If you are an artist or musician looking to be a creator on Patreon, you may have noticed that there are several different plans to choose from – with the Lite and Pro plan being the most tempting.
The main difference between Patreon Lite and Pro is that the Pro plan will take 8% of your earnings instead of 5% with the Lite Plan and you can only create individual membership tiers when on the Pro plan.
It is free to get started with both plans since Patreon only takes its “platform fee” and deducts payment processing fees once you are actually earning income on Patreon.
To learn more about the differences between these 2 plans and which one is the right plan for you and your project, simply keep on reading, my friend. 🙂
P.S. If you don’t want to use Patreon and would like to see how Patreon compares to other alternatives, check out my article called Patreon Alternatives: How To Pick The Right Membership Platform. 🙂
Patreon Lite vs Pro Plan Comparisons
For all of their plans, Patreon takes a cut of your earnings instead of charging a monthly fee, which means you never actually need to pay Patreon directly to use their platform.
Instead, Patreon’s fees are automatically deducted from your payout on a monthly basis based on which plan you are on.
However… Patreon limits the features that you have available to you as a creator based on which plan you are on as well.
This is why it is so important to choose the right plan when setting up a Patreon for yourself.
Here are the differences between the pricing and features for Patreon’s Lite and Pro plan:
Patreon’s Lite plan: charges you 5% of the monthly income you earn on Patreon and gives you very basic features such as a Patreon page and communication tools.
Patreon’s Pro plan: charges you 8% of the monthly income you earn on Patreon and also gives you the ability to create membership tiers and get analytics.
For a full breakdown of the 3 different Patreon plans available to you, what features you get, and what the Platform fees are, check out my full article on Patreon Pricing, Plans & Fees Explained. 🙂
What does Patreon Lite look like?
Patreon Lite is meant to be a simplified version of Patreon that acts as a first step or introduction to running a membership business. Because there are no membership tiers for this plan, it is much easier to manage your page and memberships.
Patreon Lite pages look like any other Patreon hosted page, but instead of having Tiers and Benefits, there is only a “Become A Patron” button that allows potential patrons to pay what they want for membership with a default suggestion of $5 USD.
On the backend, Patreon creators on the Lite plan get access to the same posting and communication/messaging features as any plan with the only difference being that you are unable to post or message Patrons based on tier (since there are no tiers).
Ultimately to me, it looks like the Lite plan is really just a way for Patreon to help creators get their feet wet with running memberships so that they want to eventually upgrade to the Pro plan to be able to actually create membership tiers.
What does Patreon Pro look like?
Patreon Pro is the typical and most common type of membership and page that you will come across on Patreon as they include tiers and benefits.
On the backend, Patreon creators on the Pro plan are able to make posts and communicate to their patrons based on the specific tier that they are subscribed to.
A good way to know what you get from the Pro plan is to see what Patreon says you must remove to be eligible to downgrade from Pro to Lite.
In order to downgrade from a Patreon Pro plan to Patreon Lite, you must delete your custom color, make your campaign earnings public, make your campaign patron count public, and delete all your tiers.
…so which plan should YOU choose when creating a Patreon?
How To Choose Between Patreon Pro and Lite
I would recommend starting with Patreon’s Pro plan so that you can fully build out your membership with different tiers and then consider changing your plan only once you are actually earning some income from Patreon.
After reviewing the above Patreon plans, it can quickly become clear that you need to join the Pro plan to make the most out of the Patreon platform.
Although the creator fees are lowest, the main appeal of Patreon (the ability to create and charge for multiple membership tiers), is not available in the Lite plan.
It is also worth mentioning again that you are not charged any upfront or setup fees, which means that you can get started with any of the plans that Patreon has available and not have to pay anything until you are actually earning income directly from Patreon.
It’s for these reasons that I’d recommend starting with the Pro plan so that you can fully build out your membership with tiers and only consider upgrading to the Premium plan once you are earning some income from Patreon and feel like you need the additional features.
In addition to this, you should also be aware that there are some additional fees that you should know about when starting a Patreon on any of the plans that are available.
Patreon’s Additional Fees Explained
There are 2 types of fees that you will be deducted from your earnings when using Patreon:
Patreon’s “platform fees” which are mentioned in the above section as well standard payment processing fees.
Patreon’s payment processing fees are a percentage and flat rate of each transaction that is to be paid out to the payment processing company that your patron uses to make their payment.
In addition to fees from payment processors, you may need to pay international PayPal fees, conversion fees, banking fees, and taxes.
Altogether, additional fees can take anywhere from an additional 1% to 5%+ away from what you earn per patron payment on the Patreon membership platform.
To learn everything you need to know about the price of using Patreon (including more detail on all of these additional fees) check out my full article on Patreon Pricing, Plans & Fees Explained.
Does Patreon Offer Free Trials?
Patreon does not offer free trials for creators or for patrons. Creators can sign up and get started free as well as make Patreon posts “public” as a way to offer that to people for free.
In addition to this, Patreon does not provide creators an option to give free memberships, gift memberships, or give free access to any patron-only content.
To learn more about what Patreon offers for free and what free things you can offer as a creator on Patreon, check out my article called Is Patreon Free? for more. 🙂