If you are interested in using Thinkific as an online course platform, then understanding how Thinkific pricing works is essential. What you pay – or don’t – directly impacts the features you have access to, and that can have an impact on the success of your course business.
So, let’s take a look at Thinkific pricing with an eye toward how it compares to pricing for major competitors, how the different pricing levels impact features, and finally, whether Thinkific is worth it.
Thinkific Pricing: Is it Worth It?
Thinkific Pricing Snapshot
First things first, here’s the current run down of Thinkific’s paid plans, from basic to premier.
It’s definitely worth paying attention to the monthly vs. annual option in Thinkific’s pricing. First of all, the company – like pretty much all similar companies – displays annual pricing by default. This is the price you pay per month if you pre-pay for a year. If that’s not what you plan to do, it can make the pricing seem quite a bit lower than it actually is.
That said, the flip side it that you do save quite a bit if you are willing to commit for a year. Look at how the savings add up over five years:
As you can see, the savings can add up quite a bit over time. You may want to try out one of the paid plans on a month-to-month basis for a short period, but the sooner you opt into annual payment, the more you will save.
Does Thinkific Have a Free Plan?
It’s a question I often get asked and the answer is definitely “yes.” You can access Thinkific’s “core” features at no charge – and without a credit card – and the company doesn’t charge a transaction fee for course sales even with the free plan. (You will, of course, still pay fees to PayPal or whoever you use to process credit card charges.) The biggest limitation is that you can only create three courses, but that’s plenty for many course creators who are just getting started, and the free plan allows for unlimited students.
How does that compare to the Teachable free plan or the Kajabi free plan – arguably Thinkific’s two biggest competitors?
Teachable Free Trial: Teachable doesn’t make it all that clear, but you get 14 days of their Professional plan for free just by clicking any of the “get started” links on their site and providing an e-mail address (or just go here). No credit card is required for the trial, but after 14-days, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan to keep going. (Full Teachable pricing here.)
Kajabi Free Trial: Kajabi makes it clear that you can get 14-days of its Growth plan for free. In this case, a credit card is required and the paid plan kicks in at $199 a month once the trial is up unless you cancel, opt for the lower priced Basic plan, and/or opt for annual pricing. (Full Kajabi pricing here.)
All in all, you get access to quite a few more features with the Teachable and Kajabi free trials, but they both end relatively quickly. So, they aren’t really plans – it’s not realistic to really get up and running with them. With Thinkific, on the other hand, there are limitations to what you can do, but you can keep going with the free plan as long as you like.
From Free to Basic
While you can get going with a free plan, you probably aren’t going to want to stay there for too long if you are serious about growing your course business. There are quite a few benefits in moving from a free plan to a “Basic” plan – Thinkific’s lowest priced subscription – but here are what I see as the biggest:
- Unlimited Courses – Once you move from free to basic, you are no longer restricted to only three courses.
- Integrations – Mainly with e-mail providers. You are definitely going to want this for effective marketing and communicating with students.
- Coupons/Promotions – Enables you to provide discount codes that are active for the period you specify. A powerful selling tool.
- Custom Domain – Instead of “mybrand.thinkific.com” you can move to the much more desirable “www.brand.com” or “courses.mybrand.com.”
- Scheduled Classes – This enables to start a course on a specific date for a specific group of students and have them work through it as a cohort. A simple, but very powerful option.
Keep in mind that, as with the free plan, you continue to have no transaction fees with Thinkific. By comparison, Teachable’s basic plan is lower priced, but you will pay a 5 percent per transaction. If you are charging any sort of reasonable level for your courses, this will make Teachable more expensive to operate very quickly.
Of course, all is not unicorns and rainbows. There may be things you would expect to have with a basic plan that simply aren’t there. You can’t issue certificates for course completion at this level, for example. (You can’t with Teachable either). You can’t set prerequisites and you don’t get Zoom integration (pretty important these days.)
Still, what you do get at this level of Thinkific pricing is pretty compelling. And, you can always upgrade, which leads to the next section….
From Basic to Pro
In my opinion, moving from Basic to Pro is what gives you the platform you need to be a serious contender in the selling online courses business. Here are some of the most important gains:
- More powerful course features – Most of these have to do with tracking and measurement (e.g., more sophisticated assessment tools), but you also get the ability to install courses from popular authoring tools like Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate.
