Live Chat Pricing: How to Choose the Right Plan

December 30, 2020
Reading time9 minutes
Igor Shekotihin
Igor Shekotihin
Head of International Growth

Wondering which live chat pricing model is best for your business? Read on.

As online competition intensifies, companies are looking for ways to better personalize the omnichannel - marketing, sales and support - experience for existing and prospective customers.

As a result, live chat software has fast become a necessity for any business with a website.

But, with so many live chat pricing options, it can be a struggle to choose the right plan. A plan that works for one business may not be the best choice for another. Get this decision wrong, and it could cost you a lot of money.

In this guide, we’ll review the many different live chat pricing options, and help you decide which one is most cost-effective for your business.

9 Live Chat Pricing Options (Including Pros and Cons)

Even when two live chat pricing options appear similar, the more you dig in, the more you’ll realize this isn’t the case.

Rather than take a guess as to which pricing model is best, here’s our overview of the nine most common options (including the pros and cons of each one).

Free Live Chat Pricing Plans

Free live chat software is more common than ever, with vendors offering a no-cost version with the idea of upselling users in the future.

Although it costs nothing, free live chat software doesn’t have the same level of features as paid alternatives.

For example:

JivoChat provides one of the more robust free live chat pricing options.

You can add up to five agents, get unlimited chats in 20 different languages, responsive apps for desktop and mobile devices, two-month chat history and 24/7 support:

Image source: JivoChat pricing page


  • Free to download and use.
  • The opportunity to get up and running within minutes.
  • No requirement to set up payment (which saves you time).


  • Most free live chat programs are lightweight and lack advanced features.
  • Many free options have branding and advertisements that have the potential to get in the way.

Best for:

Free live chat software is best for beginners who don’t require advanced features. If you want a tool that provides basic live chat functionality, a free solution is a good place to start.


Flat-Rate/Subscription Live Chat Pricing Plans

This is the most common pricing package, with most providers preferring the stability of subscription payments.

With a flat rate, you know what you’re paying month after month, as well as what you’re getting in return.


  • A fixed price makes for easier budgeting than other types of pricing plans.
  • The ability to set up auto payments, so you don’t have to process your payment every month.
  • A dedicated account manager, along with 24/7 customer support (with many providers).
  • Simple to cancel when you opt for a month to month subscription.


  • Preset packages determine the extent of your use, such as the number of live agents online at the same time.
  • Pricing can lock you into a predetermined level of features.
  • Limited price personalization.

Best for:

A flat-rate/subscription live chat program is ideal for companies seeking a solid solution at a predetermined price and level of features. This arrangement works for companies of all sizes.

Pay-Per-Agent Live Chat Pricing Plans

This is exactly what it sounds like. You pay based on the number of agents who use the software. So, it’s cheaper to have a package for 10 agents than it is for 100.

It’s a similar approach to the subscription model, with the primary differentiating factor being that you pay for how many users are on your plan.

For example:

JivoChat offers a live chat pricing plan for the Professional version:


  • The ability to scale with your business (or cut back, if necessary).
  • The opportunity to pay for the service level you require, nothing more.
  • Greater flexibility, such as if you want to use live chat on multiple websites.


  • It can take time to pin down how many agents you need to serve your audience.
  • The monthly expense can add up as you add more users to your plan.

Best for:

A perfect fit for companies that have a clear understanding of the maximum number of live agents they need online at any given time.

Volume-Based Live Chat Pricing Plans

With volume-based live chat pricing, you still pay a monthly subscription. However, the price is calculated based on the number of sessions, not a flat-rate or the number of agents on the plan.

It’s not the most common pricing plan, but you’re likely to come across it during your search. The manner in which volume is calculated differs from one service to the next, such as the number of conversations, the number of site visitors, or the number of leads. Be sure to ask the provider.


  • The ability to choose a plan that fits the size of your audience.
  • You won’t overpay for service that you don’t need.


