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Billing issues with a collaborator

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I accidentally added a collaborator to my account. I didn’t realize that I would be billed again for inviting a colleague to join Airtable and be a collaborator on my account. Is it possible to speak to someone at Airtable about this charge? Can we remove the collaborator and get a refund or a partial refund since I really don’t want a collaborator for the workspace?

Thank you,

Wendi

15 Replies 15

Welcome to the Airtable community!

Billing is usually pro-rated for the amount of time the person has access to your base.

If this was a mistake, you can contact support and explain the situation. They are usually helpful.

I always debate this with Airtable (contact support directly) because it is sort’a like double-dipping. They are always accommodating and gracious to reverse the changes (my experience thus far).

When a client adds me to their account, they pay for my account and I also pay for my pro account. Makes no sense and I think it was the premise for the movie The Firm where a client complains about billing for several hours of extra fees, Mitch (Cruz) realizes that mailing clients these padded bills is mail fraud, exposing the firm to RICO charges.

I’m not accusing anyone of anything here - it just seems nutty to charge a customer for another customer’s involvement to help that customer. Airtable should be thrilled you can find help, but they shouldn’t double charge when you invite help into your account. Different story if that new helper needs an account to begin with.

This suggests you are entirely comfortable with paying additional fees for the right to access bases, and not for a specific account. So which is it - are we paying for an account? Or are we paying for base access? I’m confused.

Hi Bill, as I’m researching this, I got an email from Airtable Support saying they would gladly refund me since I deleted the collaborator I didn’t need. I’m going to look through the payment details to see what I missed because clearly I missed something :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Wendi

Thank you, Kuovone. I just received an email from Airtable Support saying they will refund me since we deleted the unneeded user. Woo hoo!

And that is still wrong. If company (x) needs to work with collaborator (y) and collaborator (y) already has a paid account, why should company (x) have to pay anything?

Imagine I know how to fix (x) and 200 Airtable customers invite me into their base to fix (x) and stay around to optimize (y) and (z) over the next year. Airtable will realize 201 times the revenue for just me.

This is nutty and I’ll continue to think that until someone can give me a good reason that this makes any economic sense for anyone except Airtable’s shareholders. :winking_face:

But my collaborator didn’t have an account, paid or otherwise, when I added him. So, that part is null and void.

I think we pay for base/workspace access, not an account. An account itself is free.

But free accounts include access to vastly unlimited bases, right? And paid accounts are the same. If we invite a user to access a table, they must have an account, right? Ergo, we pay for accounts that give us access to bases.

If we invite a user with account to engage in activities that require a paid account, they must pay. If we invite them to work on another base in a second workspace, must they have two paid accounts?

If workspace owners complain that a consultant was added to their billing level who already has a Pro account, Airtable kindly removes that charge and the consultant is still able to access the workspace and shared bases. That said, is this not validation that there’s something wrong with the billing mechanism and model?

Still confused.

My understanding is that simply having an account by does not include access to any bases. An Airtable account is a prerequisite in order to have access to a base or workspace, but access to bases is not inherently included in the account.

I don’t think so. I think accounts are free. I started with a free account. My kids have free accounts. There are no fees associated with my kids’ Airtable accounts. I think they don’t even have a credit card hooked up to their accounts.

If I invite a user to edit one of my bases in a paid workspace, then I must pay for that user to have that access to my base. That user doesn’t pay anything for access to my base; only I pay. I am not paying for that account. The account existed before I invited it to edit my base. The account will exist after it is removed from my base. I am paying so that the person has access to my base.

I don’t know. I don’t have experience with this.

I agree that the billing model has its issues. But that is different from identifying how the current model operates. In the current model, accounts are free, but the workspace owner must pay for everyone who has access (beyond read-only access) to a base in that paid workspace.

The very idea of a free account is not the scenario I’m describing or this customer experienced. Perhaps not bad business per se, is this socially or financially prudent?

