DocuSign pricing explained (plus 3 affordable alternatives)

September 8, 2023
Deepak Dhanak

Deepak Dhanak

Co-Founder & CEO at | CA, HBS, IIM-A
10 min read

DocuSign is a top electronic signature and agreement management solution.

Its two offerings – DocuSign eSignature and DocuSign Contract Lifecycle Management – work to accelerate document signing and contract closures in a secure and scalable manner.

eSignature vs. Contract Lifecycle Management

It’s important to consider the exact features of both the DocuSign offerings when you are evaluating pricing and value. 

DocuSign eSignature lets you

  • upload your pre-created documents into the cloud,
  • request internal or external stakeholder signatures digitally, and
  • store the signed documents securely for prompt, user-specific access.

It also sends out notifications for every update, bringing down cross-team follow-ups to a minimum. 

DocuSign CLM, meanwhile, is designed to do a lot more

  • automate your entire contract lifecycle for faster, improved management
  • upload agreement drafts into the cloud
  • facilitate swift collaboration between stakeholders on clauses, and
  • streamline version control, storage, and access. 

In this blog post, we will be comparing the pricing of DocuSign eSignature against other comparable alternatives. DocuSign pricing plans for its CLM solution are not disclosed. Do note that a couple of alternatives given here have integrated eSign with their in-built CLM and their pricing reflects both offerings making them way more affordable compared to DocSign.

A note about DocuSign pricing plans

While you might have almost decided to opt for DocuSign, you must compare your options in the market; it always makes business sense to take an informed decision. 

However, DocuSign offers multiple pricing plans (with hidden costs) and customized enterprise quotes. This makes it tedious and complex to compare each of its plans on your own. Additionally, the top alternatives in the market too, follow a unique pricing pattern. 

It’s precisely why we have put together this explainer guide to understand DocuSign Pricing, affordable alternatives, and what works best for your organization’s current and mid-term needs. 

How DocuSign charges its users

The top thing to know about the DocuSign pricing structure is that it charges you per user. Such per-user or per-seat charging (which is what most affordable alternative tools also demand), forces you to pay for access to every team member, irrespective of usage volumes per user or seat

For example, if you have 10 sales reps on the team and you opt for a Standard plan for each of them, it lets them send out unlimited contract envelopes every month to clients for signing. However, at USD 25 per user, the cumulative cost adds up to USD 250 per month. 

But if you dive deeper and consider the average signing envelopes your reps might be sending out each month, the number may be in single digits for a B2B business; you are likely to underuse the plan.

Now, this may tempt you to opt for a Personal plan, which is cheaper at USD 10 per user and allows a maximum of 5 envelopes a month. However, in this case, you end up compromising on a host of business-oriented signing features, since the plan is designed for a solopreneur or small business owner.

Another drawback of this pricing model is that you might be tempted to only sign up for some members on your team – senior sales reps or the most top performing ones. In this case, while you might save some costs, you end up creating greater operational bottlenecks and a culture that devalues ownership. 

If you are a business where the above scenarios apply, it makes sense to consider the pricing models offered by alternatives such as DocuX; instead of per user, you stand to pay on a per Creator basis. This model allows you to add an unlimited number of team members as collaborators and has no cap on the number of documents you can get eSigned for all of its paid plans. DocuX’s premium plans start at USD 9 per month, saving you a solid USD 239 per month when compared to DocuSign’s Standard plan.

Hence, to arrive at which secure document e-signing tool offers optimum value for your business needs, it’s important to first compare each DocuSign pricing plan. 

Personal plan

Ideal for: small business owners looking to scale on contracts without expanding the team

Pricing starts at USD 10 per month (limited to a single user)

Standard plan

Ideal for: Small to mid-sized businesses and start-ups with regular employee/client/vendor onboarding requirements 

Pricing starts at USD 25 per month (per user)

Business pro plan

Ideal for: Large businesses and enterprises that require sending out bulk documents along with payments and more  

Pricing starts at USD 40 per month (per user)

DocuSign pricing plans

While you evaluate which pricing plan offers optimum value for your organization’s needs, you must also consider what’s not included under each plan. This could be in terms of features, the cap on usage, or even both.

