I think that overall while yes, Bonsai is a paid service, if you’re transitioning from client billing in Webflow to Bonsai, they’re really doing a lot to make sure it’s as painless as possible – notably this includes a full year of Bonsai’s service for free, and a discount after the fact. So, while eventually you will have to pay something, the cost is subsidized substantially.
I can’t speak for Webflow, but I expect that this is something that makes sense when considering the cost of continuing to support a billing & payment system – costs which would likely be passed back onto the users as they increase.
I’m not going to tell anyone who uses client billing how they should feel about this change, but just trying to share some perspective.
Thanks for your reply Chris. I appreciate your perspective, as well as the first year free with Bonsai. I imagine that is helpful for some.
Either way though, costs will be passed on whether it is in Webflow or via Bonsai. Switching to Bonsai doesn’t help Webflow’s customers (designers) in any way. It further complicates the process and will end up in higher costs for the designer or clients anyway.
On top of Bonsai’s yearly subscription, there is also the payment processing fees for every charge (2.9% + .30 - which is pretty standard). While its not a large amount per transaction, it is effectively adding a few dollars to every client. I am guessing most agencies and freelancers will be passing this onto the client. So, in the end, the cost of hosting on Webflow will have increased via client billing in Bonsai.
I see this is good for Webflow and Bonsai - but it certainly isn’t for anyone else. I love Webflow as a tool, but this definitely doesn’t feel good. And, certainly, I don’t know anything about Webflow’s financial outlook - maybe it was necessary.
As a newer and struggling freelancer, it just felt like a punch in the gut while prices on everything are going up everywhere. But, I’ll get used to it just like filling my gas tank.
I think this is going to be the hardest part to shift perspective on. Webflow is being proactive in shifting away from client billing now so they can allocate those resources elsewhere will ultimately bring us all a better experience in other areas. I feel like that’s worth the trade. Or, at least, I have the confidence in Webflow that it will be, even if we can’t see it right now.
Webflow is providing credits to accounts to compensate users for their time in making the switch from client billing to an alternative way of collecting client funds.
Although it’s a little frustrating, I don’t mind switching clients over and am interested in some of Bonsai’s features, however, I am very concerned about handling exchange rates. I am from the UK and am based in Canada. I’m not sure how I can do this without incurring exchange rate charges.
I actually think that having client billing was indeed a better experience over their competition. These little details are that make webflow different and better for the agencies and freelancers. Now, this move makes payments system the same as squarespace, which focuses on a much broader audience.
Transferring to client - means loging back and worth between multiple accounts when changes requested. Also, one of my client has three websites, just imagine the frustration here
Setting Bonsay - means we pay more for what we already had and in general, webflow suggesting some third party company for this feels like a commission agreement between Bonsay and Webflow.
Setting up our own payments via paypal - don’t even want to start on this…
I guess scaling for webflow, means broadening the audience. I hope this is the first and last removal of a feature that made/makes webflow different.
I appreciate your optimistic perspective, but in all honestly, over the last 4ish years of using Webflow I’ve seen them “shift away” from multiple features that truly help web designers / agencies / freelancers. Even their current change in pricing is so ridiculous, and we have to email them again to get that discount code? How many freelancers are going to miss these updates? I barely saw it because I was checking my email (which came in spam by the way). It feels like they’re offering the email for your discount code as a way to actually fly under the radar.
It’s going to be a headache and more work for us to have to have this conversation with our clients, and set them up with new billing, when I haven’t probably spoken to most of these clients in years. So stoked to manually do all this work for 20+ clients and not charge for it. Since this isn’t really the clients fault right? Why would we charge them to transition all of this for something they didn’t ask for? Yes, obviously, we can say it’s maintenance. But it’s not, this is the deliberate fault of Webflow. Putting it on all of us.
Webflow raises 120M in series C funding, but continues to implement features at a snails pace (even with the extremely active wish list) and raises prices for hosting and removes client billing as well as other features.
Yeah, I’m super confident they will allocate those resources elsewhere and will ultimately bring us all a better experience in other areas.
I won’t hold my breath.
By the way, I’ve been using Harvest (Referral Link) since I started freelancing. I tried Bonsai a few years ago and they didn’t offer negatives on invoices (let’s say invoicing for half up front and then half at the end) so I switched back to Harvest. Harvest has recurring invoices as well and I just love their software. Since I’ve been using it since I started freelancing, I’ve been able to see my income over the last 10 years with their reporting which inevitably makes it really easy for tax season every year. Just thought I’d share and recommend since it does feel like there’s a commission agreement between Bonsai and Webflow .
