I'm slowly trying to migrate away from VRBO. As part of that, I started to look into how I might get guests to sign a short-term lease agreement. I wanted the Docusign experience, without the pricetag.
- Cheap, ideally without a monthly fee. Initially, I expect to only have one or two leases signed a year. At most, I'll have about 15 per year, if I were completely off VRBO. They're spread all over the year and bursty.
- Usable (on OSX). It should go without saying, however, I added this after testing a few.
- Templates are a big plus. The ability to define the fields to be completed and just sending the same document. Without templates, you need to define the fields each time.
DocuSign is the leader in the space. Widely used by realtors, many people have been exposed to them. Their pricing actually isn't too bad, as people are familiar with the product. But the template pricing is just too high for me.
Technically NitroPDF is an old windows software meant to replace the crappy Acrobat Reader. They're branched out and now have a cloud offering. However, without paying them, I could not determine what exactly the cloud offering has. What they sell is a $159 one-time purchase windows software, but I don't have Windows. I really poked around and tried to firgure this out, but the lack of clarity and Windows slant made me pass on it.
Secured Signing looks reasonable, but doesn't quite work out in practice. It supports templates and the free tier allows three signatures a month. I signed up for an account to try it out. I created a sample template document and sent it to be signed. It worked fine. I deleted it to make my real document template and found I had hit my three document limit. They start you with one sample document, I created one, and signed one. That was my three. They seem to count ANY documents toward the limit, not just signed ones. The strange counting, non-bursty monthly limit, and the strange and dated interface led me to move on.
Notarize looks great. They're a startup trying to make money by offering online notarization for $25. The use free document signing to draw people in. I created an account and tested it out. Unfortunately, after preparing the PDF document with fields to fill and signatures to sign, when sent, the fields did not appear. The signer could neither fill them in nor complete them. I contacted support, which had me email the development team, and I've since heard nothing.
Notarize also has something called easylink. Essentially it's a link to a template. The idea being you email the same link, someone completes and signs it, and you get the completed form. Unfortunately, after you make one of these links, the URL is only shown once. You can't get a list of all of your easy links. You can't remove them or anything. A little concerning.
HelloSign is a startup doing a lot of advertising and content marketing. You'll see them a lot. I didn't get past their home page as their pricing and features just didn't make sense to me.
Similar to HelloSign, EverSign is another player with a seemingly smaller marketing budget, cleaner homepage, and better pricing. However, I still didn't get past their home page as their pricing and features just didn't make sense to me.
SignRequest offers the most generous free plan, but without templates. They're also the cheapest plan with templates at $84/year or $8/mo. I signed up and tested it, everything worked well and as expected. They also even support Zapier integration, which could come in handy later.
It could be possible to DIY something using PKIjs. The folks behind Hancock.ink have open sourced a lot of the stuff behind their signature product. However, there is a lot that goes into the generation and validation of valid signatures. It's a complete PKI, and not as simple as it may seem.
I plan on using SignRequest. I'll prepare the same document repeatedly as needed on the free plan until I have more than a few a year. After which point, I'll move to the annual plan.