Licensing and Workspaces - How do you handle?


#1

Hi folks - been an Airtable user myself for years (love it), and finally we’re going to roll it out to our organization. 25 users roughly. Going to be paying for Pro for all users (nonprofit pricing), for a few reasons.

The challenge I’m trying to get feedback on is how do you handle the idea of managing Workspaces and user licensing and permissions? The way it’s set up in Airtable is basically I have two options.

  1. I can add people as collaborators to the Workspace. Then they can see every database there. But if I want to have some databases restricted to only some people, and some available to all, that won’t work. I could create additional workspaces, but that’s no good, because I’d have to license people multiple times. Or have some on the free plan, which feels ridiculous since I’m paying for those users and all I’m trying to do is subdivide.

  2. I can add people individually to bases they should have. That has 2 problems. First, no one can create bases except me. Second, I have to do a lot of work managing user access in individual bases.

The second option is the only viable one I see based on the licensing structure of Airtable. It’s sort of odd that the license is not a user license, but a user + workspace license. Theoretically if you want to use Workspaces to subdivide things, you could pay the licensing fee multiple times.

My plan is basically to just have to wade through the complexity of managing user access one at a time on all those bases, and then if people want a base to request me to create it and share with appropriate people. Out of curiosity, has anyone else come up with a better way of dealing with this?


#2

I could have SWORN it was per user. It is kind of weird because the plan is based off of workspace tier, but I throught you were only charged for the highest level of usage on one user account, not the sum of the tiers that that user has access to… that is really weird if that is the case…


#3

It doesn’t appear so. When I look at it for myself, if I want to create another Workspace so I can separate out some of the bases, I have to pay an additional licensing fee for it (unless I put it on free, but again, I’m paying for the pro features so I should have them associated with ME not the workspace). FWIW, I haven’t tried doing that and then adding users to it to see if I pay twice for them as well. Perhaps it’s just me who has to pay twice. I can try and find out.


#4

@Katherine_Duh,

Any clarification on how licensing works?


#5

This makes it sound more like I was saying. They call it “billable contributors”.


#6

It is per user, but as far as I can tell, it’s PER user, PER workspace. So if I have two workspaces, each on Pro, I’m paying twice. I decided to test it out and use my airtable credit to pay for it. Unless there’s some magic behind the scenes, here’s the billing scenario.

  • I create a workspace, assign to pro plan, invite 2 collaborators into a base on that plan (or into the whole workspace), I pay 3 “billable contributors” fees. - one for me, two for the additional collaborators
  • Now, I create another workspace, assign to pro plan, invite one of the collaborators from the other workspace into a base on this workspace, Now I pay 2 more “billable contributors” fees - one for me, one for the additional collaborator

Now, I am paying 5 fees for 3 users. As far as I can tell, there is no other way to do this than what I describe above - either pay multiple times per person, or manage everything on a per-base basis. There is no other logical grouping that exists, and the only grouping that does requires me to pay over and over again for a user. Or upgrade to Enterprise, which is a major cost increase.


#7

I see.

Well, that’s lame if that’s the case! Might as well put everything into one workspace then.


#8

@Mark_Bazin & @Jacob_Turley,

I tried to explain this a while back in this post:

Hopefully that helps.


#9

Yes, that is the scenario I mentioned in my first option above - managing it on a per-base basis rather than a workplace basis. BUT that can be pretty cumbersome. And then those users can’t create any bases that have pro features, only free . . . which is sort of odd to me since they are being paid for. There should be a better way of managing this sort of thing . . . groups would do it, or folders, or allowing the license to follow the user across workspaces.

Managing it on a per base / per user basis is the only solution I see, and I had hoped someone had some suggestion on a way to make that less cumbersome. It’s just a rough change management process . . . like having a file server that doesn’t allow anyone to share a folder of files, but only individual ones . . . or all of them, but no in-between.

Let’s say you have a new user join the organization. And you have 7 bases that person should access. You go into all 7 and share them. It’s fine, but it’s a lot of clicking if you don’t want to add them to the entire Workspace.


#10

That’s a deal breaker for me and that’s why I’m still on 2 free workspaces. I contacted them to make sure it was a workspace x users model and they confirmed. I believe they are losing a lot of business because of this model. Nobody likes to pay twice for the same thing. Now I’m not 100% sure pro users registered as creator to only one base could not create their own table inside the same workspace where they are registered as Pro… it sounds contradictory even if they have access to 1 base of your created workspace…


#11

In my testing they cannot. They can only create new bases in a free workspace, unless they are collaborators in a pro database. We will just have new bases on a “request” basis and I will create and share.


#12

They could also create a base in a free workspace where you would copy the base to your paid workspace and invite them back to the said base…


#13

Yes, now THAT is a good idea. Thank you!


#14

Welcome Mark! I have decided that the best system for us is to keep 2 workspaces, one free and one Pro… You can invite by links and also anyone in your domain (yourcompany.com) to have access to certain bases into the paid workspace. You can keep the free space open to everyone. Good luck!