How Essentials billing works

When you sign up for Essentials, you get a 30-day free trial. After your paid subscription starts, we charge your primary payment method at the beginning of the next month. If your paid service starts in May, for example, we charge you at the beginning of June. After that, the billing cycle continues automatically at the beginning of each month.

When your paid service starts, here’s how you’ll be charged.

Billing rates

Monthly payments start after the free trial period ends. We charge your primary payment method at the beginning of each month for the number of active users during the previous month. You pay:

  • The full USD 8 for any active user in a month, even if the user completes only one charged activity at any time during the month (for example, viewing one file on the 25th of the month).
  • The full USD 8 for any active user if your subscription doesn’t cover an entire month—for example, if you cancel in the middle of the month.
  • A minimum of USD 8 for a month's service, even if you don’t have at least 1 active user during the month.

    You're billed for the duration (number of hours) your organization had the service during the previous month. A prorated charge for a partial month can happen if you start, or end, your paid service during the billing cycle.

Billing currencies

You can pay in your local currency. However, your payments are calculated in U.S. dollars. So depending on the exchange rate, your payment might vary from month to month, even if your active users remain the same.

Cloud storage

  • Up to 2 TB of pooled cloud storage shared by everyone in your organization.
  • For each new user you add, you get 100 GB of storage added to the pool, up to a maximum of 2 TB.

Active users and storage usage

What defines an active user?

An active user is anyone added to your account who engages in at least one charged activity at least one time during the month. Other users, including those outside or inside your organization, aren't counted as active users.

Charged activities include, but aren’t strictly limited to:

  • Viewing, opening, printing, or previewing a Drive file
  • Downloading a Drive file
  • Changing the contents of Drive, including:
    • Uploading files
    • Creating, copying, renaming, removing, or moving files
    • Adding files to My Drive
  • Sharing Drive files or changing sharing permissions
  • Managing membership for a shared drive
  • Syncing files that have changed
  • Hosting or joining a video meeting or live stream with Google Meet

The active user charge applies to the person doing something with a Drive file, not the file’s owner. However, if a non-owner updates a file, the owner is also charged as an active user when the file syncs.

Some user actions don’t trigger an active user charge. These uncharged activities include, but aren’t strictly limited to:

  • Browsing activity:
    • Users can browse, search, sort, or filter files without charges.
    • They can also look at the View details panel or see who a file is shared with.
  • Syncing files that haven’t changed
  • Changing Drive settings
  • Accessing of files by users outside your organization
  • Joining a video meeting or live stream if the user is outside your organization or the user is not an Essentials user
What storage counts towards my limit?

Your storage usage is the total GB of Drive content for all users in your organization.

Files included in your storage usage:

  • All non-Google Docs editor files, such as photos, videos, audio files, PDFs, and Microsoft Office files, including non-Google Docs editor files in shared drives
  • Files in users’ Trash
  • Files owned by suspended users
  • Files on hold in Google Vault (domain-verified customers only)

Files excluded from the storage usage:

  • Drive folders
  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Sites, and My Maps

Billing examples

Say your organization has 3 users: A, B, and C. Here’s a sample of how your monthly charge activity for Essentials might look for a 30-day month.

Active users
User Activity Active User? Charge Note
A Edited a Google Doc daily Yes USD 8  
B Renamed one file one time, on the 25th day of the month Yes USD 8 For an active user, the charge is always the full USD 8 per month, even if the user activity took place after the 1st of the month.
C Changed several Drive settings No NA Changing Drive settings doesn’t make a user an active user.
Total charge

The total charge for your organization for this month is USD 16.00 for active users (2 x 8).

Even if you pay in a currency other than USD, your charge is calculated in USD. Your actual payment depends on the current exchange rate.

For example, suppose you pay in Euros and the exchange rate is USD 1 = EUR 0.85. Your charge is calculated as USD 16.00. You’re billed EUR 13.60.

Reducing users and cancellation

If you modify your Essentials users or subscription, the billing rules depend on your customer type and the action you take.

Removing a user’s license (domain-verified customers)

If you remove a user’s Essentials license in a given month and the user had any activity that qualified them as an active user for the month, you’re billed USD 8 for that user for the month. After that, you’re not charged any user charge for that user. If the user has any storage, unless you delete the data, it continues to count towards your storage limit even after you remove the user’s Essentials license. Learn about what happens to a removed user's account and data.

Deleting a user (domain-verified customers)

If you delete an Essentials user in a given month and the user had any activity that qualified them as an active user for the month, you’re billed USD 8 for that user for the month. After that, you’re not charged any user charge for that user. Learn about what happens to a removed user's account and data.

Removing a user from a team (email-verified customers)

If you remove a user from a team in a given month and the user had any activity that qualified them as an active user for the month, you’re billed USD 8 for that user for the month. After that, you’re not charged any user charge for that user. If the user has any data stored in shared drives, unless you delete the data or the user moves it to their personal account, it continues to count towards your storage limit even after you remove the user. Learn about what happens to a removed user's account and data

Canceling Essentials (all customers)

If you cancel your Essentials subscription in a given month, you’re charged USD 8 per any active user in that month. After that, you're not charged.

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