Can you actually sell tickets online for free?

One ticketing question we see cropping up time and time again is whether there are any free ticket-selling platforms out there. The short answer is, no – because such platforms cost money to build and run, it’s not possible for them to offer a completely free service (logical, really, when you think about it). 

What gets confusing, though, is where that cost crops up – and who pays for it. 

At first glance, it may seem like a ticketing platform doesn’t cost anything to use. But bearing in mind the fact that accepting online payments costs money, and that ticketing platforms need to pay staff to work for them, and that it costs money for them to develop tools (the list goes on), it’s worth stopping to think about how any legitimate site could offer all this for free. They’ve got to make money, somehow, right? Correct. 

With that in mind, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to sell tickets – try not to be tempted to jump straight for a platform that claims it won’t cost you a penny.

Here’s why:

The platform might be hitting your customers with hefty hidden charges 

In the events world, first impressions are everything. So if you find that a ticketing platform is passing on their costs to your customers via hefty hidden fees, and ticking said customers off in the process, you’ll want to know about it. Better yet, you might want to avoid using the platform altogether. 

Opt for one, instead, like Ticket Tailor, which lets you opt in or out of passing booking fees onto your customers, and to decide exactly how much these should be. It’s a good idea to choose a platform that lets you decide how you’ll charge your booking fee too. You could charge a fee per sale – for example $2 per ticket would mean that if a customer bought five tickets you’d get $10 in booking fees. Or you could charge a fee per transaction – say, $5 (so you’d get $5 whether the transaction was for one or more tickets). With Ticket Tailor, you can choose to opt for one of these options, both of them, or neither. 

Plus, through setting your own booking fee amount, you can choose whether you want to recoup some of the other costs associated with organising your event too. It really is up to you – the important thing is that the platform you’re using is 100% transparent with you about costs, so you can be with your customers. 

The platform might be using your customer’s data to make money

You know that saying, ‘If it’s too good to be true…’? 

If a ticketing platform claims to be free to use, but is clearly making a heap of money somehow, there’s a good chance it’s using the data it gets about your customers and selling it on, or using it to target them with advertising. It’s a pretty underhand way for the ticketing platform to make big profits off the back of the data they only have access to because of you. 

At Ticket Tailor, we never sell on customer data or use it for any purposes that isn’t directly related to your event. In fact, once we’ve sent your customers a confirmation email – our use of their data ends there.

So what kind of ticket selling platform pricing structure should you look for?

There are tons of ticketing platforms out there to choose from, and many will take a percentage of your ticket sales as a way of charging for their services. This isn’t necessarily bad per se, but of course it all depends on what that percentage is. Some platforms have been criticised for eating too heavily into ticket-sellers’ profits, for example.

At Ticket Tailor, we only charge a flat fee (either Pay as You Go or monthly) and never a percentage of your ticket sales. This kind of pricing can help you better manage your event-related finances, and usually ends up costing you less.

Which kind of structure you choose will largely depend on your needs and event type, though. Say you were looking to sell tickets to a large-scale festival abroad – you may be better off using a platform dedicated to that kind of event, and so be happy to go with the percentage fees. 

Choosing the right ticketing platform can play a surprisingly big role in the success of your event. So when it comes to those platforms that claim to be 100% free – think carefully about what kind of ethos that company might go by, and whether it's the kind of platform you want to get involved with, at all.