What is a flat rate service? Introducing the difference from subscription and representative services

flat rate service are not a particularly new business model, but in recent years, we often see cases where they are synonymous with subscriptions.

Actually, strictly speaking, it is not a “flat-rate service = subscription”.
In this article, we explain the difference between flat-rate services and subscriptions, and the characteristics of each. We will also introduce representative flat-rate services.

flat rate service

Table of Contents

What is a flat-rate service?

What is a flat-rate service?

A flat-rate service is a business model that sells and provides products and services at a fixed price. Originally, it refers to something that can be used at a flat rate regardless of the period of use, but since many services are based on monthly or annual contracts and have a period of use, they tend to be confused with subscriptions. I have.

What is the difference between a flat rate service and a subscription?

From the user’s point of view, it will be difficult to tell the difference because both have similar payment formats and terms of use. However, companies that provide services need to be aware of whether they are offering flat-rate services or subscriptions.

Same as paying a fixed amount

Flat-rate services and subscriptions are not distinct. Both have in common that they pay a fixed amount for the duration of the contract.

The biggest difference is “whether the user can choose the range of use”

The big difference between flat-rate services and subscriptions is whether the customer’s needs are prioritized .

In the case of flat-rate services, a fixed fee structure is prepared, and the user selects the one that suits him or her from that fee structure. On the other hand, subscriptions are characterized by the ability to enjoy services based on user needs, such as the ability for individuals to freely select the scope of use and combine services.

What are the benefits of offering a flat rate service?

Then, basically, it would be better to provide it in a subscription format and make it a specification that allows users to flexibly set prices. You might think that.
However, depending on the service content, it may be better to provide it as a simple flat-rate service. For example:

  • Hard to find differences in user needs
  • Things that are difficult to change in the range you want to use

The feature of subscription is that you can flexibly choose the price setting and usage range according to individual user needs, but there are some plans such as Internet connection that are sufficient if you choose from several plans.

Also, like a water server, even in the case of a simple service form such as “get water delivered every month” and “consumption does not fluctuate greatly”, a flat-rate service with multiple plans will be sufficient.

Examples of typical flat-rate services

Examples of typical flat-rate services

Flat-rate maintenance service

A typical flat-rate service is maintenance services for equipment and servers. NTT East and NTT West provide maintenance services for communication equipment such as telephones and fax machines at a fixed rate. Even after the warranty period has passed after purchase, the repair fee will be free in the event of a breakdown.

However, it can be said that cross-selling is adopted because there is a charge for services outside the service range. There is also an after-sales service that checks parts other than the malfunctioning part during repairs, and this is an example of a service that can be used not only for B2B but also for personal use.


A water server is also a typical example of a flat-rate service . “WATER STAND” is a flat-rate service that does not deliver water by home delivery, but leases equipment that filters the tap water at home to improve its quality.

There is no basic maintenance cost, and a fixed amount is set as a leasing fee. Unlike a bottle exchange type server, it is a service that can be used for a fixed amount regardless of the amount of water used.

MUJI monthly flat-rate service

MUJI offers a monthly rental service for beds, desks, chairs, and storage shelves. The usage period is in units of years, and there are 4 plans of 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and 4 years. Although the usage fee is reasonable as a monthly flat-rate system, the delivery fee and incidental work fee are charged separately.

Rentals for babies and kids, such as crib and trip trap (children’s chair), which have a limited period of use, can be said to be a flat-rate service that users can use conveniently. However, since the number of stores that support it is limited and it can only be used within the relevant area, it can be said that the service is currently limited.

Lancers Assistant

“Lancers Assistant”, which matches companies and workers, provides human resource support services using crowdsourcing for a fixed monthly fee. It can be said that it is an easy-to-use service for companies looking for human resources on a point basis, as it is divided into required tasks such as fixed-price assistants for back-office operations, telephone services, sales support, content policy services, creative production services, etc. .

A professional team carefully selected in each field will handle it, and after the introduction, it will be managed by a dedicated director, so you can use it as if you were a temporary employee. However, compared to dispatched workers who are paid hourly, it has the advantage of being able to use human resources at a fixed rate, making it easier to budget.

Flat-rate design service “Dezaho”

“Dezaho” is a service that allows you to request design production such as posters, leaflets, and LPs at a fixed price . It is a 6-month or 1-year contract, and you can request as many designs as you want for a fixed monthly fee. There are 12 types of target products, and there is a separate charge for express correspondence and logo creation. Basically, it is an agency only for production work, and it is necessary to create plans and composition proposals in-house.

Monthly all-in-one service for individuals “Raku Raku Marugoto Plan (abbreviation: Raku Maru)”

Rakumaru, a flat-rate car leasing service provided by HONDA, is a B2C service that includes vehicle tax, vehicle inspection fee, and maintenance fee within the monthly fee. We are appealing the merits of the flat-rate system as there is no sudden expense that tends to occur when owning a private car. No down payment or initial cost is required, and it can be said that the hurdles to use are low compared to purchasing.

At the end of the contract, you have the option of returning the car, signing a new contract, continuing the plan, or paying the difference. One of the features of a flat-rate service is that you have the final purchase option .

Know the features of flat-rate services and consider a business model that suits your company

Subscriptions have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, but they’re not better than flat-rate services.
There are many options, and in some cases, it may be a burden on the user side to think about the combination that suits them best.

In the case of in-house services, is it better to be flexible in choosing the scope of use, or is it better to have several fixed price tables? Let’s think about it from the user’s point of view.

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