Want to make money with as a ERPNext Service Provider (ESP)?

Hi All,

In the last foundation call, I offered to write an article on how to make money as an ERPNext Service Provider (ESP). Now, after the Preface, Strategy etc, looks like it is turning into a book!!!

So before I go ahead, I wanted to ask you all to throw some questions at me on what you want to see in the book/article, whatever it turns out to be?

Ask away on business models, SaaS, markets, segments, cost efficiencies, differentiation…whatever comes to your mind.



Great, are you a service provider yourself ?

Which tools for server are you running to provide erpnext instance ?
How do you manage high availability and backup ?

Bench setup single tenant per client or multi tenant ?
How many customers per instance ?
Limit of user per instance ?

Thanks for your work


Thanks for your questions Jodeq. I am a server provider myself.

The above are technical questions related to your “cost” of being a service provider not revenue :slight_smile:
My post is about revenue not cost :wink:

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So how to sell erpnext instance ?
Could we sell a specific price for multi tenant and more expensive for single tenant ?
As service provider could we propose on premise instance for big company ?
How many people for support should be hired ?
Do we provide configuration assistance ?
And how to fond thé right price for erpnext ?

Thanks for your thread :blush:


Great questions! Keep them coming!

Answers in the book! I hope to cover more than that hopefully. Also there are tons of business opportunity as a service provider. But every one seems to want to be another SaaS provider while there are so many other ways to cut this seemingly large market succeed.

Can you hint at these opportunities?

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Yes of course! The most easiest one is 24x7 baby sitting of servers on public cloud. The most difficult one is frictionless “develop -》test -》 production” environment for developers (something that can avoid “was working on my pc/ laptop” syndrome).


Could we sell a specific price for multi tenant and more expensive for single tenant?
Managing tenants Or single tenant, is usually the problem of service provider.
If you are providing an apartment building to your customer and he/she can go further down and have multiple rentals (tenants). Then of course, you should charge more for multi-tenant architecture. Otherwise there is no sense in differentiating with the price.

As service provider could we propose on premise instance for big company ?
Why not? But of course you loose the benefit of being on AWS / GCP or any other cloud provider. And not to mention the heavy investment needed upfront in hardware. Bigger the company, bigger the investment and bigger the risk. So on premise as potentially more down sides than up sides. In general. Although, I have to say, I can trust ERPNext on premise or off. But that is me :slight_smile:

How many people for support should be hired ?
Golden question. Depends on how much revenue you are making and what is the risk of loosing if there is not sufficient support. I classify support into 2 categories. (A) Tech (B) Functional.
Your tech support shouldn’t be customer facing. Only the functional support should be customer facing. If there is a technical issue, you need to take care of it proactively.

Do we provide configuration assistance ?
If they pay you for it. Else why would you? A lot of SaaS business is all about self help. That is why it is so cheap. You can support, but the responsibility to do it is with the customer. Unless of course they PAY for it. Your time is valuable.

And how to fond thé right price for erpnext ?
There is no easy answer. Frappe went through 3 price revisions this year (probably in the last 60 days alone). Pricing should be depending on your market, level of service, affordability, differentiation. Else if your service is copy paste, then your price should be copy paste. Undercutting your fellows providers might not be so good for the overall market.


Ok, This is a great question.

I think people here are alway looking at what is going on (Lets say, someone in the market is selling very nice pineapples) and you want to do the same and say to yourself “I want to sell pineapple as well, why not? this seems like an obviously good business”. And that is behind this question → how to sell ERPNext instance? Like others are doing it.

My answer is embedded in this metaphor: Don’t be another pineapple vendor. Instead, how about, clean up the fruit, peal it, add salt and spices and sell it as a ready to eat? Or, get a blender, add some water and make a juice? Or get some flour, butter and make a pineapple pie?

The point is differentiate your offer. Just sitting next to another vendor and advertising “pineapple, pineapple…” is not going to get a lot of business.


You’re right and it’s all my point.

I’m not only selling erpnext instance but also service to set your erpnext instance more useful with specific addons and learning path.

How will you provide your book ?

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1. How do you deal with the customisation problem?

Sooner or later a client will want you to customise their instance. Its usually a time consuming process and may lengthen the implementation time thereby affecting your ability to make sales. Not to mention the learning curve of customising ERPNext. Do you increase the cost and risk a scope creep or tactfully refuse to customise?

2. Most open platforms allow community paid apps, why isnt this a trend on this community?

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How will you provide your book ?
I am planning to write upto 10 chapters and make it a solid ebook/pdf. I think it is in the interest of ERPNext community, so hopefully will give it here for free :wink: I have only written 4 chapters and still incomplete.

So keep asking, so i can find how to respond with some theory, frameworks, economic models and how to apply in practice.


Most open platforms allow community paid apps, why isnt this a trend on this community?

ERPNext.com is a paid app. But ERPNext.org gives you the code for free. Also it is open source under GPL. There are other paid apps without which your Ecommerce doesn’t work : stripe, paypal, xyz…the underlying code is execution free, BUT the services (to pay or to receive payments) are not free. I don’t think anyone will really be against you just because you offer paid apps, AS LONG AS you are open sourcing the application.

Here is a nice stock market app built by this company uses Frappe and some elements of ERPNext.

Great Great Question and thank you for that.

I think most ESPs (ERPNext Service Providers) are acting like a one man band.

Don’t be this guy. ☟

Nothing wrong with that. Except you are not scaleable! :slight_smile: Part of building a business and having a business strategy is learning WHAT NOT TO DO. For example : I actively look for talented people and pay them to do stuff. I am not going to try and figure that out everything. Then also, I try and partner with tech/developers who can program and develop killer apps. :slight_smile:

I learn about technology to be able to speak to my potential customer without bull-shitting. But I dont have to know to code. Richard Branson doesnt know how to fly his Virgin Atlantic airline . But he has an airline business. Elon Musk is not an astronaut.

Building a capable team around you is a multiyear process. Most people try to do everything themselves. Because most of them are good at tech and think then can sell and do all at the same time. The approach could work, but has limited growth potential.

Look at another example of Frappe. The CEO is on the road meeting people he could potentiall help. He is not sitting and writing code all day. Or for that matter any CEO. They are on the road, meeting people, talking to potential customers, being in the news. A CEO is an asset that generates revenue. That is how you need to think of yourself.

My advice : Go out and sell. Focus on revenue and organize your delivery. So dont refuse customization. :smile: Just find someone to do it for you. And you guide him. That is leadership :wink:

Photo credit


That is a good idea, but make sure can benefit to all. And hope we can extend the ERPNext Together.

Ah - how I wish I could sit and write code all day… or take afternoon naps :wink:

(sorry could not resist jumping in) I think how much you make money is also about positioning. This is where we take a hit. Usually open source is confused with free, so the early community we attract are the tinkerers or people who want “free as in beer” stuff. Its very hard to monetise this crowd. But they are also our evangelists and well wishers.

Once we mature as a product into the “mainstream”, only then we will make money as an ecosystem. Maybe its time we start acting like a mainstream product. For those who want it free, it will always be!


Positioning is in a another chapter, will have a section of its own! :wink: thanks for reminding me to address that.

Hello any update, we are waiting for the book.

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customers are scared when they heard open source why they get scared? How to convince them and make them confortable with theire choice of open source system?


Was this book ever written?