Total Attorneys advertised practice management in the cloud for $1/month per user. I recently came across Josh Campman’s review (Choosing Practice Management Software Part 1.5 of 2) and checked out their website (TotalAttorneys.com). I have not had a chance to review the offering, but plan to in the future. For now though, I wish to note that price-points are not what they seem.
For many cloud-based practice management systems, there is a fixed fee that covers everything. This is true for RocketMatter, Clio, and Houdini ESQ. For AdvologixPM, there is a base fee that cover quite a lot of features, but there are add-on’s for a few extra dollars a month per user. TotalAttorneys is different.
In the case of TotalAttorneys, Ed Scanlan, replied to Mr. Campman’s review:
Please do not be suspicious of our price point. We have a different model and go-to-market strategy. Our business model does not require that we charge $50 per user per month. We believe that all attorneys and their clients should have access to fantastic tools whether the attorney services low-bono clients or charges several hundred dollars per hour. We make money when attorneys choose to add additional integrated services onto their platform through ‘Total Apps.’ For example, attorneys can add payment processing for $35 per month. When the app is activated, attorneys can set up one-time and recurring payment processing through e-checks or credit cards. They can also allow their clients to pay via their client portal. We have many attorneys that just pay $1 per month to use the software. But there are even more that have activated one of our apps.
The $1 fee is just the beginning. Much as PayPal is “free” but charges you for the money that is transacted through their service, TotalAttorneys includes transaction fees. These include fees for referrals. There are transaction fees for payments received through Total Attorneys credit card payment services. At one time there were fees for document preparation fees for using their automated templates. There are fees for web design services. And even if TotalAttorney does not collect the ancillary fee for partner services, there is likely is some revenue sharing with that partner.
Not that any of these fees are unreasonable; many of them are valuable services and cost effectively delivered. It’s just that you should inquire about all the ancillary fees and then decide whether the service as a whole is cost effective for your needs. Like TotalAttorneys, my company sells a service — a set of automated Probate Forms — for “free”. Software, installation, and support are free. The catch is you pay per open file. The more files you open, the more payments we receive. If you never use the sofware, it costs you nothing. If you use it a lot, then you have gotten the business and the money from your clients, and our per file transaction fee is just a disbursement on the file.
I applaud TotalAttorney’s pricing model; it is flexible and based on usage. In fact, the $1 fee is less of a “charge” and more of a way of getting your credit card authorization on file for the added TotalAttorney apps. Way to go.