- Zoom live lessons – A this level, you get the ability to add Zoom meetings and webinars. (You do have to actually have a Zoom account, of course.)
- Advanced selling features – A range of capabilities to help you sell, from payment plans, to bundles and memberships, to non-course add-ons like consulting time
- Advanced CSS/HTML – The capabilities enable you to highly customize the look and feel of your course site and are particularly valuable if Thinkific serves as your main Web site. (I don’t recommend this, but if you are going to do it, do it right.)
- Community – You get access to Thinkific community features at this level. In my view, community is one of the most important areas course creators need to be focused on right now.
- Multiple authors/partners – At this level, you can have multiple course authors and share revenue among those authors.
There are plenty of other features that come with Pro, but I think these are the ones that will matter most to most course creators.
What is the Thinkific Growth Package?
Now, everything above is great, and pretty straightforward, but if you spend some time on the Thinkific site, you’ll notice they have something called the “Growth” package. In my experience with Learning Revolution readers, this package causes some confusion – I think because it is really an add-on to the Pro plan.
Basically, to get Growth features you have to already have the Pro plan. You can then add-on the Growth plan at no cost for your first 100 active users (i.e., users actually enrolled in a courses), and then 10 cents per user/per month beyond that. Pricing caps out at $499 per month – which is the pricing level for Thinkific’s Premier plan.
So, just to give you an idea of how that works out. If you are on the growth plan at $79 per month (paying annually) and you have 1000 active users, you’d pay $79 + (1000-100) x.10 per month, or $169. So, what do you get for that? Here are some of the biggest games for the Growth level of Thinkific pricing:
- Access to Brillium – Brillium is exam platform that goes well beyond what is available natively for assessments in Thinkific (or any of the competitors in its class). So, if assessments are a big part of what you do, this feature alone is worth the extra cost of growth.
- Groups – Thinkific Groups enables you to organize students by cohort and – perhaps most importantly – this enables you to sell to organizational customers (B2B), with pricing, courses, and tracking specific to the customer organization.
- InfusionSoft and Active Campaign integration – If you are already running (or aspire to run) a serious internet business, there’s a good chance you are using one of these platforms.
- Ability to remove Thinkific branding – Thinkific branding isn’t all that obtrusive on the lower plans, but it is nice to be able to make your course site branding all your own.
- Unlimited communities – With Growth, you get the ability to offer not just one, but multiple communities. This can be very valuable if you have fairly large audience with major segments that have different interests. It can also be valuable, in combination with Groups, for selling to organizations.
Basically, if even one of the features above is valuable to your course business, then Thinkific Growth is probably worth it.
Thinkific Premier and Plus
I’m not going to go into these pricing levels in detail because I don’t think they will apply to the vast majority of Learning Revolution readers. If, however, if you represent a large scale education/training company – or one headed that way quickly – these are plans you may want to consider.
Thinkific Premier is designed for maximum scalability for one flat fee – $399, which included an unlimited Growth Package.
Thinkific Plus is a more customized option that is priced according to specific requirements. To get pricing, you have to talk with a Thinkific representative.
Is Thinkific Pricing Worth It?
I think answering this question requires first answering whether you think paying for a course platform is worth it.
I hear from a lot of readers who are very cost conscious and balk at the idea of spending $39 or $99 a month on a platform. As I write here, if all you are doing is selling access to videos, that may be fine – it may not be worth it to pay for a course platform.
But if you are serious about offering educational experiences that are well-designed, impactful, and easy to track and measure, you need a course platform. And, if $99 a month sounds like too much, you need a better strategy for your course business – that amount should represent a fraction of the revenue you generate monthly.
The next question is whether Thinkific pricing compares well to other paid platforms. My view is that when you combine the features Thinkific offers at each pricing level with the strong reputation the company has built for customer support, the answer is yes: Thinkific compares well and, in fact, beats most of the competitors in its class.
The main reason to consider an alternative, in my opinion, is if you are looking for more of an “all-in-one” online business platform and courses are more of a secondary consideration – i.e., you want to offer them, but they can pretty simple and they represent only part of your overall business. In that case, you should look seriously at Kajabi or Kartra.
Otherwise, Thinkific remains my top all around choice for online course platforms that work well for solo eduprenreurs and small businesses. So, take it for a spin using the free plan, and then figure out which level of Thinkific pricing works best for our goals.