An illustration of a blank custom spreadsheet.

You’d like to build a web app but have no idea how much it costs or how much it could make. This worksheet helps you explore scenarios to understand how much money you'll need and help you think through potential costs that you may not even be aware of.

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Building your first SaaS application can be scary. New technology and tools have made it more affordable than ever, but there's still plenty of expenses. And chances are good that you'll grow much slower than you're imagining. Under-estimating expenses and over-estimating revenue is a recipe for disaster. Do what you can to avoid that.

Before you get started, take a quick pass at this worksheet to get an estimate of how much it will really cost to run your application. Make some adjustments and explore different scenarios so you can get an idea of how much money you need in the bank to get your idea off the ground.


How does it work?
It's just a Google Docs Spreadsheet. There's not much more to it. It has several tabs and includes some inline notes and guidance to help fill things in. Ultimately, it's just a starting point for you to duplicate and customize for your own business. It's difficult to make a one-size fits all spreadsheet, so it's really just meant to help you get going quickly and save you time.
Is it available for Excel or Numbers?
I haven't created versions for Excel or Numbers, but you should be able to duplicate it and download a version that you can open locally.
Overview The overview provides basic instructions and a little context about each of the tabs.
Profit & Loss The profit and loss sheet helps pull everything together to show at what point your app becomes profitable.
One-time Fixed Costs The one-time fixed costs tab helps you think through all of your startup expenses.
Recurring Fixed Costs The recurring fixed-costs tab helps you think through all of your recurring monthly and yearly expenses.
Revenue The revenue tab helps you think through realistic revenue scenarios.
Marketing Expenses The marketing tab provides a place to evaluate potential ROI of specific marketing efforts.