The Google Maps API, for 13 years, has been used extensively for store locator software. It has also been used for location mapping for websites of all sizes. The initial reveal of the API was incredibly exciting. It immediately led to a new era of game-changing apps both consumer-facing and for enterprise use. At that time, the implementation was free to use for a large majority of small applications.

On May 2nd, that status quo finally changed. As a massive consolidation of the collection of 18 individual daisy-chained APIs, the new Google Maps Platform streamlines the entire process into just three separate silos: Maps, Routes, and Places.

But, as with so many major steps in paid services, there is a catch. Google also changed the pricing structure for Maps API usage.

Same Service, New Price for Google Maps API

The updated Google Maps API is available for implementation already, having launched on June 11th. The new pricing structure kicked in officially on July 16th. The previous pricing model remains in effect until that time.

Trying out the new service is free through the 16th. Anydevelopers taking time to get used to the new system before then will not incur charges. This only applies to new services, which are considered to be in beta until the new price kicks in.

The new pricing model includes $200 worth of free API usage every month. After that, you’ll be subject to a pricing structure that charges per API call, tracked separately across Maps, Routes and Places. And within those three categories, certain types of calls are also tracked differently. Keeping a close eye on the billing page during the transition period is crucial.

All customers will need a valid API key connected to the new system to continue working with the Google Maps API; implementations based on the previous Maps system will begin to degrade and eventually fully cease in functionality after July 16th.

The New Impact of Scale

With the new pricing structure, only the smallest businesses with the lowest need for API calls come out ahead. They may end up staying underneath the $200 per month limit. And, likely pay less overall for the few calls that go beyond that amount.

The caveat here, of course, is an unexpected uptick in calls leaves you open to an unexpectedly high bill.

But that is far from the most common use for the Google Maps API. For established small businesses and especially regional businesses with multiple locations, the new structure leads to an exponentially higher financial requirement per month.

Going by the early estimates tracked during the free period between June 11th and July 16th, costs may jump three to four times over previous expenses for your everyday regional business store locator application at minimum. 

With that level of change in billing, all types of maps implementations are at risk for unforeseen expenses. Whether your store locator map is meant for large-scale public use, or happens to be a smaller-scale effort for internal use, the ceiling for free API calls covers such a tiny amount of active use that it leaves any type of store locator app open to unexpected spikes in monthly expenses.

Cutting Costs Through Software-as-a-Service

For small to medium-sized businesses that rely on having an operational store locator app to guarantee a steady stream of new leads, these new costs are an undeniable burden. But there is another option.

It may be time to find the right partner to handle the entire process for you. Do this by taking advantage of the benefits of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) store locator package. The economies of scale will end up in your favor compared to entirely internal development costs. This is also combined with the fluctuating, higher monthly payments to Google.

MetaLocator has already built the tools necessary to operate a fast, efficient, and most importantly powerful store locator app for your business.

Consider the advantages of having access to this level of service without putting together a team to do it all on-site:

  • Over 300 pre-built features, ready for deployment as soon as you need them
  • Responsive design that seamlessly adjusts to anything from the largest desktop screen to the smallest smartphone, with no loss in functionality
  • Fully indexable by search engines. Proven record of leading to improved search ranking due to the added utility it provides your business website
  • Multiple language support

Rather than targeting a few simple features for a small team to make for your regional business, you’ll have access to this full suite of technology that MetaLocator already built for you.

But here’s the best part. Choosing features and implementing the MetaLocator maps tools on your business website is simple. No programming experience is required to get a powerful store locator operational within minutes.

How MetaLocator Leads You Towards Direct Savings

The simple answer: MetaLocator pricing plans are flat, so there are absolutely no surprises in store for you during any given month. This was true before the new Google Maps API pricing increase, and remains true after.

There’s more to it than that, of course. You can avoid nasty surprises in your API bill. You’ll also have access to powerful features. This is more than most small teams could come up with for a regional small to medium-sized business. A powerful store locator app means fewer barriers between you and a prospective customer. This creates a direct line between your website and your regular stream of new business.

And, if you choose a plan with SEO features, we’ll work tirelessly to guarantee that every single aspect of your store locator has unique landing pages with the style of rich content that Google and other search engines consistently rank the highest.

So why wait? Our SaaS is a powerful tool with incomparable results, that cuts the risk out of running a store location tool in 2018. Contact us for a free consultation on how we can tailor our service to the unique needs of your business, today!