  • Costs will vary, such as if you get an influx of website traffic one month.
  • Your budget can quickly spiral out of control without regular monitoring.

Best for:

If history shows that your volume remains relatively consistent month over month, a volume-based plan could work for you.

Pay-Per-Lead Live Chat Pricing Plans

If leads are what you’re after, this live chat pricing package could be the solution. You only pay for the numbers of leads you generate from live chat.

This gives you access to the technology you need, while only paying a fee when you generate a lead.


  • Pay for leads only, nothing else.
  • High-level of features, regardless of how many leads you generate each month.


  • Lead fees can (and probably will) change over time.
  • Your cost can skyrocket if you generate an abnormally high number of leads during a specific period.
  • Difficulty setting a budget.

Best for:

A pay-per-lead live chat pricing plan is generally best for companies that have a clear idea of how many leads they generate every month. If this number is stable, this is an option to learn more about.

Tiered Live Chat Pricing Plans

Tiered pricing is all about choosing the plan that best suits your wants and needs. By offering several plans to their customers, live chat providers are able to attract a larger audience.

While the number of tiers varies from service to service, you can generally expect to see anywhere from three to five.


  • The opportunity to get what you want by comparing multiple plans.
  • The ability to jump from tier to tier as your needs evolve.
  • Fixed pricing within the tier you choose.


  • When your needs change often, you’ll need to alter your plan to suit.
  • Potentially confusing to compare multiple tiers and make a selection.

Best for:

As one of the most common solutions, this is a good choice for almost any company seeking a live chat provider. You’re likely to find a tier that fits your budget and feature requirements.

Feature-Based Live Chat Pricing Plans

Feature-based live chat plans are typically combined with a flat-rate or tiered component.

Every tier has its own level of features and upgrades. This flexibility allows users to choose the plan with the features they need, without paying for those they don’t.


  • Access to more than one plan, each with a different level of features.
  • Pay for the features you need, while skipping others.
  • Change your plan as your needs change.


  • Difficulty finding the plan with the right mix of price and features.
  • Time-consuming to make changes to your plan as your needs change.

Best for:

Companies that know what they want to pay, as well as the features they require in exchange, will benefit from a feature-based live chat pricing plan.

Perpetual Live Chat Pricing Plans

Confusing to some, it’s an option to consider if you expect your live chat needs to remain the same in the future.

With a perpetual license, you make a one-time payment for access to a set level of features. This allows you to use the software indefinitely, without monthly payments or regular changes to your plan.


  • A one-time payment saves you time in the future.
  • Access to the live chat program indefinitely.
  • Save money over the long run (when compared to monthly plans).


  • A higher upfront price.
  • You may not get your money’s worth if you don’t use the software for an extended period of time.

Best for:

A good solution for companies that are confident that they’ll need access to a live chat solution for years to come.

Custom (Bespoke) Live Chat Pricing Plans

No two companies have the exact same needs. And for this reason, a growing number of live chat providers are offering custom plans, in select situations.

Custom plans are typically only available to large enterprises or those that work in a highly regulated industry, such as healthcare.


  • The ability to customize your package, from the features to the customer service and everything in between.
  • Personalized customer service from the word "go".
  • The power to further customize your package as your business evolves.


  • Among the most costly of all live chat pricing plans.
  • A longer sign-up process, as you have to request a custom quote from the provider.
  • A lack of pricing transparency could lead you to overpay.

Best for:

Custom live chat pricing plans are best for large companies, those in highly regulated industries, or those that require a specific feature set that’s not available in a standard package.

Which Live Chat Pricing Plan Works For You?

With the above information, it’s our hope that you now have a better idea of which live chat pricing plan best suits your company’s goals and budget.

Once you’ve made up your mind, turn your attention to finding a reputable provider that offers the type of pricing model you’re interested in. It won’t be long before you’re providing personalized support and converting more visitors into paying customers.

If you’re looking for a free live chat pricing plan, or one that will scale as you grow, check out JivoChat’s pricing page here.

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