Difference Between Subscription and SaaS

by Anna K. on Nov 3, 2022

Subscription and SaaS, two cutting-edge software trends, are developing side by side today, so the difference between them may seem illusive. While users may stay in the dark,   developers and testers know recognize and value those disparities. What is the difference between subscription and SaaS? In this article, we will offer you several takes on the matter.

What is the Subscription Business Model?

Before the detailed discussion starts, we need to give a subscription business model definition. It is a model where people regularly pay fees to use the software. Users can make such contributions once a week, a month, or even once a year. Both subscribe and unsubscribe options are available in a few clicks.

The subscription business model allows companies to generate stable income. This approach is likely convenient for both the company itself and its users. Such a business model helps to create a successful brand that will actively develop, as the subscription concept is close, dear and clear to users worldwide.

How a Subscription Model Works

To understand how subscription services work, imagine subscribing for a morning paper by mail. So, users can find out in advance what services your company provides and how much they need to pay for the use per month. After people order this service, they must regularly pay a predetermined fee, but at the same time, they consistently receive the necessary assistance.

It has existed for many centuries, so understanding the subscription business model should not be a brain cracker.

Benefits of the Subscription Model

Here are the most crucial advantages of the subscription model you should consider when making your choice:

  • Convenient for customers. People often forget to pay for services or do not want to spend time on them, so, conveniently, the system can write off money automatically.
  • Discover new products. It allows you to buy goods or services that were not available before.
  • Accurately predict revenue. Users contribute regularly, it will be easier for you to calculate the estimated income.
  • Attract more customers. A regular subscription allows you to get a good discount, which attracts many users.
  • Decrease customer acquisition costs. People are interested in using your services, so you do not need to spend time and money attracting them.
  • Businesses build stronger relationships with their customers. If users have bought a subscription, they will use your services for longer compared to if they have had to make a decision every month.

As you can see, both business owners and users can appreciate the benefits of such a business model. So, if you want to establish subscription businesses, you can enjoy all the advantages of such a solution. This will allow you to invest money in a company that is developing steadily.

What kinds of businesses use a subscription business model?

Practice shows that this business model is used in a variety of industries.

Access to content: video, music, books, membership sites

Users are happy to buy a subscription if they want quality content. It usually allows you to watch videos, listen to music, or read books for much less than buying them individually.

Access to services: SaaS, utilities, insurance, leasing

Today, almost everyone has mandatory payments; for example, we all have to pay utility bills or insurance. There are two payment options: spend a significant amount once a year, or pay a little each month. Often, users only have the opportunity to immediately pay for part of the service for the year, so a subscription suits them.

Access to products: personal care, food, pet care

The life of a modern person is built in such a way that they do not have the time and desire to re-order food or care for animals every day. If you subscribe, you can continuously receive services and not worry about paying.

What is the SaaS Business Model?

Understanding SaaS business model is only possible by deciphering this abbreviation – Software-As-A-Service. It means that software creators host their products in the cloud infrastructure and provide access to it for a fee. So, customers can download the application and access the software via the Internet. You need to register and get access to all the functionality.

How does the SaaS business model work?

The main reason why we distinguish SaaS from other pricing models is that it has several significant differences.

Recurring payments

Users regularly pay to use your software, making it easier to predict future earnings. Payment can be weekly, monthly, or yearly. Users can demand money back anytime if they prefer something else to the services.

Heightened customer retention

After your users buy a subscription, you will be confident that they will continue cooperating with you (at least until the subscription ends). Practice shows that regular customers spend much more than new ones.

Consistent updates

The SaaS business model is explained by the fact that you can constantly improve your product. If you’re selling software, it’s much more challenging to make changes, offer new features, and stay competitive.

The Pros of the SaaS Model

Now we want to discuss the benefits of the SaaS business model. Among the most important are the following:

  • Loyalty to your product;
  • Increase in the number of clients;
  • Ability to make changes to the software to improve the quality of service;
  • Regular income.

Many users cannot immediately buy expensive software, so the option to subscribe will be an excellent solution.

The Cons of the SaaS Model

To better understand what the difference between subscription and SaaS is, it is worth discussing the disadvantages of the second business model.

The cost of developing any software is usually high; at the same time, your project will only be able to get a stable income and fully pay off in a few years if you choose the SaaS business model. You will most likely have to reinvest all the profits in promoting your project and improving it.

In addition, you need to maintain a permanent staff who will monitor the operation of your software and eliminate possible failures. Since your product is entirely in the cloud, you need to spend more time on security issues and constantly increase storage.

Ensuring the performance of such software is a challenging task that requires specific knowledge, skills, and immense patience from the owner and team members.



Hire a team

Let us assemble a dream team of specialists just for you. Our model allows you to maximize the efficiency of your team.

Request Specialists

We Help With

Your tech partner needs to be well versed in all kinds of software-related services. As the software development process involves different stages and cycles, the most natural solution is to have them all performed by the same team of experts. That’s exactly what our diverse range of services is for.

The choice of technology for your software project is one of the defining factors of its success. Here at QArea, we have hands-on experience with dozens of popular front-end, back-end, and mobile technologies for creating robust software solutions.

In-depth familiarity and practical experience with key technologies are one of the cornerstones of successful software development and QA. But it also takes specific knowledge of the industry to develop a solution that meets the expectations of the stakeholders and propels its owner to success.

Web App Development

Web App Development

Reach out to an even wider audience with a custom, widely accessible web app.

Corporate Website Development

Corporate Website Development

Ensure an effective online presence for your business with a corporate site.

MVP Development

MVP Development

Take the first step on the way to a successful business with an MVP.

SaaS Development

SaaS Development

Meet your business goals with a powerful, custom SaaS solution.

Testing & QA

Testing & QA

Make sure the quality of your solution meets your expectations.

UI/UX Design

UI/UX Design

Beat the competition with a modern, breathtaking & user-friendly design.



Create stunning, highly functional, and easily scalable front-end solutions.



Build flexible, good-looking front-end solutions for any scale and purpose.



Construct a powerful, stable, and secure back-end solution for your business.



Take advantage of the .NET flexibility and scalability for your back-end solution.

React Native

React Native

Turn your mobile app idea into reality with a custom React Native solution.



Build a highly personalizable blog, eCommerce shop, or corporate website.

HR & Recruiting

HR & Recruiting

Optimize your HR processes with a functional and powerful solution.



Pave the way to future success with our startup development expertise.



Build a healthcare product designed for dependability and rapid growth.



Give your buyers what they want — a seamless shopping experience.

Finance & Banking

Finance & Banking

Create a product with rich functionality and impeccable security.