White Label vs. Private Label: What's the Difference?

 A developer works on a white label applicant tracking system.

Private Label and White Label Are Incorrectly Used Interchangeably in the World of SaaS

59% of businesses outsource to cut costs, especially regarding SaaS/PaaS solutions that are costly and time-consuming to develop from scratch. Software outsourcing is projected to be on a 10-year growth spurt through 2025 due to how pivotal and widespread SaaS functionalities are99% of businesses use at least one SaaS solution, and 80% of companies rely solely on SaaS applications to run their businesses. 

What is White Labeling?

White labeling SaaS solutions is one way organizations outsource new technology solutions. White labeling is the practice of an organization creating a SaaS solution—in this case of us here at HiringThing, our applicant tracking system (ATS)—for partner organizations to purchase and present as their proprietary software. 

For the uninitiated, an ATS is recruiting software organizations use to streamline, automate, and strengthen hiring—check out our piece on ATS stats to get the full rundown on just how powerful an ATS can be for users. 

Organizations use white label software for a variety of reasons, but it's often because it saves time and money on in-demand new solutions. White labeling allows organizations to add their new offerings quickly, expediting their responsiveness to customer challenges with immediate solutions. HR tech companies that partner with private and white label PaaS/SaaS providers don’t have to spend time and money developing a solution for which they may not have background expertise. Instead of building new apps from scratch, they can direct their resources towards growing their business and delighting their customers. 

What About Private Labeling? 

We often use the term "private labeling" here at HiringThing, which is a type of white labeling that many of our partners choose.  People often use the terms interchangeably (white labeling being a bit more prominent). However, there are subtle but significant differences between these two modalities. 

Customization is the Key Differentiator Between a Private Label and White Label ATS 

Customizations are the most important differentiator between private label and white label. Here at HiringThing, we like to say that private labeling takes white labeling a step further. 

While white labeled platforms are produced by a SaaS or PaaS company, outfitted with the white label customer’s branding, and sold to their clients as a proprietary solution. private labeling allows companies to brand a SaaS product—in this case, an applicant tracking system— as their own or work with the private label developer to customize the platform to fit their organization’s specific needs. In the case of an ATS, bespoke workflows, add-ons, and functionalities can be customized to fit the needs of any organization that partners with the private label provider

Private label purchasers work with private label providers as a mutually beneficial partnership versus the traditional buyer/client relationship. Since end-users aren’t aware of this partnership, it strengthens the brand and scope of the private label purchaser’s product offerings.

This chart shows how a Private Label PaaS/SaaS works.

The HiringThing Private Label Experience

When we first pivoted from largely direct recruiting to our current business model, we initially marketed ourselves as a white label applicant tracking system. However, we realized that our specific HiringThing business model allows our clients to transcend what a traditional white label ATS does—we needed terminology that properly encapsulates the capabilities of a HiringThing partnership. 

While traditionally, private label has been used to describe a manufacture-reseller model that offers customizations beyond a logo swap, it’s gaining traction in the SaaS space to similarly describe developer-reseller models that take things a step further than traditional white label approaches.

A True Partnership—HiringThing's Partner Perfection™

When organizations use a white label SaaS solution, it’s typically a traditional vendor-customer relationship. 

A private label experience is a true partnership, allowing customers to capitalize on a trusted vendor’s pre-existing PaaS/SaaS solutions and knowledge so that they can focus on their core product or solution.

We are deeply invested in our customer’s success, and a partnership extends your team's bandwidth. We work with our partners and their clients to ensure their product has the workflows and capabilities they need, act as support during the initial launch, and provide continued support through the tenure of the partnership. This support comes from marketing, sales, engineering, customer support, customer success, and product development. 

All Private Label PaaS/SaaS Are White Label, but Not All White Label is Private Label

We’ve created this post to educate you on the differences between private label applicant tracking systems and white label applicant tracking systems—the model you choose depends on your organization's business goals.

Private Labeling Doesn't Necessarily Mean Making Things More Complex—It Means Tailoring Our Solution to Your Business Goals, Whatever They Are!

We created a business model here at HiringThing that’s built around flexibility and room for evolution and want to ensure it’s understood that just because our technology and support make it possible for our partners to take things a step further than white labeling, that doesn’t mean our partnerships are necessarily more complex. They’re as layered or uncomplicated as your business needs dictate. 

We have plenty of private label partners who need to go to market fast and initially utilize our technology with their branding, and that’s it. That’s great! They’re using our technology in a white label capacity because that’s what their business needs. We still consider these private label partnerships since these customers have the ability to build on our open API, utilize our integration partners, and work with us on customizations down the road if their business needs change. We’re invested in the success of our partners, and it’s in our DNA to ensure they have all the tools necessary to optimize their ATS should they find that necessary.

It’s helpful to understand that all private label PaaS/SaaS partnerships (in our case, the applicant tracking systems) are also white label PaaS/SaaS partnerships, but not all white label PaaS/SaaS partnerships are private label partnerships. See the chart below for a visual breakdown of this concept.

This chart breaks down the key differences between white label and private label PaaS/SaaS solutions.

  Are you ready to see whether a white or private label partnership works for you? Schedule a discovery call with a product expert.          


About HiringThing

HiringThing is a modern recruiting and employee onboarding platform as a service that creates seamless talent experiences. Our white label solutions and open API enable technology and service providers to offer hiring and onboarding to their clients. Approachable and adaptable, the platform empowers anyone, anywhere to build their dream team.