Re: Sharing a base between a paid and a free user?

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6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Hi all,
I am a free user and I´ve been sharing a few bases with other free users for a while.
I am thinking of upgrading my account to a paid subscription, but I am afraid this might affect collaboration with non paid users. How does this work?
If this sort of collaboration is possible what happens to the product features available only for paid subscriptors when working on a shared base?

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Absolutey agree! I was about to drop quite some funds until I realied how weird that pricing is.

Change the pricing and add a way to link bases and move tabs from one base to another and airtable is the perfect all-in-one tool.

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55 Replies 55
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

I would really like to know this as well.

Does the $24/plan for personal views require the other user to have a paid plan as well?

My guess is that viewing airtable files are free, but editing permissions for paid airtables require paid users

7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Read-only users are free on self-service plans.

Howie I’m still confused

what’s a self-service plan? Is that a free plan?

I still don’t understand this though:

Just to clarify:

  • Free users can access shared paid table bases (1000 + entries) and all of its contents, but cannot edit
  • Free users can access shared free tables (<1000 entries)
  • Paid $12/month users can access shared paid table bases (1000 + entries) and all of its content, and can edit
  • Paid $24/month users can ALSO access limited PERSONAL VIEW paid table bases, and can be limited on selected areas only to edit data

am I understanding all of this correctly?

“Self-service” means the free plan or any of the paid plans that are NOT enterprise—basically, any of the plans where you can just pay (or not) with a credit card.

It might help if instead of thinking of “paid users” and “non-paying users,” you instead think of paid teams. Features like personal views and extra select colors are a function of whether or not a base is part of a paid team.

Let’s say that there’s a company, Blankcorp, with 5 people working on product and 2 people working on marketing team. They’ve split the operations in their company onto 2 Airtable teams: Blankcorp Product and Blankcorp Marketing. The Blankcorp Product team has 7 team members: the 5 product folks, all of whom have edit or creator permissions on the Blankcorp Product team, and the 2 marketing folks, who have read-only permissions to Blankcorp Product.

Blankcorp decides to upgrade the Blankcorp Product Airtable team to the $24/user/mo Pro plan, while leaving the Blankcorp Marketing Airtable team on the free plan. They now pay $120/mo total for the 5/7 people on the Blankcorp Product team who have at least edit access. The bases on the Blankcorp Product team can have personal views and new colors, and any of the product people who have create/edit permissions can use those features. The poor marketing folks, with just read-only permissions to Blankcorp Product, can see the new colors and personal views, but cannot create their own colorful select options or personal views (because, again, they are read-only).

Does this make sense? Essentially, you don’t decide whether to upgrade yourself, but rather, whether to upgrade a team. This means that you’re never in a situation where “paid and unpaid users” are editing the same base. Instead, it’s more like… if you have access to a base with paid features, and you have at least editor- or creator-level permissions, someone is paying for you. So in Alvaro’s case, if he’s collaborating with 2 other people, and he decides to upgrade his team, he’ll be paying for 3 people total, not just himself.

Thanks Katherine, that makes sense!

I am thinking of taking it for a spin, at least a month, to get a sense of the premium features
If I upgrade a team for a month and then decide to go back to free what would happen to the data? (I don´t think I would reach the 1000+ limit anyway…)

Thanks again! Great product by the way!

I was just wondering about this myself. Thanks for the thorough reply, @Katherine_Duh

Hi Katherine!

Just following up here on your reply/totally clear explanation of this to make a case for Airtable considering a different pricing model that would combine Pro and Free accounts. To be clear, I have zero technical or business expertise, so if there are technical or business reasons for this decision, I get that and accept it!

On the chance that this is a flexible thing, I would love to have a Team with a couple Pro-level accounts and a bunch of free ones.

As it stands now, the 90-100 staff members I help oversee at the Writing Center of large midwestern university use the free version of Airtable for a range of tasks and it is extremely awesome and easy, etc. We’d like a few minimal Pro features like branding forms and custom colors, but even with the education discount (I’ve been in touch with Pete and he’s been extremely helpful about getting this discount should we want to), we can’t afford a Pro or even plus account for all our staff members.

Beyond just the features of a Pro account, it would be great if we could give Airtable some money for your amazing product. As it stands now, to collaborate with each other in the ways we currently do, we all need to remain on a free account.

Just thought I’d make the case for this, in case it might open the door for slightly more flexible pricing. If it can’t happen, I totally understand and might even work out a way to get a Pro account for myself and silo off some of our base use to that account where we don’t need collaborative, team-wide Edit access, just so I can support your company. Thanks for reading!

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator


I’m in a similar position to Mathew above. I have a BASE where I’m I pay for a pro account. I can’t grow it though as to collaborate with more users I’d need to add users to the Base.

