Prop Firm Scaling Plan Comparison (21 Firms Compared)

What is a prop firm scaling plan, and why is it important to understand the scaling plan mechanism to become a funded trader by trading a prop firm’s capital?

We’ve analyzed the scaling plans of the 22 best prop trading firms, and some results were surprising.

1. Topstep Scaling Plan

The Topstep scaling plan is part of the objectives in the Trading Combine. The scaling plan with Topstep defines how many futures contracts you can trade at specific stages of the Trading combine. We take the popular $50K account as an example.

If your profits are below $1,500, you are allowed to trade a maximum of 2 contracts at the same time. If your account profits are between $1,500 and $2,000, you can trade 3 contracts at the same time, and once the P&L rises above $2,000, you can trade up to 5 futures contracts at the same time. You never have to trade the maximum, but you should never trade more than allowed by the scaling plan since, otherwise, you will be disqualified from the Topstep challenge.

Topstep offers a 1-step evaluation across all account sizes.

Assets traded: Futures contracts via Tradovate, NinjaTrader, Quantower, R|Trader, ATAS, Bookmap, and Investor/RT platforms.

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2. Earn2Trade Scaling Plan

Earn2Trade provides funded trader programs similar to Topstep by focusing on futures trading. Earn2Trade calls their scaling plan progression ladder. The progression ladder regulates the limits of futures contacts traders can open simultaneously during their so-called examination, which is what Topstep calls a Trading Combine, and other prop firms call it challenge or evaluation.

We take the Gauntlet Mini progression ladder as an example. With Earn2Trade, the maximum number of tradable futures contracts in the $50K account is limited to 2 contracts with profits below $1,500, then 4 contracts with profits between $1,500 and $2,000 and above 6 contracts. So, similar to Topstep, the number of contracts is the crucial part, and you can see with Earn2Trade, it’s possible to trade more contracts at the same time above $1,500 in profits.

Earn2Trade offers a 1-step evaluation with all Gauntlet Mini account sizes.

Assets traded: Futures contracts via NinjaTrader, Finamark, R|Trader, R|Trader Pro, Overcharts and various others.

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3. The5ers Scaling Plan

The5ers is a forex-specialized prop firm. So, other than Topstep and Earn2Trade, with The5ers, traders trade EUR/USD, GBP/JPY, and other currency pairs. That’s why the definition of the scaling plan differs from Topstep and Earn2Trade. The similarity is that a scaling plan is always about growing an account and profits.

The5ers defines the net P&L balance target and payout ratio based on the current account balance. A rule of thumb at The5ers is that for every 10% of generated profits in the funded account, the account balance gets increased, and the payout ratio can also improve in favor of the trader. Keep in mind, though, that the scaling is only active once you pass the two challenges needed to earn the funded account.

Let’s say you received a funded account after going through the 2-step High Stakes Challenge. When your funded account balance is $60K at some point, your profit target is $6K to grow the account to $66K at a profit split of 80/20 (80% for the trader). Once you reach the $66K in account value, The5ers bumps the account size to $70K. From here, you have to grow the account to $77K. Once reached, The 5ers increases the account size again, now to $80K, and so on.

At an account size of $175K and above, the payout ratio gets even better for the trader, and from $350K on, the trader even receives a monthly salary.

The5ers offers an instant funded account, a 2-step evaluation, and a 3-step challenge.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

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4. Trade the Pool Scaling Plan

Trade the Pool is a subsidiary of The5ers and provides funded stock trading accounts. The scaling plan is here once again more defined by using the word progression, where your progression is measured by the TTP pump and dump formula.

That means that Trade the Pool (TTP) increases your accepted daily loss %-level. For every 5 consecutive profitable days that reach at least 3 times your daily loss, the account gets pumped up by up to 15%. In contrast, if you have 5 consecutive days where you lost money, the accepted daily loss gets reduced by up to 15%, while it can never be less than the initial balance loss limit you started at.

So, with Trade the Pool, you can’t scale up your account buying power with the scaling plan. Instead, you win some freedom with a broader range regarding the allowed daily loss limit.

Assets traded: Stocks and ETFs (web-based platform)

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5. SurgeTrader Scaling Plan

The SurgeTrader scaling plan concept is similar to The5ers, where traders can increase the account size by reaching a specific profit goal. What makes the SurgeTrader unique is that it gives you the option to either move on from the demo account to a funded account where you can withdraw profits or to decide to increase the account size up to 5 times at no cost.

For example, you start with the $25K challenge, and you reach the 10% profit goal. You now have the option to get a funded account where you can withdraw the profits to your bank account based on the profit split details, or you decide to stay on the demo account and increase the account size to $50K, then $100K, $250K, $500K and finally $1 million. So, when you double the demo account size, you can’t withdraw profits, but you can then get a funded account with a higher value if you once again reach the 10% in profits.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

6. FTMO Scaling Plan

As you can already see from the companies above, a scaling plan, by definition, does not mean the same across all funded trader programs or prop trading firms. Instead, each company describes, based on its own rules, what a scaling plan is and how it is handled.

