Choosing the right Google Workspace plan for your organization

Google Workspace Business editions monthly versus annual costs chart
Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Google Workspace represents a rebranding of the set of applications formerly known as G Suite. The announcement signaled Google’s desired direction: a unified workspace. Google Workspace pricing, however, sends a more significant signal than the renaming of Google’s current app offerings.

Here’s a look at the current Google Workspace plans and pricingalong with key features you might consider when choosing a plan.

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Plans and pricing for Google Workspace

Google Workspace’s plans

Google Workspace offers three Business plans — Starter, Standard and Plus — and two Enterprise plans — Standard and Plus (Figure A, An additional option, Google Workspace Essentials Starterallows teams of up to 25 people to use Google’s collaboration tools, such as Google Docs, alongside an existing email and calendar collaboration system.

In February 2023, Google announced Workspace price changes, For customers who pay annually, rates remain unchanged. However, customers who pay monthly will pay slightly more for this flexibility. Price changes go into effect March 2023, except for customers with 10 or fewer accounts, for whom changes are deferred until January 2024.

Figure A

Google Workspace's pricing plans for Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, and Enterprise
Google Workspace offers three business plans with published pricing along with Enterprise plans.

Pricing for Google Workspace Business plans

Pricing for Google Workspace Enterprise plans

Pricing for Enterprise plans is not published. As a legacy customer, when I walked through the upgrade process, the offers I saw included the following; The per user pricing Google offers your organization for Enterprise plans may be different.

  • Google Workspace Enterprise Standard: $27.60 per user per month or $276 per user paid annually.
  • Google Workspace Enterprise Plus: $36 per user per month or $300 per user paid annually.

Google requires that new customers who seek Enterprise licenses contact Sales. Note that there is no minimum or maximum number of users for Enterprise plans.

Google provides a comparison page with a detailed checklist that allows you to review the features offered not only across the Business Starter, Standard and Plus plans, but also across the various Enterprise, Education and Essentials editions (Figure B,

Figure B

A detailed comparison of Business Starter, Business Standard and Business Plus features
Google provides a detailed comparison of Business Starter, Business Standard and Business Plus features.

The adjusted prices align more closely with Google Workspace pricing. Microsoft 365, For example, Microsoft lists pricing for its 365 Business offerings as:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $72 per user paid annually.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $150 per user paid annually.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: $264 per user paid annually.

Key features of some Google Workspace plans

The following analysis compares key features of the Business Starter, Business Standard and Business Plus plans, along with a few Enterprise plan features.

User limits

The Google Workspace Business plans all add one key constraint not previously present in prior G Suite plans: a maximum of 300 users. If you need more than 300 user accounts, you’ll need an Enterprise plan. Microsoft similarly sets a limit of 300 user accounts on its Microsoft 365 Business plans.

Storage limits

Per user limits for the Google Workspace Business storage plan are:

  • 30GB per user for Business Starter.
  • 2TB per user, pooled, for Business Standard.
  • 5TB per user, pooled, for Business Plus.

Pooled storage means that the total available storage is calculated by multiplying the number of user accounts by the storage per account.

SEE: Google Workspace storage: 3 essential things you need to know (TechRepublic)

All files created, added or modified after June 1, 2021, count towards a user’s storage limit. Files such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Sites, images (eg, JPG, PNG), PDFs, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other formats will count towards storage limits.

Google Workspace edition plan Storage limit
Essentials Starter 15GB per user
Business Starter 30GB per user
Business Standard 2TB per user, pooled
Business Plus 5TB per user, pooled
Enterprise Standard/Plus as much as you need

External sharing

Of the three Google Workspace Business plans, both Business Standard and Business Plus offer an administrator the ability to restrict and manage external file sharing with specific domains. An administrator lacks control over external sharing in Business Basic, which may make this plan less appealing where such restrictions may be desired.

Google Meet recording

Business Standard and Business Plus add the ability to record and save Google Meet video conferences. The maximum number of Google Meet participants for the plans are:

  • 100 people for Business Starter
  • 150 people for Business Standard
  • 500 people for Business Plus

Google’s feature comparison page lists several Meet features, such as polling and Q&A and breakout rooms, all of which require a Business Standard or better account. Business Plus and better plans also support attendance tracking in Meet.

E-discovery and retention

Google Vault is the organization’s offering to support administrative e-discovery and data retention. Only Business Plus includes Google Vault; however, organizations on Starter and Standard may select Vault as a paid add-on. When I browsed through my offered pricing, Vault displayed a $6 per user per month add-on price.

How to choose a new Google Workspace plan

If you’re a new customer, your task is relatively simple. Define your needs, choose the plan that best fits the balance of your needs and your budget, then help people in your organization. get started with Workspace,

If you have been a G Suite or Google Workspace customer, an administrator can sign in to the Admin console to access account options. To do this, the admin would sign in at the three-horizontal line menu in the upper left corner, then choose Billing, and select Get More Services from the sub-menu.

If you are a current customer, the Google Admin Get More Services page highlights available Google Workspace plans (Figure C,

Figure C

The Google Admin console displays Google Workspace plan options.
The Google Admin console displays Google Workspace plan options.

Select any of the options, and the system will display the details of key features your account will either gain or lose. Select your option, address any identified issues and follow any step-by-step instructions to switch.

How to choose between monthly or annual plans

A Google Workspace administrator has the option to choose between monthly or annual account payment plans (Figure D, In a stable situation with sufficient capital and cash flow, the annual option makes the most financial sense.

Figure D

Flexible versus Annual/Fixed-Term plans comparison for Google Workspace
An annual plan allows you to obtain the lowest possible cost per user, while a monthly plan lets you reduce usage, if needed, with minimal financial impact.

However, not every organization has the ability to pre-pay for accounts for a year. The decision between monthly and annual payments becomes more significant as the number of users increases. Since the total dollar difference can be on the order of thousands of dollars each year, your organization’s cash flow and capital position may affect your decision.

Additionally, if you anticipate major reductions in the number of accounts during the upcoming year (ie, layoffs), the monthly payment option may be preferable. The marginal cost of a few dollars per month per account may be preferable to locking in a discount by paying an annual price for an account no longer needed at a future date.

What do you think of these Google Workspace plans?

It will be interesting to see how Google Workspace administrators now select payment options. I suspect many customers may move to an annual plan, although a few may switch to a different edition. If you use Google Workspace, what’s your take on the current plan and pricing offerings? Mention or message me on Mastodon (@awolber) to let me know what edition and payment option you prefer.

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