Ideas and Validation September 29, 2020

Would you pay for a rock-solid base project to serve as a foundation for your SaaS idea?

Humza Khan @HumzaKhan

Hello everyone!

I'm Humza, a Full Stack Developer, and a Solutions Architect by profession. Every day I receive multiple clients who are from completely different business domains but with the exact same requirement.

They are either building a full SaaS platform end-to-end or trying to validate an existing idea before going all in. The requirements are very similar, such as basic access control, billing, authentication, dedicated client area, and so on.

I'm wondering if you are a founder yourself and are looking to have a SaaS platform built, would you pay for a rock-solid foundation for your platform which already provides all the above-mentioned functionality out of the box for $199 USD? It's like a template, but extends beyond the design and includes all the integration and functionalities you'd need to quickly bootstrap your development process with your development team.

Usually, having a similar quality solution built through any freelancing site would cost you anywhere between $2,000 - $4,000 depending, but I am trying to reduce that upfront cost for validation and setting up a SaaS platform to quickly allow anyone to validate their ideas.

If you have better suggestions, how would you improve this idea? Looking forward to your insights, thank you!

  1. 5

    This is absolutely something folks will pay for. I'm working on Nodewood, a SasS boilerplate for Node+Vue, and there are many more competitors besides me. And there's room for more, as well!

    There are all kinds of combinations of back-end/front-end/features that can really define a starter kit like this and carve out a niche in the space, and there are a lot of developers who have strong preferences that simply won't use Nodewood, because, for example, they strongly prefer Go or Ruby.

    You may also want to look into having a defining ethos or philosophy for your boilerplate that helps it stand out from similar technology stacks. For example, Nodewood is all-JavaScript and I lean heavily into that. I believe that you can strongly reduce code duplication from writing your libraries in one language and sharing that between front-end and back-end code, and Nodewood is designed to help you take advantage of that pattern as strongly as possible and save as much time as possible. Lean on your experience, and if you've learned some lessons that have helped you immensely, build them into your framework so that others have that benefit immediately when starting out!

    Good luck, and I genuinely mean that. This space is still pretty early, to the point where we have to do a fair amount of customer education that this kind of project even exists and that it's worth using. So in as much as any of us succeeds, we all succeed in that we grow the market together.

    1. 2

      This is why IH is a great place.

    2. 2

      Thank you for sharing this! and I believe you are completely right. This space is super early stage which comes with it's own opportunities and challenges.

    3. 1

      Hey @DanHulton, how do you actually package/sell Nodewood? Do have have licenses or similar? I'm curious how the process works...

      1. 2

        So I've actually built a CLI that installs new projects/updates the code, and it communicates to a web app that's built with Nodewood itself. There weren't really any good ways to sell code libraries at the time that worked quite the way I wanted, and it was an opportunity to dogfood Nodewood myself.

        1. 1

          ah nice, that sounds pretty great!

  2. 1

    I certainly hope so, because I'm doing the same for Java (Spring) + React! I'm familiar with JHipster, but just feel like it was always a bit too heavy for my needs.

  3. 1

    So, does that qualify as a no-code tool or not? It sounds like no-code to me...

    You will make more money if you market this as the new no-code cool kid on the block who has all the bells and whistles and gets all the girls...

    Follow the money.

    1. 2

      It sounds like an interesting idea and has me thinking. I wasn't intending for this to be a no-code tool given the sheet number of use cases it will or should support, but I believe there's something that can be done in this regard. Thank you for sharing!

  4. 1

    That’s what I’m trying to accomplish with NetcoreSaas :)

    1. 1

      Looks super nice and +1 for .NET Core, I've been using it since the first public beta and still continue to do so for some side projects! :)

      1. 1

        Thank you, I absolutely love C#

    2. 1

      Nice Product, btw why scrolling is so laggy on the site?

      1. 1

        Hadn’t noticed 🤔 could you tell me what resolution (phone) you’re using? So I can test it with Sizzy and google page speed insights

        1. 2

          MacBook Air (maybe this is the culprit 😅), Chrome

          1. 1

            No issues w/my Macbook Pro

  5. 1

    I love this idea. I have next to nothing for coding skills but have a web app / SaaS idea I'd love to try out. In my mind, its a very simple idea, but the practicality of building it is making my head spin. I simply can't even figure out which tech would be best to get it rolling, let alone trying to learn enough of one flavour to engage a developer to help out and know what they're doing. The simpler everything can get, the better!

    1. 1

      Thank you for sharing this! I completely agree with you in regards to simplicity and this is a good reminder regarding how it should work eventually.

  6. 1

    I have been working on something similar in node.js + react stack.

  7. 1

    I think this is valid idea I have seen it work before. I'd suggest payments and analytics

  8. 1

    Email.
    Analytics
    Pipeline

    1. 1

      Analytics? just like Google Analytics?

      1. 2

        Human understandable analytics similar but more useful than google.

          1. 1

            This is an interesting idea. Any boilerplate or common code people can use without reinventing the wheel?

    2. 1

      What is "pipeline"?

      1. 1

        How to move the data around for different customers

  9. 1

    What language/framework? That's important to know to check out the ecosystem-specific competition.

    I've used Laravel Spark before https://spark.laravel.com/ which is $99 per site or $299 unlimited.

    Here is another example boilerplate for Laravel multi tenancy projects, I think the chap who built it is a member here, I seem to remember him posting a blog about early sales https://tenancyforlaravel.com/saas-boilerplate/

    1. 1

      This is incredibly helpful, thank you for sharing the links.

      I'm hoping to take a different approach by using React + Django/Python. Laravel works just fine for a lot of projects but from what I have seen, there's a lot of demand for the combination above within devs and for the business-oriented people, the above combination will make sense given the market around them.

      Plus I am probably going to add a very specific element to the overall package which will drastically differentiate it from other templates out there.

      1. 1

        Check out www.saaspegasus.com for a reference point.

  10. 1

    Yes people pay for this type of product. $199 undercuts them.

    1. 1

      Are you talking about other similar like templates or freelance developers?

    2. 1

      Thank you for your response! What do you exactly mean by "undercuts them?". I'm trying to understand your point much better, thanks.

      1. 1

        $199 is less than they charge.

  11. 1

    I think there's something to this.

    I started working on a SaaS side project in july and absolutely underestimated how much time it took to get the 'non-core-business' stuff setup.

    I would probably be willing to pay for a package that solved (in no particular order).

    accounts
    authentication
    stripe integration
    editable admin dashboards
    SSL certs

    to make the deal even sweeter:
    let me give you my domain and you setup gsuite for me.
    automatically setup amazon SES or mailgun and provide code snippets for sending automated mail.
    get the basic devops and deploy workflow setups.

    and to be honest, if I knew it was good, I'd probably pay a lot more than 199 for it.

    1. 1

      Hey, thank you for the list.

      I actually do have a core project that performs all of that, but I just realized I can also include the infrastructure part.

      Using Ansible + Terraform, I might be able to provide a mini DevOps pipeline as well which will streamline the deployments. Notes taken, thanks!

      1. 1

        Hi HumzaKhan,
        I've recently discovered https://www.outseta.com which looks like something you want to do. Maybe it can give you some ideas :-)

        1. 1

          Is it source code included?

          1. 1

            I think it's a little bit different than other tools proposed in this thread. I think outseta provides some classic tools (helpdesk, subscriptions, ...) around a SaaS product. It's not a kind of framework for a specific language/techno.

        2. 1

          Thanks for the share! It's interesting to see how the same problem is being addressed in different ways :)

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