Off-the-shelf software (Saas) vs custom software development: Which is best for your service-based business?

In this article, we’ll compare off-the-shelf software (SaaS) vs. custom software to help you decide which is best for your gym, yoga studio, or fitness center.  
Source: Pexels   Whether you’re a gym, yoga studio, or personal trainer, you need software to manage your business. But how do you decide to choose between off-the-shelf software (SaaS) or custom software development? In this article, we’ll compare SaaS vs. custom software to help you decide which is best for your fitness business.

Introduction to Software for Fitness Businesses

If you’re in the fitness business, you need fitness software to manage your operations. You need to be able to manage bookings or appointments, accept payments, track memberships, and more. To do this, you have two main options: off-the-shelf software (SaaS) or custom software development. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each, compare costs, and look at examples of successful implementations. By the end of this article, you’ll know which choice is best for your business.

Understanding SaaS (Off-the-Shelf Software)

SaaS stands for “Software as a Service.” It’s a type of software that is hosted in the cloud and can be easily accessed from any device. It’s a popular choice for businesses as it requires minimal setup and maintenance. SaaS applications are usually priced on a subscription basis. You typically pay a monthly fee for access to the software and its features. The subscription fee will usually include updates, maintenance, and technical support.

Understanding Custom Software Development

Custom software development is the process of creating software tailored to your business’s specific needs. The software is built from the ground up and is unique to your business. The development process begins with a consultation to determine your requirements. Then, a team of developers will create the software using programming languages and frameworks. The final product is tested and launched, and you’ll retain the licence to use the software.

Pros and Cons of SaaS

There are many advantages to using SaaS for your fitness business. The main benefit is that it’s quick and easy to set up. You don’t need to hire developers or manage a server; you simply sign up for an account and start using the software. SaaS also requires minimal maintenance. Updates are handled automatically, and you don’t need to worry about security or server management. And since it’s cloud-based, you can access your software from any device. However, there are some drawbacks to SaaS. The biggest disadvantage is that you don’t have control over the software. You can’t customise it to fit your specific needs, so you’re limited to the features offered by the provider. Additionally, you’re locked into a monthly subscription fee, so if you don’t use the software often, it may be a waste of money.

Pros and Cons of Custom Software Development

Custom software development offers many benefits, particularly when it comes to customization. With custom software, you can create a solution that fits your exact needs. You can add any features you want, and you have complete control over the software. Another advantage of custom software is that you only pay for the features you need. You don’t have to pay for features you don’t use, so you can save money in the long run. However, custom software development is more expensive and time-consuming than SaaS. You’ll need to hire a team of developers, and the development process can take several months. Additionally, you’ll need to manage hosting and security yourself, which can be time-consuming.

What to Consider When Choosing Between SaaS and Custom Software?

When deciding between SaaS and custom software development, there are several factors to consider. First, think about your budget. SaaS is usually cheaper than custom software development, so it may be the right choice if you’re on a tight budget. Next, consider your timeline. If you need a solution quickly, SaaS is a good option. Custom software development can take several months, so it may not be the best choice if you’re in a rush. Finally, think about your needs. If you need a highly customised solution, custom software development may be the best choice. However, if you just need basic features, SaaS may be all you need.

Examples of Successful SaaS and Custom Software Solutions for Fitness Businesses

There are numerous high-quality options available for selecting a SaaS solution that is specifically designed for the needs of a fitness business. Here is a list of options that we have compiled:

1. Rezeve

Rezeve is a comprehensive booking management software designed specifically to help service businesses streamline their operations and improve the booking experience for their customers.

It offers a wide range of tools and features, including a custom website builder, booking management, staff management, membership management, and marketing, making it a valuable resource for businesses of any industry looking to manage and grow their operations. The booking management feature of Rezeve is particularly useful for businesses looking to streamline their booking process and provide a seamless experience for their customers. It allows customers to easily book and schedule appointments at their convenience, and provides a range of payment options including credit cards, cash, and local payment methods.