FTMO has its own scaling plan definitions, which differ significantly from the ones mentioned before. FTMO increases capital on accounts in a four-month cycle. For traders who generated at least 10% of net profit with regular accounts and 20% of net profits with aggressive account types in four consecutive counted months (not per month, but over the full 4 months), the capital will be increased by 25%. However, that’s only the case if, during those 4 months, the trader has processed a minimum of 2 payouts. The maximum scaling levels a trader at FTMO can reach is $1M for aggressive accounts and $2M for other accounts.

The rule is relatively complicated since the relevant time is not only one month but a 4-month trailing cycle, and there is the additional rule that you have to pay out profits. In addition, there is another rule that traders have to ensure that the current account balance is above the initial account balance. So those who process the minimum two payouts but then fall below the initial account balance can’t get a bump in account value.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform worldwide, cTrader outside the U.S.)

7. The Funded Trader Scaling Plan

The Funded Trader scaling plan is once again different from the other scaling plan methodologies. Traders who start with a trading challenge at The Funded Trader can get a bump in account value of 25% every 3 months. It works like this. You start, for example, with the $100K account.

3 months after your first trade, The Funded Trader will automatically check if you either generated a return of cumulated 6% over the past 3 months or if you had an average of 2% in profits per month. A minimum of 2 months out of 3 months must have been profitable. If that is the case, the account size increases by 25% from 100K to 125K.

Along with the scaleup in account size, the allowed daily drawdown also gets increased. Similar to FTMO, traders at The Funded Trader need to withdraw 2 times, but within a 3-month period. The maximum account size that can be reached is $1.5 million.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

8. FundYourFX Scaling Plan

FundYourFX is an instant funding prop firm where traders start with account sizes between $6K and $30K and the opportunity to scale up the accounts to $2 million. Your account size moves in levels 1 to 6, where for every 10% in profits, your account size gets a bump.

Let’s take the $30K Professional Plan as an example. Here, you start with a funding balance of $30K. After the first 10% in profits, your funding balance gets increased to $45K. With the next 10% in profits to $67K, then $200K, $1M, and finally $2M. What makes FundYourFX unique is that all accounts are instant funded accounts, where traders can get paid based on the profit split right from the start.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform, Eightcap as broker)

9. Instant Funding Scaling Plan

Instant Funding offers instant funding options like FundYourFX, where traders get funded directly and then can scale up their capital for every 10% in profits to up to $1.25M or decide on a one or two-phase evaluation program before getting funded.

The logic Instant Funding follows is relatively simple and straightforward. For every 10% account gain, Instant Funding doubles the account size with a maximum of up to $1.25M.

Those who decide on the lower-priced one or two-phase challenges need to reach the funded account first before scaling is possible.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

10. Uprofit Trader Scaling Plan

After so many forex prop firms, here is once again a futures prop firm with the name Uprofit. Uprofit has similar rules to Topstep and Earn2Trade, the other futures focus funded programs in this list and as for the $50K account, the rules are as follows.

When you start with the $50K account, you can trade a maximum of 2 contracts at the same time until you reach $1,501 in profits. From there, up to $4,000 in profits, you can trade 4 contracts, and then after $4,000 in profits, you can trade up to 6 futures contracts simultaneously.

Assets traded: Futures contracts via NinjaTrader, R|Trader, R|Trader Pro.

11. Funded Next Scaling Plan

Funded Next offers a scaling plan for successful traders who consistently trade by the rules. For every 10% accumulated growth in 4 consecutive months, traders are eligible for a 40% increase in account balance, with a maximum of $4 million. The rule is similar to FTMO and The Funded Trader since a minimum of 2 payouts must be processed before a scaleup takes place.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

12. Smart Prop Trader Scaling Plan

Smart Prop Trader increases the valance of the trading account every 3 months by 25% for those who meet the scaling plan conditions to an account balance of a maximum of $2.5 million. In addition, the max drawdown increases by 2%. The information about the scaling plan on the website is not that comprehensive.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform, Eightcap as broker)

13. E8 Scaling Plan

The U.S.-based company offers a more conservative approach to scaling, where traders can grow their account balance at their own pace. Once a trader has a funded account and makes profits that can then be withdrawn, the part of the profit split of the trader can be withdrawn to the bank account and the other amount gets added to the starting capital in the next cycle.