@nathanielperales I feel the same way. It’s a bit of a slap in the face that they raise $120 million… and cut cut cut on services that they’ve had for years now. Between this and the workspace update (brutal for me as a freelancer, even with their “discount”), I’m battling about whether to continue working in Webflow. I feel that the walls are closing in on freelancers on this platform—pay more or get off kinda vibe.
fwiw bonsai is great, we’ve been using it as an agency for years for tracking time on projects and invoicing clients. We don’t even use client billing, we just have our clients sign up for their own webflow account and send us their info. Having been a small agency for many years I never liked white-labeling or billing for services that I don’t actually provide. The small amount of money you make by doing this is not worth the lack of transparency with your client. Having your client have ownership over their assets and having them trust you is worth much more and will keep them coming back for more work.
If you set up clients on their own Webflow accounts, then you’re not really billing them - they are essentially paying their subscription fees straight to Webflow (and I’m assuming this will continue to be this way for non-client billing). I have never added extra fees just to keep them in my client folder. The process has always been very transparent and they know who they are paying.
I use Wave for my own business accounting and sending invoices for design fees (its free) and any maintenance thereafter. It sounds like this is how you use Bonsai (in addition to tracking your own time) so its definitely a no-brainer for you to migrate your clients over. And I do see the benefit of having everything in one place, but it doesn’t change the fact that this change is imposing increased costs on either the designer (not currently using bonsai) or the client - not to mention the aggravation of migrating clients over. I am lucky in that I am a newer designer and don’t have many clients to transfer over to their own accounts (or Bonsai as other designers may choose to do).
I also think there is a flip side to this where clients don’t like sharing their username and passwords so you can access their account as they tend to use the same ones for multiple platforms. If Webflow allowed a designer level access to an individuals account (and not just as an editor) I think it would be more palatable.
In any case, thanks for joining the conversation. I don’t profess to have the right answers - just feeling the pain as a newer freelancer and not wanting to deal with transferring clients to their own accounts (although it may be easier for me in the end if I’m being honest - but I will definitely not be subscribing to Bonsai).
I’m new to Webflow, and I found the client billing process pretty strange. I never need to charge a client for hosting, and would prefer that they pay the bill themselves directly.
However, this doesn’t seem like a huge improvement. As @ArctypeCD said, I also don’t want to have client login information. I need to have access to manage their site, just as I would need to be able to SSH into a typical hosting setup. As the developer and designer I should really have my own separate account to make changes to their site, and I hope that Webflow introduces a designer-level access very soon if they are making this change.
Can’t agree more. Bonsai has been amazing for me as a freelancer and I have nothing but great things to say about their platform.
That said, the (very generous) offer Webflow is making doesn’t apply to folks like me as it’s only available to new Bonsai customers. Given this is really only a downside for Webflow customers who use Client Billing, it would have been nice to get some sort of perk. Even a single free month (as opposed to the 12 months free and 50% off for life new customers get) would make this a bit easier to digest.
This is such a bad practice (mainly for security reasons), but unfortunately it’s the only solution I see myself using going forward — at least until Webflow offers some form of developer access for our client’s projects. It feels like Webflow leans on Workspaces as a solution for this problem, but my clients won’t be very happy if they need to not only buy a Webflow Account plan, but also pay for an additional seat, especially for a single hosted project that I need access to.
Offering some sort of access to developers, whether it’s through an included, limited-access (only the Designer) seat on Core plans or — more understandably — given to developers who already pay for their own Account plan. The worst part of Workspaces is that there is no consideration of “Account plan overlap” between users.
Totally agree here. I never charged my clients more on top of their monthly hosting cost as it seems like a cash grab for the actual amount of work I’d need to do within any given month. I’d rather just include that cost in my initial development quote, and/or bill for my time needed on extra development work.
Thanks for sharing that here. Anyone here can reach out to support. While the discount with Bonsai is helpful, there is definitely a cost to the time involved in switching. Webflow recognizes that and wants to help, so please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This decision was not made quickly or lightly. There were months of custom research and discussions. It became clear those using the client billing feature want a lot more from the tool. @PixelGeek talks more about that in today’s livestream.
Everyone please keep sharing your feedback. As long as it is civil and respectful to everyone on the forum, candid feedback is welcomed and encouraged.
My personal sentiment, as current user of client billing, I am going to be making the same decisions for my clients as you are and going through the same process. It won’t be enjoyable, but in the long term, I would much rather Webflow advance in being the best-in-class tool for visually building websites than creating a global invoicing finance app on the side. That’s a very different goal.
Welcome to the forum. From the FAQ section of the Webflow University article on transition:
Will my account’s credit card be charged when I delete my client?
No, not immediately. The site plan subscription will be moved to your account, and will keep its original billing cycle. Once the site plan’s billing cycle renews, your account will be charged.