Add a Site Administrator user (now that you're killing Client Billing)

Webflow needs to add an optional Site Administrator user to all paid site plans. (Now that it's killing Client Billing)

Webflow has shot itself in the foot. It's eliminated client billing and Client Billing was one of the primary reasons many designers, both freelancers and agencies, have made Webflow their platform of choice. Sure, Webflow is at the forefront of the no-code movement right now, but the laws of commerce won't let it hold that position forever. So, Webflow, what makes it easy to adopt you as our platform of choice is not only the great web builder you've created, but the client billing service that makes it easy to take care of our customers. And for us freelancers, our customers are the most important thing in the universe. The ability for customers to pay directly for their service is a key component in customer care.

The Backstory

What we learned a few years after the web design boom in the early 2000s is that running a web management company is difficult and full of pitfalls. Of course, at first we saw huge potential as "web designers" because we could make a decent living designing beautiful websites for our clients, but we could easily sustain and grow a business through residual income in the way of upcharging for services like procuring and renewing domain names, managing hosting accounts, maintaining SSLs, etc. This was a wonderful concept in theory, but we learned that the income generated by the upcharging was no where near enough to account for all of the challenges of dealing with website management. Some of us decided to become website service managers, grew our development team, and went for Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, or custom code as our platform. The rest of us designers decided to go a different route. We started sacrificing our design sensibilities and shoehorning our creations into self-service platforms like Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace. While these platforms were limited and sometime even ridiculous at least our clients could pay for their own accounts, eliminating the need for the website services management component. If something happened to us—a freelancer that was killed in a car crash or an agency that closed it's doors—it wouldn't hurt our customer and their website. Sure, they'd be saddened by the loss, but their website would still keep functioning until they could transition to a new service provider.

Then Webflow introduced Client Billing as a feature, and at least for me, as a freelancer, that's when I decided to make Webflow my platform of choice. Now all of that creative freedom and the "no-code" promise became viable because regardless of what happened to me, my client's website would continue to run without too much concern other than maybe the client overlooking an expired credit card.

Oursourcing Client Billing is Like Going Back to 2001

Now that Client Billing is going away, you've reintroduced several paths for a potential for customers to lose their website. And for me, that's a step backwards in the future of web design services. I don't care what happens to me but I don't want anything to hurt my customer's business through the inadvertent loss of their website. What can happen? We don't know yet but the loss of Client Billing makes things messy again. If we want to build our own "client billing" feature we have to introduce a third party to our customers, and third-parties, we're learning, are not always dependable and may not be around as long as you need them. (Think Wordpress Plugin developers or Flowdock.)

So, the best option for us web designers is not to re-introduce the pitfalls of website management back into our client relationships in the way of "client billing." The best option is to have our customers pay for their own Webflow hosting and for us to manage their website settings for them.

The Fix. Give Us Site Administration

Webflow, what you should do is simply create the ability for site plans to have two site administrators, more might be better for some agencies but all we need is two, the account owner, and one other designated administrator. That's all we need, just one additional super user. Just make it so this super user can't edit the billing information or hosting plan level. That's it! The funny thing is that you know that you've been holding off on doing this for a very long time in the interest of revenue generated by the complex hosting, team, and account plans you've set up. But if you're planning on focusing your efforts on maintaining the best web builder out there, then give us a new simple super user and let us get on with designing.

  • Cesar Lopez
  • Apr 6 2022
  • Cesar Lopez commented
    17 Oct, 2022 05:00pm

    On September 22 Webflow announced an upcoming feature that allows clients to add unlimited Workspace Guests. This is a promising fix for the problem of using Webflow for client projects that was compounded by the elimination of Client Billing. It looks like it will be similar to Weebly's "Site Editor - Admin" function that's been around for over 10 years. If Workspace Guest works as expected, it should make Webflow feel like it's back on track with the future in mind.

  • Guest commented
    11 Apr, 2022 09:25am

    This works really well for me, thank you! Facing same issue here. Help is appreciated.

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  • INAGREAT commented
    7 Apr, 2022 10:41pm

    I cant believe how much we pay Webflow, to be ignored! If they don't get their shit together I'm leaving! 🤬

  • Ian Russell commented
    6 Apr, 2022 09:59pm

    Yes, this is the clear path forward. We can't ask our clients to sign up for a new account and then share their login information. This is terrible security protocol and we shouldn't be encouraging it. Sites need to have multiple superadmins.

    (Additionally, if clients are moving to their own Workspace accounts now, I'm not sure why designers would need to have their own Workspace accounts without a change like this suggestion).

  • INAGREAT commented
    6 Apr, 2022 05:03pm

    Cesar Lopez Thank you! This feedback was very thorough and I hope they read it. I have to say I do agree with Giuseppe Legrottaglie. But you're right too, I guess "beggars can't be choosers" so if they're going to remove client billing at the very least they need to give us a master admin account possibly even a company admin account. This would be a much better solution than that ridiculous partnership with Bonsai. I already use Quickbooks so giving us a deal on Bonsai doesn't help me at all. Your Idea would at least make it a little easier to deal with this magnitude of change.

  • Giuseppe Legrottaglie commented
    6 Apr, 2022 02:40pm

    Great idea and super shareable.

    Obviously the current Client Billing is 10 steps ahead of your idea as it does not require the client to create the webflow account.

    For example, in Italy, to declare the hosting expense without also charging the customer the surcharge due to taxes, I need the Webflow invoice for hosting to be in the customer's name anyway.

    So let them wake up, I've never seen such a big setback in a company.