Imagine I know how to fix (x), a shortcoming of Airtable, and 200 Airtable customers invite me into their base to fix (x) and stay around to optimize (y) and (z) over the next year. Airtable will realize 201 times the revenue for just me using my Pro account to collaborate with customers in a supporting role.

In my opinion, this is wrong on so many levels. Please explain how anyone could defend this policy?

I think that it is a matter of a point of view.

Many people just know that they are “paying for Airtable”. They do not consider whether they are paying for their account or if they are paying for access to a base/workspace.

If you want a second opinion on whether or not accounts are free, feel free to ask @Kamille_Parks

I am not trying to say the policy is right. I am trying to explain what the policy is.

My perspective: Accounts are free. Airtable is designed so any number of folks can have their own accounts and get access but one account foots the bill at the Workspace level.

Workspaces, while not interconnected in any meaningful way, are individual products. Its like going clubbing. There’s a door charge for everyone who goes in. If you want to then go to the club across the street, it doesn’t matter that you already paid for a similar venue. You want to walk through another door, so pay another door charge to access the different club. There is very little that prevents you from doing all your clubbing at the first venue (in most cases teams can do what they need with a singular workspace). But idk maybe Jim is banned at Venue 1 and you need Venue 2 if you want him to be able to join. My analogies are flawless.

Airtable’s pricing structure encourages you to go clubbing with fewer people, but there may be value in encouraging people to stay at a single club.

I have no idea what would be the most fair pricing for users and simultaneously profitable for Airtable. Airtable could:

  1. Make number of collaborators by permission level the only basis for pricing (e.g. all bases get the same record/automation/etc. limits, access to colors, base insights, etc.)
  2. Every user pays for their own global account privileges (e.g. if you want to edit anything anywhere, you pay for an Editor-level account at $x per month)
  3. Admins still foot the bill for each collaborator at the Workspace level, but workspaces can have sub folders (eliminating much of the need to have separate workspaces which artificially multiplies the number of user instances)
  4. Pricing is handled at the workspace level where the feature breakdown across Plan levels is the same except instead of being charged by collaborator ($20 per collaborator/month/workspace), you’re charged by record ($10 per 10000 records/month/workspace). The max number of records is the same across all plans based on Airtable’s technical limitations.
  5. all the others i can’t think of

To me, (3) sounds like the more likely compromise but (4) sounds the most ideal. I would rather pay a lot of money for a few people working with a lot of data, than pay a lot of money for a lot of people working with a little data.

How about, a workspace is like throwing a party at a restaurant / venue The host of the party (owner of the workspace) pays for everyone who is invited to the party (workspace/base). If one of the guests brings an unexpected plus one, the host is charged for that additional person.

Now suppose you have two kids with birthdays close together, but each kid wants his own party. So you book two parties (workspaces) at adjacent restaurants/venues. You pay for all the guests at each of the two parties. Your kids have a few friends in common who float back and forth between the two parties. You pay twice for those common guests, because they are at both parties.

Someone crashes the party and gets added to the headcount. When you see the bill, you realize that you were charged for the extra person. You explain the situation to the manager (Airtable support) and the party crasher is removed from your bill.

The parties get so big that you hire a party coordinator (Airtable consultant). Because the party coordinator attends the party, he gets added to the headcount that you are charged for. Then you talk to the manager (Airtable support), and ask to have the charges for the party coordinator removed. The charges for the party coordinator are removed because the restaurant knows the coordinator/consultant makes the party run more smoothly and increases the odds of you continuing to use the restaurant/venue/workspace.

I also have no idea. In every scenario I can think of, someone is left off with a worse deal than the current situation.

There will always be bases with high user counts but low record counts, and bases with low user counts but high record counts.

There will always be people who need high permissions levels in some bases and few permissions in other bases. And people will always think that users who can do less should cost less. But from an engineering point of view, it actually is more work to ensure that people are limited in what they can do.

A la carte pricing could smooth some of the pricing inequality, but adds a huge layer of complexity that no-one wants to engineer or understand.

Fortunately, Airtable has some really smart people.