What Drives The Price of Help Desk Software?

Budget is a critical factor in finding the right help desk software solution for your business. If you’ve typed “how much does help desk software cost?” into Google, you’re in the right place. Your head is likely spinning from the drastic swings in pricing from vendor to vendor, different terminology, features, tiers, etc. This blog post aims to demystify help desk software pricing and the factors that drive the cost up or down. 

How much does help desk software cost? These are the four most significant factors that drive the final price tag up or down: 

  • Paid vs. Free Users
  • Cloud vs. On-premises deployment
  • Features
  • Implementation and training

Paid vs. Free Users

Help desk software ranges from freemium options at $0 per agent/month to high-end enterprise solutions well over $200 per agent/month for Cloud deployment, but what does that actually mean?

What is an agent?

The term “agent” has become the industry standard when referring to paid, licensed users. Beyond that, user definitions and licensing models can vary, ultimately driving the final price up.

For example, some vendors, like Freshdesk, have another category of paid users called “occasional agents,” which requires customers to purchase Day Passes. On the other hand, Issuetrak charges only for agents who are ultimately responsible for ticket resolution. Everyone else, including occasional users, is considered a free user within Issuetrak. That’s not necessarily true for other software providers. 

Free users

On the whole, most help desk software vendors allow users to submit tickets for free. This type of user can go by many names depending on whom you ask: free user, viewer, submitter, requester, etc. Most free users are restricted to only submitting their ticket, whereas within Issuetrak, free users can be granted up to 50 different permissions, including closing tickets. 

See: Empowered Free Users for Help Desk Health

Software vendors price out their help desk software packages according to agent count, so it’s important to consider how many agents you realistically need to resolve ticketed issues at your help desk. 

How do you decide how many agent licenses you need?

Start by assessing the average volume of tickets you resolve in regular intervals (by the month, for example) and how many employees your help desk needs to resolve those tickets. That will give you an idea of the number of agents you’ll want to request for each vendor quote.

Cloud vs. On-premises deployment

Another factor that will drive the final cost of help desk software up or down is whether you deploy via the Cloud or on-premises. Your choice depends on your personal preference, compliance requirements, available infrastructure, staffing, and more. In short, Cloud deployment can offer less strain on resources because your vendor handles regular maintenance and upgrades on your behalf. Cloud deployment also requires less infrastructure and fewer overhead costs to maintain. 

On the other hand, on-premises deployment often has higher upfront expenses. If you have the budget to have the appropriate infrastructure in place, on-premises deployment can be a great option for avoiding monthly subscription fees. 

See: Cloud vs. On-Premises Hosting: Which Is Best for Your Needs? 


The number of included features is easily one of the most influential variables when it comes to price outside of agent licenses. Many vendors offer several pricing tiers to meet buyers’ needs.

The most affordable options on the market will have the most basic, limited number of features like ticket generation. This price point is perfect for start-ups and small businesses that have yet to allocate a budget. A free to low-cost option will be best for this type of buyer. 

Of course, help desks evolve as businesses do. When your company grows, free options don’t cut it anymore, and you’ll eventually want the more robust features a paid software solution can offer. The more features you add, the more the price tag will increase and affect your budget. 

Mid-market favorites like Freshdesk, HelpScout, and Issuetrak balance sought-after features at a reasonable price, often ranging from $50-$70 per agent/month. Keep in mind that not all vendors, even at comparable prices, will offer the same features. 

Large enterprises seeking the most feature-rich option regardless of cost can expect to pay $80+ per agent/month. These solutions often come with an overwhelming number of bells and whistles, which can be great for some and too much for others. What is the right fit for your business?

Note: During demos, ask about which features are included and which ones are add-ons with additional fees. You may be surprised when fundamental features like a Knowledge Base or technical support result in additional fees. 

Implementation and training

Ok, you’re close to making a choice, but what kind of support and training will you receive post-purchase? Help desk software vendors often charge $1,000+ for experts to set up your software appropriately for your business and ensure everyone knows how to use it. If you’re tech-savvy, you may be able to avoid paying for implementation, but more often than not, it’s well worth the investment. 

Regardless of which help desk software you choose, we hope your vendor of choice leaves you feeling like this Issuetrak customer:

“They were incredibly patient and considerate with our team during implementation sessions. They are also extremely knowledgeable and provide excellent explanations of sometimes complicated material.” Financial Director, Higher Education

Finding the perfect fit for your help desk

Choosing the most affordable is tempting because who can say no to $0 per month? At the end of the day, you have to balance the features you need with the budget you have. How do you find the sweet spot?

  • Be honest about your budget and what you’re willing to spend.
  • What features are on your must-have list?
  • Which vendors satisfy those two needs?
  • Does your chosen vendor provide the support you need to help you use the software to its fullest potential and provide the highest ROI?

If Issuetrak is on your list of vendors to consider, don’t hesitate to contact our Product Experts for more pricing information. 

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Topics from this blog: Help Desk