How much does EHS software cost?
We get asked that all the time.
The problem with that question is it's a bit like asking, "How much does a plane ticket cost?"
The answer, of course, depends on a number of things. Where do you want to go? When do you want to get there? Do you want to fly coach, or upgrade to first class?
Likewise, the cost of EHS software can vary widely depending on what you want it to do and which features you choose.
First, a few stats that might interest you:
- Over half of current and past buyers said the EHS department will provide the budget for EHS software, from the initial purchase, to implementation and ongoing licensing fees
- Buyers in the market for a new system are budgeting between $58,000 and $2,000,000 for their initial software purchase, with an average budget of $310,750
- The actual amount spent for comprehensive EHS software systems ranged from $70,000 to $10,000,000, while the amount spent for an issue-specific system ranged from $6,125 to $250,000
(Souce: NAEM EHS&S Software Buyer's Guide)
From these numbers, it's easy to see that both the budget and cost of EHS software varies widely. Fortunately, there are a few key considerations that can help you hone in on what you should expect to pay for the type of system you're looking for.
Custom vs. off-the-shelf
One of the first decisions you'll have to make when it comes to EHS software is whether you want a custom or commercially available solution. We've created an entire guide dedicated to helping you decide, but here's what you need to know in terms of pricing:
Custom software is almost always be more expensive than off-the-shelf. In addition to development, you'll need to factor in the cost of adding new features, fixing bugs, and keeping the system up to date. Those costs can add up quickly.
Off-the-shelf software, on the other hand, is typically more cost effective in the long run. In most cases, you'll pay a one-time onboarding fee plus an annual subscription fee that covers use of the software maintenance, upgrades, and support.
Price vs. quality
While it's true that custom software is very expensive and that some commercial software comes with a six-figure-plus price tag, there are also affordable off-the-shelf options starting at under $10K.
Don't be fooled by the myth that more expensive = better. You'll find plenty of vendors overcharging for fancy features you don't need.
In the end, it's up to you to determine which vendor can solve your problem the easiest and at the lowest price — not which one has the slickest demo with hundreds of features your team won't actually use.
Return on investment
No matter the price tag, one of the most important considerations is the value — or return on investment (ROI) — that software delivers for your business.
Buying cheap software can be an expensive mistake if it doesn't get you the results you need. Similarly, a more expensive software is a steal if it saves you 3-5X what you spent.
Bottom line: Know how much value EHS software can add to your business and how much you're willing to pay for it. Experienced vendors should be able to share an estimate of your anticipated ROI and payback, based on their clients’ experience.
True cost of ownership
Much like buying a car, there's more to the cost of EHS software than the initial purchase price.
Sadly, some vendors try to obscure the true cost of ownership by making costs for implementation, configuration, maintenance, deployments, upgrades, adding additional users, and other changes vague or unpredictable.
These hidden costs can add up quickly. In fact, NAEM found that the average past purchaser had budgeted to spend only half ($121,357) of what the actual implementation cost came out to be.
Don't let this happen to you! Instead of asking, "How much does this software cost?" a better question would be, "What is the 3-year cost of ownership for this software?". That number will be a much better reflection of what you can actually expect to spend.
When should you discuss pricing with a vendor?
There's no point wasting your time evaluating software that you can't afford. That's why we recommend that customers have the pricing discussion early. This can be done in a 30 minute phone call right after the initial overview demo. Be open and up front about your budget, and look for a vendor who does the same.
The bottom line
There is an EHS software for every company and budget. To learn more, check out this article on how to estimate the return on investment for EHS software.
At Perillon, we offer options starting at under $10K. You can start small and add modules as you go. We're happy to help you find a solution that fits your needs and your budget. Visit our pricing page to see our simple, affordable pricing options or book a demo today.