pricing

With user-based pricing, you have a couple of options. You could buy each team member a license or designate one person to be the “CMMS Specialist” and require everyone to go through that individual to access information in the system. While this is good for the new specialist’s resume, it defeats the purpose of a CMMS. Limiting access to your CMMS creates gatekeepers—obstacles that information must pass through. This could hold up the flow and accuracy of communication, which is exactly what a CMMS tries to prevent. 

Asset-based pricing

In this situation, asset-based pricing would allow you to integrate every new team member into your CMMS with no additional cost. With the whole team using your CMMS, everyone stays in the loop, and there are no extra gatekeepers.

Takeaway: If your facility management team is projected to grow, asset-based pricing will allow you to take advantage of it and fully integrate new team members into your CMMS with no added cost.

Example 2

Your company has just added two new buildings and leadership has requested that the staff in these new facilities use the CMMS to submit work orders.

User-based pricing

This situation calls for a lot of new licenses on your CMMS. While it’s nice that you will not have to pay based on your new facilities, purchasing individual licenses may be pricier than an asset-based pricing plan. 

Asset-based pricing

With asset-based pricing, these two new facilities will raise your subscription price. However, since you would like your staff to be able to submit maintenance requests through your CMMS, asset-based pricing may be a better option as it allows you to give access to an unlimited amount of staff members.


If you plan to let staff use your CMMS to submit work orders, user-based pricing can quickly become an expensive option. Even if you plan to add new facilities in the future, asset-based pricing can still turn out to be less expensive because you are not paying per user. 

Which pricing model is right for my organization?

The pricing structure that is right for your organization is contingent upon your current needs as well as your plans for the future. You should know the answers to the following questions before making a decision:

  • How many users will be in my CMMS?
  • Will I be adding to my team this year?
  • Does my organization want staff, vendors, clients, or tenants to access the CMMS?
  • Will I be adding new facilities this year?

Once you’ve pinpointed your organization’s specific needs, you can move on to evaluating whether asset-based or user-based pricing fits your situation. Here are some strategies to keep in mind before making your final decision:

Asset-based pricing provides the most value for…

  • Facilities departments who would like to include multiple team members on a CMMS.
  • Organizations who would like outside vendors, staff, tenants, etc. to access the CMMS.
  • Organizations who plan to grow their facility department next year.
  • Organizations who will be using the software in more than one department.

User-based pricing provides the most value for…

  • Organizations who plan to only have one or two users in their CMMS.
  • Organizations who do not plan on expanding their team in the next year.
  • Organizations who expect to take on more facilities with no change in a number of users in their CMMS.

CMMS evaluation is a tedious task, but one that will bring your organization value in countless ways. Taking the time to compare all the components, from the user interface to functionality to pricing structure, will supply you with the confidence and knowledge that the CMMS you ultimately choose will bring relief to your facility headaches.

Hippo CMMS offers affordable, asset-based solutions for maintenance management. We feel that our structure is more affordable for our customers and allows buy-in from your entire team. As you add more facilities, the price per facility will decrease. If you would like to explore our industry leading software further, you can try it free for 30 days!

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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