No problem with that as such but the majority would be read only, if that was available in some form I’d be grow it and add more paid for users to edit and create to provide for the read onlys.

I also have distinct groups i work with, I’d manage this with Workspaces but again the current model of paying per workspace isn’t helpful and it would be easier if i had paid by user accont rather than per workspace

Hopwfuly I’d like to get some corporate buy in on this but we are a large organisation (40,000 +) so that is complex



7 - App Architect
7 - App Architect

Hi Katherine,

I couldn’t agree more with Mathew that I would like to pay something for using Airtable but the structure of the pricing is impossible to justify to the charity.

I currently have created 2 different bases for use by two different charity organisations. They each run a concert for children to perform once a year in, in order for the children to be judged and develop in their Musical and Drama skills.
Each base has 3 or 4 teachers who only use Airtable for about 3 months of the year, following the enrolment and organisation of the event.

They would be happy to pay a small one off fee (to gain extra utilities) however there is no way they could afford to sign up to a monthly charge, so they will remain on the free version.

Would it not be better for Airtable to offer a price for charity usage? How about a price if a database it is not used for more than x months a year. At least Airtable would have some money, (for their excellent software) rather than no money?

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

I’m in a similar situation to a lot of the responders here. I’m basically a one-man web design shop, but I often bring in contractors on a per job basis. These contractors would usually only need edit access for 1 or 2 views - the rest I would manage on my own. If I have 4 or 5 contractors, each only working on tasks for a single project maybe 2 months out of the year, the price tag of $1728/year seems quite steep for what I would be getting. I mean, mostly they would only be switching task items from “TODO” to “In Progress” to “Complete” - that’s all I need, and there seems to be no way to do it execpt adding people at $24/mo.

Related to what @Philip_Barber was saying my question is:
Assuming I am using the monthly payment scheme - can I add paid user accounts to a base at the Editor level for the duration of a project, and then switch the users to Read Only once the project is complete?
Would there be any data loss using this method?

It would be sad to abandon this awesome product due to this pricing structure. But for the cost of 1-2 years of service for 5 users I could build something similar with custom code and have unlimited users and a tool that will last several years.

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

You know - even just adding a setting to allow dragging items between stacks in a private link Kanban view for the free user level would be so great. I know that’s technically allowing someone to edit the data… anyways…

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I’m becoming a big fan of AirTable. I’m using it in a pre-opening setting for a hotel where I and some collaborators are working on putting together a 1000+ item list of Operating Supplies & Equipment. Different department heads are collaborating and adding items from their respective departments. Working great, but I feel we will shortly have to upgrade because of the number of items and the need for special features like custom layouts for printing. Again, love the program but I somehow the pricing model needs to be tweaked preferably in some way where the person who maintains the table for a longer period has the pro account and populaters can have the free or reduced cost option. Keeping the current pricing system will alienate some smaller companies who will just eventually switch back to Excel. Also, I want to keep this particular table in perpetuity for our records. That can end up being quite a costly endeavor.

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

This is a huge mistake on your part, Airtable.

It actually penalizes users for upgrading to pro because they lose a major, critical feature (the ability to share access with free users). If fact, I’m considering downgrading my pro Bases because it ties my hands collaborating.

You can share access with free users, when they have read-only permission:

Yes. Read-only.

If I’m on a free account then all users can fully participate (minus the pro features, blocks etc). If I upgrade my base all the free users are basically locked out and can only view the base.

Unless I am going to purchase an account for every casual participant (freelancers, reviewers, etc.) I’m better off just staying on the free account.

The more I consider it the more I feel I’m better off downgrading…

I’m in the same boat. We’ve got a core team of a few people who’ll need to edit things and would be happy as pros, but the large number of casual users not being able to edit things is a real downside. I’m literally forced to stick with not paying for this product.

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I just wanted to chime in here as well. I love my AirTable, but I’m the main one maintaining it. I don’t mind paying personally for a pro account, but there’s no way I can persuade casual collaborators to pay, and the potential for collaboration is severely limited as a result so we’re using Google Docs instead.

Might I suggest that Free users might be able to edit but not configure bases or tweak column settings?

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I love my Airtable too and have the same problem mentioned above - I would like to pay, my collaborators in temporary projects can‘t.
Maybe this two approaches can help?

  • Me with two accounts; one paid for me only and one free for collaborating with other free users.
  • Feature Request for base-based featureset option; On the base it should be possible to define if it‘s paid (pro) or free.
4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hi Airtable team,

It seems like a hybrid base that allows unpaid users to just edit records while pro users have advanced privileges is a popular demand. Is there any chance in the foreseeable future of offering such a plan?

Airtable’s viability as the primary project management tool in my org depends on the answer (seems to be the case with multiple users in this forum!)