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SLA's are sadly uncommon in the SaaS space

by Alex Yumashev · Updated Nov 5 2021

After the recent Facebook outage I got curious how many SaaS B2B products have an actual SLA - a Service Level Agreement with a legally binding uptime commitment. Turns out SLA's are very uncommon in the SaaS space. Here's a little comparison table I compiled, just for illustration purpose.

First I tried to remember every well known product like Github, Salesforce or Basecamp. When I ran out of ideas I opened IndieHackers (for the lack of a better "saas database") and went through the most notable bootstrapped products with revenue > $200k/mo. I also asked around (friends and coworkers mostly) and finally filtered the list down to "critical" B2B services only, where an SLA would actually make sense. We can all live without a social media scheduler or an image editor for 5 minutes. But help desk ticketing, issue tracking, payment processing, CRM, project management, email marketing and any form of IaaS (VoIP or ESP) should probably stay up at all times.

For every product I tried googling for "{{product}} sla", "{{product}} service level agreement" or "tos" and looked through the legal docs to find any form of uptime commitment. Here's what I found:

SaaS Target uptime Moneyback
Intercom 99.8% none (right to cancel without penalty)
Salesforce none none
HelpScout none none
Stripe none none
Basecamp 99.99% 10x refund for the time it was down
Slack 99.99% 10X refund for the time it was down
Freshdesk none none
Mailchimp none none
ConvertKit none none
Zendesk 99.95% 10% monthly credit
SendPulse none none
Mailgun 99.99% 5% monthly credit for every 30 minutes
Gumroad none none
Zoho none none
Gitlab none none
GitHub none (99.9% for "enterprise") none (10% quarterly fee for "enterprise")
Jitbit 👋 %99.98 10x refund for the time we're down
Retool none none
Ghost 99.9% 5% monthly credit for for every hour
JivoChat none none
MailUp 99% none
Baremetrics none none
Typeform none none
Notion none none
Happyfox none none
Grasshopper none none
Less Annoying CRM none none
Shopify none none
Sentry none none
Linear app none none
Newrelic 99.8% none (right to cancel without penalty)

Notable comments

1. I mean no disrespect to fellow self-funded SaaS bootstrappers, we all have our plates full. Hey, we at Jitbit didn't have an SLA up until recently! So I actually expected the lesser known products to have no SLA, but was really surprised to discover giants like Shopify, Salesforce and Stripe havign no uptime commitment.

2. I might have missed something in my research, many companies publish a spaghetti of PDFs that are hard to get through. Also a couple of companies do promise "best effort" uptime percentage in casual Twitter threads and support forums, but I guess that doesn't count as a legal obligation.

3. Worth noting that all major cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP) all have solid SLA's in place

4. Feel free to send more examples and corrections.