Let’s say a trader started with $100K, then he made 10%. From the 10K profit, he withdraws 8K to his bank account and the other 2K gets added to the funded account starting value of the next cycle, which is then $102K.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

14. Funded Trader Plus Scaling Plan

With Funded Trader Plus, traders can decide to either withdraw their profits to their private accounts or use the profits to increase buying power to add the profits to their funded trading account size. However, it needs a profit of 10% made in the accounts before profits can be used for scaling (and 20% on the Advanced Trader Program). Also, traders must be lat without any open positions. The maximum account size is $2.5M. This is not an automated process and requires to raise a support ticket.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform, Eightcap as broker)

15. FTUK Scaling Plan

FTUK has a scaling plan for their forex-funded accounts, where the funding balance doubles for every 10% milestone reached. What sets them apart is that the leverage increases on level 3 from 1:10 to 1:20, on level 5 to 1:30, level 7 to 1:50 and finally on level 8 to 1:100. The highest-possible scaling account size is $5.76M.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform, Eightcap as broker)

16. City Traders Imperium Scaling Plan

City Traders Imperium traders can scale their account as high as $4M funding capital based on their homepage. However, they also mention a tier 1-step funded trader program with an account side of up to $2M and different scaling plan values on the challenge scaling plans page. I found that information sort of confusing since it does not clearly indicate what is true for what type of account.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

17. True Forex Funds Scaling Plan

True Forex Funds rewards success and increases the funded account capital every 3 months by 25% of the initial deposit when at least 3 withdrawals have been made, and the overall profit is above 8%.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

18. Ment Funding Scaling Plan

Ment Funding offers a scaling plan to traders with live accounts. They increase the maximum lot size with every 5% increase in profits in the account. It needs a request via email to get that done. Example: You have an account with a starting balance of $100K. In that case, you can trade a maximum of 10 lots. If you grow your account by 5% to $105K, you can now request a trading size of 10.5 lots.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (platform not mentioned, but likely MetaTrader platform)

19. OneUp Trader Scaling Plan

OneUpTrader belongs to the prop firms that let traders trade futures contracts. They have an extensive range of account sizes, and every account size has its own rules, so we take the $50K account as an example. In the $50K account, you start with a maximum trade size of 2 contracts (for some reason, they call it lots on their site, which is a term used for forex trading). Once the trader makes a minimum of $1,501 in profits, he can trade 4 contracts and above $4,011 6 contracts.

Assets traded: Futures contracts via Tradovate, NinjaTrader, Quantower, R|Trader, ATAS, Bookmap, and Investor/RT platforms.

20. Audacity Capital Scaling Plan

Audacity Capital prop traders start with $15K accounts and scale up their accounts to a maximum of $500K. The account size gets doubled with every 10% profit target reached.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

21. Fidelcrest Scaling Plan

With Fidelcrest, you can scale up your initial balance within 12 months after completing the first Professional Account trading period. On request, their team adds 25% initial capital every 3 months if the requirements are met. Also, it’s required that the average growth of the account was 5% on average for 3 months, and the balance needs to be above the starting balance. The doubling of the account size is the maximum that can be reached after 4 increases within 12 months.

Assets traded: Currencies, metals, indices via CFDs (MetaTrader platform)

Prop Firm with the Best Scaling Plan

The prop firm with the best scaling plan with futures funded accounts is Topstep, while The5ers and Surge Trader have the best scaling plans across forex funded accounts.

Conclusion

Before joining a prop firm, you should take a close look at the scaling plan details to understand the limitations and opportunities that come along with it. For futures prop firms, the scaling plan typically limits the number of contracts tradeable. If you trade too many contracts at once, you get disqualified from the trading challenge. Forex prop firms, in contrast, see the scaling plan mainly as a scaling of the account size and buying power, which also involves an increase of tradeable lots, chances, and risk.

Some programs let traders scale their demo accounts before they finally get a funded account. Others only allow scaling of live accounts. In fact, there is no one-fits-all definition for scaling plans. Suppose you made it through the whole article about the prop firm scaling plans for funded traders in challenges or instant funding scaling plans. In that case, you know that nearly every company has its own definition, rules and details on scaling plans.

What Is The Best Instant Funding Scaling Plan?

The5ers offer the best instant funding scaling plan via their Hyper Growth program, where the account size of the instant funded account doubles with every 10% profit target reached.

What Should I Know About Forex Prop Firm Scaling Plans?

Forex prop firms typically increase the buying power and lot size of tradeable currency pairs when traders reach specific profit targets. Some companies also require that payouts have to be processed before scaling up the account.

What is a Prop Firm Scaling Plan?

A pro firm scaling plan is a sign of trust of the prop firm to their traders. The more traders earn trading the financial markets, the more profitable it is for the prop firm. The best traders get higher-valued accounts to trade, which can enable them to make more money.

Alexander Voigt, CEO
Article by
Alexander Voigt is the founder of DayTradingZ, was a regular contributor to Benzinga and has been featured and quoted on leading financial websites such as Investors.com, Capital.com, Business Insider and Forbes.
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