Much to the annoyance of those of us who have to try and compare (fairly) the costs of new ticketing system proposals, it’s really hard, as no-one seems to do it the same way. Now this causes some really interesting, yet frustrating situations.

Often the way a system charges, when married to how a venue charges, or its average ticket price or IT infrastructures can lead to making one system appear more “attractive”, despite lacking in key areas, likewise the ideal choice in terms of functionality can appear to be overpriced.

Now, for those who are interested I have compiled a small pros and cons chart below

Method Basis Key Advantages Key Disadvantages
Per Ticket clip For each Ticket you sell the vendor charges you a percentage of the value or a fixed cost You only pay for what you sell, allows you to manage cash flow and ties your vendor to helping you sell more Costs can raise dramatically. If you have a low face value that 25pence per ticket can eat into your percentage of earnings
Straight Percentage Each Line Item sold has a percentage deducted by the vendor Like per ticket, you pay for what you use and vendor has interest in helping you grow and keeping your system up-to-date and running! Not great for higher value ticket sellers, a £100 ticket could attract a £1.90 commission, but £10 on 19p. Has the vendor ‘done’ anymore in the former? Beware on splits, that your vendor costs come from YOUR side of the split
Active Seats A flat fee is charged, up front for every active screen you want on the system Allows you to sell thousands and thousands of pounds of tickets at a flat cost (may not be low) Great if you are an online heavy retailer with smaller call centre / counter operations Stifles your call centre / counter during peak periods as you are limited to only x people logged in. Often a high licence cost means high annual too. Some say vendors who operate this model have little interest in service after initial sign up
Lifetime Licence You own your copy of the software free to have as many use it and sell as much as you want Obviously, in theory you could never pay anything again and your business can grow without further or inflated costs. How much / how often can you / will you be upgraded? How soon before what was cutting edge is out of date? Does the vendor want to help / see you grow?
Volume Bands You pay a fee to use the system each year to sell up to £x,000 of products or x,000 tickets A great method for you to budget and have room to grow, you know what you are going to pay. Shorter term contract means if they don’t deliver you can scarper. Can work out expensive in the longer run, and higher volumes may not be at a discounted rate, so your bill will rise in line with income. Are they incentivised to help you grow, really?
Free Systems The Vendor does not charge you, but adds a fee on to online sales transactions, typically 10% As they often say – it’s free to you, it costs you nothing, so you can sell without fear of ever having to pay a penny Fees discourage purchasers, fact. 10% per ticket or per order is excessive for a venue to charge, and will add 10% to your patrons costs of attending, they may choose to go to a competitor if the product is in multiple places. Often vendors who have this model place more effort to online rather than back office sales and administration


Of course, as many systems love to point out, the base price for a system purchase or provision of a system is not the only matter to consider.

You also need to weigh up the following and whether the base model includes.

Installation Services – a number of systems charge for implementation of a system, that is configuration, training and data transfer. Some charge up to £900 per day for this, so a 38 day implementation could cost £34,200. Many systems have reasonable costs and numbers of days needed, meaning implementation costs can be well under £10,000

Web Integration – vendors will often talk of the ‘ease’ of integrating with your website. When working out the costs of these models, work out, with your web team the work needed to achieve what you want to achieve and include this in comparisons

Upgrades – a current favourite of some systems is to labour the point on free and continuous updates. Ignore this at your peril. Some upgrade paths with some systems are far apart and costly. The costs of upgrades need to be added to the financial comparison, check these numbers with an existing client, as once you are on board, you won’t have any option to get them somewhere else.


There is no ‘fair’ way to charge for and pay for a system , depending on your own ticket volumes, prices and sales channels some will appear more attractive than others, but it is not always a simple comparison. Do also remember that often a change of system can save / earn you money, as you can free yourself from commissions or upgrade costs while ending up with a more modern and fit for purpose system.

If you want some help or advice weighing up your options, please do get in touch


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