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MRR vs ARR: Understanding the Metrics that Drive Business Growth

This one-stop reference will help you comprehend MRR vs ARR. Whether you're a CEO seeking to expand your firm, or a college student studying for a test, this guide will aid you.

An essential measure for a SaaS company is MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue). ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue, often known as Annualized Run Rate) is a comparable statistic with significant distinctions. Let's take a closer look at MRR and ARR and decide which one to utilise and when. This guide will help you understand the difference between MRR vs ARR.

What is the distinction between MRR vs ARR?

While ARR and MRR are similar, the distinction between the two is in the details:

ARR provides an overall perspective of your firm, whereas MRR offers a more detailed insight.

ARR measures your company's long-term success, whereas MRR measures its short-term operational efficiency.

When subscribers sign multi-year contracts, ARR is more appropriate. MRR suits new startups or businesses that sign up monthly subscribers.

What exactly is MRR?

MRR is an abbreviation for Monthly Recurring Revenue. It is a normalised indicator that indicates the average monthly revenue you may expect from paying clients. A subscription-based SaaS company does not rely on one-time sales like a product-based company. Instead, its business model is based on a consistent revenue stream from subscribers (both new and existing). Customers should be able to continue paying month after month if the product provides enough value.

In a subscription business, new customers continue to sign up (new MRR), while existing customers leave (churn out). This happens all the time. As a result, the MRR fluctuates. The month-to-month MRR pattern is a good indicator of a company's health.

Who is it intended for?

MRR is appropriate for businesses whose clients sign monthly subscriptions. It is also advantageous for organisations in their early stages because it allows them to change their operations and products and develop more rapidly quickly.

MRR is critical for your SaaS business.

  1. Monthly patterns: The MRR is critical for SaaS businesses since it gives monthly trends. A month is sufficient to evaluate a company's performance.
  2. Financial planning: The use of MRR is for financial forecasting and planning because it predicts monthly revenue. It allows you to forecast future cash flow.
  3. Concentrate on high-value clients: MRR assists you in calculating Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) for all of your clients. You can concentrate on your most valuable clients, supply them with good value, and make it difficult for them to quit you. It is less expensive to keep and upsell existing consumers than to acquire new ones (this is the Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC).
  4. Growth and momentum: It is appropriate for measuring the company's growth rate and momentum. If the MRR continues to rise, the company will be doing well. If it is declining, you must take corrective action, such as lowering churn.

The formula for Calculating MRR

The MRR is calculated using the following formula:

MRR = ARPU X Number of subscribers

Subscribers pay ARPU (Average Revenue Per Unit) which is the monthly payment. Consider the following example. A SaaS company has 25 subscribers, each paying $100 monthly. The ARPU is thus $100. And the MRR is as follows:

ARPU X MRR 100 subscribers multiplied by 25 is $2500.

One issue is that not all subscribers may pay the same fee. Discounts, add-ons, various usage levels, or different subscription packages could take all account the pricing variance.

Consider another example.

Assume the company has ten subscribers who pay $150 per month and 15 subscribers who pay $100 per month. Then,

MRR = (10 X 150) + (15 X 100) = 1500 + 1500 = $3000.

What exactly is ARR?

The ARR is the value of recurring revenue that a company generates from its subscribers each year when normalised over a year. The ARR forecasts the entire amount of income generated each year.

Like the MRR, the ARR includes various components that raise or lower it. These include ARR from new sales and upgrades, renewal retention, and income lost due to customer churn, cancellations, and downgrades.

Who is it intended for?

ARR is widely in use among B2B enterprises that offer multi-year subscription plans. It is important to note that neither MRR nor ARR is required for compliance with GAAP, a set of Accounting Standards released by the FASB.

The significance of ARR in your SaaS business

ARR is quite helpful for the following:

  1. Assessing the company's financial health: ARR reveals if total revenue is increasing or declining and why. With this knowledge, you may concentrate on and enhance particular aspects of your business to increase your income.
  2. Budgeting: You can better plan significant spending. This involves increasing spending on employee remuneration, making important hiring, improving marketing and sales spending, and purchasing or updating equipment.
  3. Attracting investors: Businesses with a high ARR attract investors and purchasers. The contractual obligations to acquire (and pay) over long contract durations instil trust in the company's current and future performance.
  4. Forecasting revenue: You can more correctly forecast revenue and cash flow. This allows for more exact budgeting.

The formula for calculating ARR

The basic formula is straightforward.

12 X MRR = ARR

So, if your MRR is $5000, your ARR equals 12 X 5000 = $60000.

Alternatively, if your company has ten subscribers who have each paid $1000 for a yearly subscription, then ARR = 10 X 1000 = $10,000.

However, not all of your customers may be on a one-year contract. Customers may have signed multi-year agreements of varying lengths. Assume you have the following:

Five subscribers on a three-year $6000 contract, ten subscribers on a two-year $5000 agreement, and 40 consumers on a one-year $3000 contract. We'll need to annualise their yearly agreements here. As a result, the ARR would be:

ARR = 5 times (6000 / 3) + 10 times (5000 / 2) + 40 times (3000)

= 10,000 + 25,000 + 120,000

= $155,000

Which Should You Use: ARR or MRR?

ARR and MRR are nearly identical. The main distinction is the period over which sales are normalised - year versus month. As a result, ARR provides a long-term or "big picture" view of corporate performance, whereas MRR provides a shorter-term view.

It depends on the organisation and the type of clients whether you utilise MRR or ARR. If you are an enterprise organisation, you should choose ARR because most of your subscribers will be on yearly contracts. If most of your clients pay monthly, you should use MRR.

ARR is suited for your company if subscriptions last at least a year and most clients have signed a one-year or multi-year contract.

MRR helps make short-term plans and assess the impact of recent modifications. ARR predicts long-term growth and the size of your business in the future.

Finally, while considering selling your business, keep the ARR in mind. Buyers will look at this, not the MRR.

However, you can employ the critical measures of MRR vs ARR.


  • ARR can be used for valuation, financial reporting and predictions, sales and marketing management and decision-making.
  • ARR growth is a multi-variable function with many moving parts that can all be improved simultaneously.
  • Some measures are more important than others and should be prioritised before going on to other levers to pull.

We hope this guide helped you understand the difference between  MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) and  ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue).