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Broad questions: resell? license? FMS?

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This is a wide-open post soliciting input of any kind. If it sounds like I'm looking for advice specific to my situation, I'm not - I'm just trying to think through some questions and wondering what temperature the water is.

(At the same time, in case it helps the discussion be more productive, the thing I'm thinking about would be aimed at anywhere from 3-15 users per site.)

I'm contemplating a solution that would be industry-specific and that I'd market in a field that has both large and small installations. I wish to build a price structure (for my clients) that includes the graduated savings of the annual license plan - i.e. I'd like to charge an annual subscription fee, based on the number of seats my client is licensing, and have that price include the same "it just works" upgrade functionality that's built into iOS apps.

Are you guys usually resellers - where the customer is buying FMP and owns the license? That seems much neater to me. But I'd sort of like to own the license, because it will allow me to market to the customer on the basis that you pay $X00 per year, and you use my software and this FMP license that I own, and as long as you give me X months notice, I'll take it all back. Less chance that the client will end up owning a bunch of software licenses that they have no use for.

How about FMS? In my day job, I've seen how much easier it is managing solutions hosted on an FMS console - mostly due to the automation of scripts & backups. I sometimes design databases that make extra (blank) records if it makes the user interface easier, because I can just clean them up each night at 2 a.m.

So I'm thinking of marketing a solution that could either be hosted on FMS (which of course adds expense) or not - if the client wants to commit to handling maintenance and backup on their own. It feels to me though like that might be asking for trouble - a year down the line I'm on the phone with the new manager explaining no, you were supposed to be saving a copy to Dropbox each night . . .

These (and the dozen other questions just like them) are really business questions aimed at the cross-sections of scale, tolerance and expertise that characterize so much small business. War stories welcomed.

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The term the license agreements FMP must be registered to the end user.  If you purchase the perpetual license or the annual license. (even more so for the AVLA as they have to agree to legal agreement. 

This sounds like you need an SBA or Solution Bundle Agreement

The Solution Bundle Agreement program is designed for FBA Solution Providers who want to distribute FileMaker software with their commercial solutions. Only FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) partners are eligible to participate in this program.

The SBA offers FBA partners an affordable way to bundle FileMaker Pro with a commercial solution to sell to their clients. Please review the pricing and application requirements:


  1. You will receive a 50% discount on corporate Annual Volume License Agreement (AVLA) or Volume License Agreement (VLA). EDU SBA pricing has been discontinued.
  2. You may offer both perpetual (VLA) and annual (AVLA) licenses with your solutions. It is imperative that you track your transferred licenses accurately and report by solution to FileMaker, Inc.
  3. The minimum initial order requirement of 50 seats is lowered to 10 seats. The pricing tier is based upon that quantity of the order only, not on the anticipation of any future orders. 
  4. There is a 5-license minimum for reorders. Reorder pricing is based upon that quantity of the reorder only. The pricing tier is not impacted by past or future orders. Reorder pricing is no longer prorated according to the contract date set by the initial order.
  5. You must order or renew at least 50 licenses by the end of the first contract year and each subsequent year to stay in the program.

To qualify, you must:

  1. Be an active FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) partner.
  2. Submit your commercial solution (not customized) in the .fmp12 format. It may only be modified for integration purposes (e.g. connect to other hardware and systems) and personalization purposes (e.g. client company logo for example). Please provide [Full Access] privileges so that we can run a Database Design Report (DDR). Your solution is subject to review and approval by FileMaker, Inc. or its subsidiaries.
  3. We strongly recommend that you list your approved solution on Made for FileMaker, as it is an excellent marketing opportunity for members.
  4. Bundle FileMaker software with the solution (you may not sell FileMaker software purchased with SBA pricing separately to customers.)
  5. Provide a list of end-user customers provided with the software with each subsequent order. FileMaker, Inc. and its subsidiaries reserve the right to audit.
  6. Maintain your account with FileMaker correctly in accordance with our terms by regular on time payment of invoices.


You cannot resell FileMaker SBA Licenses without your approved solution. Purchasing product for resale will result in immediate termination of your FBA membership.

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