Plans or setups for freelancers serving multiple clients on Netlify?

Hi all,

I was just curious about the opinions of Netlify support and any other Netlify users on this topic!

tldr: What’s the best way to use Netlify for multiple clients and have scalable usage limits? And are there/will there be any paid plans to meet higher usage limits for freelancers?

I am a freelance designer and developer. I serve multiple clients with different needs, but most are smaller businesses or creatives with a mostly front-end site. I absolutely love Netlify and always have - wherever possible I choose to host with Netlify because of its ease and great functionality with things like forms and Github integration.

However, I want to make sure I can scale when the time comes. I was wondering if there is a particular setup people recommend when hosting client sites with Netlify - e.g. do you create a new Netlify account for your client, or host everything on your own?

Secondly are there any unique Netlify plans for freelancers (or is this something you are looking at?) which help with hosting multiple client sites? I understand 500 sites available just on the free plan is unreal, but I worry about limits. I’m happy to get to the point of potentially paying for the Pro plan if I am hosting a lot of clients’ sites to meet the demand, but I was wondering if there are any plans more gauged to freelancers/smaller development firms?

For example, something that concerns me is paying $19/month for pro for the reassurance of more build minutes and bandwidth, but things like form submissions don’t scale as well. If my client goes over 100 form submissions per month (which could be down quite easily), an extra $19 dollars per month would be a tough sell to a client and also a big hit for me to take.

In an ideal world, I would pay $99/month for the Business plan - unlimited form submissions, analytics and identity would be dreamy! But unfortunately business is not regular or high paying enough for me to justify that spending just yet. An option would be for me to charge a monthly fee to clients for me to host for them on my Netlify account while I pay for the Business plan, but is this allowed? And if so could they have access to view things like analytics or form submissions via a reviewer account for their site only?

Apologies for the wall of text and slightly incoherent question - but I have seen such helpful responses on these forums so I thought I’d give it a go to help me figure out my general plan with what I offer to clients so I can stay on Netlify!

I appreciate any points, help or direction of resources on any and all of the points I have made in this post - thank you!

Hey @LushawnDev,

I’d definitely let other users chime in as well, but here’s what I can say from our past experience. I have seen hardly anyone - probably just 1 or 2 users (but definitely not no one), write in about a similar query and my advice would go something like:

Ask your client to create an account, you can control (you’d most likely have to share password, if not spend money on an extra seat) and ask them to add their credit card to the account. This way, for any account bills, they’d pay for it automatically, and you can only charge for your development fees or professional expertise. The sensitive credit card details won’t be visible to you even if you share the account, so they shouldn’t have any privacy concerns that way.

If you don’t do this, it would be really difficult for you to charge your users for their fair use. For example, if you go with the Pro or Business plan and dump all sites in them, and one or a few of them shoot over in terms of bandwidth, it might get difficult for you to calculate how to charge per user. You could always offer your clients flat-pricing and bear the loss or gains for an unexpected event.

For form submissions, if the client is not willing to pay the extra money, I believe you might have to look for a separate serving to process forms. However, you can also use Netlify Functions to store the submissions elsewhere and send email notifications to your client, that way you can get about 125k submissions for free (if you don’t use functions at all otherwise).

Unfortunately, as of now, there’s no special pricing being discussed or thought about for freelancers specifically (as I mentioned, this is not a frequent request that comes up). That’s not to say, freelancers are not using Netlify, it’s just that we don’t know how exactly they’ve laid their pricing around ours.

@LushawnDev I’ve been using Netlify for many years and I don’t believe that “an account per client” makes much sense for a freelance or “small agency” business.

While it’s true that it offloads the cost directly to the customer, since Netlify charges “per seat” it multiplies the “per seat” charge “per customer”, increasing the total cost, whereby each customer pays for their account (which they may or may not need), plus your account that is pushing code to their repository, and then anyone else you may have that commits code.

It also makes it harder for you as a business to manage the client’s sites, as you either need to login/logout, or “switch” between the various accounts.

While it’s more overhead from a billing perspective, you can keep costs closer to hosting expectations of your clients by charging them only the small hosting fee they already expect to pay + (any special itemized usage they may have, e.g. if they need forms at an additional $19), then put their combined funds towards the one Netlify account.

You’re then covering the fair “usage” of resources, but not having every client pay for every developer seat, as if each client is also running the agency.

If you found that one client in particular had excessive usage, you could always transfer ownership of their account to separate it out at a later date.

There’s not much difference between Freelancers and “Small Agencies”, and I know that several small agencies provided feedback to the “partners team” at length when Netlify increased pricing by introducing “git contributors”.

Breakdown of “multiple account” pricing issues here:

Concerns around the lack of support for the “business plan” here:

Suggestion for a “simpler plan” here:

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Hey @nathanmartin - thanks for your post, I have also brushed up on your other posts surrounding this topic on Netlify now and it’s all very interesting.

I appreciate you pushing the agendas of small agencies and freelancers so we get a fair say on things as well, very commendable! I also view freelancing as similar to small agencies.

I think I may slowly “step” through the current pricing plans as and when, with the goal of getting to (aka being financially viable) the Business plan, as I do like the features offered by Netlify.

If I charge clients a hosting fee to cover my monthly Netlify costs and charge them extras for any extra usage like you mentioned, it seems the economies of scale would be pretty good. Then the more clients I get I can also start to cut the hosting costs I offer, or make a nicer profit from managing their hosting for them.

Thanks for your input, I’ll definitely try keep up with you and your posts on here