In addition to its core features, Rezeve also offers a range of tools to help businesses manage their operations more efficiently. This includes staff management features such as the ability to set up unique work schedules and track performance, as well as membership management tools that allow businesses to track customer information and make informed decisions about how to grow their customer base.

The most stand out benefits of using Rezeve over custom software development is its affordability. It allows businesses to use a professional booking system and customise their website without the need to hire a developer, which can be especially useful for businesses on a tight budget.

This explains why, despite only being fully launched in 2022, Rezeve has already gained numerous clients from around the world, including Lab Studios in Singapore, Club Aloha in Malaysia, and Vibe Yoga in Indonesia.

One of the additional benefits of using Rezeve is their commitment to providing unlimited support to their clients. This means that businesses can get the help whenever they need it, whether it is during the setup process or after they are fully operational.

This is especially important for businesses that may not have a lot of experience with booking management software, or for those who may be using it for the first time. The unlimited support policy offered by Rezeve ensures that businesses can get the help they need to get up and running quickly, and to make the most of the software's many features.

Overall, Rezeve fitness software is a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for businesses looking to streamline their booking process and manage their operations more efficiently. Its user-friendly interface and wide range of features make it a valuable resource for businesses of any size, and their affordable pricing plans makes it a great choice for businesses on a budget.

If you are a service business looking to improve your booking process and grow your operations, Rezeve is definitely worth considering. Book a demo now and enjoy 1-month free trial!

Headquarters: Midview City, Singapore

Founded: 2022

Employees: 10 - 50

Highlights: 
  • Manage classes, bookings, and schedules
  • Custom website builder to build branded website in a snap
  • Sell packages and manage memberships
  • Integrated local payment methods
  • Manual mode and check-in feature
  • Graphical sales reports
  • Staff management to set up work schedules and track performance
  • Marketing automation (email marketing)
  • Unlimited support policy for businesses
  • Affordable alternative to custom software development
  • Affordable pricing plans for businesses with a tight budget
Cost: Start from 29.9 USD per month (see our pricing plan)

Also read: The growing importance of scheduling software for fitness business Source: Mindbody

2. Mindbody

Mindbody is a wellness platform that offers a range of services to help businesses in the fitness and wellness industry manage and grow their operations. From scheduling and payment processing to marketing and customer management, Mindbody has a range of features that make it an essential tool for any business in this space.

One of the standout features of Mindbody is the ability to customise the platform to meet the specific needs of a business. Whether you are a yoga studio or a personal training business, you can easily create class schedules and descriptions, set pricing, and manage client information.

The platform also offers a range of marketing tools to help businesses promote their services and reach new customers, including email marketing and social media integration.

Headquarters: California, USA

Founded: 2000

Employees: 1,337

Highlights: 
  • Provide scheduling, payment processing, marketing, and customer management
  • Customizable options to meet the specific needs of a business
  • Marketing tools to reach new customers
  • Customer support team
Cost: Start from 129 USD per month
Source: Glofox

3. Glofox

Glofox is a gym and studio management and app solution, designed to cater to the unique needs of gyms, fitness, yoga, dance, pilates and martial arts studios. The solution helps gym and studio owners improve admin tasks such as class scheduling, member management, billing, reporting and check-in.

Glofox allows gym and studio owners to drive bookings through a dedicated Member App on iOS and Android devices. Members can book and pay for classes, courses, appointments and memberships through a mobile app and a website portal.

The same portal can be connected to the social media pages, so members can book and pay straight from the social media accounts. The solution helps users keep track of schedules, memberships, bookings and payments.

Glofox provides a reporting feature that helps users review key metrics such as membership sales, attendance rates and failed payments. Users can also keep their members engaged and inform them of changes through app notifications and messages. Pricing is per month and paid quarterly.

Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland

Founded: 2014

Employees: 100-250

Highlights: 
  • Class scheduling, member management, billing, reporting, and check-in
  • Available booking through mobile app and website portal
  • Reporting feature
  • App notifications and messages
Cost: Start from 110 USD per month
Source: Zingfit

4. Zingfit

Zingfit is a gym management software designed for gyms, studios, boxes, and personal trainers. It offers an all-in-one platform for managing online, on-demand, and in-person services in one place.

The software is designed to simplify the process of running a fitness business by streamlining bookings, customer relationship management, memberships, online payments, reporting, and more.

With Zingfit, members can easily check their schedules, book in-person and online classes, view on-demand content, and access their registrations from any device using the member app.

The software also allows you to collect waivers, run Livestream classes, record attendance, and customise membership plans. It integrates with other systems to automate tasks such as receipts, member billing, class reminders, and marketing, and it allows you to export financial data to CSV or PDF.

Headquarters: Colorado, USA

Founded: 2014

Employees: 50+

Highlights: 
  • Members can easily check schedules, book classes, view on-demand content, and access their registrations from any device
  • Customise membership plans, automate tasks, and export financial data
  • TeamUp offers easy setup, and a free import service.
Cost: Start from 149 USD per month
Source: Wellness Living

5. Wellness Living

WellnessLiving is a cloud-based business management platform for wellness studios of all sizes.

It offers a range of features including online booking, payments, class scheduling, and marketing management. One key feature of WellnessLiving is the ability to book classes online, allowing students to choose from available time slots.

Automated reminders help ensure students are aware of their class times by sending email and text notifications.

WellnessLiving also features an online store, which allows studios to list their courses on their websites. This enables students to register for courses and make online payments for class fees and merchandise.

In addition, the platform offers campaign management, enabling businesses to send automated email and text messages to target customer acquisition and retention.

WellnessLiving is also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

Headquarters: Ontario, Canada

Founded: 2012

Employees: 200-500

Highlights: 
  • Students can easily book classes online, choosing from available time slots. This convenient feature makes it easy for students to fit wellness into their busy schedules.
  • Email and text reminders to students.
  • Studios can list their courses on their websites, enabling students to register and make online payments.
  • Automated email and text messages to customer.
Cost: Start from 89 USD per month

There are also a wide range of custom software development companies that have the expertise and experience to build a custom software solution tailored to the specific needs of your fitness business. Here is a list of options that we have compiled: Source: Codigo

1. Codigo

Since 2010, Codigo has established itself as a leading digital product development agency in Singapore. The company's team of experienced developers and designers specialise in creating high-quality mobile apps, websites, and systems that deliver a seamless user experience.

Codigo's full-cycle product development process ensures that clients receive the best possible results from their digital projects. The company also offers consulting services to help brands and startups define and achieve their online goals.

With a strong focus on UI/UX and proper coding methodology, Codigo has won some prestigious awards such as: Mobile Agency of the year 2014, Mobile Marketing Agency of the Year 2015, and The MOB-EX Best of Show 2015.

Codigo is known for its ability to deliver high-quality digital products for a range of prestigious clients. The company has a strong track record of success, with notable projects for multinational companies such as HBO, FWD, McDonald's, Resorts World Sentosa, Don Don Donki, and Charles & Keith.

Among all the custom software development agencies listed here, Codigo is the only one with experience in building custom websites, software systems, and mobile apps for fitness companies such as Yoga Movement and Boulder Movement.

Headquarters: Midview City, Singapore

Founded: 2010

Employees: 50 - 200

Specialisation: Mobile Apps, Games, Website, Campaigns, Social Media and Community Management, Content Management System, User Experience, User Interface Design, iOS Development, Android Development, Backend Systems, Software as a Service.

