A training management system (TMS) is the control centre for training providers, designed to handle the day-to-day running of the business at every level. As a result, this is a significant investment and it’s important to know that you’re getting good value in return for your software fees.

Unfortunately, TMS pricing is complex and it’s often difficult to compare different software options that have different pricing systems, contractual obligations and, sometimes, hidden fees. In this article, we explain the ins and outs of TMS pricing so you can get a more accurate idea of how much each system is going to cost – both in terms of upfront fees and ongoing expenses.

Costs to consider when signing up for a training management system

The first thing to understand about TMS pricing is the different ways provides monetise their software products. Aside from the monthly fee stated at the top of your plan, there are several other expenses you have to consider when signing up for a training management platform.

  • Monthly fees: This is the equivalent monthly fee of your current plan although you often have to pay for 12 months upfront.
  • Onboarding/setup fee: A fee charged for setting up your TMS ready to use.
  • User fees: Many platforms charge on a per-user basis, which multiplies your monthly fees based on the size of your team.
  • Registration fees: Some providers charge a fee for every course registration or set registration limits on their plans.
  • Customisation fees: A one-time fee for customising your TMS to suit the needs of your business.
  • Website integration: A one-time fee for integrating your TMS with your website for key features, such as online bookings.
  • Upgrade fees: The price increases as you upgrade from one plan to the next.
  • Cancellation fees: Most providers charge a fee if you cancel your contract before the end of the current term.

Training management systems are relatively large software solutions, which means the setup and customisation processes can involve a bit of work. It’s fair enough that providers charge fees to cover this work but some providers charge big sums for setup and customisation – so pay attention to these.

Weigh up all of the costs when comparing TMS options

Make sure you understand all of the costs you’re signing up for before you buy into a contract with any training management software provider. Given the complexity of TMS pricing, it’s easy for providers to set low monthly fees on their plans and make up the difference through other costs.

Aside from the costs listed in the previous section, many providers also charge separately for add-ons, extra features or services that you might need to get the most out of your training management system.

Draw up a list of all of the expenses when comparing TMS providers and keep an eye out for hidden fees. For example, some providers charge a fee for every course registration logged on your system so you have to consider how many registrations you expect to secure on a monthly basis and how much this number of expected to increase as your business grows.

How much are you paying upfront?

If you’re signing up for a 12-month contract, you’ll normally have to pay the full year’s worth of monthly payments upfront, including any onboarding, customisation and other fees required to get your TMS fully implemented.

This means you’re often looking at an upfront bill of thousands – or tens of thousands – before you even sell a course booking through your new training management system.

Training management systems are a business investment and the rule of thumb in software investment is that a system should add 10x more value to your business than you’re paying in software fees. However, a significant upfront fee can reduce the balance of cost vs value in the first year and price smaller training providers out of certain tools.

Make sure you’re aware of all of the upfront fees before you trial software options because you don’t want to waste time with product demos that price you out with heavy setup fees.

What’s your upgrade path?

The primary purpose of a training management system is to help you grow your training business, which means your TMS needs to grow with you at each stage of business development. You want a TMS that offers an affordable starting plan but also provides an upgrade path that remains affordable as your business grows.

A common issue with software-as-a-service (SaaS) products like training management systems is they’ll offer affordable entry plans to get you signed up but, then, sting you with price hikes when it comes to upgrading. This forces you to fork out thousands of pounds in additional software fees or leave your business bottlenecked with restricted software.

By this point, it’s difficult to change TMS providers so you’re essentially locked into a platform and forced to upgrade, whatever the cost.

To avoid this problem, assess the upgrade path of training management systems and see how this aligns with your business plans. Does the TMS provider remain affordable at each upgrade point and are you going to face steep fee increases when you reach a certain stage of growth.

Dante is priced differently

Having been in the training industry for 30+ years, we’ve listened to the concerns of training providers over TMS pricing. Instead of running several plans with complex pricing models, we’ve stripped our offering down to two simple plans: one for smaller training providers and another one for larger businesses looking to drive further growth.

Plans are priced on the number of user accounts and you can use our interactive pricing page to see exactly how much you’ll be paying. We don’t charge anything for course registrations and there are no hidden fees.

Our setup fees are also significantly lower than the competition, as we only charge for the time it takes to get your TMS up and running. We don’t use setup fees to offset any other expenses and we can get you started with our TMS for as little as £1,100 in setup fees.

Another concern we hear from many training providers is the obligation of contracts, which locks businesses into software expenses and the risk of cancellation fees.

Dante operates on a monthly rolling contract, which means you can cancel at any time without the fear of being locked into our platform or forced to pay any cancellation fees.

Is Dante the perfect training management software for your business?

Contact Dante Systems to find out more about our training management system and discover how we can help you drive more revenue and business growth by increasing the productivity of your workflow. Request your free trial with no obligation or credit card details required. Telephone: 0117 405 8158. Email: enquiries@dante.co.uk.