When you buy a cheap car, you probably aren't thinking too much about the repair bills you're likely to face down the road. Businesses that offshore their customer support think they are coming out ahead by saving on the visible costs of cheaper support agents; but what is the hidden cost of customer dissatisfaction from talking to someone they can barely understand?
I was looking at one of our competitors the other day and was initially alarmed at what appeared to be very low subscription fees. For a moment I had a horrible thought that we simply wouldn't be able to compete. But then I did the math - they aren't being deliberately deceitful with hidden fees, but it's structured in such a way that you don't realize what you're up against. You may only be paying $50 / year for a team subscription, but each team member has to pay an up front license fee to buy the app from iTunes. If you've got a typical team of 4 people collecting data, and you go through 2 new team members per year, you're looking at an additional $350 up front plus $140 per year. That's a lot of unanticipated cost.
But take a look at the hidden costs that drive you to look for an app-based ABA data collection solution in the first place. How much time will you save? Are you entering data yourself, or paying someone to do it? How much session time is wasted on programming that isn't effective because your BCBA doesn't have real-time access to the data? What is the cost of their time spent chasing down team members to ensure the binders are updated? What is the cost of the time spent filling in the blanks at the beginning of each team meeting?
Most importantly: what is the cost of delayed progress in your child's treatment? That's a cost that can't be recouped.
By making your hidden costs visible, you arm yourself with the ability to make more intelligent choices.