Highlights: 
  • Competitive onboarding fees thanks to the hiring of offshore developers.
  • Offering comprehensive consulting services to help clients define and achieve their online goals.
  • Winning prestigious awards such as Mobile Agency of the Year 2014 and Mobile Marketing Agency of the Year 2015.
  • Demonstrating a strong track record with notable multinational clients like HBO, McDonald's, and Charles & Keith.
  • Being the only custom software development agency with experience in building digital products for fitness companies like Yoga Movement and Boulder Movement.
Cost:
  • $50,000 USD and above
  • Average hourly rate: Between 50-99+ USD per hour
Source: Originally Us  

2. Originally Us

Originally Us is a mobile app development company based in Singapore that has worked with various global brands, MNCs, and government-linked bodies. The company offers a range of services including user research, concept design, user interface design, and mobile app development, as well as cybersecurity, hosting, infrastructure, and internet of things support.

The company has an in-house team of designers and developers and is familiar with technologies including ReactNative, Flutter, NodeJS, and more.

Originally Us focuses on security and has experience in digital transformation and mobile app go-to-market. The company's products and solutions are used in over 25,000 homes worldwide and have experience developing mobile apps that integrate with internet-connected hardware.

Headquarters: Central Region, Singapore

Founded: 2014

Employees: 11 - 50

Specialisation: Mobile Apps Development, Cybersecurity, Hosting, Infrastructure, and Internet of Things Support

Highlights: 
  • Works with global brands, MNCs, and government-linked bodies
  • Offers a range of services including user research, concept design, user interface design, and mobile app development
  • In-house team of designers and developers
  • Products and solutions used in over 25,000 homes worldwide
  • Experience developing mobile apps that integrate with internet-connected hardware
Cost: 
  • Minimal Project Size: 5,000+ USD
  • Average hourly rate: Between 50-99+ USD per hour
Source: Buuuk

3. Buuuk

Buuuk is a Singapore-based studio that specialises in UI/UX design, mobile app development, digital strategy, and software solutions.

Since its incorporation in October 2008, the company has been helping its clients bring their ideas to life through its comprehensive range of services. Buuuk is known for its expertise in creating professional mobile applications for multinational companies.

In addition to its core services, Buuuk has also expanded to offer custom software development and digital consultancy services to companies and organisations looking to build work force automation, consumer-facing, and enterprise mobile applications.

The company has a long list of satisfied clients, including Daimler, Tupperware, DB Schenker, Singtel, SPH, CapitaMalls, NTUC, and many others.

Headquarters: Jalan Besar, Singapore

Founded: 2008

Employees: 11 - 50

Specialisation: UI/UX design, mobile app development, digital strategy, and software solutions

Highlights:
  • Expertise in UI/UX design, mobile app development, digital strategy, and software solutions.
  • The company has a long list of satisfied clients, including Daimler, Tupperware, and Singtel.
  • Offers custom software development and digital consultancy services for companies looking to build work force automation, consumer-facing, and enterprise mobile applications.
Cost: 
  • Minimal Project Size: 50,000+ USD
  • Average hourly rate: Between $100 - $149+ USD per hour

Cost Comparison

When it comes to cost, SaaS or off-the-shelf software is usually the cheaper option. You pay a flat monthly fee for access to the software, so you don’t have to worry about additional costs.

Custom software development is usually more expensive, as you’ll need to pay for development, maintenance, hosting, and more. The cost of custom software development can vary depending on the complexity of the project. However, it’ll be much more expensive than SaaS.

Conclusion

When it comes to software for fitness businesses, you have two main options: SaaS and custom software development. SaaS is usually cheaper and quicker to set up, but it’s less customizable. Custom software development is more expensive and time-consuming, but it offers more flexibility.

To decide which option is right for your business, consider your budget, timeline, and needs. If you need a highly customised solution, custom software development may be the best choice. However, if you’re on a tight budget and need a solution quickly, SaaS or fitness software may be the better option.

Rezeve SaaS offers a more affordable pricing plan for fitness businesses, gyms, and yoga studios.       Hit us up for a demo and enjoy our 1-month free trial!

Whichever option you choose, make sure you do your research. Look at examples of successful implementations and read reviews to make sure you’re getting the right solution for your business. With the right software, you can manage your fitness business more efficiently and maximise your profits.

Good luck!

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