Let’s look at affordable alternatives to DocuSign, which may deliver more value. 

DocuSign Pricing Plans

Let us take a clear, in-depth look at DocuSign pricing plans + top affordable alternative tools. 

Free trial

DocuSignDropBox SignPandaDocDocuX
Availability✔ ✔ ✔ 
Duration30 days30 days14 days90 days 
PlanStandalone free planProfessional plan and upwardsAll All 
Limitations< 3 eSigns < 3 eSignsNo customer supportNo limits
Value for Money Score3324

Free plan

DocuSignDropBox SignPandaDocDocuX
Plan NameFree Edition XFree eSignPersonal 
DurationFor 3 legal signaturesXFor 5 legal signaturesFor life 
Signatures< 3 per accountX< 5 eSigns per account < 3 eSigns per month
CreateXXX< 10 documents per month 
Collaborate onlineXXX
Secure StorageLimitedXXUnlimited 
Additional Features Configure mailing preferencesXPaymentsIntegration with personal tools, AI-powered workspace, templates library 
Value for Money Score2034

Professional plan

Plan DetailsDocuSignDropBox SignPandaDocDocuX
Plan NamePersonal Professional EssentialsPro
Pricing USD 10 per monthUSD 16.58 per monthUSD 19 per monthUSD 9 per month
Signatures< 5 per month<3 per monthUnlimitedUnlimited 
Payments XXX
Tracking and notificationsX
Collaboration XXX
Bulk SendXXXX
Custom user rolesXXX
Security CompliancePartialXPartialPartial
IntegrationsPartialXXPersonal tools 
Support XXPartial
Value for Money Score2134

Small team plans

Plan DetailsDocuSignDropBox SignPandaDocDocuX
Plan NameStandardStandardBusiness Team 
Pricing USD 25 per month, per userUSD 15 per month, per userUSD 49 per month, per userUSD 29 per month, per creator
Smart workflowsXX
SignaturesUpto 100 envelopes per year< 3 envelope requests per month, per userUnlimitedUnlimited 
Payments XXX
Tracking and notificationsX
Collaboration Partial X
Bulk SendXX✔ (add-on cost)✔ (coming soon)
Custom user rolesXX
IntegrationsPartial (add-on cost)Partial (add-on cost)Partial (no extra cost) 
User Cap< 50 users>3 users>2 usersNo cap
Value for Money Score3134

Enterprise plans

Plan DetailsDocuSignDropBox SignPandaDocDocuX
Plan NameBusiness ProAdvancedEnterprise Enterprise
Pricing USD 40 per month, per userUSD 24 per month, per userCustom quoteUSD 59 per month, per creator
Smart workflows✔ (impacts custom pricing)
SignaturesUp to 100 envelopes per year< 3 envelope requests per month, per userUnlimitedUnlimited 
Payments XXX
Admin control 
CollaborationPartial Partial 
Comprehensive security & compliance Partial (add-on cost)✔ ✔ 
IntegrationsPartial (add-on cost)✔ (add-on cost)
Customer Success Access < 50 usersNo cap
Value for Money Score2344

DocuSign Pricing: Additional costs

After you have done a thorough comparison of DocuSign’s plans, you need to factor in the fact that DocuSign does not follow a flat pricing structure. Confused? Here are some of the pricing aspects that are not reflected at the cart level but can get added to your bill:

Bulk download fees

For unforeseen reasons, you may need to download your documents from DocuSign’s cloud storage and save them offline, or migrate them onto another cloud. In this case, you would have to pay a per-document download fee

Account closure fees

While DocuSign maintains that you can close your account with them anytime, this comes with hidden costs. Since how they calculate closure fees is not a public disclosure, you need to factor in contingencies. This can be especially tough if your company has a strict transparent opex policy for vendors. 

