How much it costs to run ReferralHero

All the expenses ReferralHero incurs.

How much it costs to run ReferralHero

A couple of weeks ago I saw Pat Walls's post about all the apps he pays for. I really like Pat's transparency, especially since very few people talk about expenses.

So in this post I'm going to list all the expenses my business ReferralHero (~$18K MRR) incurs.

Server & Hosting

  • OVH (~$350/month)
    OVH is where all my servers and DB are. Currently running 4 servers and one, rather large (100M+ rows), database.
  • AWS ($10/month)
    I use AWS mostly for hosting images (S3) and some CDN stuff.
  • Postmark (~$200/month)
    ReferralHero sends A LOT of emails on behalf of its users. I use Postmark to send almost all transactional emails.
  • SparkPost ($20/month)
    SparkPost used to be our main email provider before I switched to Postmark. I still use SparkPost for some admin emails.
  • Webflow ($20/month)
    Webflow hosts ReferralHero marketing website. I love how easy they make it to create a website visually.

Total: ~$600/month


  • SendInBlue (~$30/month)
    I use SendInBlue to send emails to my list.
  • Rewardful ($19/month)
    Rewardful powers the affiliate program.
  • Google Ads (~$100/month)
    I run a couple of small Google Ads campaigns, mostly for my brand name  (read: Google ransom) and to target people who search for alternatives  to my competitors.
  • Marketing one-offs (~$70/month)
    I also have a category called "marketing one-offs" for smaller marketing campaigns and experiments.

Total: ~$220/month

Third-party tools

  • GSuite (~$20/month)
    It could be said that my entire business runs on Gmail + Drive + Google Calendar.
  • HelpScout ($15/month)
    I use HelpScout to handle customer support emails.
  • Headway ($9/month)
    Changelog. I signed up ages ago and I'm still in the legacy $9/month plan that doesn't exist anymore.
  • Zapier ($25/month)
    A huge portion of my business is automated through Zapier. Easily the best $25 I spend every month.
  • Carrd ($19/year)
    I very often launch mini projects that require landing pages. Carrd makes that process ridiculously easy and quick.
  • HyperPing ($9/month)
    Website monitoring.
  • Sentry ($29/month)
    Error monitoring tool. Love/hate relationship. I love it because  without it I'd be lost. I hate it because it only gives me bad news.
  • Calendly ($10/month)
    Demo calls, customer development calls, calls, calls. Basically I do tons of calls and Calendly makes scheduling super easy.
  • Github ($7/month)
    Because I gotta store all this code somewhere.

Total: ~$125/month

  • Accountant ($110/month)
    Because you gotta pay the Man.
  • Co-working space ($230/month)
    I prefer a co-working space to cafes because I like to concentrate and do real work versus pretending to work and look cool.
  • Iubenda ($27/year)
    It generates privacy policies for all my websites that are up to date with the law.

Total: ~$350/month

To sum up...

... it costs me about $1,300 a month to run my business.
About half of the money go to servers & hosting. A quarter goes to  "legal & admin" expenses, such as accountant and co-working space  and the rest is divided across several apps I use.

As Pat did in his post, it's worth mentioning other tools that I would pay for but somehow get away with the free plan:

  • Trello
    Does anyone pay for Trello?
  • Gitbook
    Amazing tool to create gorgeous documentation sites.
  • ProfitWell
    All my business metrics (MRR, LTV and all the other 3 letters acronyms) in one dashboard. Magical.
  • Loom
    I still can't believe Loom is free. One of the most underrated tools on the Internet.
  • Canva
    My go-to tool for everything related to design.
  • Zoom
    As I said above, I do dozens of calls every month and Zoom is my favourite tool.