Patreon users often find themselves with a larger than expected bill at the beginning of each month. Why does Patreon become so expensive?
Patreon is expensive for two main reasons. First, creating bonus content is time-consuming and the cost of this is passed on to subscribers. Secondly, Patreon charges creators several different fees, which also drive up subscription costs. It’s very easy to find yourself with a large Patreon bill at the beginning of the month if you don’t monitor how many creators you support and what tiers you have chosen.
Read on to find out what makes Patreon so expensive and how to bring your costs down.
1. Creating Bonus Content Is Expensive
Bonus content is expensive to create for Patreon channels. This issue is on the creator side, not the user side as our last two issues were but the costs involved are certainly passed on to subscribers. Channels on Patreon are usually made up of less than 5 creators and the additional work of creating bonus content can be quite difficult on these small teams. They often have to hire freelance editors and work overtime to keep up with the required pace of production. High production costs mean that the lowest subscription tiers often just come with a thank you from the channel and perhaps ad-free content.
As a Patreon user, it is up to you to decide whether you want to have access to bonus content. Use the questions we posed in our previous sections to decide if higher subscription tiers are really for you.
2. Patreon’s Fees
Another issue that drives up the cost of Patreon channels is Patreon’s fees. Patreon charges creators four different fees that can affect their profits and drive up the cost of subscriptions. Have a look at the fees creators pay to use Patreon’s platform below:
- Platform Fee – A percentage of any payments that were processed successfully. The percentage charged is dependent on the size of the creator’s channel.
- Payment Processor Fees – Cost involved in transferring money from patrons to creators. These fees cover costs incurred from fighting fraud, recurring billing, and recovering declined payments.
- Payout Fees- A fee incurred when moving money from Patreon to the creator’s personal or business bank account. Incurred on transfer.
- Conversion Fees- Fees incurred when converting money from a currency other than the creator’s preferred currency.
All these fees can eat into a small independent creator’s profit. To make up the difference, creators are sometimes forced to up their subscription costs or move more popular bonus content into higher tiers to drive up revenue.
3. You Support Too Many Creators
Supporting too many creators is the most obvious reason Patreon becomes expensive for some people. The reason most people use Patreon is they love supporting independent creators and Patreon makes it easy to subscribe to every creator you love (one of the reasons people love it, check out our article on what makes Patreon so popular here). If you aren’t careful you will find yourself subscribed to six or seven channels and have a monthly bill of over 50 dollars a month!
4. You’ve Chosen The Wrong Tier
Another issue people run into is choosing the wrong subscriber tier. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of discovering a new creator and subscribing to their highest tier. Patreon users love to feel like a part of the content they are consuming and the highest tiers often have shoutouts and creator access that make you feel like a part of the production. But is the highest tier really for you?
How To Reduce This Cost
If you’re wondering if you are overspending on higher tiers of a Patreon channel, use these questions to determine if you are getting the most out of your subscription:
- Can I afford this high monthly subscription bill?
- Do I really enjoy the interaction with the creator and do I regularly attend interaction events (Discord hangouts, Community Q and A’s, etc) offered at my subscription level?
- I am regularly interacting in the community with other subscribers.
If you answered no to any of these questions, it is probably best that you change to a lower-cost subscription to lower your monthly costs.
Is Paying For Patreon Worth It?
Whether you should pay for Patreon is a question that has to be answered on a user-by-user basis. For people who are casual fans of creators, oftentimes paying for Patreon is not worth it because they don’t consume the bonus content they are paying for. For hardcore fans who are watching or listening to every bit of content as soon as it is released and are active in the creator’s community, Patreon is often more than worth it. If you are struggling with the decision to subscribe to a channel or not, try using the questions we outlined in sections 1 and 2 to make your decision easier.
How Much Should You Spend On A Channel?
How much you should spend on a channel depends on your financial resources. If you are very comfortable financially, feel free to spend as much as you desire on Patreon channels. For people with more limited financial resources, it is probably best to stick to five-dollar subscription tiers and limit the channels you subscribe to. If you are very passionate about a specific creator, consider bumping up to a mid-tier subscription, but best to stay away from the high-dollar subscription tiers.
At the end of the day, Patreon is as expensive as you make it. Make sure that you have a firm grasp on your finances before deciding to support a creator on Patreon. Think hard about whether you will take advantage of the bonus content and creator access higher tiers can offer. Patreon is a great platform, but always be responsible and keep track of the channels you are subscribed to before you end up with a hefty monthly bill.