Migration fees

The permacrisis has been real ever since the pandemic. Despite making an informed choice, there could be factors that lead you to consider migrating from DocuSign in the mid to far future. And disruptive technology may be just one of them. The way we conduct business, manage documents, and sign agreements may change at a fundamental level. In such a scenario, migrating away from DocuSign comes at a cost

Validated signing fees

Each time you require an e-signature that is digitally validated for legal standing, you stand to pay an additional cost. It is best to discuss this scenario with your legal team to understand the scale and volume of documents that you anticipate in this regard at your company. This can help arrive at a conclusive decision about whether you stand to incur significant and frequent add-on costs. In contrast, all eSigns done on DocuX are legally-valid, authenticated, and verifiable.

Custom costs for enterprises

Lastly, DocuSign pricing plans do not disclose the cost for enterprise users. So if you are an enterprise business or a mid-sized firm with ambitions to scale, it’s best to get into a discussion with the DocuSign sales team, negotiate costs and custom features, and re-evaluate affordable alternatives – make sure you get the best value for your money before signing the dotted line. 

Talking to decision-makers

Once you have decided on a DocuSign plan or the alternative solution that’s apt for your business, then comes the hard part – convincing every decision-maker on the committee that your preferred plan is going to deliver adequate ROI for the company. Here are some tips to help you get started with your presentation:

5 ways to convince decision-makers about the eSign tool’s value 

Start with the goal instead of the tool
X It can be overwhelming for busy professionals to consider the pros and cons of yet another tool. 
✔ Instead, start your proposal or presentation with a potential business opportunity/operational goal.

Talk about the tangible loss cost owing to delays/indecisions
X Avoid presenting your case as one that will make the organization future-ready 
✔ Get everyone to realize the day-on-day cost of status quo with concrete data that’s specific to your company. Eg. Losing out top talent owing to hiring documentation delays

Present a fair case for the solution 
X Don’t propose opting for a paid DocuSign or DocuX plan as the obvious step
✔ Take your audience through the comparisons you have made and the fact that your chosen solution makes business sense 

Plan a demo/interactive session 
X Refrain from asking everyone to sign for a tool only you have explored
✔ Depending on your company size and plan interest, sign up for a demo session or a meeting where queries can be resolved by the sales team of your chosen tool 

Start with a free trial for top affordable alternatives 
X In case of lack of consensus, don’t abandon the project altogether
✔ Instead, consider a free trial for a plan that meets your needs with other comparable tools

Frequently asked questions

Can I get a refund If I cancel or downgrade my DocuSign account?

Technically, DocuSign does have a refund-on-cancellation policy for annual subscriptions. This may not be the case for monthly subscriptions.

However, with the costs involved around document downloads and migration you might have to shell out more fees, translating into no net refunds + additional spending even in the case of an annual subscription. Similarly, while a downgrade is technically available, it may involve hidden costs; you may need to download documents offline owing to lesser cloud storage. 

How much does DocuSign cost in a nutshell? 

The DocuSign Personal Plan starts at USD 10 per month while the Standard Plan and Business Pro Plan cost USD 25 and USD 40 per month, respectively. There are also a series of add-on costs involved. 

Is DocuSign pricing user-based or usage based?

It is both. This means that every DocuSign plan has a cap on the number of users as well as the number of envelopes that can be sent for signing in a month. The cap on usage per user also differs depending on monthly versus annual subscriptions even under the same plan. 

Do I need to share my credit card details when I sign up for a plan and will it be auto-billed?

Yes, DocuSign does ask for your payment details and those will be saved for default renewal on a monthly or annual basis, depending on your plan selection. You can downgrade or cancel the plan by keeping track of the due date to manage your DocuSign bills better. Even in the case of its free plan, you need to share credit card details; if you choose to withhold the information, your access duration will be down to 7 days. 

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