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Have you ever developed and maintained a product white label for a customer?

My concerns:

• you end up having to maintain 2 different products — the public one, and the white-label one (because when they ask you for new features, you can’t include them in the public one, since they pay for them)

• if you don’t negotiate initially the right contract / pricing you can lose time and money in the long term (and I don’t have experience in this topic)

• they started asking for a custom integration to a specific cloud system for data privacy (which means a lot of development (paid) upfront which means I can’t focus on the public version)

Other concerns? Your experience?

author Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter)

13 Answers

i worked for a company for many years whos product was whitelabelled

one thing I learned is whitelabel customers very often both need and want professional services

you can have a roadmap that represents the meta needs of your customers, but if people want stuff sooner than that, you need to charge them for the changes they want

writen by Matt Gale

> if you don’t negotiate initially the right contract / pricing you can lose time and money in the long term (and I don’t have experience in this topic) it feels like any business is going to be this way- you have to figure out what the right pricing is and make the mistakes so you can negotiate better in the future

Maybe try to set flexible renegotiation terms to cover yourself if this situation arises?

In the absolute worst case, if it turns out they arent paying you nearly enough you can always ask for more, and if they dont budge, fire them. That wouldnt feel good obviously, but if the business wont work because your customers dont pay you enough, youd end up shutting the business down anyway

> you end up having to maintain 2 different products… & > they started asking for a custom integration to a specific cloud system… even with that whitelabelled product, features you build go into the core product to be used by everyone- it improves the product (or at least changes it), so they become available to everyone

if something is truly bespoke and only useful for one customer (like an integration with something proprietary for them), you can charge them even more since it doesnt improve the product for everyone, and so, hurting your growth. You could say no to that request- or hire a dev to handle the integration for you and you can profit off of the arbitrage while you focus on building the business?

writen by Matt Gale

Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter) you can negotiate in the contact the level of commitment your open to, (e.g, one feature per month, one hour long meeting per month) anything exceeding the terms of the contract will need to be negotiated. This prevents you from being trapped. Hope this helps

writen by Keoni Murray

Also, maintain the product dose not need to take much time, just make sure you have a clear project scope, choose a stable tech stack, and make sure keep the product scope clear in the contract Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter)

writen by Keoni Murray

Focus on your ICP: • If they’re your ICP the features they want should be part of your plans/pricing for all • If they’re not your ICP it’s at ‘no’ (for all the reasons you’ve mentioned plus more) • If you don’t know your ICP and you’re figuring it out as you go then say yes to all of it but make it part of your standard offering to all… This might be prove to be your ICP/niche, or very lucrative (eg. it’s fine to introduce an enterprise plan now and charge them $499 or $999 a month or something like that - also one thing I love for these early customers is giving them 50% lifetime discount so just double your price then apply their discount, makes the income from your second customer so much better. And you’ve got freedom with future enterprise customers to discount too)

writen by Owen

thanks for all the suggestions! 🙌

writen by Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter)

I thought about it, and I think that this way of making business doesn’t match my vision and goals, both in the short and long term, which are: • complete freedom to define the roadmap and priority of the product • flexibility in finding the PMF and experimenting with different market segments • prefer flexible customers that use the SaaS as it is, rather than highly customized solutions re-usable by a few customers, even if they would pay more • facilitated exit, without the burden of white labelled solutions to maintain

writen by Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter)

it’s funny you say that because when we first started podsqueeze we had a few people asking for a white label solution. But we haven’t gotten any similar requests recently. I assume that people were not 100% happy with our product and wanted a white label version to improve upon. Since now the product is more complete, it works better

writen by Tiago Ferreira

I don’t think that’s the reason in this case. This person has a network of professionals (lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, and so on) and wanted to provide the AI Chatbot service (auto convert website visitors to leads + second brain) to them + plus additional services like content creation, that he already provides (he has an audio/video recording studio too).

I soon realized that those customers are not my ideal target, they need and want personalized services, they are scared about regulations and other stuff. It’s a great target for him, not for me.

writen by Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter)

Can you create a product for them? Something flexible enough that they can adapt as a SaaS?

writen by Tiago Ferreira

I don’t think so.

writen by Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter)

it’s too tailored for their customers, and they are not ideal for me.

writen by Luca Restagno (ikoichi on Twitter)

Tiago Ferreira I agree with your first comment, that’s been my experience too.

writen by Owen

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